Whenever hurricanes approach the United States, my emergency water storage page always receives a lot of traffic as people get ready for the possibility that water will be cut off by the storm. I’ve noticed that there’s also a lot of interest in solar showers. If you’re without running water for a few days, especially if you’re working in hot humid conditions, the ability to take a shower is a great luxury. And fortunately, you can prepare at an extremely low cost.
All of the showers shown on this page are extremely simple. They’re nothing more than a large plastic bag, typically about five gallons, with a shower attachment. You fill it with water, and then place it in the sun. Or, if you have a method of heating water, you can heat it over the stove and then place it in the bag. But the sun will make the water reasonably warm in just a few hours. So all you need to do is fill the bag in the morning, place it in a sunny spot, either outside or next to a window, and you’ll have a warm shower available. These portable showers are surprisingly inexpensive. Here are some of the possibilities available at Amazon:
To use the shower, you simply hoist it to a location above your head. For outdoor use, you can use a piece of rope tied over a tree branch. You can also use it inside in your normal shower. However, you do need to give some thought to where you can mount it. Completely full, the bag of water will weigh about 40 pounds, which is probably too heavy to tie to a shower curtain or the normal shower head. But with a little ingenuity, you should be able to figure out a way to get it up above your head in a secure spot. If nothing else is available, you can bring a small table into the bathroom, put a chair on top of the table, and set the shower on the chair. (If you need to tie it to something, don’t forget to buy some rope to use for that purpose.)
If you’re concerned about being able to hoist the bag above your head, then you might prefer the following model, which has an electric pump to pump the water from any container:
If you decide to use one of these, you will need a source of 12 volt power. You could plug the shower into your car, but a more convenient method would be to use a 12 volt “jump start” battery such as this one. You can charge it before the storm, or keep it charged up by plugging it into your car:
If the storm is drawing near and there’s no time to order online, you can get these solar showers at most stores where camping supplies are sold. Here are links to inexpensive solar showers at Walmart. One convenient option is to order online and then pick a store where you can pick up the purchase the same day. Especially if there are long lines at the checkout counter, this option can save a great deal of your time.
If you do decide to order from Amazon, here are some suggestions of other products that you might need to prepare. Most of these items include free shipping for Prime members or if you meet the minimum order for free shipping:
For more information on emergency preparedness, please visit some of the following pages on my website:
- Emergency Water Storage in Your Bathtub
- How to make coffee without electricity
- Emergency communications primer
- Battery powered and 12 volt televisions
- Cheap cell phones for emergency use
- Food storage basics
- Free emergency preparedness books