Mid June, I bought a solar shower made by a company out of Concord Ca. called Summer Shower. I did some reading and across multiple reviews sites and a few real world reviews this particular one always kind of percolated to the top pf the list. Solar Shower sells a couple of different sizes, 2.5 gal, 3 gal, and a 5 gal. I, personally went with the 3 gal model that was listed on Amazon for $35 (?) or so. After 2 extended stays at the cabin of more than a week each and showering daily the “bag” has held up pretty good so far. Previously I was heating water on the stove and using a regular old bucket to rinse, lather repeat. That method works well and the only real cost was the price of a bucket at Dollar General. Being a lazy human, and not wanting to lug water around further than I have to I went the solar shower way. I will be honest here, I got tired of burning the shit out of my hand every time I picked the damn boiling pot off the stove. Even with oven mitts I always seemed to burn one part of my body somewhere.
Filling is fairly straight forward with a twist off cap. Once you fill to the desired level (in my case 3 gallons) you literally lay it clear side up in full sun and let mother nature do the heating. In every case I have had 100 plus degree shower water at the end of the day. On an average summer day, I would say the water heated in a couple hours of laying in full sun on the deck of my cabin. I never really timed the process but I did max out the temp gauge yesterday as it was a exceptionally clear day with few clouds. According to the chart on the box, you only need 1-3 hours of direct sunlight to heat depending on the ambient temp outside. In my case mid to upper 80’s.
The nozzle is fairly straight forward with a push/pull design. Pull the head to open the flow and push to close. Only downside is when you hands are soapy, it can be hard to pull the valve to open. That is really the only complaint I have with the product. There are a couple of velcro loops to hang “stuff” on to the bag but I really don’t have a need and haven’t used them. 2 small pockets are located on the front to store a small mirror that comes with the bag, or place your soap into according to the instructions on the box.
I would say, this is not something I would ruck with. It has it’s purpose, but I don’t think it is or would be placed in my ruck sack. The weight of the bladder itself is pretty heavy and not easily foldable for stowing. The bag does roll up nicely, but due to the design and rigidity of the integrated handle and hose, it cannot be folded smaller. For a semi-permanent base camp or off grid type cabin or camp it is perfect and made pretty solid. I wouldn’t throw the bag around or abuse it, but it is pretty well made for it’s intent.
Overall I would say money well spent. I have to haul water in to my place with 5 gallon carboys so I conserve when I can. I have found I bathe with about 1.5 gallons, more or less, and actually use less water than the bucket method.
Long term we will see how it holds up. I am sure it will if I don’t throw it around or drop it from more than a couple feet.
So if you are looking for a solar shower this might be your answer, milage may vary.