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     How to get a hot shower when living in the        wilderness or remote homestead.....


If you have always wanted to try homesteading off the grid, you will find some easy ideas here that will help you get started with minimal costs.  Many of these ideas you can try right where you live, RIGHT NOW!

OFF GRID Hot Water Showers ...

We have tried a few different ideas here, and there are definitely a lot of good ideas out there to be tried.  Since winter is the time that wood stoves are burning day and night for the most part, the wood burning stove is looked to for the main source of providing hot water.  Any large pot or pan works well for heating water. (Do not use aluminum pans as heated aluminum can produce carbon monoxide).  You should use stainless steel, enamel ware, cast iron etc.  We use a large turkey roasting pan and some exceptionally large coffee pots for heating water on the top of the wood stove.  Once the water is heated (about 30-40 minutes) it can be transferred to a camp shower (these can be purchased for about $10 at hardware stores, Wal-mart, K-mart, Cabela's or other similar stores which carry camping supplies.
This shower works on gravity feed so the lowest end of the bag and the tube and nozzle must be above your head for it to function properly.  This might not be a problem in the forest when you can find a high limb to hang it from but you may discover that your ceiling is not high enough to accommodate  the length of the bag & tube w/shower head. Another draw back of the camp shower idea is that the bag is vinyl so is difficult to handle when it is full because it is not rigid. It is difficult to lift high enough above your head to hang on a hook when it is full (5 gal.= 35+ pounds)

Another method we have used very successfully is a simple hand pump pressurized tree sprayer about 3 gallons.  You simply add the hot water, pump the handle several times and use the spray wand for showering. This is still our favorite method in our wilderness traveling and hunting camps where electricity of any major kind is not possible due to the carry weight of batteries.
The pump sprayer is very effective, offers high pressure spray from a stream to a mist at your own discretion by turning the nozzle. Its nearly fool proof and also provides a container for carrying water.

A better home-made set up can be made with a (36"L x 24"D)shelf about head high on the bathroom wall over your tub. On the shelf (a wide wire closet shelf or wooden if you have planks handy) place a ($5)plastic tote (cut down to about 12" deep) on the shelf. Place a tabletop submersible fountain pump in the tote with the tube and shower head from the camp shower.  Cut the tube to just 16" (usually the maximum height a cheap ($15) tabletop fountain pump can handle.) The pump comes with an electric on/off switch that goes from the pump, up and over the edge of the tote and hangs down outside the tote.  Once you have filled the tote with comfortably warm water, you simply turn on the little pump and you have a decent 10-15 gallon shower. When the water runs out you immediately flick the little switch and turn the little pump off.  The advantage to this set up is that the tote is stationary and you fill it from a smaller vessel such as a coffee pot or pitcher or similar container. So no heavy lifting is required.  Also, it can be set up much lower than your existing ceiling because it is not gravity fed, it is fed by the electric pump.  The pump also provides light pressure, it makes your shower feel much more like the showers you are accustomed to.  The pump is very tiny and uses very little energy easily run by very small solar panels or light wind power, or your outlet.  Because you are heating the water on your wood stove you have saved much cost by not running your electric/gas water heater day and night.  
 Some folks place copper tubing around the stove pipe either inside or outside the pipe and connect a garden hose to one end and run the other end into a regular hot water tank (disconnected from electric or propane, this is just for storing hot water produced by the wood stove)  
The tank should be located behind or off the the side area of the wood stove. Then they run a garden hose from the tank to the shower and this works on a draw system.  We opted out of this method due to the cost of the copper tubing. This set up offers a very permanent set-up for cold climates where the wood stove is often in use on a daily basis.

If you live in a very hot climate you can acquire some black garden hose, 300-500 ft and weave it back and forth across your roof or even on the ground where it gets full sun all day and run this series of end to end hoses to your hot water pipe with an on/off T pipe to your faucet at your shower, where it can be mixed with the water coming from your cold faucet to a comfortable temperature,
(the water in these hoses can get extremely hot) and sent up to the shower head via the normal plumbing path.   If you wish to be able to use both your new solar hot water and your conventional hot water from your electric or gas water tank then simply install another on/off T pipe between your conventional hot water pipe and the T for your solar hot water so that you can shut off or turn on your conventional hot water at will.  

Easy solar power ...

Solar power is an easy to use alternative energy.  With all the costs coming down on components as more companies enter the production market.  Small inverters to convert your Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current -used in automobiles, to (AC)-used in houses are very affordable and can even be purchased at low end stores like Wal-mart for $50-$80. The inverter goes between your charging device like your car battery or solar panel and the cord you will be using to run your household items.  Inverters can be purchased up to about 3000 watts at common tool type stores or off line.  As the wattage capacity goes up, so does the price.  We use a 5 watt solar panel and a 400 watt inverter to run all of our lights and a radio at our deer camp.  The car battery charges during the day from our solar panel and we run the inverter, lights and radio off the battery during the evening and night.

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