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Old 10-19-2019, 10:22 PM   #1
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Road shower heat via flame

So I bought the 8 gallon Road Shower for the roof rack. But I'm curious of how people might take a hot shower in colder conditions?

I know you can heat water and pour it in. But I'm curious of adding a plate of metal to the bottom of one side and using a burner to heat up the water.

My rack is 2-3" off the roof and then then Road Shower is on top of that. So im thinking of ringing a way to put a burner connected to my current propane source and an added metal piece so I can heat the Road Shower if it is colder.

So I'm thinking grind off the coating on the bottom of one end, then having someone weld on an extra plate that takes flames. And then it can heat up the water inside.

Thoughts?
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:43 PM   #2
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Isn’t the road shower made of plastic? Wouldn’t it melt?
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Old 10-20-2019, 04:46 AM   #3
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The Road Shower is aluminum.

Doug, you are in Seattle. Plan on camping in freezing conditions? Is this on a pop top or fixed/stock top van?

My suggestion- rig up the RS in your yard on two six ft ladders in optimal sunlight. Pressurize it and time how long it takes for the water to heat up to be “hot”. Then start taking a “shower” while kneeling to simulate the height it would be on your rack. See how long a shower you can take before the water starts getting too cold and the pressure drops to unacceptable.

Then, while on your knees, visualize how you will refill and/or re-pressurize the tank with a hose and without a hose if you are in a campground or near a stream/creek. Climbing a ladder with a bucket of water vs a pressurized hose eight to nine feet atop the van.

This will help you determine the viability of the RS for your use and if it is worth mounting.

On the other hand, if you have already mounted it, what is your experience in using it? Does it meet your expectations?

As to heating the water downstream of the RS - get an Eccotemp or Triton 5L water heater. They can be mounted in various ways. They run off a propane tank. You will need a water pump. You essentially use the RS as a roof mounted water tank keeping mind you will have about 70 lbs of water and tank when full sitting high off the ground. Or run a feed line from the RS to your other water tank(s) if you have those already plumbed w a water pump. (The RS becomes add’l water capacity)

After you do your test/evaluation - post back and I will share my opinions of the RS. I am interested in what you find.
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Old 10-20-2019, 08:26 AM   #4
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Might send member CarlParr a PM, he has A system very similar to what 1der describes above. It's a slick setup! He may be able to provide some insight and send some pics to inspire your goals.
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Old 10-20-2019, 08:58 AM   #5
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If you have a van do you not have room for a water tank inside the van?

I'm a fan of a setup one of the Transit guys did. Stainless steel tank with an electric HW heater element in it, heated by an inverter when van is running. Use a standard RV water pump to move water wherever you want it, including sink.
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Old 10-20-2019, 01:56 PM   #6
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In my opinion, the Roadshower is really only effective for use in the summer or where there is plenty of sunshine. Fabricating a safe propane burner / heat exchanger assembly and insulating it from the roof, running the propane hose, climbing on the roof to light it, having a way to control the temp, (the water will get scalding hot) making sure it can't blow out in the wind, installing a pressure relief valve and flame safety that would shut off the propane if the flame did blow out, would all be a lot of work. The Ecotemp system is well designed, safe, cheap, and small enough to store easily or mount somewhere out of the way.
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Old 10-20-2019, 05:47 PM   #7
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You could use a stacked plate heat exchanger plumbed into the coolant running to your heater core and small pump (like a Sureflow) to circulate the water stored in the Road Shower. You will need a Heat Exchanger. To cut off the hot coolant flow use a
Heater Bypass Valve . This bypass valve works on vacuum, so electric a Vacuum Actuator will be needed to control it with a electric switch and possibly a thermostat switch. The thermostat would turn it off when the tank temp hits your desired water temp this would also turn off the circulation pump.
Because your Road Shower will essentially become a hot water tank when in use a Temperature and Pressure relief valve would be recommended.

Or you could just skip the road shower and run the system right off your regular water storage tank for instant hot water whenever the engine is running. That is how I use mine. The advantage to the road shower as a tank is the hot water could be stored for a while and used without the engine running.
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Old 10-21-2019, 12:48 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the feed back. Mine is a 1997 E150 that I'm self building out. So an electrical system for a fridge and charge my stuff. No pop up. And no hot water system. I will be doing the 1lb propane bottles. Because I can refill them off a big bottle. I was thinking a burner that was small and could connect to one of those. Also I have already bought the Road Shower (RS). And is great in sun and heats up. But haven't use in cooler temps. Which I would love to use in cold temps. Or maybe freezing if I heat up before the hike. And then heat up after.
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Old 10-21-2019, 06:56 AM   #9
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Im assuming you’ve mounted (or will be) the Road Shower to your roof in some way - you’ll have to be cognizant of outside temps, a freeze could cause it to split as the water expands.
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Old 10-21-2019, 08:05 AM   #10
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I bought a Zodi 6185 single burner stand alone shower system a few years ago that I'm happy with. It stows neatly in the red plastic box, which doubles as your water reservoir and stand. The pump uses 4 D cells (6v). As purchased it allows you to take a hot camper shower at a dry camp, or hook up to a hose bib at a campground.



I added a teak wooden grate to stand on, and an inexpensive pop up shower enclosure, it works out pretty good.


I eventually made a couple modifications to mine, that make it a little more user friendly, use less water, keep your feet out of the mud puddle that comes with outdoor showering.



I ditched the battery operated 6v pump and added a 12v boat bilge pump, so I could run off the van's batteries, and eliminate carrying extra D cells. Then as a water saving measure when dry camping, I added a diverter 3-way valve and hose, so I could get wet, turn the valve to the re-circulation position, lather up, then turn the valve back to the on position, rinse, and repeat. If getting water from a cold source like s Sierra lake, you can run it on recir, pre-heat the water to get it as warm as you like
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