Here is a brief history of Road Shower
The 120 mile White Rim Trail in Utah’s Canyon lands inspired the creation of Road Shower. On the White Rim trail, which is a vehicle supported mountain bike ride, we would ride into camp, dusty, dirty, and sweaty. We would fill up a solar shower, the plastic bag kind, and try to find a convenient place to hang it. This is not easy in the desert with few trees. Then, since it was already getting late, we would take a cold shower, since there was not enough time to heat the water.
The year before we tried tying the solar showers to the top of our cars, but you can imagine, they didn't last long up there, and we lost one, and one got punctured. Even when you have it tied up somewhere, the pressure isn’t very good, and the nozzle is hard to work with soapy hands. Also filling them up by yourself is not easy.
So in 2007, I set out to make a better solar shower that heats up while you drive. I came up with a rack mounted pressurized solar shower. You mount it on your car rack. It is as sturdy as mounting a bike rack.
Our First Commercial ModelMy first attempts at the Road Shower were to build a tube from black ABS pipe, and set it out in the sun. I found out that ABS was a good insulator but not very good at heating up the water. I then cut little windows in the top of the pipe and glued clear acrylic in the window. This allowed the sunlight to come in and heat the water very nicely. It was difficult to glue these pieces in and not have leaks. I then decided to use the entire tube of acrylic glass in the center section. I painted the inside bottom of the acrylic with black epoxy pool paint. This method yielded an acceptable solar collector. I decided to strap the tube to a Yakima bike tray, and the first Road Shower was born.
Pressurize ItThe first units worked by using gravity and the height of the vehicle. My son Jimmie, was taking a shower in the desert and suggested that it would be a lot better if it was pressurized. I added a shraeder valve and a pressure relief valve and the Road Shower just got better. At this point in time there were many people that saw the Road Shower and started to copy it for their own use. Most people made them from black ABS pipe. These do not heat up the water very well. They did not include a pressure relief valve. This means, if they are not careful with the pressure, they could blow up the pipe and possibly get hurt. And most people just strapped them to their rack. Being round, they tend to roll around and get loose.
A really great solar collector.The all acrylic model was beautiful. It was great to see the water sloshing around. It heated the water much better. Unfortunately it had its drawback also. It was fragile to ship. Many got damaged in shipping. It was also hard to make. It wasn't ready for mass manufacturing.
The new design comes to light.After a time, I realized that the aluminum could be extruded in any shape desired. I came up with the idea to include the mounting slot in the tank. And an elliptical design would gather sun better. A radiator cap and neck could be used for a fill cap and for pressure relief.
The first aluminum modelThe all aluminum model worked better than we imagined. It heated the water better than the all acrylic model. It was durable. It does not break in shipping, or in use. It looks great, and it can be mass produced. It can also be pressurized to 15 PSI, which is much higher than previous models. It also holds more water and is shorter, which allows for mounting across a vehicle as well.
Road Shower 1Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign (see list of donors), we made the current version which features the following improvements. The hose comes out the back which allows the shower to be mounted to flat surfaces, like the roof of a camper, or the top of a boat. or set on a table top. The elbow is out of the way and made of brass. 3 heavy duty clips are added instead of 2. A velcro strap is added to ensure the hose does not come loose on bumpy roads. The hose ends are factory made with brass fittings. An improved mouting clip is included with allows mounting to almost all rack systems and factory luggage racks. An Asian firm hired to do the manufacturing.
The Road Shower 2Road Shower 1 sold out the first season. We worked hard on getting feedback from customers and from extensive field testing. We discovered some weaknesses that we needed to address.The tank was perfect and remains the same. The Road Shower 2 has the following improvements over Road Shower 1. On/off valve at elbow so you can easily remove the hose or attach a longer hose while pressurized. Locking loop to lock your unit with a cable style bike lock to your rack. LCD thermometer which will show you the temperature in F and C. Standard American GHT (Garden Hose Threads) on both ends of the hose. Beefier mounting brackets1. Tougher Shrader valve. Can be pressurized to 20 PSI.