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Old 05-18-2009, 05:30 AM   #1
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Simple shower on the cheap without main tanks?

I'm trying to do a full time four season school bus conversion for the cheapest possible outlay of up front cash, with the hope that after crises pass I can either progressively upgrade it for full time living, or 'retire' it to a travel only RV. I'm also trying to avoid large outlays of cash investing into one chassis if I later find mechanical gremlins that cost me more than I can fix and am forced to move everything into a different bus dumping the original project. So i'm trying to figure out the best way to make a "portable" shower since this seems to be the most demanding part of the plumbing equation.

I'm hoping to haul water into the bus using those 7 gallon blue cubes you may have seen for camping use, even if I buy or improvise a large fresh water tank I wont have any RV style hookups I expect to be able to use for free (do truckstops have free RV hookups? I'm thinking no but I never asked) so I need something I can fill from indoor taps at gas stations or rest stations and such and then throw in the back of my car carried by hand. I'm hoping I wont have to live this way any longer than necessary. 7 gallons should be enough for a naval type shower. Underfilled i'm less worried about frozen bursted tanks or pipes in winter too.

I'm hoping to have a raised floor with some kind of portable drainage tank under it that I can slide out after a shower or just use some small pump to put into another marked blue cube for used water. Maybe something like that is even made, but too high is a problem in typically short roofed school busses so i'm not sure there. If I don't use any kind of nasty detergents or non-camp safe soap I should be able to dump the greywater outside without hurting anything AFAIK. Any suggestions on a nice inexpensive sturdy homemade tank I could make maybe out of something common or used for other things?

I'm trying to figure out a way to deal with all my plumbing/water needs for about $200-300 out of pocket max. :( I already have the water cubes I need.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:54 PM   #2
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Re: Simple shower on the cheap without main tanks?

Camp showers are great additions to regular solar water heater bags. Check out the ZODI Extreme SC. It's a hand pump model, so you won't have to keep buying batteries for a pump. And because you can pump the water to where you need it, there's no worries about lifting a heavy bag over your head to get gravity feed.

If at all possible, buy directly from the company to avoid crazy markups from other big box stores.
http://www.zodi.com/web-content/Cons...emeshower.html
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:32 PM   #3
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Re: Simple shower on the cheap without main tanks?

I mentioned 'four seasons' but in this thread I forgot to mention I live in Minnesota and i'm planning on using this as housing rather than travel. :) I expect to be stuck out rurally for awhile so wont be seeing truck stops or other public places with showers with any regularily. I dont think solar showers heat well at 20 below, so...

I'm familiar with the vandwelling page, though thanks for linking it (because then others looking for the same topic can find it) but I guess if there's any one civilized luxury i'd like to keep and which help me feel civilized still it's the feeling of a couple gallons of hot water spraying me down. I've tried the No Rinse stuff and sponge bathing but the psychological feeling of still not feeling clean stuck with me so i'm trying to still keep a shower of sorts as a luxury even if I have to haul 3x as much water. Or at least until I let go of my psychological hangup from the extra work it creates anyways.

I'm mostly wondering if anyone has any clever ideas for the grey water/draining tank and stuff.
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:13 AM   #4
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Re: Simple shower on the cheap without main tanks?

I'm not sure on the plumbing part, but I've seen an instant hot-water shower in the camping section at our local Wal-Mart. Think solar shower, except it uses a propane burner to heat the water. If you're inside, you can collect the water in a bucket to later use (perhaps to flush a toilet, if you're going that route) or just dump outside (letting grey water drain onto the ground from your tank is generally a no-no, but if you collect it in a bucket and toss it by some bushes it's usually ok, go figure). In warmer months, just shower outside if no one's around.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:15 PM   #5
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Re: Simple shower on the cheap without main tanks?

homeless dude i stripped down a old camper from the back of a truck it had a 5 to 7 gallon stainless steel tank, a 3/8 line and a small 12 volt pump.Mount the tank outside in the summeron the roof for warm water,then you will have to figure out how to heat it in the winter!Just a thought......timbuk
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Old 05-25-2009, 01:58 PM   #6
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Re: Simple shower on the cheap without main tanks?

Hey there I'm a truck driver- out team driving with my wife. Will try to answer some truckstop questions.
They usually have water available at the diesil pumps, many times there is no hose, if there is its very short. Be sure to check the signs, CA uses non-potable water. Just be careful.
They have showers vailable they cost 10.00. If you have a CDL you can get driver payback cards, that you will earn you free showers with. We never pay for showers.

Many truckstops have a service called IdleAir. This is a hookup of sorts, it has 110v, airconditioning, internet access, it hels save fuel on tucks. This service requires a membership 35.00 a year. You also pay by the hour, it would be more expensive than an RVpark for sure. Idleair has a website: http://www.idleaire.com/
I'm going be incorporating much of the truck sleeper tech into our bus, there is some really great stuff in these trucks.

We've been living on the road for 2 years any qestions- I'll be glad to help.
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:00 PM   #7
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Re: Simple shower on the cheap without main tanks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckf00t
Hey there I'm a truck driver- out team driving with my wife. Will try to answer some truckstop questions.
They usually have water available at the diesil pumps, many times there is no hose, if there is its very short. Be sure to check the signs, CA uses non-potable water. Just be careful.
.
Had to pull in to a truck stop to get diesel once. We had just recently emptied our waste tanks at a rest stop, but were running low on fresh water. I saw the water faucet described above. Didn't know what to do, then quickly decided to hook up real quick and fill our tank. No one stopped us, and we didn't die from the water (we have a filter for drinking water, if that matters).
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Old 05-25-2009, 06:11 PM   #8
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Re: Simple shower on the cheap without main tanks?

Potable water is old terminology that is still in use today. Essentially it means you can use this in cooking pots etc... Potable water is good for cleaning, drinking & bathing and safe for human consumption. NON-potable water should only be used for flushing toilets or any other non-coonsumption use.
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Old 05-27-2009, 04:41 AM   #9
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Re: Simple shower on the cheap without main tanks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckf00t
Many truckstops have a service called IdleAir. This is a hookup of sorts, it has 110v, airconditioning, internet access, it hels save fuel on tucks. This service requires a membership 35.00 a year. You also pay by the hour, it would be more expensive than an RVpark for sure.
Yeah I looked at the prices and balked a bit. At $2.45/hr best case a 10hr stop is $24.50, I could almost stay in the off season rural motels around here for that. The RV parks are too expensive too being catered to relatively wealthy (what RV owners arent reasonably well off to be driving at 6mpg to somewhere?) people who dont mind spending $20-40 a night either for hookups. Even if I did that once per week, the combination of a drive to the more rural area just to empty black tanks and refill fresh water tanks would probably cost me as much as bottom end rent on a room somewhere right now.

I'm trying to figure out some nomadic way to wander not far from the city until I can catch up on debt that i'm backed up on and stuff. Too proud to declare bankruptcy even if the debt isnt my fault (uncovered medical, much of it not even my own but family I couldn't turn down) and dont want my credit ruined for 7 years.

How do truck stops feel about an RV'er or bus driver stopping at a truck stop to stay the night? How much do they have to buy to be 'courteous' enough to earn it?
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