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DIY “On Demand” Instant Warm Water Heater For Camping

instant warm water system for camping

DIY “On Demand” Instant Warm Water Heater For Camping

Need ideas for quickly generating warm shower water?

Watch this amusing video showing a simple system using a water pump and heat exchanger coil. While it could certainly be improved upon with some easy modifications that would help it both heat up faster and be much safer, it’s a great illustration of creative thinking, and a simple demonstration of exactly how an on-demand hot water system works. 

Here’s his explanation of how it’s made.

Here’s my homemade warm water system for camping. I bypassed the water from an electric camping shower through a copper coil. The copper tubing I bought from a gas shop. It was very easy to bend into the coil shape. The tap water from the bucket warms quite nicely through this system. It takes the cold edge off the water. To make the water hotter recycle the water back into the bucket allowing it to then pass back through the coil. Great little system. Quite cheap overall. $30 shower including pump (from BCF) $15 butane gas cartridge burner (from K-Mart) $10 for the copper tubing (from Kleenheat gas) and $5 for some extra plastic tubing and $2 for some hose clamps (from Bunnings). All in all I’m quite happy with this system. I am looking at enclosing the coil and flame to stop wind blowing the flame out. Let me know what you think. Cheers guys.
Age from Perth, Western Australia.

The simplicity of the idea is really nice. He doesn't even need to use any electric pumps, because it pumps automatically using the thermosiphon principle. It could also be adapted to use any heating device, including a campfire, portable propane stove, indoor range, or a DIY gasifying wood stove like the one I use.

It would be interesting to see something like this installed more permanently... Maybe even running off of a small wood-burning rocket stove? It would seem to me that the trick for a permanent install would be to either 1) use the heat-exchanger coil as part of the stove, ex. as the pot stand, or 2) permanently wrap the copper coil around a heated element, such as the chimney of a rocket stove (which is actually under the burner).

boondocking camper DIY off the grid RV shower water heater

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