How to build a portable instant hot water heater

Written by katebo
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How to build a portable instant hot water heater
A portable hot water heater is ideal for showering when camping. (water drop and water rings image by glgec from

You can build an instant hot water heater that can travel with you anywhere. All you need is a few simple household materials and some items purchased from your local hardware store. The portable hot water heater is used mainly for taking a shower when camping. The power source for the instant hot water heater comes from the sun.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1 large 5 gallon plastic bottle of water
  • 20 gallon black plastic trash bag with ties
  • 12 feet of rubber medical tubing about 1 inch in diameter
  • 2 thick rubber bands
  • Clamp
  • 2 yards of twine
  • Cup
  • Spoon

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  1. 1

    Place a water-filled, plastic five-gallon bottle with the cap on inside a small, black 20 gallon plastic trash bag. Tie off the top of the trash bag using the attached bag ties.

  2. 2

    Place the bag outside on a sunny day for at least two hours.

  3. 3

    After two hours, remove the bottle from the plastic bag and remove the cap from the bottle.

  4. 4

    Stretch the rubber hose over the bottle's opening and secure the hose around the opening by wrapping a couple of rubber bands around it.

  5. 5

    Fold over the end of the hose to stop the water from flowing out and turn the bottle upside down. Alternatively, you can put a clamp anywhere on the hose to cut off the flow of water from the hose. Tie the bottle upside down to a tree above your head height, and secure the bottle by wrapping twine around the bottle and tree together.

  6. 6

    Unfold or unclamp the hose and allow the hot water to flow out.

Tips and warnings

  • Before you pour the hot water on your body, let a little of it run into a cup. Take a spoon and dribble a few drops of the water onto the back of your hand to make sure it's not too hot.

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