Trekboxx Camp Shower - Group Buy (1 Viewer)

TrekboxX

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EDIT- Ok, turning this into a group buy. See original thread/text below.

This will be for the enclosure only. It will come with the removable pump plate and associated draw latches for the pump plate and 4 for the box itself. I'm thinking we will leave out the following, since people will have their own ideas/needs and possibly use different brands of heater:

Items to DIY- handles, mounting holes, tie downs, etc.

Some will want the box hard mounted to a swing out, trailer, etc. At this time I will not be offering competed units, but will with enough interest. As the group buy progresses I'll make a materials list and some instructions to make things easier. Shoot me a pm to get on the list.

$200 plus S&H

We need 20 minimum to get started...
Member list:

___________________________________________________________________
ORIGINAL THREAD:

Hey guys. I wanted to share a project I’ve been working on and get your feedback. If there is enough interest I will start selling these either as DIY kits or complete systems.

In my search for a hot water solution for a growing family, I couldn’t find a system that met my needs. So I ended up building my own (happens a lot around here). Here were my criteria:
  1. Something that actually works. Like the first time. I don’t want to recycle water in a bucket, etc. to have hot water.
  2. Doesn’t require running the truck. We do showers all at once, but also having hot water available to do dishes, etc., saves water and time. I don’t want to start the truck every time I need hot water.
  3. Serves more than one purpose (more on this later)
  4. Is field serviceable. I didn’t want any proprietary imported plastic do-dads whose failure could put the whole system out of commission.
  5. Is easily moved to another rig, next vehicle, etc.
I looked at most everything out there and they all lacked in one or more of these areas. I really liked the Ecotemp/Camp Chef Triton style of heater, but by itself it was hard to manage. It needed a home. So after some prototypes (and almost 2 years of testing) I ended up with an aluminum enclosure that fits the Ecotemp L5. The Ecotemp really works. It gets even cold stream water much hotter than you need the first time, and has both a temp adjustment and a flow adjustment that work well.

Shower head/nozzle

The shower head that comes with the unit ended up in the trash. This is because it has an on/off switch that is difficult to operate one handed when you just need a quick squirt for rinsing a dish, etc. We ended up leaving it on longer than required just to avoid the hassle, at the cost of wasting water. After testing numerous nozzles, I ended up with basically a hose nozzle that has different spray patterns, has a catch to leave it on for showers, and has it’s own flow adjuster that will completely shut off the water if you want. This allows us to really stretch the water we bring with us.

Pump

I also wanted a way to refill our onboard tank, as well as utilize natural water sources for showers if we are close to a lake or stream. I ended up with a Shurflo 2.9 GPM pump. It will prime high enough to reach a nearby water source, and has plenty of power to pump uphill to a rooftop water tank.

Design

The Ecotemp is a big unit, so I wanted to keep the enclosure as tight to the unit as possible. Hence, a custom box. Also, I wanted to be able to have a fully contained unit, so the box also houses the pump, pump cord, and hoses. It is fully enclosed so it can be stored or mounted outside the vehicle. It’s aluminum for obvious reasons (heat, water, weight). The lid closes with draw latches to prevent rattles. The pump is mounted on a pump plate which quickly detaches from the unit so it can be lowered off a bridge, for example, to draw from a creek below.

I used all quick-connect fittings for the hoses because it’s nice to be able to change input/output hoses quickly. However, they inevitably leak. Even though it’s just a drip-drip-drip, it’s annoying. I may go back to standard threaded fittings. This would also reduce cost and make it even more field serviceable, even though the quick release garden hose fittings are available at most box stores. The design also allows you to bypass the pump and use a gravity fed source in case of a pump failure. This was one of my big concerns with having a pump built into a spare tire area water tank, for example.

There are 4 footman loops on the outside of the unit. These make it easy to tie it down to a roof rack, hang it from a tree, etc.

There are no proprietary parts except the Ecotemp, the pump, and the enclosure itself. Everything else can be repaired or replaced with a trip to the hardware store.

Upgrades/changes

The first upgrade was obvious- I started with a wood box as a proof of concept. This was upgraded to aluminum which saved about 10lbs. Total unit weight now is 30 lbs, including pump, hoses, etc.

The next was the addition of a much longer 12 volt cord for the pump. It’s nice to have your shower/wash station away from the vehicle to prevent a muddy pond developing outside the passenger door. I ended up with about a 30-40’ cord. It has worked very well.

Next, I will be installing a switch for the pump. I have a switched 12volt outlet on the truck, but since I usually setup the water station 30’ away the unit needs it’s own switch. That’s an easy fix.

Drawbacks

The main drawbacks are the weight and size. There are smaller and lighter units available, but I’ve spoken to owners and they all say the same thing. They have limited heating ability and therefore require recirculation to get up to temp, and then sometimes it gets too hot. This unit works flawlessly if you can sacrifice the size and weight.


Overall I think it’s a good solution if you are actually looking for a solution. For decades I never had hot water while camping and was just fine. But with young kids in tow, well, things are different. And I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t amazing to have a hot shower every night…


So, I’d like your feedback. I’m thinking of running a group buy/pre-order type of deal with enough interest. I need to build about 100 units to start getting any real price breaks. The box itself and pump plate would run about $150 (ballpark) including pump plate, draw latches, etc. They would be laser cut, CNC bent, and tig welded. We could do a kit where the box comes with a parts list, or a turn-key unit.

I could look into bulk discounts on the pumps (normally about $80) and the Ecotemp units ($120).

Let me know what you guys think!

David

Hanging on tree.JPG


On roof.JPG


Bundled.JPG


Overall open.JPG


Enclosure.JPG
 
Last edited:

Dissent

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That's a clever idea, I like the modular and serviceable approach. I usually don't shower but spent a week at Boy Scout camp in 95F with constant rain and high humidity and realized the value of a hot shower every night. Does spoil you a bit. Promise of a shower or a room key is the only thing that entices the wife out camping.

I'd be all over the box by itself and put my own guts together. It's usually the custom fab/production of the case/platform/etc. that I can't manage.
 

TrekboxX

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That's a clever idea, I like the modular and serviceable approach. I usually don't shower but spent a week at Boy Scout camp in 95F with constant rain and high humidity and realized the value of a hot shower every night. Does spoil you a bit. Promise of a shower or a room key is the only thing that entices the wife out camping.

I'd be all over the box by itself and put my own guts together. It's usually the custom fab/production of the case/platform/etc. that I can't manage.
Yup, absolutely. The first box was $$$, so much better to do a full run of them.
 

TrekboxX

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Any opinions on the heater unit- Ecotemp vs. Camp Chef vs....? I've only used the Ecotemp, and it's great. But I don't know if there's any real difference. I think they're about the same size. One option would be to leave the 2 mounting holes for the heater off to allow you guys to mount whichever. I'd need to confirm fitment of other units, of course...
 

Dirty Koala

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What are the dimensions of the box...If its not too big, I would like to mount it to my Slee ladder swingout. Getting my family more remote requires the ability for my wife to shower.
 

Dissent

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Any movement on this project? Are you still planning on selling just the box? It's a very nice offering that may fit a need in the future.
 
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Im interested in the box depending on pricing and final measurements (inside/outside). Already have the propane heater, water pump, and everything else.

However, in my application, I would mount the water heater inside the main box, not the lid. (The box would be mounted to my trailer.) In fact, I'd prefer it if the lid was hinged, and not fully removable. Possible to get that option?
 

TrekboxX

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Im interested in the box depending on pricing and final measurements (inside/outside). Already have the propane heater, water pump, and everything else.

However, in my application, I would mount the water heater inside the main box, not the lid. (The box would be mounted to my trailer.) In fact, I'd prefer it if the lid was hinged, and not fully removable. Possible to get that option?
Well, the issue is that the heater vents out of the top- that's why it's on the "lid". The first prototype was hinged and it was very awkward- it was heavier and in the way when trying to hang it on a tree, for example. Also, using the box as a storage spot for your shower gear is handy.

I might consider some small options, but the problem for small quantity stuff like this is that it's not worth it unless I can make a run of them, all the same, etc. If I start selling them by the hundred then that's a different story. But this is a super niche market.
 

TrekboxX

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@TrekboxX can we get one of these boxes made?

I have a Camp Chef Triton and I need this box
Sorry for the delay... We'll need to get a group buy going. I'm not doing one-offs, way too $$$. BTW the size is 29 x 12 x 6.5". Let me sort out the details and I'll post a group buy...
 

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