Mike's mobile battery-powered sauna shower

With any good sauna, some sort of water for cooling off and rinsing is essential. This can be tough if the sauna is out in the woods away from modern plumbing. At least in the winter there's snow to roll around in. There's also always the rudimentary setup of a bucket of water and/or a wash basin. Of course the lucky ones locate their sweat sanctuary near a river, creek, lake or beach. Other times there's a dunking pool or tank.

In the instance of our sauna, my brother Mike, rigged up a really spiffy portable shower. The site of this sauna has an old creek bed nearby that still seeps water. There's pretty good water flow but the surface is bog-like, most of the water seeps down the slope underground. It's easy to get water but not so easy get a lot of water to create a dunking pool. With Mike's shower we are able to access this nice fresh water and pump it so we have an on-demand shower right on the porch of the sauna.


It's a little difficult to see, but under all of this wonderful Alaskan flora (behind the alder branches) is a small sump that was dug for collecting water. It's marked with a some plastic tape tied to a stick. The collection hose (with a screen and a filter on one end) is stuck down this hole.


Here's the rig. The system is simple and reliable. Because our water source is mostly underground, and we use food-grade hosing, the water is potable too.

For storage or transport, the hoses can be detached and coiled up. Everything else gets packed in the milk crate. The system is powered by a modest sealed 12-volt battery. The rest of it consists of an inline water filter, marine water pump, food-grade tubing, potable-water garden hose and a water-saving shower head. Aside for miscellaneous assorted fittings, that's all there is to it. Easy!


The PAR-Max 1 is a water pump that has a built-in pressure switch in it. So, when the water is turned on at the shower head, the pump senses low pressure and starts working. In the back ground you can see the wiring connecting into a switch that's attached to the milk create. 



These low-flow shower heads (nice quality heavy brass and made-in-USA) have a built-in shut off. Flip the lever and the shower's on. The shut-off on the shower head doesn't completely turn the water off. It still dribbles out a bit. So it's still a good idea to switch off the pump but it can be left on for over a week with no sign of slowing down. If the power is shut off after each use it can be used for a month or so. It's always a good idea to maintain the battery by keeping it topped off. However, it can handle some neglect.

Mike built this system for our sauna so it could be easily put into storage, either if we are away from the cabin or for winter. But it can also easily be thrown in the back of a car for a camping trip. Obviously it doesn't heat water but it still provides for a good shower for getting clean. Patent not pending, but you can still send your royalty payments to my bro.