by WRETHAOFFGRID on JUNE 16, 2013 - 4 Comments in off-grid-101
The “Hot Water Rocket”
There’s many ways to heat water when living off grid. At the Bleu Cheese Ranch we use a batch solar hot water heater for the bulk of our needs. Others opt for pump driven systems. Still more bite the bullet and burn propane in hot water on demand systems. While these methods are great for heating large volumes of water we tend to overlook the needs for smaller quantities. In doing so we end up wasting energy, time, as well as convenience. During the winter months I can heat water for tea on the wood stove in a matter of minutes but the rest of the year leaves me wanting.
But then I found the Hot Water Rocket …
This little invention weighs in at around 2lbs (0.9kg), is about 18″ (46cm) long, and is about 3″ (7.5cm) around.
It’s basically a classic glass vacuum thermos with built in parabolic reflectors that swing out. Fill her up with a pint (0.5L) of water, stick it in the sun, and in about an hour you’ll have piping hot water.
Now … We get into the real stuff … My PERSONAL review of the product.
I ordered directly from the company at this (http://www.hotwaterrocket.com/) site. I’d been interested in them for a while now but thought the $80 price tag was a bit much. Recently however, they have gone on sale for $40 plus shipping/handling. SOLD! I used the order page’s option for expedited processing (extra $2) and received my rocket in 3 days.
Initial impression – Not going to lie … I opened the box and thought it was cheap garbage. The outer portion is all plastic, there’s no latch to keep the reflector panels closed, and the lid design certainly leaves something to be desired.
A closer look – After looking it over more closely I noticed the panels use magnets to stay closed (no latch needed). The plastic, while cheap looking, is actually durable and the unit as a whole doesn’t flex or give at all. The lid design I found to be an issue in use but we’ll get there in a moment.
Usage – After washing it out I filled it with water and placed it in the sun as directed. ~82f (27.5c) outdoor temp and I left it out there for 1 hour while I did other things and basically ignored it. No real need to move it with the sun as an hour doesn’t change the angle enough to be of concern. Time will vary based on sun intensity/angle but I figured 1 hour in Arizona is probably equivalent to the 1.5 hour maximum recommended time-frame (if you don’t need the water THAT hot you don’t have to keep it out there the full time). The unit actually comes with a chart showing you average temps based on time in full sun.
Results – After the hour I brought it inside and immediately noticed the cap is VERY FREAKING HOT (please be careful). After taking the cap off and pouring some water into my cup I realized the water was WAY too hot to make tea. It was boiling! I actually had to let my tea cup cool for a little bit before steeping! While the lid is uninsulated and fights you a little to take on/off, this thing is AWESOME. I’m finding that ground temp water can be elevated to proper tea steeping temperatures in ~45 minutes (current ambient temps around 85f) here in Arizona.
At the end of the day I think this is a great deal at $40. If you need a pint of water piping hot and don’t want the hassle or energy intensiveness of other options this thing is for you. Nice addition for any off-gridder or prepper. This can be used to heat water for meals, coffee, tea, sanitizing, etc etc etc – All for the price of a tea pot.
Just watch out for that lid and enjoy your tea!
– I have nothing to do with the company and do not benefit in any way from this review
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