This project was inspired by a number of camp sinks available commercially or as DIY projects. A recent camping trip with friends uncovered a need to make our site a little bit more civilized for hand washing and brushing teeth.
Let's face it together - sanitation, hygiene, and food safety are still important when we're camping.
Ultimately, this project could serve in any number of recreational or critical functions:
- temporary aid stations
- facilities without running water
- temporary work sites
This Instructable includes my spin on the design and adds a few tweaks to improve transport, sanitation, and cost to build.
How it Works - Clean water in the bottom bucket feeds a manual pump, activated by the user's foot. The clean water pumps through a faucet and flows into a wash basin. The used water drains through the basin into the top bucket. All components can be setup or torn down in just a few minutes. Additionally, the system is self-contained and can be transported in the 2 buckets nested together.
Project Estimate - $25
Step 1: Gather Parts
(2) 5 gallon buckets (preferably at least one that's new or clean)
(1) Bulb siphon (might also be called a "primer bulb")
(2) vinyl hose (3/8" ID x 32" - or appropriate for your bulb siphon)
(1) Gamma Seal lid
(1) 7 quart popcorn bowl (any bowl with a 7"-12" diameter will work)
(2) 1/2" PVC pipe (11" & 11.5")
(1) Quick-grip clamp
(2) zip ties (6" or longer)
Step 2: Prep Clean Water Bucket
Drill a single 3/4" hole near the top of the bucket - above the bottom support and next to the handle connection. It's crucial to place the barb above the bottom support so the buckets will nest for transport.
Insert the host barb, then screw on the elbow in the inside of the bucket. Leave it 10-15 degrees off upright so the suction tube can rest on the bottom of the bucket, with a slight gap for pump suction.
Step 3: Prep the Sink and Gray Water Bucket
Drill a few holes in the bottom of the bowl, allowing water to drain into the gray water bucket. I used a 3/16" bit to make small holes that work as a strainer.
Cut out the middle of the flat bucket lid so the bowl nests securely into the gray water bucket.
The gray water bucket has no modifications or assembly needed.
Step 4: Assemble Faucet
Press fit the 1/2" adapter to the 11.5" long 1/2" pipe. Screw in the barb x MPT adapter.
Secure the faucet assembly to the clamp using a couple zip ties.
Step 5: Setup System
Put it all together and fill the clean water bucket with water!
For an added level of safety, label the buckets so they have dedicated use to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
Step 6: Hit the Road, Jack!
Disconnect the system and pack it for transport. The components will fit into the clean water bucket, which then nests into the gray water bucket. It's most compact this way and has the added benefit of keeping the inside of the clean water bucket clean.
There are a few ways to fit everything into the clean water bucket. The basin and the flat lid will slightly bend in order to fit. Since those pieces are made of flexible plastic, they will go back to normal when you pull them out to use again.
If you're packing up for long term storage, I recommend cleaning and drying out the system.
Step 7: In Use - Drain Gray Water
When the gray water bucket fills up, you'll need to dump it out.
Remove the sink and faucet assembies. Notice in the photo that the faucet should be clamped temporarily to the clean bucket. Keeping the faucet upright keeps it clean and above the clean water level, which prevents potential draining of the clean water bucket.
Step 8: In Use - Fill Clean Water
When you need to re-fill the clean water bucket, set the dirty water bucket on the ground.
Disconnect the pump suction hose from the barb on the clean water bucket. Keep the hose clean by securing to the faucet. Take the clean water bucket to the water source and refill. Return to site and reassemble sink.