Introduction: Camp Hot Water Heater With an Easy to Use Dispensing Feature

Make a large-volume, propane, camp water heater that dispenses hot water like a kitchen faucet.

When camping with a large group, like our Boy Scout troop, a propane turkey fryer is an easy way to quickly heat a large quantity of water.  Between washing cooking gear / mess kits and making hot beverages we empty this hot water tank a few times during every campout.

It 's no great surprise that a turkey fryer can heat water (after all, heating liquids is what they are made for.)   Getting the hot water out is another issue.

Unless some army is laying siege to your castle, lifting and pouring this caldron of scalding water is out of the question.   That leaves "ladel-ing" as about the only way to scoop out the water.

This Instructable describes an easier method for safely dispensing this essential hot chocolate ingredient.

Step 1: Turkey Fryer

Not all turkey fryers are created equal.  Sure, all consist of a pot, lid, burner and stand, but  what's needed here is one with a spigot at the bottom of the pot.  The fryer shown is a Safe-T-Fryer bought at Bass Pro.  (unfortunately, I think it is discontinued)  They have another model with a spigot  (North American Outdoors 35-Quart Aluminum Saf-T-Fryer)  available at Lowes.

This spigot at the bottom of this pot may be fine for emptying cooled frying oil however, right out of the box, it is not a practical hot water dispenser. 

The multiple turns required to stop the flow on the factory spigot leads to spillage.  It turns out young scouts don't anticipate the time it takes to rotate the handle several times.  Hot water overflowing a mug is never a good thing. 

The factory spigot is also too close to the heat source.  It gets much too hot to operate with a bare hand.  (Its known for a fact that we are talking about handle temperatures well above the melting point of the vinyl covering on snow golves.)

Provided you use suitable protection to open the gate; filling a cup from the factory spigot proves to be as difficult as a crooked carnival game: "Step right up... and try to fill your plastic mug... without contacting the hot pot stand and melting it"....nearly impossible while shivering in the morning cold.

Step 2: The Dispenser

The answer to all of the shortcomings of the factory spigot is solved with brass plumbing hardware.

Fortunatly, the turkey fryer spigot comes with a cap that screws onto the end of the spout to prevent dripping.  As luck would have it, the threads just happen to be sized for standard 3/8" plumbing fittings.

Two 90 degree 3/8" brass fittings, a 1/4 turn ball valve, and some teflon pipe thread tape are all it takes to make a safe convenient hot water dispenser.

With these fittings, the handle, and pour point are far enough away from the burner to reduce the chance for melted cups and hands. The quarter turn valve shuts off quickly;  is easy to operate as a self-serve dispenser; and best of all, it is not hot to the touch. 

Note: obviously the factory spigot is left  "open" with this set-up.

It is not that a reach to think a turkey fryer would make a good camp water heater... but, sometimes its the little Instructables that turn a good idea into a practical camp essential.

Step 3: Camp Wash Stand

 Besides making hot chocolate, the large volume of hot water is used for washing cooking gear.

The photo shows our troop's lashed together camp wash stand.  Scouts will recognize the standard three step system: wash, rinse, sanitize.  

The modified water heater valve is great for filling wash tubs... or giving a quick rinse to an especially "gunked" cook utensil so it doesn't overly pollute the wash water...all with the familiarity and efficiency of a kitchen sink faucet.