Solar Box (for Camping)




Introduction: Solar Box (for Camping)

This box harnesses the power of the sun for camping. In the wilderness, you usually don't have electricity to heat up water or to charge your flashlight batteries. You usually have to use a fuel to heat up you water for your hot chocolate, tea, coffee, or soup. The fuels you use are probably not eco-friendly. This portable design will allow you to charge your flashlight batteries and make a hot refreshment using the sun. It also all fits in one box.

Step 1: Gather the Materials


  • flat wooden box with hinged lid
  • kitchen foil
  • small travel bottle that will fit inside the box
  • two small solar path light tops that will fit inside the box
  • empty mint tin
  • tape (not masking)
  • AA battery pack
  • AAA battery pack
  • thin clear plastic
  • black permanent marker
  • spray adhesive
  • a thin opaque material colored white
  • drinking straw
  • long skewer
  • newspaper
  • hot glue


  • roofing knife
  • scissors
  • hammer
  • hot glue gun
  • a nail

Step 2: Make a Mirror

First, take the box and lay the inside of the lid on a sheet of newspaper. Take your spray adhesive and spray a light coat of adhesive on the inside of the lid. Then cut a piece of foil slightly larger than the inside of the lid. Press the foil into the lid and flatten the foil to the adhesive. Then take a roofing knife and cut off the excess foil. You now have a mirror for focusing more light on the solar panels and solar heating bottle (They come later in this instructable).

Step 3: Wire the Solar Charger

Time to make the solar flashlight battery part of this device. First, you take the two solar path light tops and connect one's negative wire to the other's positive wire. Then connect the remaining negative wire to the negative wires of the two battery packs. Connect the remaining positive wires together.

Step 4: Secure the Solar Charger

Find a space in the box were the solar circuit could fit and take up the least amount of space. Then glue it to the box. try to cover up the wires and the remaining wires get taped down like shown above. Now the charger is built and secured.

Step 5: Battery Sun Protection

Cut out a piece of the opaque material to the sizes of the battery packs and tape them to the battery packs as shown above. The tape will also act as a hinge. These lids will block the solar heat from damaging the rechargable batteries.

Step 6: Create the Solar Heating Bottle

Take a nail and with a hammer punch a hole in the side of the mint tin. Then get the bottle and glue and seal the opening to the hole in the tin. Then find a place to put the tin and bottle in the box. The bottle will hold the water for the sun to heat it up. The tin will hold the refreshments powder and will allow the gases to expand from the heated water.

Step 7: Blacken Things Up

Take a black permanent marker and blacken the whole bottle. If you want you can even blacken the tin. Black absorbs most solar heat. That heat will heat up the water inside the bottle. But it is still not enough heat to make a hot camping refreshment.

Step 8: Make the Greenhouse

Now its time to make the little greenhouse for the bottle. Cut out five pieces of the sheet of clear plastic so you can make a clear box that fits over the bottle. Glue the pieces together with hot glue. Then cut out a small section so that the bottles neck could fit through like shown above. Place the box over the bottle and tape one side of the clear box to the wooden box so that it acts as a hinge. This greenhouse makes a greenhouse effect trapping the infrared photons and hot gases in the clear box.

Step 9: Create the Stand

Make a line of hot glue on the side of the lid and glue on the straw. Cut of the excess if there is any. Then take the skewer and cut it so that it can fit in the box. If there is a pointy end cut from the other end.

Congratulations You Have made The Sun Box!

Step 10: Please Use It

Here is how to use this device to charge batteries and make hot refreshments.

How to Use it:

  1. Fill the bottle 2/3 the way with water by pouring water in the tin.
  2. Secure the bottle in place under the greenhouse.
  3. Place the box outside and angle the mirror so that it reflects more light on the bottle. Then when you have found the right angle, insert the skewer in the straw and push it into the ground. This will hold the mirror in place.
  4. After 30 minutes in the sun, place your refreshment mix in the tin and let the water pour in the tin. Then pour the refreshment in a cup or just drink it out of the tin.
  5. If you want to charge your flashlight batteries, place some AA or AAA NiMh batteries in the battery pack and cover them with the battery sun protection lids. let it charge for a few hours and then take them out. The problem is that you can only charge with one battery pack at a time.

Happy Camping!

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    5 Discussions


    3 years ago

    That is very inventive and simple.


    6 years ago

    yes very cool. i like the use of everyday materials most people can find around the house or very cheap at a hardware store. voted