Thermal performance of the single basin solar still (SBSS) with and without a storage material is presented experimentally and theoretically. New configuration of the SBSS by using soft drink cans filled with sand, fixed on the upper surface of the basin liner, as a sensible storage material is investigated. A mathematical model (using Pascal language) is developed to verify the thermal performance of the SBSS. Comparisons between experimental and theoretical (obtained from the mathematical model) results are carried out for validating the proposed mathematical model. Parameters affecting the thermal performance of the SBSS such as the masses of the basin water and storage material, heat transfer coefficients and top losses are investigated. The top losses (Ut) for the SBSS with sand is lower than that without sand by about 27.47%. The daily productivity (Pd) and efficiency (ηd) of the SBSS with sand is more than that without sand by about 31.44 and 23.12%, respectively. This experiment is environmentally friendly by using 126 of the used empty soft drink cans.