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Water! Water!

By Jenn

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Springfield FallsOne of the key components to boondocking is water supply. Managing your fresh and grey water use is a key to ensuring that you do not have to pack up camp and make a trip to get potable water and dump your tanks every few days. I have been collecting ideas on water management recently and decided to share them with you.

Top 10 Water Conservation Tips for T@bbers:

  1. Use paper plates, plastic silverware – I learned this last year. Besides, who wants to wash more dishes?
  2. Use a food scraper to get dishes as clean as possible – scrape every last trace of food off of the dishes, utensils, pots, and pans. I use food scrapers for a variety of household chores, too.
  3. Use a large spray bottle for washing dishes, and cleaning up between showers  – Courtesy of Verna from a thread over on the T@b forums.
  4. Use dry shampoo – gives your hair an extra day or so between hair washings. I tried this for the first time last year and it really did help make my hair feel cleaner.
  5. Use water from a gallon jug of water to flush the toilet
  6. Take “Navy” showers – Rinse off then turn off the shower, lather up, then rinse off. In other words, don’t leave the water running the entire time or your entire freshwater supply might go down the drain as you are busy singing show tunes.
  7. Use body wipes between showers. A friend gave me a couple of large packs a couple of years ago and they really do help when you are stretching the water yet want to feel a little cleaner.
  8. Use bottled water for drinking and cooking 
  9. Use non-stick pans
  10. Use a grill or pie iron and line them with aluminum foil 
What about grey water?
But what about grey water? Can you dump it on the ground? Can you attach a garden hose or soaker hose and let it drain out? Can you wash your dishes outside and throw the water into the bush?
Grey water rules vary by location. Ask your campground host, or if you are boondocking and unsure, ask the local ranger district. By all means, do not dump water so that it will puddle. I picked up a couple of small portable waste tanks – 5 gallons each, that I can use to give my grey water tank some space and can dump independently or when I dump my T@b tanks. If you mainly camp at campgrounds with paved roads, you might want one that can connect to your tow ball and you can haul to the dump station.

Extra Water Storage

What do I use for extra water? I use a 5 gallon Scepter water container and because 5 gallons of water is heavy and difficult to pour into the gravity fill, I am using a Zodi battery powered pump, with food grade tubing from the local hardware store. I also have two 2.5 gallon water jugs for cooking, teeth brushing, and dishes, plus a small a gallon container for flushing. The 2.5 gallon jugs are known to spring leaks but show they perform better with some reinforcement with duct tape on the bottom half of the container (H/T @PXLated form the T@b forum.)
Where can you get potable water?
Some possible ideas:
  • Some rest areas, generally free
  • Some National Park, National Forest or BLM offices
  • Other campgrounds, generally a fee
  • Some gas stations (although fewer and fewer)
  • City water department or sanitation (generally a fee)
  • Local Chamber of Commerce
  • Ask! Try asking a business – make sure you let them know it is not a big motor home tank, but a tiny trailer. In my case, that’s a 5 gallon tank!
 What do you do to conserve water?