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Water! Water! Part 2

By Jenn

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Dry camping brings the unique challenge of trying to find water for yourself and your furry friends. You need water for everything from brushing your teeth to washing dishes. I blogged about water conservation, here. Today, I am going to focus on how I obtained and stored water.

I have a very small freshwater tank: 5 gallons. My grey tank is not much larger, at 11 gallons. I have to be an absolute miser with water and always have refilling in the back of my mind. When I dry camp, I reserve my freshwater tank almost exclusively for showers. If I am extremely judicious, I can get 3-4 showers out of 2 fresh water tank fills, especially if I am able to fill the water hot water tank. I also use a separate container for flushing the toilet, and started using a

Filling Up

Where do I fill my tank if I am boondocking? I use a combination of potable water fill stops and a 5 gallon Scepter water storage container.  I was fortunate to find potable water some highway rest areas, Loves travel centers, a local visitor’s center, and at some dump stations. How did I find those locations? In some cases it was a result of research. Sometimes camping site reviews will mention where you can find potable water. In the case of the Love’s, I asked to use the spigot on the side of the station and was informed I could use the potable water pump at the gas pumps (Score!) or bring my water bladder (for hiking) inside and fill it at the sink. I also noticed that sometimes you can fill up at a town’s public works site. National Parks almost always have places where you could fill a jug. or water container, especially since they are trying to get away from selling bottled water. BLM or Forest Service ranger stations also sometimes have water. The bigger, newer, multi-agency visitor centers often can be another spot to fill up.  I also, occasionally buy a couple of gallons from Walmart or a Dollar General Store.  It really is not that expensive and gets you by in a pinch.


I mentioned, above, that I use a 5 gallon Scepter water storage container. I love this thing, but it is not easy to lift. I can do it now, but not everyone can lift something that heavy. The Scepter container is a solid container and I have never had a leak. I recently discover that they also make 2.5 gallon sized containers, which would not only be easier to handle, but also easier to store. There is a pretty good chance that I will start investing in these. The only issue I have had with the Scepter container is that the spout has sprung a pinhole-sized leak. It is not enough to prevent me from using it, but I will want to fix it. These are an excellent value for the money. It’s very tough to find containers that do not leak and these Scepters have great reputations.

Scepter water container at the campsite
Scepter water container at the campsite



A Water Bandit can be very useful for filling with a hose from odd-sized water spigots. I have not needed to use it often, but when I have needed it, it was awesome! I also make sure that I always have a solid lead-free water regulator on my hose, to prevent blowing out either an inside pipe or my hose. It was recommended to me to put the water regulator on the trailer side of the hose, because water pressure can build up when a hose is laying in the hot sun.I use a separate regulator for my frsh water and one for my grey water rinse hose to avoid cross-contamination.  For my drinking water hose, I have a couple of 25′ lead-free Camco Premium Drinking Water Hoses. I have only needed more than 1, once, so this summer, I left the second hose behind, at home.  To keep dirt out and the hoses clean, I use Valterra end storage caps. To make filling with a hose or other container easier, I really like the Camco Water Tank Filler with Shut-Off Valve. Lastly, I put a new Camco water filter on my drinking water hose, every summer.

For my spray bottle, I have actually gone through a few of them. The first one I had is still my favorite and I will be replacing it over the winter. It was the Chapin 48 oz bottle from Amazon. It had the best spray action and was the most solid. The spray part broken when I dropped it and it landed on the spray part. I picked up a replacement at a local hardware store on the road, and then I tried, yet another from a Walmart.

Drinking Water

Based on a recommendation from Andrew, on the T@b forum, I tried the MSR Dromedary 10 liter size. It is an excellent water container. I have found it very durable and easy to store. It has a wide mouth, and the lid has a flip top for easier pouring.  I also picked up a spare cap, based on Andrew’s recommendation, in case I inadvertently break the flip top. The challenge is the size, for me. I really liked the size of the 2 gallon water tanks from Amazon (you can find identical ones at Walmart) but they are notorious for leaking. Based on the feedback of another T@b forum user (PXlated), I reinforced the seams with duct tape, but I still had a fatal leak. I have seen that Stanley now makes a nice looking container, but reviewers indicate that the spigot leaks. I like to keep a 2-2.5 gallon container with a spigot on the closed stovetop to remind me to keep hydrated so I am still looking for other options.

I also use a couple of 32 oz wide-mouth BPA-free Nalgene bottles for every day use. They are easy to fill-up and can handle rough treatment.

Work in Progress

I think water storage will always be a work in the progress as new products emerge. Finding quality storage containers is a challenge and sometimes you have to spend a little money to get the quality you need. Remember to keep your drinking water equipment clean and fill up when you can!