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When you’re boondocking, you don’t have the luxury of hooking up to water taps like you do at the local KOA. This means you need to be mindful of how much water you use while you’re camping.
In the second part of our boondocking tips for beginners (you can check out the first installment on power sources here), we’ll discuss a few tips and tricks for how to conserve water so you can extend your off-the-grid trip.
Let’s get started!
Fill That Fresh Water Tank
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When boondocking, it’s imperative that you bring as much fresh water as you can. This means ensuring that the tank is topped off before you roll out.
Don’t leave filling the fresh water tank to chance, either. Fill it until you see water coming out of the overflow valve under the trailer. Then you’ll know the tank is full.
Supplement that water with bottled drinking water. This ensures that you save the water in the tank for things like washing dishes, taking showers, and flushing the toilet.
If you have a stop between your departure from home and your boondocking destination – say, an overnight at a Forest Service campground – be sure to fill the fresh water tank back up before you leave. Though not all established campgrounds have water taps at each campsite, there will likely be potable water available somewhere to top off your tanks.
How to Conserve Water in the Kitchen
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In addition to having a full fresh water tank from the outset, you need to understand how to conserve water while you’re on your trip.
In the kitchen, there are some obvious things to do to keep water usage down. For example, don’t let the tap run and use a smaller stream of water when rinsing dishes. When washing dishes, fill the basin with water and wash dishes in batches, rather than washing dishes as you go and letting the water run as you wash individual items. You can also bring paper plates and cups to use for some or all of your meals, that way you reduce or eliminate the need to wash dishes.
As noted earlier, bring bottled water so you don’t use water from your tank for that purpose. Also bring hand sanitizer and hand wipes to utilize for hand cleaning as opposed to washing your hands multiple times with water. Avoid cooking meals that require a lot of water, too, like making a pasta dish that necessitates a pot of water to cook the pasta.
How to Conserve Water in the Bathroom
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The bathroom is clearly the other major player in your water conservation efforts while boondocking.
As in the kitchen, use hand sanitizer or hand wipes in lieu of water. If everyone uses these items two or three times a day for the duration of the trip, it can add up to a good amount of water savings.
Another tip is to take very quick showers. Don’t lollygag while you’re in there – get in, get out, and you’ll save a lot of water. In fact, this is one of the best ways of stretching how long your water lasts. If you really want to save water, try skipping a full shower and take a “bird bath” by wiping down with a washcloth.
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When it’s time to brush your teeth, don’t let the water run. Instead, wet down the brush and toothpaste and turn the water off, then turn it back on when it’s time to rinse.
There are plenty of other ideas on how to conserve water, too. For example, you might bring a water bladder or have an auxiliary fresh water tank installed in your camper to give you more water capacity. You might also recycle water – say, using the water from washing dishes to flush the toilet, rather than using fresh water to do so.
When nature calls, you might think about heading outside to do your business in order to save water. Just be sure you’re safe about it – don’t use the restroom near bodies of water, and if you need to go number two, do it properly.
Conserving Water Means Using Less Space in the Gray and Black Tanks
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Another benefit of learning how to conserve water while you’re boondocking is that you’ll use less space in the gray and black tanks of your RV or camper.
Now, obviously, at some point they’ll get full if you’re out long enough, but by using less water, you won’t get to the point of needing to empty the tanks as quickly. That means you won’t have to break down camp, head into town to dump the tanks, and head back out into the wilderness to set up camp all over again.
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That being said, if the gray and black tanks are near capacity on your drive home, you might consider finding the nearest RV dump. Unloading all that weight will help you conserve something else on the way home – your fuel.
Stay tuned for more boondocking tips in the coming weeks!