How much water do you use?

Discussion in 'Boondocking' started by davido, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. davido

    davido Active Member

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    Jul 17, 2014
    My popup has a 20 gallon freshwater tank. It also has about a 5-gallon freshwater reserve in the Thetford toilet, and a 6-gallon water heater. But we all know the final six gallons are not really accessible conveniently.

    I just took a trip where, upon arrival, we discovered that the freshwater spigots had all been bagged with signs saying "No potable water available." Fortunately I had already filled my water tanks before arrival (I don't always do this, though).

    We discovered that five of us consume about 15 gallons in about 24 hours. We ran dry our tank the second morning as we were packing up to leave. We also had a separate store of drinking water. So on a trip that started Friday evening after dinner, and ended Sunday morning after breakfast, we ran through 20 gallons in the tank, and two or three more gallons of drinking water.

    I carry a couple of jerry-cans that are reserved only for potable water, and they're what I usually use to refill my onboard tank. If I know ahead of time I'll have trouble finding water, I fill the freshwater tank and both six-gallon jerry cans, giving me enough water to last around three nights (if we don't take showers, of course).

    So my question is this: How on earth do you manage disbursed, or dry camping for periods greater than three days? How do you carry enough water?

    Yes, conservation is important. But tell that to my kids and wife.

    With solar I can extend my electrical budget almost indefinitely. With two batteries I can even go a week with no solar, no generator. With two propane tanks I can go weeks (even most of a season). But with one 20-gallon water tank, I'm running empty as the fun is just getting started. For this reason I've mostly shied away from disbursed camping.

    Suggestions?
     
    Orchid likes this.
  2. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    My fresh water tank is 52 gallons. We just got back from three nights. The two of us took a total of six showers, used the toilet all we wanted, drank from the faucet when we felt like it and washed a few kitchen items. According to the monitor panel, we used between 1/3 and 2/3 of a tank.

    By my rough math, we each use about 5 gallons a day. Showers probably take up about half of that.
     
  3. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Elkins WV area
    20 gal will last us at least 3 days., but we practice conservation
     
  4. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Northern Virginia
    I feel your pain. My mom and little side kick don't know how to conserve either. When I camp with them I find campgrounds that have hookups as it was always a losing battle for me. if it was just me a 5 gallon container is enough for four days of drinking, cooking, and if I'm careful even dish washing. i only just fixed my onboard water tank so I would now be able to finally wash dishes and do navy showers and save the 5 gallon container for drinking and cooking. That could extend my dry camping trips. I'm very particular about my drinking water so will always have to bring water from home for that. my dishes are usually classified as camping clean. I do a deep clean when I get home.
     
  5. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    Apr 24, 2017
    Maplewood, MN
    It sounds like the shower users need a lesson in water conservation.

    I have camped all my life so conserving water is second nature in the pup. There are a multitude of things you can do to cut back on water usage. I have learned to take showers with less than two gallons of water (less if absolutely necessary). You learn quickly how valuable water is when you have to lug your own water or have to melt snow for shower water.

    Most water use is wasted in the shower. The number one rule is, never shower with continuous running of the water.

    I also have a 20 gallon tank and no shower in the pup. We have a shower tent and a Nemo Helio Pressure Shower. The Nemo holds just under three gallons and I have never run it out with a single shower. If I were to use the full three gallons, it would make me feel as if I had a luxury shower and had a lot of water waste.

    We usually do not use the pup's 20 gallon tank to fill the Nemo except when heating some water (half gallon?) for a shower. After two five-day trips this year, we had well over half of that water remaining at the end of the trip, with showers for the DW and me every day. IMHO, when camping, no one really needs a shower every day, but since we had water readily available to tote to the campsite, we took advantage. We had access to water within walking distance but not at the campsite.

    BTW, we never use the pup water tank for drinking water. We do use it for brushing teeth.

    IMHO, whether it is a full size RV or in a shower tent, a camp shower should consist of this:

    1) Wet down
    2) Soap up wash cloth and wash everything, re-wetting the wash cloth if necessary.
    3) Rinse off
    4) Wet down hair and shampoo
    5) Rinse hair
    6) Rinse everything off (nooks and crannies)

    If you really want to be conservative, you can wash the hair first if you want to skip a rinse. If you are really conservative, you will easily use less than two gallons. If you have longer hair, it will take more, but still less than three gallons.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
    bearman512 likes this.
  6. crackerJack

    crackerJack Well-Known Member

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    Scottsville, KY
    I run about the same usage as OP, maybe a little more. When dry camping a spigot is always available. If it wasn’t available, I would bring more filled jugs and/or plan on making a run to the nearest civilization for a spigot when needed.
     
  7. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    No showers. Minimal dish washing.
     
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  8. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    We take a complete shower in 60-90 seconds of pump time.

    When I bought my trailer, I timed the shower. I filled the tank and ran the shower until empty. It took about 45 minutes.
     
  9. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    I don't see how you're using that much water unless you're taking showers. 20 gallons will last us a 3-4 day trip easily... that's with cooking, toothbrushing, dishes, etc. We do our best not to keep the tap running. We also bring along a 5 gallon water cooler for drinking water which will last us about as long or longer than the big tank, depending on how hot it is out. There are 4 of us.
     
  10. davido

    davido Active Member

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    Jul 17, 2014
    This last trip, Friday evening through Sunday morning, no showers, and drinking water was from a separate jug. The 20 gallons went to teeth brushing, teapot, dish washing, hand washing, and gremlins.
     
  11. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    Guessing people are running the tap constantly when brushing teeth? Tell them not to do that, even at home, it's wasteful lol
     
  12. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Active Member

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    Houghton MI
    We found in hot weather*, while working on trails, no dish washing or showers, we** could easily use 5 gallon over a weekend, and got another container to contend with shortages. Rather have extra than out.

    * 80 degrees
    ** two people and two mutts. Those two drink waaaaaay to much!! Sponge baths or we get water from the creek for real showers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  13. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    Jul 7, 2018
    It’s easy for me; if there’s no water I don’t stay there. I enjoy camping and always have, however boondocking with the DW or family just isn’t a thing for us. Nothing against everybody else enjoying it, just not for us. Having a balding head and sweating like a pig in any climate over 65 degrees, daily shower is a must (if not two or more). I don’t even do hunting trips that don’t allow me to sleep somewhere there’s water at the very least.
     
    Orchid likes this.
  14. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    California
    In the clipper, I have a 40 gallon fresh water tank. I wash dishes, drink, cook, etc., with that water. I do not take showers in the clipper - I use campground showers, baby wipes, and lakes/streams for cleaning my person. I do drink a half gallon of water per day.

    I can go for 10 days without actually running dry but basically empty. I wash dishes 3 times daily, use the toilet as needed, and wash hands often.

    With the FnR, I have a 20 gallon tank. Behaving the same way, I ran dry after breakfast on the 4th day. This did not include the toilet use because the water is separate for that. I believe the reason for the greater usage is that it takes longer for the hot water to reach the tap. With the clipper, the hot water kicks in before I finish rinsing my hands - with the FnR, I have to rinse twice as long to get to hot water.

    I will be adjusting my usage in the FnR to extend the water. Mostly heating water on the stove for dish washing, etc. And relying less on the inboard heater. I'd like to get 5 days on the 20 gallons.

    I always fill my tank at home. I like my water and have seen the condition of potable water tanks in parks, etc. - it can be difficult to get qualified staff and/or funding to keep those clean. Animal bones, algae, rust, etc., builds up in and around those tanks.
     
  15. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    Cool if you can make it work. Very few state/regional/county parks around here have water hook ups. So it's really rare if we have water as that's where we like to stay.
     
  16. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Active Member

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    Houghton MI
    I can not recall the last time we stayed somewhere that had water hookups. Majority have none, while number 2 is hand pumps.

    Maybe we need to get with the program? :)

     
  17. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    California
    From what I've read, it is more likely for campgrounds east of the Rockies to have water hookups (and often electrical). The west is less likely to have hookups. A lot of that has to do with the ability to obtain potable water for the campgrounds - in the east, water is plentiful and doesn't have to travel far. In the west, a source of water is much further away (either down or out) from the campgrounds. So the campgrounds have a limited supply of water available for the season and can't cater to folks filling their RV tanks.

    During the worst of the California drought recently, I read posts (on another forum) of folks with 100+ gallon water tanks driving on empty from the east and filling up their tanks upon arrival to California at public parks with limited water resources. Rather ticked me off that they wanted to save 1mpg in gas by not filling up where water was plentiful and instead filling up where places had closed their flush toilets for lack of water and were setting up porta potties. I try to remember this and fill up at home and lessen the water demand where it is more limited.
     
  18. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

    Electrical is much more common than water here in parks (Minnesota, and the parts of Iowa I've seen). That is water on every site that you can hook up to... pretty much every campground I've used has a source for filling up water tanks.
     
  19. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    California
    Yeah, out here there are few water stations for filling tanks at the public campgrounds. I don't see people hooking up at the campground spigots where I camp, but I hear it is much more common at the state parks and beaches than at the COE, NFS, and BOR campgrounds.
     
  20. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    [​IMG]

    Fore those who like LONG shower, get one at Army Surplus store and hook it behind your popup! [{:)][Guitar]:grin:
     
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