Super Cheap, Lightweight, Full Size camping Sink


Jul 6, 2010
We set up our kitchen outside our pup and use the three basin wash process for dishes but the hassle has always been what to do with the ickies from the dishes after scraping them. I HATE food contaminated dish water. So I came up with this idea. A flexible rubbermaid tub with a sink basket in the bottom and a hole cut in the table to accept it. Here's a step by step for this cheap project.

Time to do project: about 1 hour
Cost: about $25, not including the table
Skill Level: Novice with some tools

Materials needed (all available at Lowes)
Rubbermaid tote (not a clear one; they crack)
Inexpensive sink basket kit
Plumber's putty
4" tail piece
silicone or urethane sealant
1 1/2"collapsable pool drain hose
hose clamp

Tools needed
Basic hand tools
3 1/2" hole saw
4" hole saw, roto zip, or rotary tool with sanding wheel or rasp
sink basket tools (optional)
caulk gun

Select a rubbermaid tub that is the flexible style. Be sure to choose one with a basically flat bottom so all water can drain out.

Using the rubber gasket from the sink basket kit, trace a circle where you would like to install the sink basket. I located mine offset so that I can orient the sink landscape or portrait style on the table.

Using the 3 1/2" hole saw, drill the hole in the tub. Clean any burrs from the hole.

Take your plumber's putty and roll out a 1/2" log long enough to wrap around the basket. Gently press the putty onto the underside of the basket in one piece overlapping the edges by one inch.

Drop the basket into the bottom of the tub and gently press it into the hole. Putty will start to ooze out. Do not remove it yet.

Flip the tub over and drop the rubber washer, the cardboard washer and the basket nut on in that order. If your kit did not come with a cardboard washer, trace one onto a cereal box using the rubber washer as a pattern. Trust me. It's important.

Using basket wrenches or other tools carefully tighten the basket to the tub being careful not to spin the basket. Doing so will cause the putty to tear and leak.

Clean off excess putty . Roll it into a ball and put it back into the putty tub to use next time. Also, it is normal for the putty to weep for a little while after installation. Just scrape it off with a plastic tool of some sort if a little oozes out.

Table preparation
Lay the tub on the table right side up and determine placement. Use a marker to make a dot on the table through the slot in the center of the basket. This is your drilling location.

Using the 3 1/2" or 4" hole saw, drill the hole in the table. Be sure to check for obstructions under the table such as legs or bracing.

If you used a 3 1/2" saw, you will need to use a rotozip, sanding wheel or other tool to trim an additional 1/4" from the top half of the hole to give clearance for the basket nut. If you are using a wooden table, I advise just drilling a 4" hole.

If you are using a plastic table, use the silicone or urethane caulk to fill the gaps in the table. Otherwise you table will fill with water and critters! [:(O] I used PL S30 Roof sealant because it is extremely durable regardless of weather. Use masking tape to mask the surface of the table. This stuff is nasty to clean up! Allow minimum 24 hours for the urethane to dry.

Flip the tub over again and install the tailpiece to the bottom of the basket. Don't forget the plastic gasket! Be careful not to spin the basket on the tub so you don't tear your putty.

Slide the collapsible pool drain hose and the clamp over the tail piece and tighten the hose clamp to hold the hose in place.

That's it! You're done! You can drain your sink into a 5 gallon bucket under the table or run the drain into the grass. Just be sure you are only dumping grey water on the grass. No food particles or nasty greasy water.

The drain hose is about $2/ft. so it might be smart to replace it at the end of the season if odor becomes an issue.


Wherever you go, there you are...
Aug 2, 2011
Steinbach, MB

Been thinking about adding a pair of sinks (wash and rinse) outside but wasn't sure about how I'd plumb them temporarily and still be able to stack them so they could be setup/taken down and stored easily.

Food for thought right here! Love it!


Jul 6, 2010
Dubbya said:

Been thinking about adding a pair of sinks (wash and rinse) outside but wasn't sure about how I'd plumb them temporarily and still be able to stack them so they could be setup/taken down and stored easily.

Food for thought right here! Love it!

I think I am going to replace the metal tailpiece nut with a plastic one so that it can be taken off by hand and the hose and tailpiece stored inside the tub. I will store my water hose and my whole house water filter setup in the tub as well. It'll make for a portable water station!


Sep 16, 2011
Nice job! Do you do the dishes as well? That would be the final touch for this great job. [:D]



Super Active Member
Aug 14, 2008
A very cool, cheap, easy and useful mod. Thanks for sharing. You've got me thinking about if I need to put this together for when we have a large family camping in about two weeks. The evening meals will be shared, so lots of clean-up to do afterwards. A couple of these in assembly line fashion and we'd be done quickly.

(BTW, 19 family members camping together is too much for my taste, but it will be fun regardless.)


Jul 6, 2010
Here are a few pics of the completed project. That white thing next to the sink is a whole house water filter I adapted for use for camping. Works awesome and everyone comes to our site to get water now. Nothin' like being the cool kid on the block, eh? [8D] BTW, it takes about 45 seconds for the sink to drain 5 gallons of water. Not bad for no vent on the drain line.






New Member
May 14, 2019
Your project just turned up as a pin on Pinterest and is a great idea, even after all these years! My question is...what is the purpose of the wood block mounted to the top of the whole house filter?


Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
Looks like to hook on the side of the camper or sometheing else to hold the hose from moving. Very cool idea!

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