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Author Topic: Dry Camping In B Vans  (Read 11056 times)

camperAL

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Dry Camping In B Vans
« on: March 20, 2012, 05:14:48 AM »
Greetings,

I was just viewing the comments over in the new comers corner on dry camping. They were talking about having 100 gallon freshwater tanks that would last for about 10 days.

I am curious to find out how long B Van campers can go using 27 gal freshwater, 21 gal gray tank and 10 gallon black tank. I had planned on taking extra fresh water 6 to 10 gallons for use while camping and adding that into my total weight. There are a lot of things that I can think of to reduce water use. I am use to having a couple of gallons in my van that I use over a period of a week but I stop and use water facilities when eating and gassing up.

It is obvious to me that if the larger RV's can go 10 days on bigger volumes of tanks, then going 10 days in a B Van could and probably will be more of a challenge but then again I like challenges.

Any comments?? Being hooked in at a camp ground would be a whole different thing other than dumping a bit more often in a smaller B Van.  Best!
CamperAL (Indiana)
(2006 Coachmen Mirada 290 KS )

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2012, 09:21:50 AM »
It all depends on you.   Two people can get along on 12-15 gallons per day without cramping their lifestyle too much, but obviously you can reduce water consumption - and therefore wast storage - much further than that, especially if one water conservation oriented person traveling alone.
Gary
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Len and Jo

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2012, 09:33:06 AM »
We carry 18 gallons of fresh water, have a 6 gal. gray water tank and our pak-a-pottie has a 6 gal black water tank and a 3 gal fresh water tank. 

The time limiter is the black water tank.  Needs an outhouse dump every 4 days.

A NASA related paper:

~2L per day avg. liquid waste per person (ie: 0.5 gallons). Yes, a 6-pack of beer a day will increase that.
100-200gm per day avg. solid waste per person (say equivalent to 0.2L)

So urine and solids ....1.1 gal. per day for two people. 4 days 4.4 gal. of waste plus flush water used fills the 6.1 gal. black water waste tank on our Pak-a-pottie. Looks like we are "average".

As far a fresh water water our 18 gallons will normally last use 6-8 days.  We take 'birdy baths' every day and a shower every 3-4 days or so depending on outside temperature and humidity.  Fresh water consumption is VERY user specific.  If you let the water run while you brush your teeth you will use more then if you just use a cup of water. etc.

If we plan on conserving water I am sure our 18 gallons of fresh plus the 5 gal spare can we carry would last up to 10 days.

Our grey water is class 1 water (?) and does not contain food waste.  When we camp in the woods that water goes into the woods.  Dish water and other food prep water goes into the outhouse pit or gets burned in the fire pit.  No bears please.  We mostly use the grey water tank when we campgrounds.

Of course it very location driven.

Camping in Death Valley your personal water consumption would probably double your normal intake.  That would really DRY camping.

Camping in the woods on a remote inland lake that the local DNR says is safe to drink if boiled/purified can add many days to a trip.  We always carry Katadyne point of use water PURIFIERS (not filters) with us.  That would be an easy way to stretch your on board water supply if you are on an inland lake.  Also good for day hikes and refilling at local water sources.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2012, 12:47:53 PM by Len and Jo »
Len & Jo
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Great Horned Owl

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2012, 12:45:53 PM »
Hi,

It can be done. My wife and I have camped in a 19' class B for 15 years. Mostly, we dry camp in National Forest campgrounds. I don't know offhand what size tanks we have, but we have gone up to 2 weeks without refilling or dumping.

One thing that saves a lot is using the campground outhouse except occasionally in the middle of a cold night. We use paper plates, so dish washing is minimized. We have no shower in the rig, so we use a bucket and a washrag.

I mounted a carrier in the hitch receiver, and carry a small generator on it. It is enough to recharge the batteries and occasionally run the microwave.

All in all, it was not uncomfortable when we were going out for 2 or 3 weeks at a time. Now, I am retired. Last summer we were out for 7 weeks, and we began to feel really cramped. We are now looking at a 27' 5er.

Let us know how it works out for you.

Joel
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1775

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2012, 12:10:29 AM »
Ten days in your B without refilling? I don't think so, unless you hardly use any water at all. We fill our tanks and do not hook up to water at campgrounds. We can go about four to five days with limited water use - using the campground showers. Even if you conserve water you are going to have to dump your tanks - especially the black tank in four or five days (or sooner). So if you are at a dump station, it is likely that you can access fresh potable water that you can refill your tanks with.

We did go this winter on a trip with the RV winterized. We used wag bags in the toilet and used bottled water to wash into a basin and to drink. No water in the tanks at all. It can be done. But that is not something that you want to do if you don't have to.

« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 12:13:31 AM by 1775 »
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camperAL

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2012, 04:12:45 PM »
Greetings,

Interesting comments on stretching out your resources while camping dry.

Len and Jo, I always appreciate your comments as I know you have a lot of practical experience in your camper. Activity, temps in the area you are staying, type of area all play a vital part on how long you can go. The NASA paper is interesting for sure. We're fairly active so probably more baths.

When I get the chance to get out, I will report how things went and if I come up with any new ways to conserve. While water tank being full and gray and Black tanks being empty, there is moisture in foods and items you take along with you. I know that I could be out for about three days in a semi desert environment without having to resupply myself (you always have to have back up just in case, mainly water)

I've heard some people use the Baby wipes (or similar) in order to keep hygiene good. Thanks for all the comments and help!!
CamperAL (Indiana)
(2006 Coachmen Mirada 290 KS )

Len and Jo

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2012, 10:20:04 PM »
One opportunity--

I think the biggest 'drain' on you water supply is the toilet.

"typical"  marine toilets use in the area 1.15 gallons per flush and the average person flushes the toilet 5.1 times a day.
A low consumption marine toilet uses about half that amount.

So a couple will waste (pour down the drain) 6 to 12 gallons of their fresh water supply a day.  This of course also fills the black water tank so it has to be drained.

Something to think about while setting in the library and thinking about how to stretch your stay...at the camp site not the library.

Roadtrek estimates that an average shower in one of their rigs consumes 4 gallons of water.  We get clean using a sun shower and consuming 1 gallon of water per shower.  'GI' shower...get wet..turn it off...soap up...rinse off.  We also both have short hair that is easy to wash and rinse.

As far as how much (approx) water you need... take your weight, divide by 2:  200 lb person....divide by 2..100 .. think about 100 oz of water per day (0.8 gallons).  160 lb person....80 oz (0.6 gallons).  Another rule of thumb is that 20% of water intake comes from food and 80% from drinks.

Just ways to estimate your dry camp needs.

THE MAIN THING IS TO HAVE FUN!!

All in all the big water waste is getting rid of your waste.  :-)
Len & Jo
The Green Tardis
We 'B' RVing   Berkley, Michigan
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camperAL

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2012, 02:44:54 AM »
Hi Len and Jo,

My Dad's Superior Motorhome, had a step that would pull a plug on the toilet then let water flush the system all the same move. You could control how much water went down the system. I thought that a good savings method for the water. I don't know how systems work now a days. I can see that is an area where lots of water can disappear. Perhaps (and I have one already) a chemical toilet in combination with your RV set up could stretch your time out if you wanted to be away longer.

Yes, by all means have fun when camping but it is fun to think about how to operate until you are actually camping. I like the idea of seeing how long we can last without dumping or resupplying the RV. I certainly wouldn't worry about having to go into town or RV park to take care of business before going out and dry camping again. Since I am use to no facilities in my Van and camping by tent and taking what you really need it seems to me the RV will seem like a castle. Just need to make sure my wife will be happy. She can stretch things out pretty well and think she will do good on our trips.

The idea of dry camping is so when we go to Arizona we can camp out in the desert environment. I like astronomy and would like to be away from city lights. I  have an invitation from friends out there to camp out by a university observatory but won't have hook ups. They might have bathrooms though. All my best and I enjoy the discussion here a lot!!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 02:47:29 AM by camperAL »
CamperAL (Indiana)
(2006 Coachmen Mirada 290 KS )

cargovanconversion

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2012, 05:56:19 PM »
Interesting numbers. Will use them will planning my needs in my van conversion.

Van
My website describes the conversion of my Dodge B-250 van into a small RV. I deal with a lot of woodworking, but hope to be quite specific on solar as well.

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Karsty

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2012, 06:15:13 PM »
Ten days in your B without refilling? I don't think so, unless you hardly use any water at all. We fill our tanks and do not hook up to water at campgrounds. We can go about four to five days with limited water use - using the campground showers. Even if you conserve water you are going to have to dump your tanks - especially the black tank in four or five days (or sooner). So if you are at a dump station, it is likely that you can access fresh potable water that you can refill your tanks with.

We did go this winter on a trip with the RV winterized. We used wag bags in the toilet and used bottled water to wash into a basin and to drink. No water in the tanks at all. It can be done. But that is not something that you want to do if you don't have to.

In answer to "1775's comment ...

I do think so ... bearing in mind that I travel alone and conserve water ... I can travel several weeks on one fresh water fill (30 gallons, including the HW tank) and no dumping till I return home. Let me qualify. I find it a nuisance to have to drain the grey water (22 gallons) and black water (10 gallon) tanks on the ERA. They are so low to the ground and inconveniently located. So ... I conserve water.

As was previously mentioned by another poster ... I use paper plates and plastic utinsels. Little or no washing of dishes necessary. I bring a couple of cases of bottled water for drinking and buy as necessary on the road. Generally, I wash in the mornings rather than taking a shower. If a shower is needed there are plenty of Flying J/Pilot and other service areas that provide shower facilities. And the biggy ... the water closet. I don't use it per say. I use a container for #1 and appropriate disposable bags for #2. Has worked well for the past 5 months with no problem.

As I have mentioned before I do not camp in camp grounds ... I am a traveller and seldom stay at a campgrounds. I am planning several 2-3 months trips and feel that this method of travel will work well. Of course I expect that 3 months of travel will result in several stops to fill and empty water systems. But there are plenty of places to do that.

The bottom line for me is that 99% of my travels are dry camping. I seldom stay at a campground. The whole idea of getting a class B RV for me was to avoid the cost of motel/hotel rooms. If I stop at campgrounds I might as well get a motel room.

And like Len and Jo said ... the most important thing is to have fun!! And I am!!!

2012 Winnebago ERA.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

pickettt

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2012, 01:53:53 AM »


As was previously mentioned by another poster ... I use paper plates and plastic utinsels. Little or no washing of dishes necessary. I bring a couple of cases of bottled water for drinking and buy as necessary on the road. Generally, I wash in the mornings rather than taking a shower. If a shower is needed there are plenty of Flying J/Pilot and other service areas that provide shower facilities. And the biggy ... the water closet. I don't use it per say. I use a container for #1 and appropriate disposable bags for #2. Has worked well for the past 5 months with no problem.

As I have mentioned before I do not camp in camp grounds ... I am a traveller and seldom stay at a campgrounds. I am planning several 2-3 months trips and feel that this method of travel will work well. Of course I expect that 3 months of travel will result in several stops to fill and empty water systems. But there are plenty of places to do that.

The bottom line for me is that 99% of my travels are dry camping. I seldom stay at a campground. The whole idea of getting a class B RV for me was to avoid the cost of motel/hotel rooms. If I stop at campgrounds I might as well get a motel room.

You should've bought a mini van and saved yourself 50,000 bucks.

SeilerBird

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2012, 08:41:56 AM »
Ten days in your B without refilling? I don't think so, unless you hardly use any water at all.
Well I lived in my B van for 4 years without holding tanks. It was interesting to say the least. Since I am a older male with prostrate problems I kept a large Mountain Dew bottle next to the bed to save me from having to leave the warmth of my bed in the middle of the night. And of course I did not eat solid food after about 3 pm so I didn't have any bowel movements in the middle of the night.

Showers were a lot more challenging. If I was heading into a new city I would Google "shower Santa Barbara" and see what turned up. There are many YMCAs in this country and many offer showers for a few bucks. The one in Las Vegas offers showers for $2 or $13 for a month pass. There are many public parks and schools that have a public swimming pool that have a shower and most are only a few bucks to get in, plus you can go swimming if you wish. Many RV parks offer showers but I found most of them between $5 and $10.

Many beaches offer free outdoor showers to rinse the salt water off. There is no hot water, but it is free. Many times I used a lake as a bath. I would take a bar of bio-degradable soap in my pocket and go swimming. It was easy soap down and wash off without anyone figuring out what I was doing. At the Colter Bay campground they have a pay shower for $3.75. I could not afford that every day so in the late afternoon I would head on down to Jackson Lake for a swim. The water is shallow near the shore so by late afternoon it was a pleasant temperature. However I did used to stay at a campground west of Yosemite on the Merced River and let me tell you, Sierra snow melt is not warm.

When I got really desperate I would grab a washcloth and soap and go into a convenient restroom where I would take a sponge bath in the sink. Never any hot water that way but it was free. I also discovered a few illegal ways to take showers that I won't get into here, since I don't want to see anyone arrested for taking an illegal shower. ("What are you in here for?" "I got busted for taking an illegal shower.")
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Karsty

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2012, 01:32:51 PM »
You should've bought a mini van and saved yourself 50,000 bucks.

As it turns out I traded a $50,000 mini van in on the ERA. I wanted something that was completely self contained with sleeping quarters, kitchen facilities etc. As for not taking full advantage of the bathroom facilities ... it really works for me. IF and I repeat, IF, I have to use the facilities in the ERA ... then OK. But I have had it for 5 months now and it is working OK for me. Again ... I travel alone. If I had a women with me I suppose it would be a different story. Not having to stop every few days or so to empty the grey/black tanks is great when travelling. I have not spent a single night at a campground or paid location in these five months. After all that is one of the reasons that I bought the ERA ... to avoid motel/hotel expenses. I see that some campgrounds are charging just as much as some motels, in some cases. This kind of travelling allows me to travel as far or as little as I want. Some days I might only make it to the next town and few miles away.

To date I have stayed at Walmart, Flying J's, church parking lots, large grocery store lots and on a couple of occasions while in the country I have even asked to park in a farmers driveway area. I have never been turned away or refused. Most folks have been very friendly and eager to please. This is how I meet new people and make new friends while travelling.

Now, having said all this ... when I take my big trips (ALASKA, ROUTE 66, & Maritime Provinces/Newfoundland) over the next few years ... 2-3 months each ... that could change. Depending on where I am staying and how long I might stay in a particular area. In most cases I would only stay in one area for a few days at most. I am just not a destination person. Have to be on the move all the time to see and explore.

Again ... to qualify my comments. I do have several destination trips planned and will be staying at a RV/campground facility for the convenience. But these trips are far and few.

As "Tom" stated ... there are all kinds of places to stop and get a shower. Flying J and Pilot Service centres are great locations as well. Also ... are you telling me that it is illegal to take a shower in the water fountain in front of City Hall??? Tell me it isn't so!! LOL
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 01:38:42 PM by Karsty »
2012 Winnebago ERA.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Jenise

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2012, 02:43:15 PM »
Okay, Len and Jo:  so what is a "sun shower"?

SeilerBird

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2012, 02:55:15 PM »
...so what is a "sun shower"?
Heat up a gallon of water by setting it in the sun and then pour it over you. There are commercial sun showers

http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Elements-Gallon-Summer-Shower/dp/B000J2Q0T4/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1336938848&sr=8-4

Or you can make one yourself.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Len and Jo

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2012, 04:03:44 PM »
Our Sun Shower holds 4 gal of water.  Jo and I can both take a shower using a total 2 gal.  Both of us have short hair.  We have used one "dry camping", canoe camping - hang it from a tree, and we now hang one inside our van for showers.

Len & Jo
The Green Tardis
We 'B' RVing   Berkley, Michigan
Van Development:   https://youtu.be/5Xqk_G6k95M
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wascal

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Re: Dry Camping In B Vans
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2012, 05:34:33 PM »
I guess it all depends on how much you feel like "roughing it".  I love to find remote campsites down fire roads in National Forests.  I think the longest I stayed at one was about 10 days.  That took a bit of rationing and planning.  Propane and water were never an issue.  The limiting factor was the size of the black water tank.

 

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