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Author Topic: How long can you make your water last?  (Read 5410 times)

Sun2Retire

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How long can you make your water last?
« on: May 04, 2016, 10:28:45 AM »
With an eye towards lots more dry camping and our first venture into boondocking, solar is getting installed today and I'm now looking at water. Just two of us, and we're reasonably thrifty with water but I'm sure could do better.

So we don't scare off the wildlife we like to take a quick shower every 1-2 days depending on temps and hiking, etc.

For those in similar circumstances, how long are you able to make 100 gal of fresh water last?

I'd like to be setup so we are limited by black water capacity, which I figure we can make a week, perhaps a couple days more.

Installing a 0.5 GPM showerhead plus a shutoff. Also, I've already got a 35 gallon aux water tank plus pump that I can throw in the toad. Thinking about adding a 40ish gallon second tank in the basement, to be filled only when heading for a long dry camping situation.

Another question: for those heavy duty boondockers out there, what's your strategy for finding water to refill? Just move and spend a night with full hookups once a week, or tote water in the toad?

Thx.
Scott
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blw2

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2016, 10:44:40 AM »
with three kids, we can pretty much go a long weekend (3-4 days) without problem with our 40 gallons if we reduce showers to a minimum.... as in maybe 1 shower for each.  Mostly though we'll shower a bit more than that though, and I'll top off the tank at some point.

I would think 100 gallons for two adults would be easy to stretch a week.

I installed a handheld oxygenics shower head, I'm pretty sure that helps.... the handheld lets you direct the flow to where it's needed for what seems like an even faster rinse.

Just guessing, but if it were me I think I would skip a basement tank if I had a transfer tank in your toad as you described.  You can always use it to top off once to get you through.
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kdbgoat

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2016, 10:48:31 AM »
Trying not to create an excess amount of gray water will have to figure in there somewhere. Using dishwater for flushing will help with that. If adding a second freshwater tank in basement, maybe you can use the pump and tank in the truck to cart off gray water.
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Sun2Retire

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2016, 11:23:17 AM »
Trying not to create an excess amount of gray water will have to figure in there somewhere.

When dry camping certainly, but aren't you typically allowed to dump gray water when boondocking?
Scott
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Kevin Means

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2016, 11:32:36 AM »
Hi Scott... if you go to the General Discussion message board and do a search for, "Easy Trick to Boost Your RVís Freshwater Tank Capacity" (December 2nd, 2015) you'll come across some posts that others made who were dealing with the same issue. I'd post a link to it if I could, but the device I'm typing on won't copy or paste links.

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kdbgoat

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2016, 11:33:32 AM »
Not really. Check with the folks in charge of the area you're boondocking. Sometimes it's permitted, sometimes you can water the local flora, and sometimes it may get you a fine and/or jail time.
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Happy Prospector

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2016, 11:44:53 AM »
We have a 150 gallon fresh water tank and it will last us about two weeks, we shower about every 1-2 days, and aren't water saving fanatics. The black tank will last about 3-4 weeks and then it is pumped into a 100 gallon tank and we dump it at a dump station. Since we boondock on BLM land we water the bushes with the grey water when the tank is full and use a screen to filter out the large particles.



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Sun2Retire

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2016, 11:45:32 AM »
Not really. Check with the folks in charge of the area you're boondocking. Sometimes it's permitted, sometimes you can water the local flora, and sometimes it may get you a fine and/or jail time.

"My Sheltie has a huge bladder officer. That's my story and I'm sticking to it"

Thanks Kev will have a look

Scott
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dave54

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2016, 12:03:39 PM »
We do not sit around camp all day.  We are out and about hiking, fishing, exploring, et al. 
We take a 5 gal jug with us in the vehicle, and every time we pass a reliable potable water supply we fill the jug and pour it in the tank when we return to camp.  That makes the fresh last longer.

I am no qualms about using the woods when I am out hiking or away from camp.  DW less so.  Still, if you pass by a public restroom on your way back to camp use it  instead of waiting.  This way we slow down black water filling.
Gray is a different -- there are tips and tricks to minimize gray water, but it still seems to be our limiting factor.  We do not dump our gray in the woods.  We frequently return to the same boondocking sites and I do not want my residual waste still there from last month.  The water soaks in, the particulates and residues stay near the surface.  The soaps are not good for soils and food residues are bad for wildlife.
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Becks

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2016, 12:15:59 PM »
We have a 100 gal water tank and can go two weeks each taking a navy shower daily. Black and grey tanks are each sixty gals. We carry one gal jugs to use for coffee each day, and also carry a five gal jug to have available if needed. You will learn all the many tricks for conserving as you go along, such as catching the starting water from the shower until it gets hot. How much solar are you installing?
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UTTransplant

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2016, 12:24:13 PM »
We have a 80 gallon fresh water tank, two 40 gallon gray water tanks (kitchen and shower), and a 40 gallon black tank. We have absolutely no problem staying out for 7 days. I take a short shower every day, DH takes one most days. I wash dishes; no disposable items. We have never run short of fresh water, but the shower gray tank is getting close by the end of the week. Of course that is easy to fix with a blue tote. We don't short on water when flushing the toilet either, but we are usually out during the day and don't use the on-board facilities.
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driftless shifter

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2016, 12:41:59 PM »
we use our house system whether we have hook ups or not. 100 gallon fresh tank lasts of one shower each, a couple sinks full of dishes, dog water and cooking. Grey needs to be emptied about the same time fresh needs to be filled and black can last through every other fill dump cycle of the grey and fresh. We do not take navy showers except during winter months when colder weather increases recovery time on water heater. Our usage might make a three day weekend. Probably go a week if we allowed ourselves to get stinky and took navy showers every 3rd day. There are two of us and we both dislike navy showers, been there done that I even had times in the USN when an evaporator was down and the only people allowed showers were the cooks. Off the coast of Iran, close in, listening to comms from them during hostage crisis in 78-79. Hovered around the Five Fathom buoy for weeks at a time. Those that have been there know what fun that was.

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kdbgoat

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2016, 01:31:04 PM »
Those that have been there know what fun that was.

Bill

Or when your on a submarine and the fresh water distillers are sending all the water to the reactor because it has priority.
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Quillback 424

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2016, 02:07:30 PM »
Or, when you're on a WW II era pigboat submarine doing a 65 day submerged mission. Only cooks took showers daily with the other 90+ taking a shower on Saturday. All water is secured all other times except for a brief period just before meals.

Then, Saturday evening the stills are lit off to replenish the fresh water tanks and the sub heats to 90+ degrees for the next few days. By Friday the temp is back down to 75 and the following day it starts all over again.

If you were "perceived" to be taking other than a sub shower, you got to stand the still watch the next time they were lit off. This meant you sat in front of the still when you weren't standing your normal watch. Nobody ever stood two still watches.
Larry --  Olathe, Kansas
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Sun2Retire

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2016, 03:10:46 PM »
I think we might have a little thread creep happenin' here ;)
Scott
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john owens

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2016, 04:21:21 PM »
Lately there have been a ton of posts talking about water and taking showers etc. When we go boondocking I bring along a couple packs of the huggies baby wipes. A couple/three swipes with these bad boys in all the right places and I am fresh as a daisy. Don't need no stinking shower...for 3 days or until the DW starts hammering me.....
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JDOnTheGo

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2016, 05:34:05 PM »
Well Scott... you already know I'm a sicko... so...

I can stretch my DS tanks one full month. Three weeks is pretty normal.  As you already know, solo and full-time.  I take navy showers, use baby wipes frequently (as previously noted), and may have used a rain shower, lake or stream on occasion (but I'm not admitting to that). My cat and I drink from the house water as well as cook, make ice, iced tea, and coffee.

Finding water to fill varies from area to area.  Most times, an overnight at a state park or full hookup site is the easiest. Typically, $25-$30 gets me a dump, fill, really LONG HOT shower, and I'm able to run 3-4 loads of laundry whilst hooked up.  That said, most places that have a dump, have fresh water. 

Purely my opinion but I find dumping gray water in the wild to be very inconsiderate.  It really does stink and leaves a mess.  Many folks don't care.
JD - Full timer out west
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Rene T

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2016, 06:27:16 PM »
  Purely my opinion but I find dumping gray water in the wild to be very inconsiderate.  It really does stink and leaves a mess.  Many folks don't care.

How about digging a hole about 12" in dia. and a couple of feet deep and just barely crack open the drain valve so the water drips slowly. Let it go all night. When you're ready to leave, just fill in the hole. That's no different than a leach field at home.
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JDOnTheGo

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2016, 06:37:34 AM »
How about digging a hole about 12" in dia. and a couple of feet deep and just barely crack open the drain valve so the water drips slowly. Let it go all night. When you're ready to leave, just fill in the hole. That's no different than a leach field at home.

My opinion does not change.  One property is owned by you and you alone, you can do what you choose with it.  The other is owned by all American citizens and should be treated kindly so all can enjoy it.
JD - Full timer out west
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kdbgoat

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2016, 06:43:41 AM »
And again, check the the governing authority as to what their rules are.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2016, 07:28:25 AM »
Most RVs run out of space in the gray waste tank before they run out of fresh water to use.

We manage 7-10 days on 100 gallons of fresh, making judicious use of other bathroom facilities when we can
Gary
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Rene T

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2016, 07:43:44 AM »
My opinion does not change.  One property is owned by you and you alone, you can do what you choose with it.  The other is owned by all American citizens and should be treated kindly so all can enjoy it.

It was just a thought I had but I don't see where it would hurt anything. It would just percolate into the ground. Any remaining chunks of food would then be covered over.
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Quillback 424

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2016, 08:06:13 AM »
In Kansas state parks and COE parks, all of which are operated by the state, they inform you that the discharge of any water can result in a hefty fine and could result in charging you with the reclamation of the land and/or stream or lake.

With that in mind, I overheard a permanent, year round, camphost telling a 5er to simply run a garden hose from his grey tank to the "crick" behind his lot and to let the kitchen faucet trickle water all night as a way to deal with the expected overnight 20 degree temperature.

Go figure.
Larry --  Olathe, Kansas
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Derby6

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2016, 11:52:12 AM »
I think a week is a reasonable guesstimate.  Like others have eluded to it really does depend on so many factors.  A few I can think of:
- Is their a bathroom facility nearby that you can use on occasion?
- Will you use the water for cooking and drinking too or have bottled water for that?
- How long can each of you go with out showering?
- Are you capable of taking a quick Navy type shower?

5 Adult men fishing every year and we make it with my 100 gal tank for 7 days.  They all use the restrooms nearby.

For refilling--Most places here in AK that you can dump at also have a freshwater refill site.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2016, 11:53:53 AM by Derby6 »
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Sun2Retire

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2016, 05:59:28 PM »
I can stretch my DS tanks one full month. Three weeks is pretty normal.
Finding water to fill varies from area to area.  Most times, an overnight at a state park or full hookup site is the easiest. Typically, $25-$30 gets me a dump, fill, really LONG HOT shower, and I'm able to run 3-4 loads of laundry whilst hooked up.  That said, most places that have a dump, have fresh water. 

Wow JD, not bad. I'd be happy with a couple of weeks with two of us but pretty sure that will take a bladder to do it.

Purely my opinion but I find dumping gray water in the wild to be very inconsiderate.  It really does stink and leaves a mess.  Many folks don't care.

Ya, been looking at portable gray/black water tanks so now's probably the time to pick one up
Scott
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robertusa123

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2016, 09:23:50 PM »
I have a 40 gal water tank in my camper. Last a weekend no problem as long as we are cautious when cleaning dishes and limit ourselves to just two showers with a family of 5.    100/gals of water should.last a weekend no.problem.
1996  26ft. 3 kids 2 dog and the wife too

johnshenry

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2016, 03:32:47 PM »
Reading this thread with interest.  I just took my first weekend trip in my 21 ft TT with my wife and 2 dogs a couple weekends ago.  We filled up our grey the last night and were surprised.  I had taken a shower each night, not Navy but probably less than 2 mins.  We had water and elect there, and our tanks are 30/30/30. 

Arguably we weren't trying that hard to conserve, and I still think that the tanks might not have been fully empty when I bought the 3 year old trailer (Eeeew).  I caught my wife letting the water run when rinsing dishes, once.

My goal is for us to learn how to do 2-4 days boondocking on 30 gallons.  We want to do lots of state park camping this summer.  I do need my showers most nights before bed, but can Navy no problem.   I kind of like the challenge of learning how to do this.   

We did a class C trip in 2006 with 2 kids and the dog, but did very little boondocking on that trip.

So my 2 questions for the hardcore boondockers are (and one was asked by the OP):

Where do you get fresh water?  I read about keeping a 5 gallon jug handy, but what kind of places would you find to fill it?  Are the rinse hose at dump stations always a no-no even if you use your own hose? (probably).

And what about offloading grey water into the black tank?  We only use our black when there are no other options or it is the middle of the night.  We will fill the grey first always I'd guess.  Not sure how you'd transfer, are there any hardware plumbing mods that can be done (I'm an engineer with a shop and tools, I *love* mods).

Also, I love the idea of the "slosh rinse" on the trip home by filling the tanks half full after dumping and rinsing... but then I have to dump at home?  I own a lot of acreage but don't like the idea of dumping on the ground.   Thoughts about dumping grey or black on the ground after a few fresh water rinses at the dump station??

Thanks for any tips.  We are doing a 6-7 day trip in July, two 2 night state park visits with dump stations avail on the way out, then at the end, a friend's front yard... ;-_

Derby6

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2016, 03:55:52 PM »
Most dump places also have a fresh water re-fill place for fresh water.

If you are on a septic, you could just put about 5 gallons of water in for the slosh rinse.  At home empty into bucket and dump it into your septic. :)
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JDOnTheGo

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2016, 04:57:48 PM »
As noted, most dump sites have a potable water hose as well.  The rinse hoses are usually always marked as "not potable."

There is a mod that is simply adding another gate valve to the black/grey dump line that allows both the black and grey valves to be open allowing the water to flow from one to the other without dumping on the ground.

Many will argue the legality of dumping black/grey on the ground, I just think it is gross.  You probably already have a sewer/septic access port that you could dump into.
JD - Full timer out west
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Wankel7

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Re: How long can you make your water last?
« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2016, 12:56:06 AM »
When tent camping or car camping....is a gray water catchment system required in established camp sites?
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