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RVing message boards => Boondocking => Topic started by: Wilsonbubba on July 12, 2016, 01:32:05 AM

Title: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Wilsonbubba on July 12, 2016, 01:32:05 AM
We want to try boondocking and would like to know what you all think about traveling with the water tanks full. Does it drastically raise the fuel consumption? Up and down through mountains, does it make it harder to handle the  vehicle?  If you travel empty, where can you fill them along the way? Thanks for any thoughts.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Kevin Means on July 12, 2016, 02:35:18 AM
You'd be hard pressed to notice any difference in mileage. We regularly have to climb miles and miles of 6% grades when we go camping, and we usually carry 115 gallons of fresh water. We've carried as little as 20 gallons, but even so, our computerized fuel monitor indicates no difference in mileage at all. As a frame of reference, when we're towing my wife's 5000 lb SUV, there's about a .3 MPG loss in fuel economy compared to when we're not towing it - that's a 5000 lb vehicle with rolling tires and extra aerodynamic drag. A few hundred lbs of water inside the RV is going to be unnoticable. Our main water tank is located just behind the front axle, and in my opinion, the biggest drawback of carrying lots of water weight is the extra weight it imposes on the axle. Mileage isn't a factor at all.

(By the way, welcome to the RVForum!)

Kev
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Old Radios on July 12, 2016, 06:59:08 AM
Travel with a full or almost full water tank all the time. It's supported by the chassis. Don't see or feel a difference in handling or gas mileage.
The gray and black tanks I like to empty when possible as they hang underneath and I don't like the thought of the extra weight hanging there if the road gets rough.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: goose33 on July 12, 2016, 07:06:24 AM
We want to try boondocking and would like to know what you all think about traveling with the water tanks full. Does it drastically raise the fuel consumption? Up and down through mountains, does it make it harder to handle the  vehicle?  If you travel empty, where can you fill them along the way? Thanks for any thoughts.

Thanks for the post. That's something I've always sort of wondered myself. I have yet to need my freshwater holding tank. All of the parks and campgrounds we stay at, all have full hookups. So, we haven't had the need to fill ours, but it's nice to know it really won't bother my MPG. Love this forum.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on July 12, 2016, 08:50:10 AM
Water is heavy, so in a small trailer, especially one that has the fresh water tank somewhat behind the trailer axles, you may well notice the effect of adding 200-300 lbs. The tongue weight goes up or down noticeably, and the trailer handling suffers (or sometimes improves!). MPG, however, isn't going to be changed much at all because the primary factors there are realted to wind resistance rather than weight. Vehicle speed and the RV's frontal area are what counts there.

In a larger rig, 300 or even 500 lbs extra won't even be detectable.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: robertusa123 on July 12, 2016, 01:15:26 PM
Full water tanks and all the  food ,gas and so on adds 1000 lbs on my rig.  But I only have to travel an aravage of 50 to 100 miles.  So I take it easy.  Most small gas stations have a hose bib you can use.  Especially after you flip the casher a couple of bucks...   depending on what part of the county you in  you can get water at a truck stop with a dump station

You didn't say what kind of camper you have and how big your tanks are
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Old Radios on July 12, 2016, 01:28:10 PM
depending on what part of the county you in  you can get water at a truck stop with a dump station

But don't get the water from the hose at the dump station...  Make sure it' from a potable connection somewhere else.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Gizmo on July 12, 2016, 01:35:26 PM
Whenever we boondock I fill the water tank and travelling the same roads I have seen little if any notable change in fuel mileage.  Like Gary said small trailers may be a different story.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Wilsonbubba on July 13, 2016, 07:49:59 PM
Thanks all! I'm excited to try some boondocking real soon!😂
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: JDOnTheGo on July 14, 2016, 08:10:10 AM
Hi Wilsonbubba, it would be helpful if you would add a signature to your profile with your RV information.  Questions like this are useful but answers are often just a guess without some basic information.

My coach holds 115 gallons of water, 1000 lbs.  I routinely travel with a full or near full tank. As a percentage, that water amounts to about 2.5% of total vehicle weight.  If I know I am going to be traveling many miles and don't expect to need a lot of water, I'll try to time things such that I have less than a full tank.  I don't keep a very close eye on mileage but I've never noticed a big difference (wind, yes).

Most dump stations also have fresh water. Others have mentioned filling at city parks, gas stations, and so forth but I've never tried that.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Lou Schneider on July 14, 2016, 10:32:42 AM
One thing to beware of is travelling with a half full tank.  There are no baffles in freshwater tanks and having the tank half full is the worst combination of the weight of the water and room for it to build momentum as it sloshes back and forth.  Depending on the shape and orientation of the tank it can affect the RV's handling.

One Bounder motorhome had a long, high capacity freshwater tank mounted crosswise at the very end of it's long rear overhang, the very worst place to put it.  Fill the tank completely and it weight lifts weight off of the steering wheels.  Travel with it less than full and the weight of the sloshing water affects the stability of the RV.

The best place for a water tank is between the axles or close to the rear axle, where the shifting weight has minimal effect on the RV's handling.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Nitrodonk on July 15, 2016, 12:39:56 PM
I'm going to be boondocking but my main concern is where can I find free potable water, any ideas guys and gals.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: JDOnTheGo on July 15, 2016, 12:46:31 PM
I'm going to be boondocking but my main concern is where can I find free potable water, any ideas guys and gals.

That is a difficult question to answer given we don't have any idea where on the planet you may be going.  In very general terms, water is like food.  Everywhere you go, humans exist and they eat food and drink water.  So, they both exist most everywhere.  As previously stated, most dump sites have potable water, state parks, gas stations, some rest areas, city parks, water treatment plants, etc.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Rene T on July 15, 2016, 01:39:55 PM
  As previously stated, most dump sites have potable water,

If you're talking about dump sites at a campground, you may be incorrect. All the one's I've been to have NON potable water. Do not use that water to fill your fresh water tank. 
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: JDOnTheGo on July 15, 2016, 01:45:58 PM
I said "most" as I have not been to every campground on the planet.  Of the ones that I have been to and which had a dumpsite, I am pretty sure most all of them had POTABLE WATER.  Obviously, most also have NON-POTABLE WATER for rinsing tanks and such.  I'm not too sure it is worth arguing about, the important point is to find the hose that has a sign that says "POTABLE WATER".  It really isn't terribly difficult.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Rene T on July 15, 2016, 01:56:39 PM
I said "most" as I have not been to every campground on the planet.  Of the ones that I have been to and which had a dumpsite, I am pretty sure most all of them had POTABLE WATER.  Obviously, most also have NON-POTABLE WATER for rinsing tanks and such.  I'm not too sure it is worth arguing about, the important point is to find the hose that has a sign that says "POTABLE WATER".  It really isn't terribly difficult.

You could be right but I just can't imagine a CG owner installing a potable and a Non potable water supplies near to each other.  What would the liability be if someone got sick from it. It would be too easy for someone to grab the wrong hose for washing out their sewer hose and the next person uses it to fill their freshwater tank.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: wackymac on July 15, 2016, 05:59:17 PM
I can't imagine a campground having a non-potable water supply at all.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Rene T on July 15, 2016, 06:09:37 PM
I can't imagine a campground having a non-potable water supply at all.

It's not the fact that it's non potable. All their water will be potable but you never know how the water hose at a dump station gets used by campers washing out their sewer hoses, so they just call it non potable so no one attempts to use it to fill their fresh water tank. All their water will come from one source typically unless they're pumping out of a river or a brook to be used only at a dump station.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Quillback 424 on July 15, 2016, 07:17:13 PM
All of the state and COE campgrounds in my area have a similar set-up with access to both potable and non potable water supplies at the dump stations.

An island dump station is accessible from either side and has a non potable water source which is run up a tall pole and then connected to a suspended water hose which has a pointed, non threaded delivery device. The water control valve is at knee level on the up source pipe and the delivery device on the end of the hose is crimped on and would require a "water thief" device to connect to a garden hose. I don't know if the station has a back flow preventer installed.

At the end of the dump station island, within 30 feet of the dump, is a potable water supply with a typical male hose connector which will accept a typical garden hose.

Each water supply is labeled and a warning note is posted at the non potable site.

I have never taken on potable water at one of these stations but I do connect to potable water while staying at these campgrounds. The reason is it would be too easy to connect a non potable hose directly to the potable water supply and wand out a black tank while at the dump station. And, when it's easy, it's probably done.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Nitrodonk on July 15, 2016, 07:25:09 PM
Thanks guys for your ideas , my rv only holds 24 gal of potable water this why I asked the question .Some places can charge you 10 dollars to fill up potable water. I don't want to stay at campgrounds so it's going to be harder to find. Thanks.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: Quillback 424 on July 15, 2016, 07:31:26 PM
Small towns can be your friends. Most will have a potable water site and will allow you to fill for free.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: dave54 on July 27, 2016, 06:48:54 PM
I can't imagine a campground having a non-potable water supply at all.

I have seen many campgrounds with both.  The non potable is usually well marked, though.
Water can be potable, meeting all the sanitary standards, and still taste bad.
Title: Re: Hauling full water tanks
Post by: dave54 on July 27, 2016, 06:52:11 PM
I'm going to be boondocking but my main concern is where can I find free potable water, any ideas guys and gals.

Ranger stations often have potable water available to the public.  Sometimes even dump sites.