These Water-Saving Boondocking Tips Can Help You Stay a Little Longer
Boondocking in your RV is the ultimate way to get away from it all. Sure, you don’t have access to hookups when you’re boondocking, but the advantages of boondocking can usually outweigh these drawbacks. Boondocking campsites have two fantastic advantages over serviced campsites. First, boondocking costs much less than camping in a serviced RV campground. Second, a boondocking campsite is often much more private than a campsite in an RV campground. Most RVs are set up to go off-grid without power hookups, water, and sewer for at least a few days. However, the drawback is that the length of your stay may depend on water availability. There are a lot of ways to save water when you’re boondocking.
How To Save Water When You Boondock
We all tend to use a lot of water at home for things like washing dishes, showering, or flushing the toilet. When boondocking in an RV, it’s essential to really be conscious of water usage. When the water runs out, you either have to go home, take the RV to fill up with water, or haul out the portable water jugs. Reducing water consumption can prevent all that and potentially extend your boondocking stay.
1. Use Paper Plates
You’ll drastically reduce the amount of water you use by using paper plates, bowls, and/or cups. A bonus is that you can use them to help start the campfire. If you find yourself in a boondocking location that doesn’t allow fires, a biodegradable or, better yet, compostable set of plates and utensils is better for the environment and landfills.
2. Make coffee in a Moka pot
Using a Moka pot reduces the amount of water you use to make coffee compared to other methods. Making coffee in a Moka pot makes it easy never to make too much coffee as well.
3. Reduce Your Shower and Hygiene Water Usage
You probably don’t need as many showers as you think you do when you boondock. You can drastically save water when you’re boondocking if you:
- Use a water-saver showerhead.
- Take navy showers.
- Collect water from washing hands and waiting for the shower to warm up to flush the toilet.
- Skip the shower and sponge bathe with biodegradable, premoistened towelettes.
- Clean your hair with dry shampoo. Dry shampoo absorbs the oil and dust in your hair, so you can brush it away without using any water.
- Don’t leave the water running while you brush your teeth.
4. Reduce Water Waste In The Kitchen
Even people who are using biodegradable paper plates and utensils will accumulate dishes. In some locations, there is no reasonably close location to get rid of the trash, so accumulating paper products quickly can be just as much of an issue as running out of water. Either way, dishes happen, and using one of the following methods can help you reduce the amount of water you use in the kitchen.
- Wash your dishes in a sink-sized basin. Then use the water you saved for flushing the RV toilet.
- Use Dawn Powerwash on pots and pans. Then give them a wipe with paper towels before you give them a rinse. (Collect the rinse water for toilet flushing later.)
- Minimize cooking with precooked or prepared meals from home. You could also bring along food that doesn’t require much preparation or dishes for some meals. Campfire Foil Packs or meat to grill over a campfire are two easy ideas for this.
5. Reduce Toilet Water Usage
Though it doesn’t use as much water as the other areas above, flushing your RV toilet does use water. Reducing toilet water usage is a catch-22, though. Using too little water can cause clogging problems in your black tank when you go to the dump station. On the other hand, using too much is just wasting water. You can, however, stretch out your water by using it for different purposes. It sounds gross, but here are the details.
- While you wait for the water to warm up in your shower, collect that water in a clean sink-sized container.
- Place the container in your sink, and use this water to clean your dishes. (Tip: you can rinse your dishes with a spray bottle containing a little bit of vinegar and water, then wipe them dry.)
- Once the sink water gets dirty, transfer it to a flushing bottle kept by the toilet, and use it to flush solids and toilet paper.
- Keep a spray bottle of vinegar and water in the bathroom for flushing urine. To do this, open the flush valve without turning your water pump on to let the urine drain into the black tank, and spray the bowl liberally with the vinegar solution to rinse the inside of the bowl.
Get A Composting Toilet
A composting toilet is an expensive option. But if you plan on doing a lot of boondocking, it may be a good investment. Like the name suggests, composting toilets turn your waste back into compost. They don’t require flushing and therefore use zero water. You can learn more and check out some good composting toilet options here.
What’s Your System To Save Water When You’re Boondocking?
Like the video below, everyone has their own water-saving methods that keep them out in the boondocks as long as possible. We’d love for you to share your own tips in the comments.
Lynne Fedorick is a freelance writer with 35 years of RVing experience. She specializes in topics such as fulltime RV life, great destinations for RVers, RV organization, RV News, RV tech, and dog behavior/training.