Tuesday, October 26, 2021


Where to get water when boondocking across USA?


Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking. 

Hello Bob,
My boyfriend and I are about to leave south Florida for a trip to California, stopping at as many National Parks as possible. We love to boondock, and are looking forward to staying at state and national campgrounds along the way. My question is this: Where do you suggest we fill our fresh water tank along the way if the campground has none? Thank you! —Janie

Hi Janie,

Deschutes National Forest campground, Oregon

Most campgrounds, except for the most primitive, will have a water fill station, though not often a dump station or electricity. But true boondocking locations will have no amenities. However, there are many ways to fill your water tank and dump your waste tanks while on the road. RV Dumpsites and RV Dumps not only list private and public dump stations across the country but also the availability of drinking water. Pilot Flying J Travel Centers are also spread across the country along major highways and offer services to truckers and RVers, including water, dump station, restaurant, and if you get their rewards card or download their app, three cents off on each gallon of gasoline.

Many National Forests are adjacent to National Parks and have primitive (no hook-up) campgrounds with a communal water fill station. (You may need a Water Bandit to hook your hose up to their no-threads faucets.) They are usually not as crowded as the National Parks so campsites are easier to get. If you have a tow vehicle, you can leave your living unit at the campsite and travel to the NP in your toad, which makes touring and parking much easier.

Other places to find water are at regional and county parks, private campgrounds, gas stations and truck stops, Tourist Welcome Centers (found at state border crossings along major Interstates), and many highway rest areas. I would suggest also that you carry a 5-gallon water carrier for when you inadvertently run out.

Read more about boondocking at my blog.
Check out my Kindle eBooks about boondocking at Amazon.

Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .




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4 years ago

Fire stations, rest areas, convenience stores, Lowe’s garden centers, Home Depot garden centers, Cracker Barrels. Filtered ALL the incoming water using a sediment filter plus a 0.5 micron filter (rated for cysts). Actually most any place that has a spigot with a handle outside is fair game for me to get water from. Also, I use a small squirt bottle or trigger sprayer with a strong bleach solution in it to spray the hookup first. I get the personal/travel size bottles from DollarTree and mix up the 50/50 bleach solution on the spot. Spray inside/out until dripping, then haul out my hose to connect. Allows the bleach a little time to do it’s job.

Jim Schrankel (Alpenliter)
4 years ago

I carry a standard air bed, with some PVC plumbing parts to carry water. It lays flat one back of my truck when filling, then use a spare 12volt pump to transfer into the FW tank. It holds about 75 gallons. Fine for bathing and dishwashing. A 2 1/2 gallon jug with spigot takes care of drinking and cooking needs.

Gregory Illes
4 years ago

Hey Bob,
I found that hoisting a 5-gallon jug up to my water-fill port might be great for cross-fit training, but it was tempting me to re-damage my old shoulder injury. Also, it was fairly painful just carrying 40 pounds in one hand more than 50 yards or so. I decided instead to carry a couple of 2-gallon jugs. They balance and carry much better, and are WAY easier to pour into the motorhome.

4 years ago

I have a Flying J/Pilot Goodsam RV Credit Card and with it I get Good Sam Member Discount 0f $0.06/gal and that’s off the cash price. Fueling up at Pilot/Flying J is sometimes more expensive than at other providers so watch the prices.