Saturday, December 3, 2022


Boondockers: Think tote tanks – Don’t leave home without one


By Bob Difley

Barker tote tank on

With snowbird season just around the bend, RVers are starting to think about boondocking and tote tanks. Tote tanks? Not usually a popular topic discussed around a potluck campfire. But RVers will be RVers and tote tanks are an important addition to any serious boondocker’s arsenal of tools that will help extend his boondocking days and relieve stress. (Relieve stress? I’ll come to that.)

The three main factors that limit the number of days you can consecutively boondock are battery electrical capacity, potable water, and gray and black waste tank capacities. In most cases it is one of the first items that will likely limit your days; however, if you fail to predict accurately your black tank capacity it will likely be the factor that will have you pulling up stakes – NOW! – and heading for the nearest dump station since your toilet failing to flush can be a powerful incentive.

This is where the stress factor presents its ugly (and messy and smelly) head. Now consider that instead of having to deal with such a crisis you planned ahead and carry a tote tank with you – that portable tank you can hook up in seconds in which to empty part of your black tank contents. Crisis averted!

You may have pooh-poohed the idea (pun intended) that you need one, but likely it means you haven’t needed one YET. Buying a tote tank if you are a boondocker is a no-brainer (just ask your mate). You can find them as low as $45 for a small 5-gallon emergency-size tank, large enough to alleviate the overflow-crisis you are facing and enabling the toilet to flush, and giving you time (maybe a day or two) to end your boondocking trip and continue on with your plans without stress.

You can find all sizes up to 42 gallons (at the top of the cost range, approaching $300), so you can decide what size is right for you. The larger sizes enable you to dump most of your black tank and tow away with your support vehicle to a dump station, thus avoiding having to move your rig for several days, even weeks, or months if you’re really serious. And you can also find racks that mount to your rear ladder to carry the tank so it won’t take up valuable locker space or require stowing in the back seat of your toad.

Dyers RV Parts and Accessories lists more than 15 different size tote tanks and lots of accessories on their website, offering a variety of choices, many of them including reviews by actual users that may help in your decision. So remember, as you enter boondocking season, Think tote tanks: Don’t leave home without one.

[Editor: You can also learn more or order at]

You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.

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Marilyn R.
5 years ago

This might be a no-brainer to the experienced Rver but how do you partially empty your black water tank? It empties with such force does it not get VERY messy when trying to push the blade valve back in?

Bob Difley
5 years ago

Thanks Ron. It always amazes me to see the creative and innovative ways RVers come up with to handle the chores of living the RV Lifestyle, especially to get the most out of boondocking.

5 years ago

We did away with the Blue Boy See how we deal with gray and black water.

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