Saturday, December 9, 2023


Carry the right hose kit for your RV lifestyle

By Greg Illes

When we take our RVs out into the world, inevitably the day ends and we have to park. After all, there’s Happy Hour, dinner, showers and sleep to deal with, right? Where we park is a pivotal factor in how we are going to spend the next 12-24 hours. Inevitably, our peace and comfort tend to orbit around … our hoses.

No, really. Sure, there’s power and propane to worry about. But if we don’t have the right hoses, we can’t get water, we can’t dump sewage, we can’t observe the necessities of life — RV life — that keep us peaceful and content.

All right, so much for the prose. What do we really need? Here are the essentials:

•  Fresh water hoses
•  Junk water hoses
•  Sewage hoses

The fresh water hoses are what we need to put good, clean water into our tanks and plumbing systems. They should be blue or white, because these are the key colors that clue us that these are hoses that should never be contaminated by impure or nonpotable water. Now, if you always camp at a park and take up only your designated mini-slot, a fresh water hose can be a diminutive 10′ or at most a 25′ length and you’ll be golden. But if you’re headed out boondocking, or staying at a friend’s house in the suburbs, you might need 50′ or even 100′ of extension to reach an available faucet. You can carry the typical big, heavy, 1/2″ or 5/8″ drinking water hoses, or you might choose to pack away the flat hose choices that put a 50-foot hose into the space and weight of a small book. (And, of course, the $155 Gucci hose (see photo) is always an option for the trendy RVer.)

The “junk” water hoses are dedicated to nonpotable water. The purpose of a junk water hose is simply to save your fresh water hose from contamination. Here, junk water hoses only are required for washing and flushing. It’s unlikely that you’ll need 100+ feet of junk water hose, so a 25′ or at most 50′ length should be more than adequate. Always use your junk hose for nonpotable water, and never use your fresh water hose for nonpotable water.

The sewage hoses (“stinky slinkies”) come in 5′, 10′, 15’ and 20′ lengths. In my opinion, the Valterra Viper series (available at Amazon) is the best of the bunch, and the only one I’ve owned that has never leaked. Here again, if you’re in a park, a 10- or 15-footer is probably going to do well for you because you are likely to be parked close to a dump port. But if you’re a boondocker trying to get rid of some gray water, you might need 20 feet or more to reach a ditch or hollow or USFS drain grate.

Most reports are poor for coiled hoses and expandable hoses, so avoid these unless you feel your luck will be different. Buy quality as much as you can — it’s no fun to have a cheap hose start spitting all over you and your rig at your campsite or the dump station.

(Editor: There are lots of RV hoses to choose from, and at great prices, at Amazon.)

photo: Wikimedia Commons

Greg Illes is a retired systems engineer who loves thinking up RV upgrades and modifications. When he’s not working on his motorhome, he’s traveling in it. You can follow his blog at



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