Thursday, February 2, 2023


How many sewer hoses does an RVer need?

No sewer hose needed – I wish! The Thermasan marketed by Thetford.

I have been around RVs all my life. My family entered the “trailer” business in 1937, manufacturing their own brand of trailers, with my parents eventually running their own dealership where I was first employed. Later my wife and I started our own RV dealership, eventually closing that and producing RV shows to the present time.

Back in the BC days (before color photos) you really didn’t need a 12-volt battery in your unit (everything was manual or LP powered), and the term “RV” hadn’t yet been coined. “House trailers” only had a holding tank for the toilet, and sink (gray) water just ran freely on the ground or you dug a “gopher hole” to contain it – and often the contents of the black tank, too, via a lone sewer hose.

As a young boy who liked to play in the dirt, watching “gopher holes” being augured in the ground at Airstream rallies hosted by the Wally Byam Caravan Club International (WBCCI) was the highlight of the outing for me. Click here for a historical recap of the club including the use of gopher holes.

When we sold an “RV” at the dealership we always included a starter kit that included a non-toxic water hose, some portable tri-pod stabilizers and ONE sewer hose to get people started camping. As fifth wheels entered the scene and center baths started to become popular, we would sometimes suggest to buyers of those rigs that they may want to carry a SECOND sewer hose as most campgrounds at that time located the sewer hookup at the back of the space.

Now, I haven’t retailed an RV in 25 years, but believe I have been staying abreast with the most recent “improvements” in the RV industry via the RVs I see at RV shows and reading trade magazines both online and in print. I also haven’t been staying at campgrounds and RV parks as frequently as I once did as my preference has migrated to camping in the boondocks.

Three lengths of sewer hose – That’s a lot of hose to rinse!

Recently my wife and I decided to join my son and his family camping in a full hookup campground, the first one we had camped at in more than a year. As I was escorting my grandson around one of the campground loops on his tricycle, I was rather shocked to see some RVs using THREE and even FOUR sewer hoses! The occupant of one RV using four sewer hoses seemed to lack the concept of gravity and I was rather disturbed thinking where the contents from the black tank would settle.

Reflecting on my over-50 years being around RVs, I began to think, is this really where advances and “modern convenience” have brought us? Would I want to deal with dumping and flushing 30–40 feet of sewer hose? Where does someone store that many sewer hoses? Are they doing so in a sanitary way or just throwing them in a storage compartment? Yuck!

Four sewer hoses – I don’t want to imagine what lies in the lowest hose!

In the future, maybe someone will invent a system that will instantly incinerate the contents of your gray and black tank with the push of a button – eliminating the need for sewer hoses completely. Oh, wait! They did! Fifty years ago it was called a Thermasan (marketed by Thetford), returning recently as the ThermalTreat Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) Sewage Elimination System. Neither of these products caught on or posed a threat to the venerable sewer hose.

Until the next best thing comes along to eliminate the need for sewer hoses, I think I will continue to live in the dark ages with my rear bathroom RV and one sewer hose. In the rare instance where I am in a campground where my 10-foot sewer hose won’t reach (typically when the sewer hookup is in the middle of the camp space designed for RVs with center baths), I just dump as I back into the space and then dump again as I exit the space days later.

So I ask you, the readers of How many sewer hoses does one need? Is the need to carry multiple sewer hoses really a convenient advancement in RV design or a necessary evil?

Please share your thoughts using the comment box below.



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1 month ago

I carry four of the Camco 10′ hoses that also have caps for both ends. I also use the clear flusher at the rv end. On a recent cross country trip, we were at a campground for a night that had the sewer positioned at the rear of the spot and slightly up hill. Fortunately I was prepared with the hoses and the angled hose support so I could make the connection.

2 months ago

I carry 6 15 foot hoses and two y connectors. I have a 45 foot fifth wheel and because of the washer and dryer we have three outlets. The dump stations are always near the tea and it takes that much hose to connect everything up

Ken E
2 months ago

We carry 3 15’ tubes, a “Y” connector, and two slinkies. Reason: our Reflection has two tank valves. One amidships for black and shower grey, and one aft for kitchen grey. I’m not sure why the geniuses could not connect all pipes to one valve as they have on our previous 5 fifth wheels (I would love explanations), so we have to connect at two spots. In many campgrounds we use all three just to reach the main valve, disconnect after dumping and rinsing then pull forward to clear the aft valve. Carry three storage tubes under trailer for drain pipes. “Y” and slinkies in sealed box.

Edd Langdon
2 months ago

I carry four hoses, I have been in campgrounds that require all four to reach the sewer hookup. I carry two in the bumper and two in the under belly. There is a carrier that attaches to the frame.

2 months ago

I carry three 10’ hoses stored in plastic containers. Also two water hoses. You never know how the site might be set up and I like to be prepared.

Richard Chabrajez
2 months ago

As full timers, we carry a hose slinky, 3 Rino’s, various connectors and a Lippert Flow Down system with extension legs for gravity challenged sites. It’s all stowed in a sealed storage container in the basement. We regularly use every (and sometimes all) piece(s) of our poop technology equipment.

2 months ago

I carry 2 Rino-flex hoses for our center dump connection. Like you said sometimes the campsite sewer dump is at the rear of the site. But when I finish dumping (black then grey tanks I disconnect the hose from the RV and lift it above my head to make sure all the water is drained out. Then I spray water through it to clean it out before disconnecting it from the sewer. Our rig happens to have a small compartment near the rear of the RV that I put the extra hose in and there’s a sewer hose holder under the rig that I keep the hose I use normally.

2 months ago

Well, since we have 2 full bathrooms in our RV, we also have double the tanks. One dump is in the rear and one is in the middle. At one Park I did have to use 5×10 foot sections to reach the sewer. I installed 2 plastic fence posts near the rear dump to store the hoses. Most of the time I get away with using 3 sections.

2 months ago

I don’t mind using as many hoses as I need. Park in site so you can hook up. I don’t think I would back in drain, back in farther, then move out to hook up again. Unless I didn’t have enough length

John Shorb
2 months ago

I have a 20′ Freedom Express trailer with the drains midway on the trailer. The trailer is just right for the two of us. On our two month trip last summer, I did find the need for a second 10′ section. Usually just one is adequate. Strangely enough, we stayed at one campground on a separate trip last summer where the water, power and sewer hookups were on the right side of the trailer. I wonder what genius laid that one out? Needed both sections.

Morris Weisbart
2 months ago

We carry 4 10′ sections. It is very rare that we need more than 2 of them. RV Parks that have been designed with the sewer mid site require only 1 section for us. Sites with th sewer at thevrear of the site require a minimum of 2 sections. We have a 37′ Tiffin Bus.

2 months ago

You use what you need depending on the Park. We carry 4 of varying lengths with gravity being the only way to dump, downhill is the key.
Amazing that boat marina sewage systems suck your tank dry and you can be in a slip hundreds of feet from tanks or city system. Cheap campgrounds design inexpensive systems that do nothing and frankly, half the time the fittings don’t even work well.
The issue is the parks. Prices are going up and nothing is improving.

2 months ago

I have a 10′ hose for most use. I have a new 15′ that I have used on occasion (for 25′). If there is a long distance to the sewer dump I’ll use the tote and not worry about the hose. This summer we were in a very tight park that had the utilities in a group of four. The utilities were on the wrong side for us so I used the tote. It was just easier.

2 months ago

We carry three. I have two of them connected together all the time when we get a waterfront spot at our favorite rv park (the utilities- including sewer) are at the front of the spaces there. Then I have a single 10-footer for the “normal” spaces. They are all stored in a big storage box that’s connected to the hitch receiver (we don’t tow anything).

2 months ago

In the pic here it seems that the rv’er chose to park about as far away from the sewer hookup as possible. A little discretion would alleviate the need for excessively long hoses to reach the sewer.I have on a couple of occasions needed 20 ft of hose but normally 10 or 15 ft works fine.

2 months ago

I Have a 29’ FMC coach with the sewer connection just in front of the rear wheels. In 140,000 miles of travel I have never needed more than one hose. I guess I am just lucky. My coach was originally equipped with a Thermosan unit as were all FMC coaches. They would discharge into the exhaust system only if engine temperature was at driving level and the coach was traveling more than 30mph. But they were a troublesome unit and I highly doubt that any are still operable. I do still have the pump on a shelf in my storage shed!

2 months ago

I carry a 5-foot, a 10-foot, and a 20-foot hose, with connectors for a total of 40 feet, and I use whatever length or combination best fits the site. The 20-foot fits into the storage tube provided on my Dutch Star, the others store in the wet bay behind the valves. Closing the valves so the grey water tank (soapy bath and dishwashing waste water) is full before dumping and using it to flush the hose after dumping the black tank keeps them clean enough – everything in either tank has been on or in your body and is biodegradable, so there is no need to worry about heroic sanitation measures.

2 months ago

The whole time I read your article, I was thinking what you said in your “Until…” paragraph… I see absolutely no reason for floorplans that require more than one hose connection, and (since you shouldn’t leave your valves open) I don’t even leave my slinky deployed as a trip hazard. Even with hookups, I connect it on-demand to drain the tanks. My current rig has 4 large tanks, but they all converge into one pipe.

Now the “crazy” thing related to this article that I WILL do is carry 300′ of white (drinking) hose and about 150 of green (stinking) hose. With those, I can almost always reach a water spigot for fresh water, and often-enough reach a dumpsite for my macerator without moving the rig. Yep, folks call me crazy, and then ask to borrow them… 😀

Oliver L
2 months ago

While I no longer have an RV we would carry at least two sewer hoses plus a new one as you never knew when one of the older ones would spring a leak! I was always amazed how many RV parks expected sewer water to flow uphill. Great design!

captain gort
2 months ago
Reply to  Oliver L

I agree. Always 2 + a new spare

Jim Prideaux
2 months ago

You need enough to reach the sewer. If you store in the bumper, it should be long enough to fit, maybe with some extra room for gloves extra caps etc.

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