Wednesday, February 8, 2023


How many sewer hoses does an RVer need?

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

By Dave Helgeson
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 23 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 over 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-fifty 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 year ago

Well said. I keep an extension tucked in the back of the compartment along with extra fittings, but I do fine with a 10′, and many places 3′ will work. I don’t like tying down with a semi-permanent waste line, I’d rather just use the dump station or do a dump and fill at my site before moving on.

But, to each their own. It does not help that many RV parks have set up sewers 40′ forward of the water lines at some sites. If I had to park for weeks on end, I guess I’d run a lot of line too.

1 year ago

We carry two and a spare. If you have ever had a hose break in mid-dump, you will understand the need for the spare. Embarrassing and oh so gross.

One CG we used to stay at had the sewer on the wrong side, requiring the long way around. Not all campgrounds have a store, and not all of those stores carry hoses, et al. They make more $$ on ice cream! lol

Dave Johnston
1 year ago

We carry 60 feet, in 10 foot sections. We tow a trailer behind the motorhome. Often, if we find a site where we don’t have to unhook, we will need the additional footage to make a connection.

1 year ago

We carry 50 feet, and have used 45 feet at one location. We compress and cap the sections and store in a plastic tote. Normally our 15 foot hose is enough.

1 year ago

Always carry four and have had to use all four several times.

1 year ago


Steve Ward
1 year ago

I have been using a Floejet macerator for many years. They make setups that can be mounted in a wet bay or portable for attaching to the drain connection under an RV, the portable even comes with a storage case. It needs 12VDC power and a 3/4″ garden hose to operate. It is simple, cleaner and a lot less hassle to operate. I will never go back to the “stinky slinky”. I carry 2 – 25′ dedicated drain hoses and have never had a problem reaching a drain. The only hassle that I have run across is the fact that it takes a little longer to drain the tanks, if you are at the busy dump station people can get impatient.

Teresa Simons
1 year ago

i carry 3 just in case but have only used one so far. We have two gray water holding tanks – one in the middle for the kitchen and then one in back for the shower and sink in the rear bath. But have only emptied the kitchen gray water tank at our house as it never fills up much.

Mel Jones
1 year ago

I carry two, 1 20’ and 1 10’ just in case the sewer outlet is at the rear of the campsite.

1 year ago

Since my fifth wheel is 33ft and the valve is closer to the front I usually need 20 ft. Last time we camped the site sewer was at the back and I hooked up 30ft. I carry 40 just in case someone new doesn’t have enough.

Kenneth Potts
1 year ago

You need two, as most sites have the sewer hookup towards the rear of the site.

1 year ago

I actually just had to buy my 3rd section last weekend. Amazing in new parks how far away the sewer hookup can be.

Dale Hartesveldt
1 year ago

We had two sewer hoses until a couple days ago. The trailer is parked at home, and have an acceptable place for small amounts of gray water to go while cleaning the rig after use. It appears that one of our local bears grabbed them and yanked them right out of the dump valve connector. One hose sliced to ribbons, the other usable. We usually only use one when on the road.

2 years ago

I have two sewer hoses. 90% of the time I only need one. But occasionally I need a second. Nice to have just in case

2 years ago

I carry one 15ft. main hose which stays connected to my sewer outlet in the wet bay, and another 20ft. extension hose and assorted connectors used when the sewer opening is centered or more forward at the campsite. I store everything in the storage area above the propane tank.

2 years ago

We carry four, but have only needed three. One began to leak this summer, so we still had a spare.

Jeff Craig
2 years ago

I’ve never needed more than the twenty feet of hose, but I have used the EZ Coupler two hose kit for about ten years. Since we only weekend camp, they’ve held up fairly well, replacing the bayonet head twice and the hoses every five years or so. but I decided to try something sturdier. So, I got the Thetford Titan kit. Both had a pair of ten foot hoses, but the new Titans have much sturdier fittings, though they take up more room in our storage bay.

2 years ago

Carry 2 with our new 25fter but did carry 4 in our 40fter.

Vanessa Simmons
2 years ago

I have two grey tanks and sometimes have had to use 40′ of sewer hose. I try to keep two kitchen tank hoses and two for the black/bath grey water. I use the Y connector so they both stay hooked up.

2 years ago

I carry a 5′, a 10′, and a 20′. Rarely use the 5′ except at dump stations when I get lined up just right. One of the places we regularly “camp” (a state fairgrounds) we need both the long ones to reach the sewer connection.

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