Sunday, June 13, 2021
Sunday, June 13, 2021

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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Kenneth Potts
2 months ago

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

2 months 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
2 months 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.

5 months 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

7 months 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.

7 months ago

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

Jeff Craig
7 months 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.

7 months ago

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

Vanessa Simmons
7 months 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.

7 months 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.

Neal Davis
7 months ago

We use one sewer hose. We have additional lengths that we bought for our trip to Alaska. We rarely travel with them though.

7 months ago

I have 3. My Polychute and an extension for it that will stretch 25′. Then I have one short hose about 6 or 7′ for close up things. My Daughter carries 4 total. Her travel trailer has 2 outlets…one for the galley and one for the lavey and toilet. She carries a wye that allows her to hook them all to one sewer inlet. RV parks have been redesigned with spaces enlarged and hookups moved throughout the years- sometimes leaving the sewer connection away from where they originally were.

7 months ago

I have two sewer hoses, a 10′ and a 20′. Mostly I carry two so that the short one doesn’t get lost in the middle of my bumper. But it is handy to have both.

7 months ago

I would have to say that of all the places I have stayed, I have had to use only one hose. But we stayed at one in Delaware, and, after measuring, had to go to Walmart and purchase 3 additional hoses. The sewer connection was at the entrance of the lot not the end where the rest of the connections were.

7 months ago

Well, I have two black tanks and two grey tanks that are ten feet apart. What does that tell you? Yep, lots of hoses, if I dump then all the same time. Which I don’t.

Steve Ward
7 months ago

I installed a portable macerator and mounted it permanently in my wet bay. I use a 25′ X 3/4″ hose and it works almost perfectly. I have a second 25′ hose but I have never needed it. I dump the black first, gray second and then I flush the macerator and hose with clean water. I can’t imagine going back to the stinky slinky.

7 months ago

Last week I observed a trailer dumping at a dump station that used zero hoses…he just opened the black valve without a hose connected near the sewer receptacle and hoped the sloped walls would take care of it. He was too intimidating looking for me to take a picture and report him. Needless to say I did not use that dump station.

Doug Swarts
7 months ago

As I read the caption under the first photo in your article ” Now You Can Evacuate Your Holding Tank (s) in a Convenient Clean and Pollution Free Manner. Last sentence omitted., it occurred to me that you only need 1 system, not hose to accomplish all of the above caption.
The Waste Master System has a 20′ always connected to the RV hose with a shut of nozzle placed in the ground sewer inlet.
Please ask Mr. Woodberry what he thinks of the system he has had on his RV for the past 3 years as I do not want my comment construed as an advertisement or product pitch.

Mike Sherman
7 months ago

You need 2 hoses. 10′ & 20′. The 10′ usually does the job. If you need more, swap out the 10′ for the 20′. In the rare circumstances you need more than 20′, you got it. If you need more than 30′, move.

Retired Firefighter Tom
7 months ago

I have a 15-foot hose that I use most of the time and a 20-foot hose that I need to use once in a while. So far it’s worked 99% of the time.

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