Running low on water? Bring it to your rig


By Russ and Tiña De Maris

RV boondocking brings great rewards. Wonderful scenery, quiet solitude, the constant search for water — Whoa! That is one of the boondocking drawbacks: Where do you get your water? In the one of the great winter boondocking meccas, Quartzsite, Ariz., RVers have been working that problem out for decades.

Like most boondockers, once we get our rig “settled in,” we’re not real inclined to want to move it again until it’s time to leave. Packing up the rig once or twice a week to go for water just doesn’t cut it. So we worked out our method: We obtained a 50- gallon plastic barrel, suitable for “food grade” purposes, and when it was time for a fresh water refill, put it on the back of the pickup and drove out to our water source.

Perching the barrel on top of our truck bed toolbox, we filled it up, then drove carefully back home so as to not upset the barrel, and let a gravity siphon feed fill up the RV tank. If the trip is too scary for you, then get yourself a 12-volt water pump and leave the barrel in the bed of the truck. Back “home,” simply hook the pump up to the vehicle battery and pump your water into your RV.

Other options? Some RV suppliers sell a “rooftop water bladder” that looks suspiciously like a large air mattress. The food-grade plastic bladder can be laid on top of your rig’s roof, filled with water, and gravity fed back into the RV tank; or use a water pump. We met one RVer in Quartzsite who simply bought an “air bed” from the Walmart sporting goods section, and after “sanitizing” it with bleach water and “freshening” it with soda water, skipped the high cost of the commercial water bladder. Not sure how safe the plastic is in this, but it is an option.

Others use plastic bottles and jugs, fill ’em up, and tote them back to their rig. We found, in a pinch in upstate New York, that this works okay, albeit slowly. In our case we simply cut a 16-inch chunk of water hose, leaving the female end of the hose in place. We shoved the free end of the hose down in our water fill port, then using a hand to clamp the hose fitting onto the open mouth of a one-gallon water jug, we could quickly empty the jug with very little spillage.

photo: R&T De Maris

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