Water:The boondocker’s leading limitation

Water. A natural resource without which we would all die, or at least have to leave our pristine-out-in-the-boonies-perfect-forested-by-a-stream-full-of-trout-while-elk-graze-nearby campsite. It usually turns out that the great campsite you found deep in the woods is also the one you don’t want to pack up and leave to replenish, restore, and the other chores necessary for boondocking. And potable (drinking) water is arguably the weak link in the boondockers chain.

If you never boondock for more than a day or two water does not occupy much of your thinking time, not even when you turn on the tap and clean, pure water runs into your glass. But as boondockers we usually find ourselves conserving every drop, reluctant to waste any, dreading the water pump’s dry sucking sound as the water tank reaches empty.

Here are some tips to conserve that precious resource so you might squeeze out another day in your idyllic campsite.

  • Fill your water tank to the brim just before heading to your boondocking campsite.
  • Collect running water when waiting for the hot to come to use for rinsing dishes, cooking pasta, flushing toilet, etc.
  • When showering: reduce flow, wet down, turn off, soap up, turn on, rinse off. The typical Navy shower.
  • Rinse dishes in plastic tub of saved water rather than under running faucet.
  • Turn off faucet when brushing teeth and washing hands and face, then turn on to rinse.

You can also increase your water supply in these ways:

  • Carry one or two 6-gallon Jerry jugs of water to replenish your tank.
  • Stow the empty Jerry jugs in your tow or toad so that if you drive it out for supplies or exploring (easier than moving the whole rig) you can refill them at any water source you find.
  • You can also buy a larger water bladder (Camping world, West Marine) for driving to a water source, then use a small water pump to transfer the water to your rig’s water tank.
  • Use a Sun Shower filled with stream water and placed in the sun to heat. Hang from a tree and use for showers.
  • Use a water filter to make stream or lake water safe to drink and use for cooking.

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