Truck Camper Magazine Blog

Extreme Water Conservation For Truck Campers

Anyone who has dry camped for more than a week acutely understands the importance of conserving fresh water.  That understanding sinks in quickly when your fresh water capacity is limited.  Run out and your camping time will follow shortly.

Then you return to civilization and visit “normal” people in their homes.  Without thinking about it, your host leaves the kitchen sink running to get something out of the refrigerator – and you nearly freak out.  The water is running!  It takes everything to stop yourself from rudely turning their faucet off.  Talk about water torture.  Then he fails to turn the water completely off.

Drip… Drip… Drip…

After truck camping, water conservation becomes second nature.  Short bursts brush teeth.  Quick turns wash hands.  Fast pulls flush toilets.  Navy showers keep you clean – every other day or so.

Fellow truck campers, Sylvie and Jake Mathis, have taken water conservation to another level entirely.  First, they follow the above practices.  Then things get serious.

Extreme Water Conservation For Truck Campers

by Sylvie Mathis

Christmas On The Beach

5 Cups of Water Goes A Long Way

Doing dishes in a truck camper is one of my favorite topics.  Now for my first peeve; no paper products go in my truck camper because paper products create too much garbage.

Low Water Use To Wash Dishes

Here’s how we wash dishes using a minimal amount of water.  Since we don’t use our hot water heater, we start by warming up three-cups of water on the stove.  Using cold to wash the dishes and adding a quarter-spoonful of blue, “no phosphate biodegradable” dishwashing liquid.

Pouring Hot Water from Stove Top For Dishes

Using the warmed up water to rinse, we rinse one of the cups, and re-use the water for the second, then the cutlery – and so on and so forth.

With the mixed water that is now in my pan/dish washing bowl or sink, I clean the table then the stove.  Voila!  Most of the time I even have warmed water left over to rinse my dishrag and sink.

Wash Dishes Minimal Water

No Whites While On The Road

Now my other peeve; laundry.   We don’t ever wear white while traveling in our truck camper.  Colored clothing is washed with a good laundry soap that is earth friendly.  By washing just colors and not having whites we spend less on laundry.  I rarely wash by hand, unless one of us has an emergency – like running out of undies!

The Water Heater Is Overrated

We hardly ever use our water heater.  We prefer boiling water on the stove.  This gives us a monitoring tool for our water conservation.

With five cups of water for dishes twice a day, we use 4.375-gallons per week.  Then with about 4-cups of warm water for a bird bath each night, we use about 3.5-gallons of water per week for bathing.

Shower Sun Bags Provide Free Hot Water

Summer Solar Shower Bag To Heat Water

Now for a great energy saver; our 5-gallon shower sun bag.  When we first got our shower sun bag, we practiced using it at home, taking showers with only 2-gallons of water.  It was different and we learned how much water we could save at home, too.  While on the road in the month, we only took one shower without the sun bag.  It’s fun and you have plenty of free hot water!

Our shower bag is wonderful.  We usually take the water from a campground faucet, but once we even took water from a nearby lake.  We can regulate it a little bit to get more pressure.  You are limited by the bag as it’s only 5-gallons.  There are also 2-gallon and 3-gallon shower bags.

We put the bag on the ground with a towel under it so we don’t scratch the bag.  The bag is black and it takes 2 to 5-hours to warm up.  You learn to take your shower with a bathing suit.  We started using the shower bag to warm up water for dishes or so I could wash my hair.

At Flamingo Campground in Everglades National Park, they have shower stalls.  Before 2010, they only had cold water in the shower stalls.  We saw people were going into the showers with the shower bags.  They were going in the bathroom stalls with their warm water from their shower bags.  They now have solar panels to heat up the water at Flamingo.

Conservation Allows For Longer Stays Off-Grid

Modified Steps Northern Lite

Our truck camper is geared up with a 24-gallon fresh water tank which does not include the 6-gallons in our water heater, 21-gallons of grey water, and 13-gallons of black water.

With the above conservation tactics, we are able boondock for 7-days with our tank’s capacities.  If we have access to a pit toilet or fresh water, we can make it to 15-days of freedom!


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