Finding Safe Water – Sponsored by Blu Technology
Where Can Vanlifers Find Safe Water?
When it comes to campsite availability, 2022 looks a lot like 2021. With campervan and RV sales booming, finding an open site at many state, federal and private campgrounds is often impossible. It’s a matter of supply and demand, and demand exceeds supply right now. This means that boondocking is the preferred—often only—way to get away from the crowd.
Camping off-grid, aka boondocking, has plenty of advantages. But, of course, you already know it, or you wouldn’t be visiting this website. Although boondocking requires preparation, the camper van and many RVs are literally made for this challenge since they are small, agile, and frequently upfitted with onboard power, solar, and connectivity.
However, one frequently overlooked area is assuring an adequate a fresh, safe water supply. As Jeremiah Young, van lifer/road-tripper and former Afghanistan veteran serving with the famed U.S Army 10th Mountain Division says, safe water is probably the most overlooked critical element in van builds. You can find Jeremiah on IG here.
So how do you make sure you keep your water tanks filled? Fortunately, there are plenty of options for you just off the highway if you know where to look. Here are some that consistently work for us.
Safe Water From Campgrounds
One of the easiest ways to fill your freshwater tank with clean, safe water is to visit a campground. Most campgrounds provide access to water refill stations. If you’re not in the mood to rent a site for a night or two, ask the campground if you can stop by to fill up your water tank. Some only offer the water refill if you stay at the campground, but most will let you fill-up for a minor fee.
Safe Water From Gas Stations
Another option for filling up your water tank while on the road is to find a gas station that offers a fresh water tap. The downside is that you won’t find them at every gas station, and a tight parking lot may be challenging for larger RVs. Gas stations near tourist areas frequented by RVs are more likely to have potable water spigots available, and it is more common to find them available at truck stops like Love’s, Flying J, and Pilot.
Safe Water From Rest Stops
If you can’t find potable, safe water available at a nearby gas station, try looking at a highway rest stop. Rest stops are stationed on many major highways throughout the country, and they are an excellent opportunity to fill up while you’re on the road without going off-route. In addition, sometimes rest stops have dump stations, making this quick stop even more convenient.
Thankfully, the RV LIFE Pro app shows you where you can locate the nearest resources for safe drinking water, such as campgrounds, gas stations, and rest stops. If you don’t already have it, download the APP before your next trip. It provides a lot of other information and, in our opinion, is the best tool for trip planning. Visit RVLIFE.com for more information.
Equipped with the proper system, you can fill your freshwater tank using natural water resources like a nearby lake, pond, or stream. The benefits are enormous. Imagine clean, safe water anywhere, anytime. BluTechnology offers a compact system designed for campers and van lifters. Their No Dirty Water RX and RX+ systems let you camp off-grid with an almost limitless supply of clean water.
The system utilizes a 0.2-micron filter, a special carbon filter, and a 12-volt pump plugs into a cigarette lighter or is powered by a cordless drill battery. The company says that the water from the RX is purer than 95% of municipal water supplies. The benefit here is evident, there is just the one-time cost of the system with an occasional filter replacement, and there’s no need to plan out a water refill route for your travels.
Other Considerations When Filling Your Freshwater Tank
Concerns about safe drinking water safety are not new. People have been worried about the quality of their drinking water for centuries. Today, people worry about the potential water contamination from city sources like lead and heavy chlorination. Collecting water for your freshwater tank from a campground, gas station, or rest stop will give you varying water quality. To ease this concern, you can use a No Dirty Water Solo system from BluTechnology at your sink for reliable water, no matter the source or state of your freshwater tank. The Solo utilizes the 0.2-micron filter, which removes virtually all of the bad stuff.
Taste is Essential
While the safety of your drinking water is a top concern, so is taste. Nobody wants to drink the overly chlorinated water you frequently find in campgrounds and public water sources. To fix this, include a high-quality carbon water filter in your van or RV water system. Unlike the blue cartridge water filter found in many RV supply stores, quality filters like those from No Dirty Water use a special filter incorporating coconut shell-activated charcoal to remove a higher percentage of chlorine chemicals. This is a real game-changer, especially when you’re brewing a cup of coffee!
Save Money & The Planet
How much can you save by filling your bulk water containers rather than buying bottled water? Depending on family size, it adds up if you figure on $5.00 a case, 2-3 cases, or more a week. On top of that, consider the expense and inconvenience of running to the store to restock, plus all those one-use bottles going into the landfill. That’s why we feel having an onboard source for clean, safe water makes so much sense.
We don’t always think about it, but traveling with a full tank of water can significantly add to your vehicle’s weight, reduce fuel economy, and increase the wear-and-tear on your van, motorhome, or camper. Water weighs about 8.3 pounds per gallon, so a 60-gallon tank adds almost 500 pounds to your rig. That’s a lot of unnecessary weight to be hauling around. Using an effective portable water purification system to fill up your water supply at or near your destination can eliminate that.
Final Thoughts: Although often overlooked, a major consideration on any van or RV trip is having plenty of clean, safe water. If you run out of this essential resource while camping, you’ll be forced to end your excursion early, so be sure to plan ahead to make sure you can fill up before your next adventure.
Special Offer to Van Lifers and RV LIFE Readers.
Vanlifers and RV LIFE readers can take 15% off our website price at checkout by using coupon code WATER15.