Lifestyle Van Builds

The Best Manual Pump Faucets for Your Camper Van Sink

Installing an electric pump and faucet in a camper van sink can be intimidating and complicated. Check out these inexpensive manual options.

Set Up Your Camper Van Sink Without Complicated Plumbing

While watching videos of van builds can be inspiring, they can also be a little intimidating. The more complex builds with creature comforts such as custom wiring and extensive plumbing may deter more novice builders. While the complicated projects featuring a luxurious camper van sink and extensive plumbing make the news and Instagram posts, simpler builds are more attainable for most.

A standard RV pump for your sink needs electricity to run, requiring knowledge of electrical safety and how to wire said electricity to the pump. This throws a wrench (and wire strippers and linesman pliers) into the idea of a simple build. However, you can ditch the switches, wiring, and battery system for your camper van sink with the following manual pumps that only require a little hand or foot action or a USB cord to run. Even better, they are less noisy, less expensive, and break down less often than a typical RV water pump.

Manual Hand Pump

Valterra hand pump from Amazon
The Valterra Rock Hand Pump–Source.

If you don’t mind having only one hand free while doing dishes, then a manual hand pump is a great option for a simple sink system. I installed this type of hand pump in my vintage RV restoration. To prove how great these things are, the original hand pump from 1982 was still working fine. I just wanted a fresh one.

I installed the pump in about an hour with minimal tools. Pulling up and down on the handle, both primes the line and pumps water from a 10-gallon RV tank with no noise, no switches, and no leaking.

Marine Foot Pump

A Marine Boat Baby Foot Pump on a table.
Marine Boat Baby Foot Pump–Source.

Foot pumps are used widely in the boating industry, and they’re the best way to keep both hands free and still have a manual pump. The pump uses a spring-loaded valve to pull water from your tank or water container. It’s important to attach a foot pump to your floor in an inconspicuous area where you can’t trip on it. The water line from the pump can then be attached to an RV faucet or even a simple system of copper or PVC pipe like the video below.

Tye Works Standard Hand Wash System

An simple portable camper van sink setup using the Tye Works Standard Hand Wash System attached to a five gallon bucket.

Tye Works Standard Hand Wash System–Source

Another option is to go with what many river rafting companies use. The Tye Works Standard Hand Wash System is a simplified version of the boat foot pump. It can be attached to any bucket or wash container and adjusted for height or direction. The miniature foot pump primes the included line and creates a pretty good water flow from any container.

A Battery-Powered No-Wiring Camper Van Sink Solution

These magical, little faucets that run off USB rechargeable batteries have recently become a very popular option for inexpensive van sinks. They are readily available online and come in various sizes and heights. Some have flow rate settings or test the drinking water for cleanliness and bacteria. Originally designed to be used with five-gallon water jugs, vanlifers are modifying them to be placed on countertops next to a camper van sink. A full charge will last for about three hours of continuous use, and they can charge up in several hours.

Conclusion

These three types of manual faucets are easily available on Amazon and other online dealers and don’t require extensive plumbing or electrical knowledge to set up. To find the best one for your van, consider what works best for your van life and check out the reviews on each before purchasing.

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1 comment

  1. I installed the Valterra hand pump shown here.

    Great piece and gives satisfying results with a few easy strokes.

    Draws from reservoir mounted low, but is always primed and ready for action.

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