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$30 DIY Camping Sink: Keep Clean Without a Water Source

This post was updated on March 15th, 2024

If you have ever had a big group over to a campsite then you are probably intimately aware of all the issues that arise when its meal time (or after using the mythical bathroom behind the tree). That’s why this DIY Camping Sink idea may be a nice alternative to sending people inside your RV or down to the communal bathrooms. This DIY Camping Sink idea is actually promoted by the University of Minnesota and the Eastern Highlands Health District. Both of them are focused on wellness and preventing illnesses in various ways. Much link Tang with NASA, this idea appeals to more than just the food safety folks. This is something that we could use at a outdoor BBQ, campsite, RV park, boon-docking, dry camping, and even in situations where there is water contamination at home.



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Items you will need for the $30 DIY Camping Sink:

  1. Water Container/Dispenser – One used in the picture is a Reliance Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Water Container and in the video they use a Coleman version)
  2. Paper Towel Holder – The more rigid the better. You can go with a low cost paper towel holder, but a quality paper towel holder will make it more durable.
  3. Bungee Cords – 18” should work well for most applications.
  4. Soap
  5. Grey Water Bucket (5 Gallon Bucket)


Optional Items for the DIY Camping Sink (UNM Additions):

  • Trash Receptacle
  • Drawer for Towels (replaces paper towel holder)
  • A Custom Made Base or Stool


Both UNM and EHHD have similar methods for building a DIY Camping Sink with just slight variations. EHHD is very minimalistic and only used step 1-4 to create their version which is all you really need to make it work. UNM actually went so far as to build a custom base, include a trash receptacle, and grey water bucket which are nice if it will be used often. Be sure to look over the UNM detailed instructions. Now try not to notice that a food safety educator has no regard for safety around woodworking and power tools (open toe sandals). What a brave soul.  We do give credit for safety goggles though.  Pure comedy!


A Video from the University of Minnesota on the DIY Camping Sink


If you decide to take a DIY camping sink along on your next trip or if you come up with a clever add on be sure to send us over the results so we can post them up here!


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