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What Is the Best Off Grid Water System For RVs?

RV at campsite with off grid water system for boondocking

What Is the Best Off Grid Water System For RVs?

Having a viable off grid water system is at the heart of boondocking as we all need water to survive and live comfortably.

Here are some things to consider when deciding which off grid water system will work best for you.

Where can I obtain water for my off grid campsite?

Potential sources include a nearby purified source (aka city water), a stream or river, a well, rainwater, or a lake.

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How will you get the water from the source to your RV?

Options include buckets, hoses, bladders, piping, pumps, gravity fed flume, etc.

Another option is to just bring it with you in your RV. Here are likely places to find potable water before arriving at your off grid campsite.

Water storage

An off grid water system will need to include a way to store the water once transported to your off grid campsite. Potential storage locations include the potable water tank in your RV, a cistern outside your RV, a food grade rated barrel, or another large storage device/area.

How to make your water safe to drink

The key to an off grid water system is how to make water safe for human consumption.  With the exception of transporting water from a safe water source (public water system or a well that meets safe drinking water standards), you will need a method of removing giardia cysts, bacteria, and other contaminants which can make humans sick.

The following are some of the most common methods to purify water for consumption:

1. Boiling

Bringing water to a full boil for one minute will kill giardia cysts. It is not the best solution for an off grid water system, but an option.

2. Ozone

Ozone provides greater disinfection effectiveness against bacteria and viruses compared to chlorination that is utilized in most public water systems. The use of ozone could easily be adapted into an off grid water system. Learn more about the use of ozone to purify water here. Consider a portable ozone generator like this to purify your water.

3. Water tablets

Backpackers have used purification tablets to create safe drinking water from questionable sources for years. While not ideal for an off grid water system, they could be used on a limited scale.

4. Ultraviolet light (UV)

Most RVers are aware of the damaging effects ultraviolet light from the sun can have on the components of their RV. Ultraviolet light can also be used to destroy bacteria, viruses, giardia, and cryptosporidium in water.

Learn more about using UV to disinfect drinking water here.  Those looking to employ UV in an off grid water system might consider a unit like this.    

5. Water filters

This is the most practical method to employ in an off grid water system. While there are all kinds of water filters designed for RV use, you will need one that will do more than just remove chlorine odor and large contaminants if you plan to consume the water.

As noted above, you will need one that eliminates giardia cysts, bacteria, and small contaminants which can make you sick. Clear2O® has an innovative line of water filtration products for RVers and campers. You can learn more about their water filter systems on RV LIFE.

When deciding what type of off grid water system is best for you, be sure to consider the life span of the system or filter along with the volume of water it can treat.

Learn more about creating an off grid water system

As you can see, there are many things to consider concerning an off grid water system for RVs. What is the best off grid water system for one person may not be the best for another. It all depends on your needs and availability of water where you are camped.

For more tips, check out this couple’s solution to an off grid water system:

RVers looking for valuable how-to information have learned to go to the experts. Forums such as and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.