Going on a boondocking or dry camping trip will quickly open your eyes as to how much water you can use. Most RV fresh water tanks range from 35 to 100 gallons.
However, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the average American uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day. That would wipe out an RV tank in a few hours.
If you are new to RV camping, it might take some time and some gadgets (such as water-saving showerheads) to figure out how to save water while camping. Therefore, go the easy, inexpensive route with these tips.
1. Have multiple spray bottles
An inexpensive spray bottle goes a long way when it comes to camping. It can be used to wash dishes, wash hair and bodies, and even pets.
Fill up one or several spray bottles with house or campground water before taking off and keep them in the kitchen and bathroom for a quick clean of your body in lieu of a shower. Use a spray bottle with water and a few drops of Dr. Bronner’s environmentally friendly liquid soap to do an initial or full wash of dishes.
2. Wash with less, rinse with more
Speaking of dishes, they can really add up. However, very little water is actually needed to wash dishes. When washing dishes, use just a few cups of water to do the washing.
You really only need to wet a dishcloth or sponge, add a little soap, and use it to scrub the dishes. The majority of the water should be used to rinse the dishes off.
To save even more water and gray tank space when washing dishes, use a dishpan to catch the water and use it to flush the toilet.
3. Catch and use the excess
If you do take a shower, use a bucket or a drink pitcher to catch the initial cold water during your shower. Use this water to heat up and do dishes or to make food.
Most RVers know to take a “navy shower” to not only save water but to save the few gallons of hot water provided by an RV water heater. A navy shower uses about 95 percent less water than a typical home shower.
During a navy shower, turn on the water to get wet and then turn it off. Soap and shampoo like normal and then turn the water on again to rinse. You should only need to turn the water on two to three times for several minutes to get a good shower.
4. Pack baby wipes
Baby wipes should always be part of an RV kit. They are useful for cleaning up camp messes and even for babies.
Use a few for washing under your armpits and private areas and some for hands and feet. A washcloth with a little soap and water will do the same job.
5. Let it mellow and don’t flush TP
When flushing down solid waste and toilet paper, RV toilets can use about a gallon of water to remove all the evidence. If you are fine with letting #1 sit around for a while, let the yellow mellow and leave it in the bowl. In addition, don’t put TP in the toilet, but instead throw it into a wastebasket in the bathroom.
To keep any odors away, use a few sprays or drops of toilet neutralizer such as Just a Drop. If you do decide to leave any liquid waste in the bowl, be sure to have some water in there to cover up the opening and seal out any sewer gas that could leak up from the black tank.