Boondocking Discussions on dry camping
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:08 PM   #1
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Wink Am I crazy with my water idea

I am camping in a state campground that does not have water to the site but has water just a short walk away. Because of a smaller than desired tow vehicle, I am planning on driving my 1810h empty to the campsite. I was then going to use the campsite water to fill 5 gallon jugs and then just fill my hi lo when it was parked and settled.

Is my idea crazy or do you think it will work. I do have a dump station to dump everything at the end of the three day weekend.

I have worked through battery issues so I just wanted to make sure my water idea was not nuts.
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:23 PM   #2
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It's not nuts, Joy. I've done it that way and continue to do so (with the following options).

I have a "collapsible" hand truck to help me transport the filled containers from the water faucet to my trailer. I got this one at Costco about two years ago: Amazon.com: Magna Cart Personal 150 lb Capacity Aluminum Folding Hand Truck: Home Improvement It folds up flat, takes up little space and weighs very little. There is a similar one available from Harbor Freight for less than $30. Filled containers are heavy and you don't want to lug them any distance at all.

Then, I bought a small 12V pump at Harbor Freight and attached two shortish lengths of potable water hose (the white one) to each side. I stick the intake hose into the jug, the output hose into the trailer and attach the electrical leads to the trailer battery terminals. It pumps the jug dry in about three minutes. 12v Marine Utility Water Pump

If you don't have a pump, you'll have to lift your jug and pour it into a funnel that is inserted into the fresh water fill point. This is really a two person job and, it's HEAVY lifting.

Hope these ideas help.

- Jack
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:31 PM   #3
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Joy

It's not nuts. Most of us don't drive around with a filled water tank. We do what you do. However, make sure you have a good system for getting the water from the jugs into your high lo tank- the fill tube is likely just a horizontal opening. One suggestion is a hose hook up or tube that can attach to the water jug and will allow you to pour it in. But, you need to be able to elevate the jug- either hold it up or have something to support it. Siphoning is another option but, again, you will want the jug elevated. Some of us have small portable electric pumps that run off a battery to assist in water transfer. Also you can just use water straight from the jugs like regular old camping. Remember that five gallons of water weighs about 40 lb. most campgrounds have potable water at the dump stations, though. So you drive the camper to the campground and stop by dump station on the way in and fill your fresh water tank. Then drive to your site. When you leave, just open the drain cock on your fresh water tank and just let it drain out before You head home.

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Old 05-14-2015, 08:11 PM   #4
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Carts 'n Pumps sounds like the best alternative, otherwise that's a lot of heavy lifting.

Or you could just switch to beer; 12 oz. cans are pretty manageable and kill the bacteria left on the dishes.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:46 PM   #5
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Can you drive close to the water? Just fill it up with a hose once you get there before you park and setup. It's not going to hurt the tow vehicle to drive around the campground with 250 extra pounds. Some of those camp spigots aren't threaded for hoses but maybe a cut piece of hose would slip over the end. I suppose if the road was really busy and would be blocked by your trailer that would be bad, seems like it would only take 5 minutes.
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:12 PM   #6
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While I appreciate the beer idea I do thin a cart and pump option may be more viable option for my and the rest of the campground health and safety. I do have a spigot attachment that turns non threaded spigots into a treaded attachment for a hose. I might check with the campground to see how far our spot is from a spigot. I have been to the dump station and the fresh water looked a little iffy.
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:20 PM   #7
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Sorry everyone for my newbie questions but I don't have a Harbour Freight or Home Depot in my town so I was looking for a pump on Amazon and there were way too many types when I typed in water transfer pumps that all operated differently. Does someone mind taking a look on Amazon and give me an idea of what I should be looking for
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Old 05-14-2015, 11:24 PM   #8
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This would work, Joy: http://www.amazon.com/Volt-Marine-Ut...+dc+water+pump It appears to be the same one I bought at Harbor Freight.

There are others that would work too, but this one has electrical leads with spring loaded clips already attached that you can clip on to the battery terminals, and, threaded connections for the two hoses you will need to attach. It's also self priming and made of stainless steel.

You will need two female couplers for the ends of the hose you attach. I believe you can find a drinking water hose that's about 10 ft long in stores that sell camping equipment. But, it will have only one female coupler. You can cut it in half and install a coupler used to repair hose ends to the half that doesn't have the female coupler. I'd get a brass one, not the cheaper plastic kind.

- Jack
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:10 AM   #9
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Thank you Jack. I wasn't quite sure what I was looking for. By the end of this summer I may have everything figured out yet. I figure I have a huge learning curve so I very much appreciate everyone's help. My long term goal is to RV across the country for a few years when I retire so I am considering my hi lo in my 40s my trial run
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Old 05-15-2015, 07:54 AM   #10
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Just being persnickety but that pump shown on the Amazon page is for left handed folks. Otherwise it looks good to go.
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Old 05-15-2015, 08:55 AM   #11
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Default Water thief

We typically fill using the potable water at the campground; also have used a device known as a "water thief" to fill the tank from water fountain spigots inside the campground.
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrascal View Post
Just being persnickety but that pump shown on the Amazon page is for left handed folks. Otherwise it looks good to go.
Guess that's why I like it! Bout time something was built for those of us in our "right mind".

- Jack
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:51 AM   #13
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WE use a five gallon water jug with wheels and one of these battery pumps that takes 2 D batteries. Works great, no lifting, takes about five minutes to empty jug into camper water tank.
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Old 05-15-2015, 03:57 PM   #14
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One think to keep in mind is that there are different types of pumps.

The Amazon and Harbor Freight ones are impeller pumps. These pumps are self-priming. Unfortunately, these pumps do not like to run dry. Doing so will quickly wear and damage the impeller. So you need to make sure that the pump gets shut off as soon as all the water is pumped through. Moreover, I don't know if spare impellers are available for inexpensive pumps like this.

Centrifugal pumps are not self priming. They need to be below the water level to prime and pump effectively. The good part is that these pumps can usually run dry for long periods of time without damage. If the water container can be elevated above the pickup of the pump one of these can be a good alternative to the pump above. I suggest a baitwell pump such as this: Amazon.com : Shoreline Marine Livewell Pump : Boating Bilge Pumps : Sports & Outdoors

Diaphragm pumps are self-priming and can run dry for long periods. Unfortunately they are expensive. The water pump in our Hi-Lo trailers and most RVs is a diaphragm pump.
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Old 05-19-2015, 06:37 AM   #15
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I usually fill up at home. We have pretty good water here. I think we have a 24 gallon tank so that is almost exactly 200 pounds of water. That adds about 4% to the weight of the trailer. The water tank is about half way between the trailer axles and the hitch so it adds 100lbs to the tongue weight.

If I were going a long distance that 4% might concern me but when only going a couple hours away I don't think the slight difference is worth the extra hassle.
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:44 AM   #16
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I use one of these when transferring from a container to the tank. It works great, batteries not required. You just have to have it higher than the filler port.
American Specialty Wonder Pump 6 ft. Siphon Hose-6-PMP6HD - The Home Depot
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Old 05-25-2015, 03:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I use one of these when transferring from a container to the tank. It works great, batteries not required. You just have to have it higher than the filler port.
American Specialty Wonder Pump 6 ft. Siphon Hose-6-PMP6HD - The Home Depot
I went ahead and purchased one of these from Big Orange based on Rich's suggestion. Since I like simple (and cheap) solutions I figured it was worth a try.

It seems to work pretty well! Two negatives that I noticed in my demonstration was that, as Rich notes, you need to have it higher than the filler port. Since my 6 gallon water can weighs approx. 50 lbs. when full, this could be a challenge for some of us older folks. I initially put the can on top of the uncovered propane tanks but since that is a little high, I found that by placing a milk crate on the battery box, it seemed to work well. The milk crate was a little lower than the propane tanks and the crate helps to distribute the weight on the battery box.

The other thing I noticed is that it stopped siphoning at the last gallon or so. However, at that point, the can is light enough to just pour the rest directly into the FW tank if you have a funnel or spout on your can. It may have worked better had I placed the can up higher.

All-in-all, I think it's a good investment for 9 bucks! I'll be testing it further on future campouts.
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Old 05-26-2015, 02:27 PM   #18
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Thanks everyone for the help. I just got back from my Memorial Weekend trip and everything for the most part went great! I was able to hook up to a campground spigot and fill the tank with my 50' hose. I then topped it off with the 5 gallon tank as needed. I didn't end up getting a pump in time so I just hefted it up and it worked great.
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Old 06-13-2019, 11:09 PM   #19
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I know this is an old thread, but has anyone thought of modifying the water pump in the trailer with a couple of three-way valves to facilitate filling from water cans? Basically, you would install a 3-way valve in both the inlet and outlet of the pump. On the inlet, with the valve in "fill" position, the pump would draw from a hose connection that you could mount either under or through the side of the lower part of the camper (with a cover of course). You would connect a short inlet hose to this and stick the other end in the jug you just hauled to your site. The outlet 3-way valve would direct the pump outlet back to the tank (tee'd into the "normal" pump inlet pipe). IF you did this modification, it would be important to make sure your valves were in the correct settings depending on the operation you were doing. [Make sure to put them in "normal" direction after filling your tank. This way you wouldn't need to lug around an extra pump. As an alternative, you could always get the "fill pump" and mount it permanently. You would probably want to install an isolation or check valve so normal operation doesn't apply a vacuum on the outlet of the fill pump. Thoughts?
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Old 06-14-2019, 09:17 AM   #20
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Your idea would probably work, Jack, but it seems a bit complicated to me.

I've mounted a small pump inside the battery box that is permanently connected to the battery with an ON/OFF switch inline. It has an inlet and outlet hose attached and they are capped and stored inside the battery box when not in use. To fill the tank, I stick the inlet hose into the water jug, the outlet hose into the trailer fill port, turn the switch on, and, "Bob's your uncle"! The water jug can sit on the ground, because the pump is self-priming and it pulls the water up without problem.

- Jack
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