Boondocking with water, tanks and propane

We have had a lot of people emailing us with questions about our holding tanks, how we are able to dump our waste, and refill our tanks while boondocking. Therefore this blog posting will be about answering those questions. I hope by the end of this blog, you will have a better understanding on how we are able to boondock in our RV.

1. What is our liquid capacity on our 1999 Fleetwood Southwind?

80 gallons fresh water

42 gallons black water

58 gallons grey water

25 gallon LP (liquid propane)

75 gallon gas tank

Please remember that we are a family of 8. A smaller family should be able to go a lot longer between filling up and dumping!

2. How do we dispose of our grey and black water when boondocking?

We have come to find out that we can go about 7-10 days before our tanks signal that they are full. Up until this point we have only been staying at a campsite for 2-3 days before continuing on to our next destination. While we are in route to our next destination, we can choose to go ahead and dump at a dump station or wait until we hit that 7-10 day mark. So far we have been able to coordinate dumping our wastes and filling up on propane at the same time, allowing us to dump for FREE since we are buying propane. We obviously choose a propane place that has a dumping station. It takes a little bit of research and smart thinking, but it works! One of the state parks we camped at for FREE due to it being off season, had a dumping station within the park. A ranger came by and told us we were welcome to use the dump station while we were there. (We were so grateful for his kindness) Here are some websites  you can go to and use to help you find a dump station where you are located. I think these can also be found on your app store for your phone. You can also dump at a friend’s or family’s home! 🙂



3. What about the fresh water?

Filling up on fresh water is easy! You can find a place where you can fill up just about anywhere. Rest areas, welcome centers, dump stations, state parks, a friends home, etc. Anytime we dump, we fill up with fresh water because everything usually lasts the same length of time. (7 days for our fresh water) Some weeks we go through water more quickly than others and its no big deal. We had a week we were all really sick, and we went through our water very fast! Seriously, almost everywhere we have boondocked, has had a water spigot. We have not had to worry one bit about not being able to refill with fresh water. We filter the water that we collect from the water spigot using a Collagen water filter. We also have an additional water filter in our RV under our sink. Just make sure you have a 50 foot water hose so you are able to reach the water spigot!

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4. What is the fresh water used for?

We use our fresh water to wash dishes, take showers, wash hands, brush teeth and flush the toilet. Since we mainly boondock out in the random beautiful places, we do not want to have to worry about filling up our tank every minute. Just because we can find a water spigot, does not mean it is easy and quick to actually refill our tank. We are too busy enjoying life and having fun to waste anytime filling up when we do not have to! We try our best to make our fresh water lasts as long as we can. Again we have been going at least a week before having to refill. Showers are taken VERY quickly with us turning the water off in between washing our bodies and hair using our button activated shower head! It allows us to turn it off without using the shower knobs, therefore keeping the water at the same hot temperature. We start by getting the water temperature just right and then turn it off by pushing the button on the shower head, so it is ready to go when we get in. While waiting for the water to get hot, we collect the water in a pan to use for the dishes! Yes, we may be weird but we hate wasting this precious water! Water is also turned off in between washing dishes and used quickly when brushing teeth. We choose to be very conservative with our water. It blows my mind now to think of all the water we use to waste back home when we would just always let it run and run and run…..Some may think this sounds exhausting or aggravating to have to think about their water usage. It took a little bit of time to get use to conserving our water because we have been wasteful for so long. Now it is a part of our routine living this RV life and it has become normal. Nobody minds because we are so thankful to be living this amazing life. Do we wish we could take long steamy showers in our RV some days, sure we do. But, we are all more than happy to sacrifice those amazing showers, for this life on the road. Trust me, it is worth it! 🙂

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5. What water into the grey water tank?

The grey water tank holds all the water that comes from the kitchen sink, bathroom sink and the shower. This tank is larger because more water is being used and drained from those sources each day.

6. What water goes into the black water tank?

Only the water that flushes through the toilet goes into the black water tank.

*Tip for dumping-Make sure you drain the black water tank BEFORE you drain the grey water tank. This way when you drain the grey water tank, the water is able to run through the black hose and clean/clear out any residue.

7. What do we use our propane for and how long does it last?

Our refrigerator, stove and heat is all run using propane. Since we have been traveling in the cooler months so far, our propane has only been lasting us about 10 days. We only use heat at night while we are sleeping. We believe our refrigerator is also using a whole lot of propane. Once the nights are not as cold, we will not have to heat the RV at night. This will help us see how much propane is actually being used from running our refrigerator. We are hoping we will be able to go much longer before needing to refill our propane then.

*Tip for getting a good price on propane-Make sure you call around or ask fellow RVers in your area where they get their propane. We have seen prices drastically different at shops just a few miles away from one another. For instance we thought we were going to have to pay $3.99 a gallon at Ace but we asked a fellow RVer where they got propane and they directed to a place that charged only $1.89 a gallon!

I hope this information has helped you learn a little more about how we deal with our black/grey water, fresh water and propane while boondocking. I try to do my best to explain everything. I write my postings late at night after all my kiddos are in bed and sometimes my mind forgets to write certain things! So please ask me again if there is something I have not answered or maybe you need further explanation. I look forward to talking about all this and answering even more questions when we go LIVE on Facebook. 🙂

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