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Old 09-21-2007, 11:46 AM   #1
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Sewer Totes

We are heading down to a state park in Fla in November where they have water and electric only. Because we are going to be there long enough, I think I'm going to invest in a sewer tote. Probably somewhere around 30 gallons or so.

I've looked via the Internet, at Thetfords totes that come equipped with self stored dump hoses and auto shutoffs preventing overfills, and other brands. The Thetfords being the most expensive, but in some cases not needing to buy any additional attachements. Looks like the Thetford will carry about a $50 premium.

I'm also seeing models that are 4 wheel totes and 2 wheel totes. Most either come with handles that can attach to your ball mount or you can add them. Two wheel models tend not to have attachment handles for the tow vehicles.

So for those of you who have these totes, what are your experiences? From what I can see I'm going to end us spending somewhere between $150-$200 to get a tote that holds between 27-35 gallons.

Jack
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Old 09-21-2007, 11:58 AM   #2
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For what it is worth

Jack,

When I was full timing in IL, the campground was water and elect only. I got by with a 10 gallon 2 wheel, but I used the shower house and was reasonable in my water useage. I think for your usage you are on the right track with the larger tank. If it were me I would go for the 4 wheel type with bumper hitch. I dont know if the Thetford name and a lot of bells and whistles are worth it. Just pay attention to what you are doing and you wont have overflow issues. Also, its a good idea to think about how you will be transporting the tote around when in transit.
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:03 PM   #3
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If you are going to use your blue tote for black/sewer, I think it would be a good idea to have it able to hold as much as your built-in black tank does. I definately wouldn't want to have to "close the valve" half-way through emptying for two trips to empty your tank....too easy to mis-calculate "half-way"!

We don't used our blue tote for black - only grey. We can go 4+ days (conserving water) with our 10 gallon black tank. Most places we have done this we can run grey on the ground or use our blue tote for that which is 15 gallons.

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Old 09-21-2007, 12:17 PM   #4
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The black tank will definately last with only two of us. The plan will be to use the portable for the grey water side, which always fills faster. I'm not too big on getting something as large as the grey water tank since that will mean buying something as big as 40 gallons. That a substantial tank and with the weight that could generate, I'm curious how well the wheels would hold up when pulling it to a dump station.

I plan to do some testing with a smaller tank and learn where the point hits on the systems panel that is equivalent to the tank storage. As noted something between 27 and 32 gallons would be the sweet spot both on handling full and space it will take in the tow vehicle.

All of this comes into my questions regarding user experience and the potential of spending the extra $$ for the Thetford tanks since it has the auto stop feature and the built in hoses.

Jack
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:19 PM   #5
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Yeah, I wouldn't worry about it with grey water - you're right, 40 gallons would be huge! And you have to store it to/from and when not in use.

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Old 09-21-2007, 12:20 PM   #6
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We have a 25 gallon 4-wheeled blue tank with the handle that hooks to the ball mount. I wish they would have had the 30 gallon when I bought ours since our gray tank is 37 gallons, but they were out. Even at 25 gallons, I have to fill it every day. It is heavy and a larger one would, naturally, be heavier so the ball mount is essential in my mind. Just remember, the soil in FL is very sandy and very loose. I found that the wheels can bog down in the sand very easy and make pulling it out to the road a very hefty job to say the least. Towing it through the entire camp ground to get back to our site over Memorial Day didn't seem to harm the wheels any on ours so I guess they are sized and engineered to handle the weight.

I have no experience with the Thetford nor do I know any one that does so I can't imagine how the auto shut off works exactly, but what do you do with the gray water in the hose when it shuts off? Anyway, I never dump our black tank in ours. We can go at least five days with our black tank, but with essentially three adults taking showers everyday, even navy showers fill our gray tank each day and that is with using paper plates and paper cups to cut dish washing.

Good luck with your choice and get larger than you think you will need, you'd be surprised how much gray water you produce in a day.
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:27 PM   #7
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Oh I do know how fast it fills. I just know we won't last 7 days without at least one dump of the grey. Obviously if the shut off activated, I can shut off the tank valve. For all intents there would be some spillage between the valve outlet and the tote tank, but with dealing with grey water only, this should be a minor issue in my eyes.

If I truly were dealing with black water, I'd buy a tote that is bigger than the black tank.

I'm off work today so I'm going to visit a couple of RV dealers local to me. One carries the Thetford and the other doesn't. I'll try to see if spending an extra $50 is worth going with the Thetford.

Jack
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:29 PM   #8
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On the other hand, if this is a single usage deal. Why not skip buying one and bribe someone at the campground to loan you theirs for 20 minutes.....
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:30 PM   #9
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I have the 27 gallon Thetford. It is enough to handle my grey tank - I am not sure I would use it for black ever but it is available for that.

Size - mine will cover my grey tank when full - that is a consideration - I agree with InsideOut about opening and closing the valve, once I connect it's dump the whole thing time.

Here is the only advice I have - find someone with the size you like and fill it with fresh water - maybe even Camping World would let you do it. They get heavy fast and this would give you some idea on what size you may want.

I would recommend the 4 wheel and I could never see towing it behind a vehicle - with a diesel F250 I would never see or hear if a wheel came off and I would continue to drag it until it was destroyed. The wheels on all of them are cheap.
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:32 PM   #10
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Do you know anyone that has one? Maybe a local forums member or perhaps one along the way that would loan you one for the trip? Might be worth asking if you don't think you'll need one in the future. I'd loan you mine, but I'm a little out of the way.
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
On the other hand, if this is a single usage deal. Why not skip buying one and bribe someone at the campground to loan you theirs for 20 minutes.....
It has crossed my mind, but we have run awfully close when camping without a sewer hookup. This just gives us a little breathing room and will allow us to stay longer at sites that we may have bypassed before.


It's sort of like my jerry cans. I never used to have any, but bought 3, 7 gallon ones a couple of years ago. It's great to have the extra water when you are at a site without a hookup. I may only use them once or twice a year, but I'm glad I got them.


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Old 09-21-2007, 12:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
Do you know anyone that has one? Maybe a local forums member or perhaps one along the way that would loan you one for the trip? Might be worth asking if you don't think you'll need one in the future. I'd loan you mine, but I'm a little out of the way.
Hey MM - I'll need to use one at the NGa rally in a few weeks. Mind if I use yours? That way mine can stay fresh and clean.....
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clancy_boy
I would recommend the 4 wheel and I could never see towing it behind a vehicle - with a diesel F250 I would never see if a wheel came off and I would continue to drag it until it was destroyed. The wheels an all of them are cheap.
I am currently doing physical therapy for a 20 year old back injury that I aggravated in December of last year. For me, unless it is just a 100' or less away, I have no choice but to tow it. I had originally planned to tow it behind the golf cart (which I would be able to tell if a wheel came off), but state parks won't allow golf carts...they'd rather I pump the air full of fluorocarbons and soot from my diesel engine than use an environmentally friendly electric to do the job! Thats state governments for you!
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:42 PM   #14
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Hmmm....Patty has an electric cart because of her bad knee. I'd be curious if it would make a good TV for the tote??



Well, I'm going to hit the road. I'll let you know what I see.

Jack
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