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Old 11-20-2013, 11:20 AM   #1
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Winthrop , Washington
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Two or Three Tanks, that is the question...

First let me say that I REALLY like the Tins from the 60’s and early 70’s, and we are looking for something with at least a 24’ box on it but not over 30’ overall. We’re getting ready for retirement (as much of one as we can afford anyway) in a couple of years from now. Will keep the home and spend summers here and travel and workamp during most of the winter.
Most of the vintage trailers we like have a fresh water tank and only a black tank. Our question is – just how important, or more convenient is having a grey tank? Should we consider moving to something a little later just to get three tanks? We plan on being on the road traveling two to three months with about 50% of our nights with hookups, and about two months in one spot with hookups (Amazon work). We both have an aversion to campground restrooms, so the Inhouse will be used regularly.
Thoughs or ideas? Thanks, Ted

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Old 11-20-2013, 12:15 PM   #2
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Just an opinion:

The old trailers are great due to the light weight. That will help you with fuel consumption and wear and tear on your vehicle. However, you called out the issue with tanks.

You have 2 options. Carry a blue boy (it's a portable gray tank) or have gray tanks installed.

You really only need the gray tanks in places where you boondock (like state parks, some rallys, Walmart, parking lots, overnight at friends house)
The gray tank issue can be solved by the blue boy, or by stealth (parking near a storm drain, in high weeds, raining outside)

I didn't have gray tanks on my 64. I'm adding them now. But until then, I left the cap on and allowed the tiny amount of water we were using to accumulate in the lines (washing hands after stopping at a rest stop) We asked friends if we could dump gray water on the fields where we stopped by, and it wasn't an issue as these were rural locations.

You can add gray tanks yourself using Vintage Trailer Supply's tanks, or possibly have someone do it for you. It's a lot of work to integrate them depending on the model you get. I was able to integrate mine seamlessly, but it's taken a year of thinking about it.

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Old 01-28-2014, 05:50 PM   #3
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Livingston , Texas
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The "stealth" suggestion is not only unsanitary, but carries heavy fines in more & more communities. Believe me, once you start working @ Amazon the last thing you want to do after you get home from a 10 to 12 hour day is dump a blue boy!

Additionally, many RV parks now require you to be "fully self-contained" which means mounted tanks for ALL waste from your unit (especially those that hire workampers).

So you might want to take these thoughts into consideration. What might work for the weekend unit may not be a good idea for the long term camper.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:31 PM   #4
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South of the river , Minnesota
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Originally Posted by Homepro View Post
Just how important, or more convenient is having a grey tank? Should we consider moving to something a little later just to get three tanks? We plan on being on the road traveling two to three months with about 50% of our nights with hookups, and about two months in one spot with hookups (Amazon work). We both have an aversion to campground restrooms, so the Inhouse will be used regularly.
I added a greywater tank to my C-11 at considerable trouble and expense after realizing how much of problem its absence posed.

The first Fact to Consider is that up until the 1970s the standard camping practice was either to dump greywater on the ground or into a drain pipe provided by the campground, which just drained into a little cathole or drywell at the campsite. Not surprising since that was pretty much the reality for many stick houses of the era too. So it's not like these rigs were designed for blue boys -- they weren't.

At a full hookup site there is, of course, no need for a greywater tank. Once you get there, at least. For me, pre-trip and post-trip routine cleanup, throwing ice cubes in the sink, etc., became much more of a hassle, can't do lunch dishes after stopping at a rest stop either. There is some slight capacity in the piping itself but that's only enough for a few handwashings.

There are many campgrounds that have few if any full-hookup sites, at least in the area I travel (Minnesota and surrounding states). Even at campgrounds with full-hookup sites, availability is a problem, and in my experience even if you have a reservation some of them will "bump" you down to a water/electric site if someone else comes in for a long-term stay.

On the other hand a greywater tank does not solve everything. If you're going to take showers and wash dishes you'll only get a few nights out of it unless you're both experts at conservation.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:54 PM   #5
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Homepro--welcome to the forums!

One thing you didn't mention is how much work you intend to take on to refurbish a trailer. If you are looking at the older trailers and fully expect to take on the major issues they typically have (axle replacement, rotting floor repair, fixes to plumbing and electrical systems, major appliance replacement), then adding a grey tank as part of that isn't that big of a deal.

If you are hoping to find a trailer that is ready to roll, and has already had the repair work done, then keep your eye open for a trailer that has already had grey tanks installed by the previous owner, as it is a common thing to do in an extensive renovation.

If you like the 70's trailers, I think they started installing grey tanks in all the models from about '75 on, so you should have several ways in which to get a trailer with grey tanks.

Do you need them. Yes, if you intend to camp without full hook-ups, and intend to use water. Could you use a "Blue boy" to get by? Sure, but then you have to store the tank when not being used, and you have to drag it to a dump station every day or so to empty it. becomes a hassle in a real hurry.

Good luck!
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:38 PM   #6
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My '74 has a 12 gallon GW tank. It is good for about 2 showers, a days worth of dishes and normal hand washing.
You could stretch it to a couple of days before having to empty it.
Not wanting to tear into the trailer and add a larger tank. I used a 10 gallon BlueBoy for a couple of seasons. It was somewhat of an improvement. But didn't meet my needs.
Still not wanting to tear into the trailer in a major way. I decided to add a 21 gallon tank under the curb side twin bed. Along with the necessary piping and a pump. Now, when the original tank gets full. I pump it into the auxiliary tank. This has worked well in situations where we stay 2 or 3 nights without a sewer hookup.
When we leave, we simply stop by the dump station on the way out and dump both GW tanks and the BW tank if needed.
Since our FW. Capacity is 30 gallons. A 30 gallon GW system works.
In planning trips. I try to stay at a place that has full hookups every 3 or 4 days for at least 1 night. That way there is an opportunity for a real shower.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:22 AM   #7
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Thanks to all!

That settles it, we'll look for something newer. After a lifetime of handyman'ing, restorations, and making do, I'm pretty tired. Will find one to just put my feet up in. Thanks for the experienced input, you helped with our decisions. Ted
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:50 AM   #8
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I had planned to install a grey water tank in our '66 Trade Wind. We've had it 8 years and during those 8 years my arthritis has discouraged me from attempting it. We dry camp about half the time. I have an 11 gal blue boy that tucks nicely in the tub during travel and is easy to tote to the proper dump station. At a national park last year the dump station was a little to far to tote it walking. But for the first time I used the trailer hitch adapter to the blue boy and drove the tank to the dump. It was easy enough to accomplish that I was glad that I decided not to tear into the 'belly' with a lot of work. Our stay was for 10 days and it did not become an excessive inconvenience.


Neil and Lynn Holman
FreshAir #12407

Kirk Creek, Big Sur, Ca. coast.

1966 Trade Wind

1971 Buick Centurion convertible
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1969 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight
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