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Old 08-11-2015, 12:11 AM   #1
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2014 25' Flying Cloud
Orinda , California
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Filling Up Water Tanks Before You Leave or On the Road?

I enjoy the quieter atmosphere of boondocking so I want to do more of it. My question is whether to fill up water tanks at home or on the road? If one does fill up on the road, are there particular facilities that offer potable water? Kind of like facilities that offer dump stations? If one does run out of water while on the road, where does one go to refill either the AS tank or portable gallon jugs?

Thanking you in advance.


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Old 08-11-2015, 05:13 AM   #2
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Kind of by definition, Boon docking locations don't have a potable water source

Most of the festivals I go to have a water station to fill tanks, and I travel with empty tanks whenever possible.

When there is no water, or sulfur smelling water where I am going, I fill up tanks at home. I also bring four 6 gallon plastic jerry cans filled with water. I also use the jerry cans to transfer water, so I don't have to move my trailer

Water isn't free…Even if you don't pay for…someone IS. Either you pay the water company by how much is used, or you pay the electric bill for the pump that takes the water from underground. OR in some places like Canyonlands, someone pays the guy who hauls in the water on a truck.

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Old 08-11-2015, 05:37 AM   #3
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We usually fill up at home. It doesn't hurt to carry around a full tank of water and might actually help (lower center of gravity from the weight).

On our recent road trip, we had several stops that didn't have water hookups, so we would refill at the prior campground (where we did have a water hookup) before departing.
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:40 AM   #4
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There are several reasons to tow with a full fresh tank. One of them is, if you have a problem on the road, you have a source of water to clean up after performing repairs. Another is a source of water if, for example, you have a problem with your tow vehicle that requires refilling the radiator.
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:46 AM   #5
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I always carry at least one of my 52 gallon tanks filled. You just never know what the day will bring!
Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it!
With that being said, I think the life and times if a full timer or nomad is much different than the weekend warier headed to the KOA!
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:57 AM   #6
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We're the "mug rumps" (Mug on one side of the fence, rump on the other.) I run with about a half full fresh water tank, and a few gallons of fresh water in the waste tanks. The Airstream is the cleanest "truck stop bathroom" we have found. We are hard pressed to use much more than 5 gallons of water a day. I resist loading extra weight if I don't have to.

If we are boondocking, then I would fill the fresh water tank for all the reasons we humans need water. Our trailers and designed to transport a full tank of fresh water, but it does add maybe 250 pounds of extra weight, almost always located ahead of the axles.

By the way, we are one of the few countries in the world where potable water is so readily available. We are blessed here in Minnesota with so much water available, at least when it isn't frozen.

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Old 08-11-2015, 07:16 AM   #7

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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
There are several reasons to tow with a full fresh tank. One of them is, if you have a problem on the road, you have a source of water to clean up after performing repairs. Another is a source of water if, for example, you have a problem with your tow vehicle that requires refilling the radiator.


FW always full at start-off.

FWIW.......100mi with a 1/2 full black tank 'duz wonders for keeping things loose & dump-able.

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Old 08-11-2015, 09:24 AM   #8
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We've been full-time for a few months and a good portion of our time out west has been dry camping/boondocking. Always start out with freshwater, and if you find water somewhere, top off. Because finding water is actually difficult.

I also carry 4 5 gallon Rhino water jugs for filling up the tank. That comes to about 20 gallons which is half of my 39 gallon tank. Two trips to a water source and we are full.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:19 AM   #9
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Hi from AZ. . . While I hate hauling much of that 8.5 lbs per stuff around, Sunday past we were stuck behind a nasty accident on I-15 for almost 2 hours in 90+ heat. The girls with 3 horses in front of us were trying to water the horses, but the water pump in the trailer had failed. so we turned on the AS pump & provided several gallons of water for the thirsty beasts (while in the middle of the road). Quite the experience & they seemed happy. You never know, do you ? ! regards, Craig
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:21 AM   #10
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We always fill up before we leave on a trip.
One reason is because we have excellent quality water and a lot of water out West can be full of minerals, bad smell, or taste bad.
Another reason is so that we have a bathroom, lunch stop, and water available while traveling.
3rd I don't think the extra weight makes that much difference to our fuel mileage. My F-250 diesel averages between 11 - 14 MPG when towing full or empty. When not towing I get about 19 MPG.
4th the extra weight in the bottom lowers the CG and tends to smooth out the ride a little.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:25 AM   #11
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All of the above, and I prefer to keep my fresh water pretty full.

It is easiest, and often free, to dump your tanks at a public campground, at which time you can fill up as well.

If no public facility is available, private campgrounds usually allow this for a small fee.

If you were to become stranded for some reason, or stuck on a highway for hours due to an accident, having plenty of fresh water keeps you fully functional.

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Old 08-11-2015, 10:27 AM   #12
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Do you plan to drink the water?
Where does the water taste better?
I generally fill the fresh water tank at J. P. Coleman State Park because the water there tastes so good- better tasting than the water at home-
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:27 AM   #13
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Since I have a heavy load already I tend to only fill the water tank full when I know that the campground I am going to has no water hookups at the site, and whose water quality is questionable. Where I know I have either good quality water available or hookups, I'll carry about 5 gallons. Enough to flush the toilet while enroute. If necessary I will fill at the destination campground or use their hookups if available.

If I'm carrying a full tank from home, I'll also carry 3, 7 gallon cans of water in my van. That gives me a total of 81 gallons of water to use. Typically we only go on one trip a year where I carry water from home.

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Old 08-11-2015, 10:29 AM   #14
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I always fill before leaving. 1. It is the water I am used to using. 2. Stops along the trip. 3. I've arrived at a campground at night, during a rain storm, or where the campground system is temporarily out of service. I also carry 6 gallons of drinking water in the AS (What if you get to a dry camp and your pump doesn't work until you repair or replace it?)

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