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Old 07-23-2008, 02:36 PM   #1
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Water carriers

How do you transport water when boondocking or at a park that doesnít have water hookup? This describes 90% of our camping (state parks in Colorado, where we camp often, donít have water for each site)

I should point out that we camp for weeks at a time, but are not the obsessive minimal-water type of campers. We each shower daily (sometimes twice if hiking etc). Weíve moved mostly to paper plates and are generally careful about water use Ė but we stay comfortable! We generally need to refill our 50-gallon tank every 2.5 to 3 days.

Our initial foray in water carriers involved a variety of water jugs, usually bought at WalMart. These were OK, but they eat up a lot of space in the back of our tonneau-covered pickup. Some were too tall to stand up under the closed tonneau cover, making transport difficult when full. I still carry two 6-gallon carriers with me, but it takes too many to refill a 50-gallon tank!

Generally, even when boondocking, we can find water within a few miles (state parks, etc.). Our solution two years ago was to buy a 45 gallon vinyl rubber bladder from Camping World. You can see the CW site HERE, or the original manufacturer HERE claims to provide custom-sizes. When not in use, it rolls up into the size of a shoebox.

As shown on the Camping World site, this unit is designed to be carried on the top of your car. This allows gravity feed down to the trailer. Unfortunately, this assumes that your water source is probably quite close to your trailer, and youíre not going more than a few miles-per-hour. Also, Iím not that thrilled with carrying 400 pounds on my roof!

To use the bladder for long distance, high speed transport, I fill it in the back of our pickup. Because the back of the truck is too low for gravity feed, I modified an old 12-volt water pump (plugged in to the truck via a 12-volt extension). This allows me to transfer from truck to trailer without gravity feed advantage. I bought the necessary fittings at the local hardware store. It requires two hoses, using the fittings that allow you to reverse them.

I filter the water going in to the bladder using the in-line filter, then again coming out of the bladder (same filter) when using the transfer pump.

See pictures below


Some caveats:
  • the pump may blow the fuse on a regular 12-volt cigarette lighter plug. Our Ford F-250 has a Power Source plug with higher capacity.
  • I clean and disinfect the bladder regularly. I havenít figured out how to dry the inside if its not going to be used for a while, and once found a bit of green algae near the fill-spout. Not sure how solve this problem
  • make sure the outside is completely dry before rolling and storing. Any moisture on the outside will remain in place and get moldy.
Weíve now used this method successfully for two years. Weíre still using the original bladder, but donít expect it to last beyond 3-4 year lifespan.

Hope this gives you some ideas! Helpful comments are welcome.
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Old 07-23-2008, 03:05 PM   #2
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hi tin and thanks for the showntell...

has the bladder ever SHIFTED during travel when full?

what u are doing seems ideal for this issue....

it would be nice to have a 100 or 200 gallon bladder

and they are available in custom sizes and thinkness.

with tonneau cover there isn't much room left for gear in the bed...

so a bladder could be top mounted IF the tonneau was reinforce enough.

with a full bed shell, a shelf can be added with water below and gear above.

i can usually go a week on the 60 gallon fresh tank and a couple of gerry cans.

but the bladder set up would be GREAT for re supplying water when going4 groceries and other town supplies.

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-23-2008, 03:31 PM   #3
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more info

Hi 2Air,
the bladder has never shifted. The 45-gallon version has two transverse baffles in it, making 3 compartments. Last week I was at a water source and took the opportunity to fill the bladder before I really needed water. I drove around with about 25 gallons for 24 hours, and had no problem.

The biggest problem with longer term storage in the bladder is that the fill point isn't especially heavy-duty. When full, it will drip. If I have leftover water that I want to transfer later (the bladder is only partially full) I make sure to prop up the fill spout above the rest of the bladder.

Regarding carrying on top of the tonneau cover, there's no way my A.R.E. cover would support it, and there's no way i would risk that $1000 investment!!!

Your shelf ideas are good. We tend to get into place and unload most of our gear - staying for a week or more. So its no problem to have to space in the back of the truck.

By the way, if you look at the photo showing the bladder, you'll see two of the four cargo boxes I bought at Lowe's (or Home Depot - can't remember) Best investment I ever made. I label each one for quick finds, and about 16-inches of space is available on top of each one for stacking other stuff (satellite disc, step ladder, outside carpet, etc).

Glad you liked the post.
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Old 07-23-2008, 03:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tin Diesel View Post

Regarding carrying on top of the tonneau cover, there's no way my A.R.E. cover would support it, and there's no way i would risk that $1000 investment!!!
agree completely especially with a fiberglass tonneau

i've seen some generic poly tonneau that claim to support 1000 lbs but still...

yep, bins are good!

and i'll admit to, uh 6-9 of them filled with crap under the a.r.e. shell...

cheer
2air'
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:15 PM   #5
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We got outta there!!

talk around the campfire;

So Bobby -you been campin lately?

Oh yea, let me tell you what we seen with our own 2 eyes!!
We was at a place in Colorado, this young couple pulls in next to us with one of them shinny luminum drag behinds, you know what I'm talkin bout.
Satelite dish, led flashlights, gas grill, chrome rims on the truck, high dollar tonneau cap, Heck they even had "T" bone steaks with red wine one evening. Weird folk- weird.
We was camped next to em for a few days. They was different alright.Candles, soft music, weird folk. Seems as sometimes during the middle of the day they would take a shower together, come outside wet haired, laughin and being all silly kinda. Weird
Then bout the third day they drove off into town. Well a few hours later they pulled in all giggly and havin too much fun. Me and Audrey was a wondering what was next.
Well they jump out of the pickem up with a bunch of groceries,wine bottles, beer and who knows what. Took em bout a hour to get all that stuff situated in their rig.
Then he comes outside grinnin like a chesire and opens the lid on the back of the truck!!
HOLY DE MACKEL der ANDY-- There sits the biggest BLUE BOY I done ever seen, and I been campin for 5 decades! AND this thing looks full.bout 50 gallons I recon. kinda like them bladders we get hog food in the winter out at the farm.
He starts a diddilin round with some plastic crates and pulls out this nasty lookin macerator pump. Hooks it up to the BLUE BOY and starts pumpin INTO the trailer!!!
That was enough for us. WE hooked up the 5er and hauled a$$ away from that place. I weren't gonna hand around and have to fill out any EPA spill paperwork for nobody.
Yup they was weird folk, just weird.
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:28 PM   #6
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Lol!!

That is too funny - and some of the descriptions are too close to home!
Have you camped next to us?
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:54 PM   #7
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Don't recall ever camping next to you.But it could happen some time in the future, weird huh.
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:10 PM   #8
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That Tonneau cover puts a damper on things for truck storage and don't understand their purpose at all but they do look pretty nice and I guess they hide "stuff"
I used to stand two 55 gallon plastic drums together with a sureflow and transfer into the main while we were at the races. They are cheap and easy to refill.
Wish I had a photo as it was a pretty nice set up and we even gave water away through a hose to friends. I had 110 + the 50 on board and could last a week or longer.
I also like that you take a normal shower. As much time as I spent in the military, I'm through with short showers. I think I use 10 gallons at a time.
When hunting in my TC, I can't get away with that but in the Airstream, you better believe I'm taking a shower. Calgon take me away!
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 Overlander View Post
That Tonneau cover puts a damper on things for truck storage and don't understand their purpose at all but they do look pretty nice and I guess they hide "stuff"
...snip...
We have a tonneau cover on our truck...and you're right...they do look nice, and the do hide "stuff"...but we've realized another thing: it keeps us from putting too much "stuff" in the truck and therefore holds down the weight ...so we end up just taking what we need...and then that's usually too much...
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Old 07-24-2008, 06:59 AM   #10
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I have the the same big water bag. Also, several 6 gallon collapsable jugs. I actually prefer the latter. There really isn't much lifting as I fill them in the back of the truck. Transfer water to AS using a pump. I like to fill the water tank well before it is empty. If I have left over water in the jugs, I just set them on the ground. If I have left over water in the big water bag, I can waste it on the ground(not good), or, be stuck with the bag still lying in the back of the truck when we chase off on errands. Which, the manuf. warns against.

Tom
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:10 AM   #11
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBRich View Post
We have a tonneau cover on our truck...and you're right...they do look nice, and the do hide "stuff"...but we've realized another thing: it keeps us from putting too much "stuff" in the truck and therefore holds down the weight ...so we end up just taking what we need...and then that's usually too much...

They're also a great safety feature. I read about a guy who was driving a truck without a cover, and a bike inner tube flew out of his box. It hit a motorcycle driver who was riding behind him and killed him. Not somethig I want on my consience. I've got an access cover, it works great, rolls up out of the way if I need to put TOO MUCH STUFF back there hehehehehe
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:44 AM   #12
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We have a tonneau cover on our truck...and you're right...they do look nice, and the do hide "stuff"...but we've realized another thing: it keeps us from putting too much "stuff" in the truck and therefore holds down the weight ...so we end up just taking what we need...and then that's usually too much...
That's a good point. I've often felt like the Clampets when we go on a long trip only to realize we don't need half the stuff we bring.
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:09 PM   #13
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I did not read all of the posts, but Tin Diesel or any body else, have you thought about this for water transfer. Park your truck closer to your AS, use a shorter hose, connect hose to bladder, let hose fill with water then connect to AS. Water should just siphon from bladder to AS tank. I did this for the first time this past weekend, using a 10' garden hose from a container sitting in the back of my truck. My truck is a '07 Ram 1500 with 20" wheels so it might sit higher than most other stock trucks. Think I'll be looking into one of those bladders, I love things that fold small for storage.

Later - Derek
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:13 PM   #14
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Woooo Hooooo!!!!

I cannot thank you enough for posting this info.

We have been talking about something like this for seven months and here it pops into our lap.

My order has been place and we should have it some time next week.

Thanks again,

Jim
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