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Old 02-05-2010, 12:00 PM   #1
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2010 30' Classic
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South of the river , Minnesota
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Practicality of trailers without a graywater tank

It's tempting to make this into a poll but I'm really hoping for discussion and insight instead of just votes.

If you have an older traylah that doesn't have a graywater tank, what do you do? Add one? Use full hookups? Use a tote? Run it out on the ground? Not use the sink?

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Old 02-05-2010, 12:03 PM   #2
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1967 30' Sovereign
Los Lunas , New Mexico
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We do whatever works for the trip:

*Use full hookups.
*Run the gray into the black tank. (Check your manual on how to do this.)
*Run gray on the ground/into a hole where allowed.
*Use a tote.

It all depends on where we're going.


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Old 02-05-2010, 12:45 PM   #3
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True Lynn, true. That gray-into-black may be tempting, but gray water production is so much more than black. Thus black tanks aren't high-capacity to begin with. The first sign of a full tank comes up through your shower drain. Quickly followed by a "now why did I do that?" exclamation. Family won't camp with you for half a season, and then only if you pull it to the dump station every single morning! (Nawww, not quite that bad..)

Gray water on the ground generally is illegal in the civilized universe (See! You westerners knew we were harboring a grudge, didn'tcha!). Doesn't mean you never hear late night trickling from RVs everywhere... Put this next to your terlit for those reading opportunities ...

Blue totes are blue totes. At 9# a gallon, you do the math. I haven't seen convenient dump sites except in maybe one campground near Walker. Otherwise it's hoist it up into the TV to drive it to the campground dump station. Lynn is right about full hookups -- if only I'd camp in a commercial campground more than a couple nights a year. Gen Disarray & I are hung up on a preference for out-of-the-way locations with fewer such amenities unfortunately.

No easy answers. But among the choices are make-do for a while and eventually pull it apart and put in a gray tank. It's good reading for a lot of reasons, but Shari documented her tank install very well somewhere in the depths of

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 02-05-2010, 12:46 PM   #4
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Yup, it doesn't bother us that much. We have a blue tote we take with us, and if we don't have hookups, we use the tote. No big deal. Be sure to get one you can move around when it's full! We haven't stayed anywhere yet where it was ok to let it drain into the ground.

If we are just stopping for lunch on the road or potty breaks, you can use the sink a little bit and it will just back up in the pipes until you get to where you are going. Be careful though, if it backs up too much it might come up in the lowest place it can find - the shower! Same thing if you are running it into the tote and forget to open the other cap on the tote, which lets the air out as water goes in - the tote will blow up like a balloon and the water will back up and end up in - the shower! Been around that block too many times

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Old 02-05-2010, 01:19 PM   #5
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I forgot to add that using gray water is legal in some states, though with major restrictions. Below's a link to a document about its use here in New Mexico; if I remember correctly, Arizona has nearly identical rules.

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Old 02-05-2010, 05:09 PM   #6
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We use our blue tote. We never boondock and very few parks that we go to have full hookups. The blue tote has wheels and a handle that hooks to the truck bumper. I roll it out and dump it about every other day. Really it is not that bad.

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Old 02-05-2010, 05:11 PM   #7
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When in a campground, I hook up with my hose or use my tote. In the boonies it's either the tote or a gopher hole if allowed.
Steve "Centennial Man"
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Old 02-05-2010, 05:37 PM   #8
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I just finished (about an hour ago) hanging a new 25 gallon gray tank behind the rear axle of my 68 Trade Wind. It was a bunch of work since I'm not all that handy and was learning as I go. Having said that, it isn't more than was reasonable. The tank hangs below the belly pan, but at the same height as the axles so its not going to snag anything.

In hindsight, if I had fully realized what I was getting into, I might of pulled the entire belly pan and added another fresh water tank in front of the front axle. another 25-30 gallons would be handy given my boondocking tendencies.

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Old 02-05-2010, 06:47 PM   #9
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I have three 15 gallon totes, they go up the truck ramp without much fuss. My grey will go directly into them. The black will as well if the dump valve is pulled.
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
It's tempting to make this into a poll but I'm really hoping for discussion and insight instead of just votes.

If you have an older traylah that doesn't have a graywater tank, what do you do? Add one? Use full hookups? Use a tote? Run it out on the ground? Not use the sink?
As the old saying goes, "where there's a will, there's a way.

All of us in life, wish we had something, but don't or didn't. You become innovative and live with what you do have.

Long ago, homes and cars, as well as RV's, didn't have AC's, but we managed.

Not too long ago, we didn't have cell phones, or any of the other new gadgets, but we all managed.

Certainly, life in an Airstream is simpler, and nicer, when it has a gray tank.

Tote tanks seem to be the choice of most, since if properly used, they do not create a health hazard.

Enjoy what you have, and during some of those times that are precious to you and your family, you will come up with ideas, that may even include adding a gray tank.

But, many owners that don't have the benefit of a gray tank in their Airstream, enjoy and continue to enjoy what they do have.

In the meantime, your not alone, and please enjoy everything there is to enjoy, with Airstreaming and many of the friendships that you will find.

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Old 02-05-2010, 09:01 PM   #11
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there are a couple of LONG threads on this issue of wash water, wash water tanks and what to do on trailers withOUT one...

seems there is an old poll on this too.

the solution almost entirely depends on WHERE is de 'camping done.

some private parks do NOT allow external tanks of ANY sort.

here's an old thread that examples this issue...

some state parks have VERY restrictive guides on external tank use (sealed /no venting allowed)

some places allow almost anything or operate on the don't ask don't tell concept.

but those parks are LESS and less common and often in very sparsely populated OR camped locations...

some places that do NOT allow wash water dumping from the tank, DO allow dumping a basin of wash water...

which means from the sink dumping is OK, but NOT run through the plumbing beforehand ...

and some 'prohibited dumping sites' suspend those rules during dry/drought times...

and one SURE way to attract critters to the campsite is by dumping wash water with tiny BITS of food and grease and odors...

even folks WITH built IN wash water tanks may need to carry a blue tote...

which allows one to dispose of water IN the tank as it fills IF the park doesn't have full hook ups...

we've even had blue tote races here...

rubbing is racing!


all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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