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Old 12-04-2015, 10:06 PM   #1
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Tank sizes

One of the "problems" we have with an Airstream is the small tanks. I have 105 gallons of fresh water, room for 110 gallons of grey, and 54 gallons of black. We generally draw from the on-board tank, filling it as needed rather than leave a hose connected all the time. We can go about five days before needing to refill the water tank, and about a week or maybe a day or two longer before needing to dump.

Those tank sizes mean that we can use electric-only campsites for several days at a time. An Airstream, by comparison, has tanks only about half this size, so we would be limited to only a couple of days at a time.

The reason for asking about this is that we've gotten involved in Habitat For Humanity's Care-A-Vanners group (thanks to a thread on this forum). Those builds are two weeks at a time, and at two of the three builds we've been on we had electric only. On one of the two we were able to stretch enough hoses together to fill the tank, and the local affiliate had arranged for a pump-out truck to come once a week. On the other we had to move the coach up a few hundred feet to a dump station, where we could both dump and fill. The third build had us park at a church, which left a door open for us (actually a key) so we could use the restrooms in the building (no showers, though), and we all pooled our hoses and Y-connectors so we all had water.

Had we had an Airstream on these three builds we would have had a FAR different experience. How do other full-timers handle this?
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Old 12-04-2015, 10:38 PM   #2
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You live in a world of riches! My FC 20 has a 23 gal fresh water tank, and smaller gray and black water tanks. Just letting you know how good you have it. LOL.
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Old 12-05-2015, 06:36 AM   #3
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Full timing is a compromise, like most things in life. Unless you have unlimited funds you will need to make a choice betweeen your bus and an Airstream.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
I have 105 gallons of fresh water, room for 110 gallons of grey, and 54 gallons of black. We generally draw from the on-board tank, filling it as needed rather than leave a hose connected all the time. We can go about five days before needing to refill the water tank, and about a week or maybe a day or two longer before needing to dump.
My Airstream just has a 26-gallon fresh tank, and I can stretch that small amount to a full week if I'm the only one using the water. I'm not a full-timer by any means— since I retired the beginning of this year I've only spent about sixteen weeks camping in my Airstream, but most of my trips have been at least a week in duration, and one was almost three weeks long, so the issue of on-board water supplies has reared its head from time to time.

Granted, I don't know how many people are sharing your 105-gallon water supply to use it up in five days. But the point is, we make do with what we have by conserving our limited water supplies. Navy showers or even sponge baths if necessary (you can get clean one body part at a time and don't need to get wet all over at the same time, and sponge baths can be loads of fun for two people!), washing dishes in a bucket and saving the used water to flush the toilet, avoiding dishwashing altogether by using paper plates that can be disposed of later as campfire kindling, and more. There are all kind of tricks to save water, many of which I've learned right here on the AirForums.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:00 PM   #5
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Thanks. There are two of us, and we don't completely use up the water in five days, but we're getting low at that point. Yes, the number of showers makes a difference. I'm starting to like the idea of paper plates for most things. Washing once a day instead of three times a day would certainly help.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:16 PM   #6
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We have a 27 foot FB which means we have 39 gallons of fresh, 37 gallons of grey and 39 gallons of black. We use the following strategy to maximize our non-hookup enjoyment.

Fresh Water: We use about 10 gallons of fresh water per day for showers and dishes, etc.. It's easy enough in a campground without water hookups to use a pair of five gallon "jerry cans" to keep the fresh water topped off (usually two cans a day does it.) We do take so-called "Navy Showers" and have a cut off switch on the shower head to facilitate this.

Grey Water: By using dishpans for dish washing and disposing of that water someplace other than the grey tank (either outside on a bush or in the black tank) means that virtually all of the water in the grey tank only comes from showers and a little bit of hand washing. We can easily go six or even seven days before needing to dump the grey. If we are staying in a no hookup campground for longer than our grey tank will allow, we simply secure things in the trailer and drive it over to the dump station. Total time to do this including the time to break camp and set up again is about 1/2 hour.

Black Tank: We can easily go just about two weeks unless we are putting in a lot of the grey water, in which case the black tank gets dumped at the same time we dump the grey after a six or seven day period.

It took us a little time to perfect our methods and we are always trying to improve. It's become a kind of game for us. We will even use the above techniques (except for the trailer going to the dump station) in full service campgrounds to keep our skills sharp.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:23 PM   #7
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How sad for you, or maybe us Airsteam owners.
All I can say to 105 gals and 110 gals and 54 gals in a week is, wow.
Ever herd of conservation???


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Old 12-05-2015, 09:23 PM   #8
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Our 31' has 54 gals of fresh water ,I do believe and it will last the two of us 3 days...
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:07 PM   #9
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Showers three times a day? Who does that at home? Many people might shower once every two days. Water is precious. Much of the western US is in drought.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:32 PM   #10
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I think they were referring to doing dishes 3 times a day not showering.
9 gallons per person a day. Boy that's a lot of water use when in an RV.
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Old 12-06-2015, 06:31 AM   #11
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Yes, I was referring to washing dishes three times each day. We're going to try using more disposable stuff for meals this week and I'll do the dishes only once each day. I filled the fresh water tank Friday morning, so this Friday I'll see how much I have left.
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:02 AM   #12
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Oops. Sorry about that.
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Old 12-09-2015, 01:25 PM   #13
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Well, I've ended the experiment. The weather is beautiful today, but it is supposed to get nasty in the next couple of days. As seems to be typical of RVs, the tank readouts are almost as believable as politicians' promises. Fortunately, I can see how much water is in the fresh water time. I probably could have gone another day, maybe two, before needing to fill, but I decided to take advantage of the weather to do outdoor stuff today.

We tried using disposable stuff, and decided that it really didn't make much difference. Most of the dishes are from cooking, not eating.
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Old 12-09-2015, 08:03 PM   #14
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We tried using disposable stuff, and decided that it really didn't make much difference. Most of the dishes are from cooking, not eating.
I agree with that. There is always something which has to be washed up anyway, and once you have water enough for those things, a few dishes, cups and some silverware take very little more (more rinsing mostly).
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