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How to Refill Fresh Water Tank During Camping

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When you decide to venture out into nature – whether that’s a camping trip, a road trip, or something else of a similar kind – there’s no doubt that your RV’s water tank will start to run low.

Yeah, you can drive somewhere to go and fill it up, but breaking the wilderness experience in order to do this is a chore, and can ruin the isolated theme of the trip. People that have experienced this before know to carry an extra container with them, so they can go and fetch more water when they’re out in the wild.

But this is easier said than done, as a full container can be way too much for one person to carry alone. And even if you get back to the RV, decanting it into the vehicle itself can be even more challenging.

There are a few ways around this such as water pumps that assist in transferring the water. But these can require a lot of power.

What many people don’t know is that RVs actually have a tank dedicated solely for containing fresh water, and if that stays topped up, you won’t have a problem.

How to Refill Your Fresh Water Tank

Let’s find out where is this tank, and how can you get access to it.

1. Locate the Connection for the Fresh Water Tank

To find the fresh water tank, look for a pre-made connection from the main tank. The hose that makes this connection will be divided into two sections – fresh water and city water. One of these will lead to the fresh water tank.

2. Use the Fresh Water Hose

Using a fresh water hose – as opposed to using any hose – is a crucial element to filling up the fresh water tank both safely and effectively. Fresh water hoses have been designed specifically for the transferring of fresh water, and therefore shouldn’t be used for any other process.

Using this hose for draining tanks, or transferring water that isn’t fresh, can lead to contamination and bacteria getting into the water tank. This can have extremely hazardous results. In short, only use the fresh water hose for fresh water and only fill up the fresh water tank using the fresh water hose.

3. Get a Water Filter

Besides using a suitable fresh water house, you should also make use of a filter to remove chemicals, toxins and other impure minerals from whatever water source you’re drawing from.

The filter should be replaced after a certain number of uses in order to ensure that it continues to work effectively. If not, you could risk your water getting seriously contaminated. When purchasing a filter, look up how often it’s recommended that you replace it, and make sure to stick by that rule.

4. Replace the Other Filters 

Make sure to change or replace the other filters around the RV as well like in the kitchen and in the bathroom. You should change them every 6 months.

5. Start the Water Pump

When filling up the tank, it’s also a good idea to turn on the faucets that you draw water from. This might sound counter-productive, but it allows the water to fill the pipes leading to these faucets, and therefore allows the tank to take in much more water as a whole.

How to Clean a Water Tank

Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Make sure hookups have been attached.
  • Empty the tank, and then close it.
  • Mix up an RV tank cleaner to the correct consistency.
  • Empty the cleaner into the tank.
  • Fill the tank with water until it comes over the slow drain.
  • Leave the mixture overnight before draining in the morning.

In the camping and RV world – like with any other popular niche or hobby – you’re likely to come across terms that will make sense to those who are experienced, but completely indecipherable to those who aren’t.

A perfect example of this can be seen in understanding the difference between ‘potable’ and ‘non-potable’ water. What does this mean, and how does it affect you and your RV?

The following will explain what these terms mean exactly.

What is Potable Water?

camping fresh water

In short, potable refers to whether water is safe to consume or not. Although it may not be the cleanest or best-tasting water around, it has been filtered by some sort of system, and completely safe and harmless.

This means that you can drink it, boil it to cook food, wash with it and brush your teeth with it. It won’t do you any harm.

Where to Get Drinking Water?

An RV (recreational vehicle) is basically a mini-house on wheels. And, like all the other houses, it’s crucial to have safe drinking water, and such water is kept in an RV’s fresh water tank.

This type of tank goes by many names in the RV world, including potable water tank and white-water tank.

But it’s all the same – water that’s safe for humans to cook with, wash with, clean with, and drink. So, if you decide to fill up the fresh water tank from a non-man made supply – such as the supply at a campsite – then it’s crucial that you ensure that the water you’re drawing from is ‘potable’, and therefore safe.

Drinking unsafe water can lead to serious health issues, and even illness, and – in some extreme cases – death. Such tanks should be labeled so anything bad doesn’t happen. It’s best to go with the rule, ‘If in doubt, leave it out’.

If you’re unsure about the water supply, just ask a member of staff at the campsite and they should be able to let you know whether it’s potable or not. If they seem unsure or don’t know, don’t risk it.

Final Thoughts

All-in-all, when venturing out into the wild on an RV adventure, the water you encounter may not be as clearly marked as water is in normal urban environments.

Be cautious with the water sources you trust and always have them double-checked by a member of staff if you’re unsure.

We even recommend bringing a water testing kit with you, just so you can triple-check that the water source you’ve filled up from is safe and won’t cause you or your family any harm.

David Miller

My name is David and I have been an outdoor guy for as long as I can remember. I have a strong passion for the great outdoors in general and specifically camping. I am the kind of person who spends more time outdoors than indoors. I am a staunch believer in the fact that outdoor life should be well lived because it's in the natural, serene, and untamed wild that we find out who we truly are. Let’s take the journey together.

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