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Old 01-22-2021, 01:46 PM   #1
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Gray water

So this past weekend we took our Salem 178bhskx out for the first time at a local campground. We were there for 4 days with full hook ups. After we left, I realized I dumped the gray tank 3 times. I couldíve gotten away with just twice, looking back, but I emptied before we left. Now, first time in the camper both kids, my wife and myself, took showers every night and we washed a few dishes. We have two upcoming trips planned, but only have electric and water. Are there tricks to conserving water or should we look into a portable dump tank? How does everyone go out for days just hooked to electric and water? The portable tanks just seem like a hassle and too cumbersome to put in the back of the truck to dump when itís full with 30g of water. And once I told my wife we may have to cut back on showers she was not happy lol.
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Old 01-22-2021, 02:39 PM   #2
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There are many ways to save water-
1- less showers and Navy showers
2-donít run the water when brushing your teeth
3- wash dishes in a dish pan and do only quick rinse.
4- paper plates

Plan on getting a tote , everyone uses them, also not all camp sites have water so plan on a container for water.
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Old 01-22-2021, 02:44 PM   #3
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Showers are our biggest killer. Turning the water on + off, we still use just so much water. It doesn’t help that 3 of the 4 of us are long hair Wookiees and my son even has thick hair.

You can skip showers by using things like Venture Wipes- basically super sized baby wipes.

Or, in the right situation, I’ll take a garden hose and hook it up to the sewer where I let the gray from the shower (and clothes washer) run out on the ground. I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t stink if it doesn’t sit in the gray tank. Kitchen gray, we try not to let out on the ground just because of food bits and whatnot. But, I only do this where it’s allowed; if the rules say no dumping gray water, I don’t.

As for totes, my favorite is my sewer bladder. It’s a cloth bag that sits in my truck bed and I use a macerator pump to pump the waste water up into it.
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Old 01-22-2021, 02:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by JustinL50 View Post
So this past weekend we took our Salem 178bhskx out for the first time at a local campground. We were there for 4 days with full hook ups. After we left, I realized I dumped the gray tank 3 times. I couldíve gotten away with just twice, looking back, but I emptied before we left. Now, first time in the camper both kids, my wife and myself, took showers every night and we washed a few dishes. We have two upcoming trips planned, but only have electric and water. Are there tricks to conserving water or should we look into a portable dump tank? How does everyone go out for days just hooked to electric and water? The portable tanks just seem like a hassle and too cumbersome to put in the back of the truck to dump when itís full with 30g of water. And once I told my wife we may have to cut back on showers she was not happy lol.
We've been dry campers for 25 years.
We have a 15 gallon blue boy tote tank, which makes it easier to load in the truck bed to dump. Sure I may have to dump the gray water more often but it's easier to handle.
With a young family of 4, that aren't experienced dry campers and you don't want a tote tank, I don't know what to tell you.
Other than Homebrew's suggestions and only using the campground showers, I don't know what else to suggest.
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Old 01-22-2021, 03:03 PM   #5
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You find out you don't need to shower every day real quick. Especially if you are camping. And what everyone else said.
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Old 01-22-2021, 03:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Homebrew View Post
There are many ways to save water-
1- less showers and Navy showers
2-donít run the water when brushing your teeth
3- wash dishes in a dish pan and do only quick rinse.
4- paper plates
X2. Showers are the biggest problem. We take those wet wipes meant for camping and bedside bathing for invalids. You might also see if there is a better water saving shower on the market.
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Old 01-22-2021, 07:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JustinL50 View Post
So this past weekend we took our Salem 178bhskx out for the first time at a local campground. We were there for 4 days with full hook ups. After we left, I realized I dumped the gray tank 3 times. I couldíve gotten away with just twice, looking back, but I emptied before we left. Now, first time in the camper both kids, my wife and myself, took showers every night and we washed a few dishes. We have two upcoming trips planned, but only have electric and water. Are there tricks to conserving water or should we look into a portable dump tank? How does everyone go out for days just hooked to electric and water? The portable tanks just seem like a hassle and too cumbersome to put in the back of the truck to dump when itís full with 30g of water. And once I told my wife we may have to cut back on showers she was not happy lol.
I agree that a portable dump tank is too heavy to lift into the back of a truck. I do find that I can lift an empty tank up into my truck with ease.

I purchased a Flojet Macerator Pump to transfer the contents of either black tank or gray tank into the portable tank for transport to a dump station. No lifting involved as I bought a Rhino tank with a dump valve on the side. I just have to remember to take a dump hose with me.

I boondock a lot and usually have to make one "dump run" in a two week stretch. I also bring fresh water back with me in other containers of course.
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Old 01-22-2021, 07:14 PM   #8
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We were there for 4 days with full hook ups.
With full hookups, just leave the valve for the gray tank open. It is the black tank you want closed, so the digester chemicals get a chance to work.

Without full hookups, I defer to the other posters.
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Old 01-22-2021, 07:27 PM   #9
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With full hookups, just leave the valve for the gray tank open. It is the black tank you want closed, so the digester chemicals get a chance to work.

Without full hookups, I defer to the other posters.

As long as you can manage to monitor the grey tank, I find it more beneficial to keep grey tank valve closed until ready to dump, so after you dump black, you have a full tank of grey to dump, thus flushing out your slinky stinky, the shared pipe, and getting rid of crud that settles in bottom of grey tank that may otherwise get stinky.
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Old 01-22-2021, 07:53 PM   #10
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As long as you can manage to monitor the grey tank, I find it more beneficial to keep grey tank valve closed until ready to dump, so after you dump black, you have a full tank of grey to dump, thus flushing out your slinky stinky, the shared pipe, and getting rid of crud that settles in bottom of grey tank that may otherwise get stinky.
Good point. I handle that in two ways. One, I have a black tank flush. It not only sprays down the inside of the black tank, but it rinses out all of the shared pipes as well. I use that while I am staying at a full hook up site. Two, the day before I leave I will dump & flush the black tank, and close the valve on the gray tank. (At this point you can stow the pipe away for travel). The next morning we each take a shower and leave the water in the gray tank. Before leaving, I'll fill 1/3 of the black tank with water, and add (your favorite tank cleaner) chemicals.
With water in both the gray & black tanks we drive to the next campground or head home. If we go to another campground, we dump the tanks when we arrive. If we go home, we stop at a dump station near home. The agitation from driving really cleans the tanks out well.
Anyway, that's how I do it. Everyone has an opinion, that one is mine.
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Old 01-22-2021, 10:13 PM   #11
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Do you have an outside shower hook up? You could get a shower/changing tent and use the outdoor shower. Will the campground have a bath house with showers?
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Old 01-22-2021, 11:09 PM   #12
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Do you have an outside shower hook up? You could get a shower/changing tent and use the outdoor shower. Will the campground have a bath house with showers?
The outside shower will waste more water than the inside shower.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:05 AM   #13
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I try and use the campground facilities as much as I can if I do not have a sewer hookup. Take showers in the bathhouse, if it's close use the restroom there. And I do carry a Camco 21 gallon tote just in case, hooks to your hitch so you can tow it to the dumpstation in campground.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:43 AM   #14
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I didn't buy my camper to shower in a public bath house.

30 gallon towable tote works for us. Goes in the back of the Expedition enroute. When we camp at an electric-only site I have a 35 gallon fresh water tank and pump I carry back there. Daily tow of the waste water to the dumpsite and refill the fresh water tank. If you have water on site you can skip that step.

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Old 01-23-2021, 09:53 AM   #15
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The outside shower will waste more water than the inside shower.
Dan, I'm curious about this.
My outside shower fixture is exactly the same as the one the wall of the shower inside so I'd expect flow/water use to be the same.

Showering outside would keep the waste water out of the grey tank.
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Old 01-23-2021, 10:05 AM   #16
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The portable tanks just seem like a hassle and too cumbersome to put in the back of the truck to dump when itís full with 30g of water.
As long as the campground has a dump station, most people donít lift it into the back of the truck, they hook the handle onto the truckís tow ball and pull it to the dump station.
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Old 01-23-2021, 10:15 AM   #17
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I didn't buy my camper to shower in a public bath house.

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OP wants to know how to Lessing the amount of water going to holding tanks and doesn't want to cart it to a dump station. Some people don't like chores like carting water back & forth while camplaxing. More time to
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:35 AM   #18
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Although itís just me and my wife, our gray tank fills up before the black one. So, we catch our dishes water in a pan and pour it down the toilet when done. Helps with the gray tank volume and may mellow out the contents of the black tank.
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Old 01-23-2021, 12:58 PM   #19
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You really can't lessen the amount of water used to any degree. If you want a shower it uses a finite amount of water before the hot runs out. Unless you (or he) wants a sponge bath the other choice is the public shower house -- which I ain't gonna use. I can understand not wanting to lift a tote into the truck but it isn't lifted, it's towed. I also pointed out how easy it is to back haul water on an electric only or bare site. It's called camping.

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Old 01-23-2021, 03:43 PM   #20
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You really can't lessen the amount of water used to any degree. If you want a shower it uses a finite amount of water before the hot runs out. Unless you (or he) wants a sponge bath the other choice is the public shower house -- which I ain't gonna use. I can understand not wanting to lift a tote into the truck but it isn't lifted, it's towed. I also pointed out how easy it is to back haul water on an electric only or bare site. It's called camping.

-- Chuck
Agreed, you'll never lesson the amount of water used if you shower until you run out of hot water.

Everyone I know though, (in our groups) when we are boondocking, does not do that.

Camping doesn't mean uncleanliness, even with limited resources.
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