Water systems on the camper

One of the features we added to the camper was a secondary water system.

We have the original Northstar water tank which holds 30 gallons of water.  The fill location is on the side of the camper.  This water flows through the water heater, the kitchen faucet and the shower.  This is a closed system which all flows to the grey water holding tank.

But because in Latin America and South America we may want to use water from free sources (RV parks, gas stations, etc) and we do not have a filtration system we decided that we wanted an isolated drinking water system.

We installed a faucet next to the original system which has a long neck for filling water bottles.  This faucet operates on a separate pump, through separate water lines and accesses a water tank that is mounted in a sealed storage box on the passenger side of the vehicle.IMG_0448IMG_0449 This isolated water system can be filled from a separate filler neck with a vent.  The drinking water tank will only ever contain filtered, safe, drinking water.  The tank holds 16 gallons of water.  It does not pass through any other lines or systems.  It runs directly from the water tank to the individual faucet.

water hookup

This water tank system was designed and installed by our friends at AT Overland waterbox

This two-part water system gives us the opportunity to store over 46 gallons of water on board.  This increases our boondocking range and allows us to keep fresh, safe drinking water with us at all times.

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10 responses to “Water systems on the camper

  1. Funny you mention the cabin thing because that the baseline of a system generally for using a natural water source. Could of went with something a bit simpler for drinking (say a faucet system only) vs showering, washing but I’m also looking to protect the camper’s internal systems (pumps, valves, lines, etc..) from build up and things like that.

    The general idea was to be able to use any available water source but still filter it. If it’s the water hose outside of the local police station or at someone’s house. Mostly this water is untreated and taken out of rivers and such. Maybe could find the local water bottle station but how much would you trust their filter/treatment process.

    It’d be more work for sure but I’d go out of the way to not get infected and have gut cramps. The only thing really breakable would be a pump but that could go out inside the camper as well.

    Got lots of time to think it through some more. Haven’t seen DND’s water system, I’ll have to see if I can find it. Thanks!

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  2. Cory- Wow! You have really thought out a terrific, theoretical system. However, in practical application I have some concerns. Have you seen the water system on “Drive Nacho Drive” ? Also pretty elaborate. There are two major reasons we did not go that route….. simplicity and weight. 1. The more complicated things are for a trip like this, the more likely the system will fail and parts will not be obtainable. What we have is simply two different water systems. If one system fails, we could run on the other one exclusively. But it allows us to have safe, potable drinking water on board. 2- And as for weight….. anyone living full time in a small rig will tell you that weight kills the systems. Weight is hard on engines, transmissions, suspension and gas mileage. What you gain in service in one category, you may sacrifice in another category. Your proposed water system would be ideal for a cabin, near a water source, but less than ideal for a moving vehicle.
    All around the world there is one universal human need- potable water. Our travels (and those of countless others) have shown that fresh drinking water is available anywhere that humans have settled. If you can pay for it, haul it and store it, you are all set. What does seem to be less accessible in some countries are rivers, lakes and streams. So the ability to elaborately filter a natural water source may be useful in certain countries – in a broad generalization it becomes a burden when traveling.

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  3. I’m about 4 years out but looking at doing the Central/South America thing over a number of years. I’m planning for all water to be filtered going into the fresh water tank and run everything off of that. Never polluting the system with any suspicious source. Trying to ensure potable water and protecting the system from silt, damage, crud, etc…

    Requirement: Filter and UV sterilize all water before entering camper (regardless of source).

    1. Fresh water tank – Non-pressurized, gravity feed input (non-pressurized or it will damage the fresh water tank). Water pump pulls water from the fresh tank and then pressurizes it into the RV water system. To use RO filter and UV sterilization must pressurize water to flow through filter system.
    2. City water connection – Pressurized. Merges into RV water since downstream of fresh water tank pump..

    Solution: Implement an external water filter system with the following components: 5 gallon per minute output flow. UV light sterilization. DC pump/booster with AC/DC convertor, minimum 60 PSI output for use with non-pressurized or reduced pressurized source. Pressure regulator to control input pressure into filter system. 5 gallon bucket with gravity hose connection and top screen filter for water from stream or river input. Separate pump to pull water from natural source vs. carrying buckets for supply input side.

    Thoughts?

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  4. Thanks! We are still cautious of weight, but water is something that we decided to give space/weight to. Especially as we head down the PanAmerican.

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  5. Now that’s thinking ahead. Must be nice to have a rig where hauling an extra 380 lbs. of water is not a problem. On our little Dolphin, I’m wary of even filling the auxiliary gas tank (30 gallons) for fear of overloading the rig even more than she generally already is. Love the tile behind the cooktop.

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