Tuesday, 18 January 2011

MOTORHOME - Water saving tips

When free camping/boondocking/wild camping the thing that often makes people move is the need for fresh water.  The last thing you want to do when you are relaxing at the beach is to leave to get water.

Whilst eventually there is nothing you can do about this but there are many things you can do to make your water last longer.

Firstly if you are filling up your water and expect to be free camping for an extended period it makes sense to fill up any other containers you may have.

If it ever rains then try to collect the rainwater by putting buckets out at the point where it runs off the motorhome, we have been very surprised by the quantity we have collected by this method.

Baby wipes are very handy for wiping around the toilet, wiping work surfaces, cleaning very dirty hands,
wiping the floor etc and use no water at all.


We always use a washing up bowl in the sink for doing the dishes.

This enable you to use less water.

On the occasions when the water is not too grim you can then use it for other things like wiping down outside the motorhome or even flushing the loo.

You also have the option to dispose of the grey water outside rather than filling up the holding tank.

Heat the water in a solar shower bags or boil a kettle full of water. If you use the motorhome hot water system you will almost certainly waste a lot of water waiting for the hot to come through and also use more gas/propane.

If you have an alternative water supply such as river or sea water you can always do the initial dish wash in that water then just use a little fresh water to rinse.

If you have very few dishes after one meal it may be sensible to leave them and wash them together with ones from your next meal.


With a bit of practice it is possible to shower in about 1 pint of water or double that if washing your hair.

The method I use requires 2 jugs or bowls, 1 face cloth, a washing up bowl.

Heat the water using either a solar shower bag or the kettle.

Method 1 – shower only

Start with one jug filled with roughly the amount of water you expect to use.

Stand in the washing up bowl within your shower cubicle

Pour about 1/3 of the water into jug/bowl 2

Use the face cloth to dip into this and to wet yourself all over

Now soap all over

Now use the damp face cloth and any residue water in jug/bowl 2 to start to rinse off the soap starting at the top of your body.

Finally use the water in jug 1 to scoop over yourself to rinse off the rest of the soap residue.

Method 2 – shower and hair wash

Start with one jug filled with roughly the amount of water you expect to use

Stand in the washing up bowl within your shower cubicle

Pour about half of this into jug 2

Keep dipping the face cloth into the jug and either rubbing or squeezing it out over your hair until your hair is wet all over.

Shampoo as normal but try to use a little less shampoo

Now use the face cloth and the rest of the water to wet your body

Soap all over

Starting with your hair scoop water from the first jug to rinse your hair and allow the water to run down and rinse your body

OK so what about hair conditioner – I have found that it is very effective if you put the conditioner onto towel dried hair and leave it in. You use less water when showering, use less conditioner and in a dry climate your hair is smoother. I just use my normal conditioner and don’t even bother to buy the special leave in type.

BONUS You now have a washing up bowl with slightly soapy water that you can use to wipe the floor, clean outside the motorhome or do other similar jobs.

This method can also be used for showering outdoors although a privacy screen may be required.

If you are feeling brave when it is raining you can also take a free shower in the rain, we did this once in a car park in Prague during a power cut but got caught out when the lights came back on – perhaps we should have worn swimwear!


Put a small quantity into a cup to use when cleaning your tip rather than running a tap.


Give some thought to the colour and materiel of the clothes that you are travelling with. Darker and multi colour items show the dirt less and don’t need such frequent washing. Lightweight polyester type fabrics seem to soak up less water when you are washing them.

You have to balance out the extra weight in a vehicle but if you carry more clothes you may be able to last through a free camp without doing laundry.

If there is another water supply such as river water or sea water you could use this for the initial wash and first rinses. Collecting the sea water and leaving it in a bucket will help a lot of the sand to settle and you can then just use the clearer top lot.

Sarongs/wraps are much easier to wash than beach towels.


Steaming vegetables uses less water than boiling them in water but if you have to boil them in water then use just enough to cover them.

Vegetable water is great for making a stock or gravy

If cooking mashed potatoes, cut into small cubes, you will need less water to boil them and they will cook much faster.


If using a solar shower bag always have the clear side upwards to prevent germs growing inside.

Take care that the water is not too hot and if it is top off with cold water.

If you only fill the bag 1/3 or 1/2 full and squeeze out any air it will heat much faster.



solar water said...

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Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, five to seven gallons of water is wasted.

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