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How to Refill Fresh Water Tank During Camping? 3 Easy Ways

| Updated Dec 5, 2023

Do you need a guide and tips on how to refill fresh water tank during camping? Read on!

Whether you are camping with hook-ups or dry camping with no one around for miles, you will need to have access to fresh water. The following is my guide on how to refill your fresh water tank during camping!

How to Refill Fresh Water Tank During Camping

The average RV fresh water tank can hold anywhere from 20-100 gallons of water, obviously depending on the size and type of RV you have. Some campers and very small units may have slightly smaller freshwater tanks.

Our current Class C van has 28 gallons of fresh water.

When estimating how much water you will need, figure 2-4 gallons of fresh water per person, per day. That should cover you and your crew for washing, drinking, and cooking while on your trip.

Clearly, the number of people in your group will influence how much freshwater you need to have on hand. If you are dry camping, you will want to be conservative with how you use your water since it will be in short supply.

When you do not have access to water hookups, the last thing you want to do is run out of water. It is never a bad idea to carry extra water in water jugs.

1. Refilling Your Water Tank Using a Faucet

How to Refill Fresh Water Tank During Camping? 3 Easy Ways 1
A good hose and maybe a water pressure regulator

When it comes to refilling your RV water tank, the easiest way will be to use a water hookup with a faucet. That way, you can use the water pressure to your advantage to quickly fill your tank and be on your way. You connect a hose to the city water hookup on the RV, and then usually turn a valve so it goes in the tank. Turn on the water supply and turn it off when you have enough

Follow these simple steps to fill your fresh water tank:

  • Locate a freshwater hose. Be sure that it is specifically designed for drinking water, so that it is safe to use and will not add any weird taste to your water.
  • Pull up close enough to the water spigot to be able to connect your water line.
  • Connect one end of the fresh water hose to the faucet. Ensure that the connection is secure and stable to prevent leaks from occurring.
  • Screw in the other end of the hose into the freshwater connection on your RV. We use a quick release connector to make it super easy and fast to connect to the city water receptacle. If you only have one input, be sure that you have set the valve to fill up the freshwater tank.
  • Once you are connected on both ends, turn on the water faucet carefully. You should feel the water flow. If you have a second person available, it is a good idea to have that person inside the RV to gauge the water level.
  • Once you have a full freshwater tank, turn off the water spigot and then remove the hose at both ends before storing it for future use.

I want to also pass along a tip about connecting your hose to the city after intake on your RV. Screwing the typical 3/4 inch hose connector on takes time, sometimes is not tight enough causing water to leak. And sometimes it gets screwed on too tightly and breaks the intake valve. 

I used to be frustrated by this a lot, especially when hooking up at a campground after dark.

No more.

I got a quick-connect adapter. One end screws on the hose. The other end screws on the city water intake. When you put the two together the quick connect snaps into place for the perfect connection every time.

CLICK HERE to see the quick connect we use

Do you also need to know How to Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water System (Safe and Super Easy)?

5 Most Common Places to Locate a Water Source

How to Refill Fresh Water Tank During Camping? 3 Easy Ways 2
Finding places other than the campground.

When you are on the road, there are several places you can find fresh water to fill up your freshwater tank holds. It may also be advisable to fill up extra water jugs to ensure that you are carrying enough water for your boondocking adventure. They make all sizes of water containers, starting at a one-gallon container.

Some places may ask you to pay a small fee to fill up.

1. Freshwater Hookups at Campground

One common way to fill your freshwater tank is at a campground. If you are camping in a site that offers water, just be sure to pull into the site close enough to connect your hose to the water spigot.

If you are dry camping but passing by a campground, you can sometimes pull in to top off your water system if needed.

2. RV Dump Station

Many RV dump stations are going to provide access to potable water. It will be at least 10 feet away from the dump itself. Make sure it is marked potable. The water line next to the dump itself is not safe for drinking. It's used to wash away any spills near the dump.

3. Travel Centers

Big travel centers like Loves or Pilot usually have all sorts of things to make your camping or road trip easier. Most will provide access to a water spigot to fill up your RV. Get it right after topping off your gas tank!

4. Rest Stops

Some rest areas will have cold faucets available to passersby. This might be a convenient way to fill up your fresh water tank when driving through.

5. National and State Parks

Most national and state parks will have some sort of water access. Look near restrooms, picnic areas or campgrounds.

2. How to Refill Fresh Water Tank During Camping Using a Pump

How to Refill Fresh Water Tank During Camping? 3 Easy Ways 3
Does your RV have a pump built in?

If you like to boondock like Jennifer and I do, then you might not have access to a water hookup. In this case, you may need to fill your tank using water that you brought along. You should fill your freshwater system before leaving on your trip, then use the pump, to refill once it runs out.

Many RVs have a pump built into the utility areas where you connect to water. That's the way it is on our Leisure Travel Vans Wonder. It's a short hose that, with the turn of a valve, can siphon water out of a jug or container into the freshwater tank.

If your unit doesn't have that, most RV parts stores will sell you a portable pump that will do the same thing.

Here is how to use a pump to refill:

  • Get your extra jugs of water ready to use.
  • If the pump is built in, put one end in the jug. If using a portable pump, connect your RV drinking hose line to the RV. Put the other end in the jug.
  • Then connect a pump to your car or RV battery, using alligator clips, or it's own battery or whanever power supply is suggested by the pump maker.
  • Pump the water from the freshwater container into the RV's freshwater tank. Follow the same guidelines you would when using a water hookup.

3. Refilling Your Water Tank Using Gravity

If you do not have access to either a freshwater hook up or a pump, then you will find yourself using gravity to help fill your tank.

The various Class B vans we had all came with a gravity fill. Most smaller travel trailers and many other RVs have similar fills.

If you can connect to a spigot, just use your hose to put water into the fresh water tank using the gravity fill.

If boondocking with no hose, you will need a funnel to pour water from the tanks into the gravity fill.

Again, you will need to access your external water jugs.

Be sure to keep the water jug higher than the inlet so that gravity can work its magic!

What You Can Do If You Cannot Find Potable Water?

Potable water is water that is safe to use to drink or in food preparation. What if you run out of clean, potable water in your fresh tank? Do not worry, there is something you can do.

You can fill a bottle from a freshwater source. Bring the water to a rapid boil for one minute in elevations lower than 6,500 feet. If you are higher, boil it for three minutes.

Let the boiled water cool.

Store the water in a clean and sanitized container with a tight lid.

You can also purchase water purifying drops and keep those on hand in case of an emergency.

Neither one of these methods is preferred, but they can help keep you alive and healthy should an emergency arise.

Speaking of safety…

Mike Wendland

Published on 2021-08-05

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

3 Responses to “How to Refill Fresh Water Tank During Camping? 3 Easy Ways”

August 20, 2021at9:57 pm, Ed said:

I’m looking for more information on the water filtration system in the video with John Sztykiel but I don’t see the link you mentioned. Can you provide that link when you get a chance?

August 06, 2021at7:18 pm, Bob said:

Can you please send the packing list Saturday? I agree with using a quality water filter.

August 05, 2021at10:44 am, Sylvain said:

Hi Mike And Jennifer,
Just an additionnal sharing about clean water
Look this:

My opinion is the led solution is the Best way With a good filter

Comments are closed.

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