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Yikes – What happens when my RV runs out of fresh water?

| Updated Jun 16, 2023

What happens when my RV runs out of fresh water?

Here’s a question that came in from Wendy:

QUESTION: Newbie here: we are quite confused about where to get clean water to fill the fresh water tank when boondocking/dry camping. How do you do it?

ANSWER: One of the things we’ve done in the past is use 1-gallon water containers that we pick up at a supermarket.

Our RV has a short hose and a valve that will suck water out of the water jugs. It comes standard on our Leisure Travel Vans RV. But most RV shops can easily set up with a similar system.

If not, we’ve heard of people who take an empty soda bottle, cut a rectangular hole in it and use it as a sort of funnel to pour in the water from the gallon jug to the freshwater fill on the RV.

A better solution for most RVers is to use something called a Water Bandit. It has a ¾ in threaded connector on one end that should connect to your city water connection. The other end is a highly flexible silicone polymer sleeve that stretches to fit over the end of virtually any standard water source… like a gallon water jug… making it really easy to pour in the tank. It costs around $8. Here’s our Amazon affiliate link – (thanks for your support).

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Something else we’ve done more recently is buying a heavy-duty collapsible 5.3-gallon water container. It only costs $12 or so. Here’s a link to it on Amazon –  When empty, it collapses very small and easily stores. When I fill up the RV fresh water tank, I’ll also fill up the collapsible water container.

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That way, if we’re boondocking for a while and we run low on fresh water, we have an extra supply that will let us stay out longer.

As I said, Wendy posted her question on our Facebook RV Lifestyle Group. It brought in more than 40 responses from members.

We really enjoy our RV Lifestyle Community! Read a few more answers below, but also take a look at this! We're really excited about our new clothing line! We took our favorite sayings and put them on our favorite things. Check it out! 

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Here are some of the replies and suggestions for the question -What happens when my RV runs out of fresh water?

Jack: I top off at home before leaving I often top off at a paid campsite before leaving there. Most truck stops have water hose at or near the pumps that you can use to top off. Any gas station would probably let you top off especially if you tip the attendant a $10 or $20. If you use a small pump you can pump creek water if you can get close enough but make sure you chlorinate it to kill any bacteria or parasites.

Dave: I use several 3-gallon water jugs with handles. Much easier to carry 2 three-gallon jugs than 1 five-gallon jug. All drinking water we use goes through a Brita water filter first.

Renee: Some fire stations will let you fill your RV fresh water tank.

Cindi: We also carry a 60-gallon tank in the back of our truck that we fill as well. We have a small transfer pump that pumps into the camper. Between coffee and washing, we always run out of water before our grey or black tanks are full.

Robert: We boondock nearly all the time. Water has never been an issue nor have we ever paid for water. Gas Stations, parks, a few stores, and a brewery have helped us out. You also need a Water Bandit. 


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Mike Wendland

Published on 2021-05-08

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 “Yikes – What happens when my RV runs out of fresh water?”

April 02, 2022at6:04 pm, The 7 Best Water Filters According to RVers said:

[…] Yikes – What happens when my RV runs out of fresh water? […]

May 08, 2021at4:08 pm, Chris Mingst said:

Please resend packing list

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