How to Refill a Freshwater Tank During Camping (9 Things to know)

When it comes to camping, freshwater is a necessity. That’s why many campers carry their own water with them and refill the tank from natural sources found in the environment. There are also other ways of how to refill your freshwater tank while camping. As you might have guessed, these methods involve carrying less weight because they don’t include carrying your own water supply! We will explore how to fill your fresh water tank while out on the trail without having to carry heavy jugs around.

Tips for Refilling a Fresh Water Tank During Camping

RVs provide a convenient way to enjoy the great outdoors without many of the inconveniences. One problem is that sometimes there is no water available for days at a time, meaning neglecting basic hygiene needs such as washing hands and brushing teeth.+3. Most RVs, campers, and trailers come with freshwater tanks that fulfill many needs, like washing your hair or drinking a glass of water. However, the water in these tanks runs out faster than you think, so it’s important to refill these before going into town (or at least fill up what you can!)

Boondocking is staying at a campground without access to facilities. When campers are boondocking, they rely on in-vehicle facilities for their water supply. Camping typically does not require reserving space ahead of time. The time limitation on a trip increases with more people, especially as you need to take into account the amount of eating and cooking that will be done.

RVers will need to know how to refill their freshwater tank during camping. This article contains everything RVers should know about maintaining their freshwater system, including how they can keep it in good shape and information on the proper usage of water while staying in an RV.

Refilling your RV’s freshwater tank from a faucet

When you’re traveling by RV, the easiest way to refill your freshwater tank is from a faucet of some kind. Connect a hose to the spigot (or turn on the pressure if there’s a booster pump) and open up until it’s full.

Refilling your freshwater tanks may vary depending on the type of RV you own. You might have two separate connections for hooking up to city water and refilling your tank or one single connection with a valve.

  • Find a hose. To refill your RV’s fresh water tank, only use the designated drinking water hose. This is a specially marked-off area that has been created for drinking water and will not do anything other than provide fresh, clean tap water.
  • For a quick and easy freshwater refill, simply connect the orange end of the hose to any campsite spigot. For an outdoor camping experience without hookups, you can reconnect your hose to any available freshwater source nearby.
  • Most RV water tanks have two inputs: one for grey and one for potable (fresh) water. Make sure the valve is set to fill your freshwater tank by unscrewing it from the ‘grey’ input and screw onto the other input, which will be labeled ‘POTABLE WATER ONLY,’ or on a single-input tank; make sure that you’re feeding into POTABLE WATER ONLY.
  • During your camping trip, you may need to refill a freshwater tank with local water. The orange adapter on the end of your drinking hose is called a pressure regulator and prevents RV pipes from rupturing or bursting.
  • Turning on the water spigot slowly and carefully is critical; you may want to have a friend go into the front of your RV to press the Convenience Centre freshwater button.
  • Most RV tanks have an overflow valve preventing over-filling.
  • Once the water in your freshwater tank has been replenished, turn off the water at the tap and remove both ends of the hose. 
  • When filling up your freshwater tank, make sure you replace the cap or lid to cover the opening. This will protect from small particles that can get inside and cause a clog.
  • When the camp is hooked up to drinking water from a city supply, you may not be able to rely on your freshwater tank.

Refilling your RV’s fresh water tank using a pump

Drinking water can be difficult during longer dry camping trips where you may need to stop at different sites before being able to refill your freshwater tank. For these situations, use a hose and pump that hooks up directly to the freshwater tank with some sort of bendable nozzle fitting so you can get the water into it consistently for refilling.

  • An eternal container with fresh water is essential to camping. RVers often bring spare jugs of water in order to extend the period of time they can dry camp and avoid running out.
  • Connect a drinking water hose to your RV.
  • Connect a 12v pump to your car or van battery using alligator clips.
  • When you refill the Fresh Water Tank at a water station, follow the same guidelines as to when you are using an external container.

Refilling your RV’s freshwater tank using gravity

The simplest way to refill your fresh water tank is to use a hose that attaches directly onto the opening or to come back after a walk with any uncovered receptacle you can find. Camping away from an accessible water outlet can be challenging. If you don’t bring a large enough container for refills, you may need to use a nearby stream or pond as your primary source of drinking water.

  • The first thing you need is water, including a 6-gallon jug.
  • To fill the water tank, you’ll need to find a way to hold the jug of freshwater over the tap. We recommend keeping it steady atop a car or other large object.
  • Now just pour the freshwater inside that hole.
  • There are two ways to get fresh water in your tank: the first way is to attach your freshwater hose to your RV.
  • Pour water into one end of the hose with a funnel.
  • When filling water tanks at a campsite, make sure your water source is higher than the fill inlet.

This method of refilling a freshwater tank is much more versatile than pressure refill, but there’s an increased risk for contaminates.

Whenever you are filling up your freshwater tank, it’s important to make sure that water is running at the same time. This will ensure that there’s enough hot water in the RV for showers and laundry if necessary, as well as preventing the need to fill up a separate tank later on.

RV water filters

RV water should always be filtered. To ensure a safe supply, it’s recommended to install an RV Water Filter into your hose so that all the water entering your system is clean and uncontaminated. Good water filters will eliminate any sediment, as well as any strange taste in the water. They should be changed every six months.

RVs may also have a separate kitchen- and bathroom filter, so they should be changed every six months as well.

Sanitize your RV’s Fresh Water System

You can take a few measures to maintain your RV’s freshwater system and keep it healthy. Your RV provides all the drinking, showering, and dishwashing water you need in order to stay safe while camping; it’s recommended that you sanitize your fresh water system in between uses.

If you never drink the freshwater out of your RV’s tank, you may believe that you do not need to sanitize it. However, if you are using it for any purpose whatsoever, you should still periodically revitalize it.

Dangerous water can be hard to avoid, and it is especially risky for RV campers. You need to wash the tank when you notice a bad smell inside of your system or if you take your RV out of storage for any length of time. You should always strive to use water you know safe for your RV, but there are times when you’ll need water from a new source. When that happens, make sure it is filtered and sanitized according to the Manufacturer’s guidelines before using it in or near your RV.

The first thing to do is wait at least 12 hours before starting the process. Next, use four drops of full-strength bleach per gallon of clean water and fill the tank with this mixture for an hour before draining it again.

  • Drain the water from the heater container. Turn off or release pressure by opening a valve at the top of the tank. Do not drain while it’s hot, under pressure, or if too full to contain all of the water without overflowing.
  • In order to refill your water tank, you need to first locate the low line drains. There is a hot water tap and a cold water tap in the kitchen. Open these and drain out what is already in there.
  • Locate the drain for your freshwater tank and empty this as well.
  • To refill the freshwater tank, turn on your water pump for a minute. While it rotates, you can listen carefully and wait until you hear air coming out of the line.
  • Close off all the drains on your RV, and there should be little to no water left in its system.
  • Bring a quarter cup of bleach for every 15 gallons of water in your freshwater tank. For example, one whole cup of bleach will be needed for a freshwater tank that holds 60 gallons.
  • Mix this with water and pour it into your freshwater tank.
  • If you fill your freshwater tank with tap water, drain and refill it completely with fresh tap or bottled water.
  • Turn on the water pump and open hot and cold faucets.
  • Fill in the sink or bathtub with water and start running the faucet(s) at full pressure until you can smell bleach coming out of each.
  • When staying in an RV or motorhome, it is best to drive around for a while so that the water can circulate inside the tank and clean away any debris.
  • To refill the freshwater tank, let it sit unopened for at least 12 hours.
  • To refill a freshwater tank, drain the entire system and then refill it with potable water.
  • After all, this, open your faucets one last time to rinse out any bleach that may be left.
  • Continue the process until you can no longer smell any bleach, and then wait for five more minutes.

 Once you complete all these steps, the RV water system is clean and safe to use. 

Water conservation

When you’re not connected to a municipal water supply, it can be hard to keep your freshwater tank filled. Fortunately, there are many ways for camping enthusiasts to extend the life of their tanks.

One of the best methods for conserving water when camping is in your RV is to take quick, short showers. You should also be mindful of doing the dishes, as this one single activity can use up gallons upon gallons of water without even realizing it! In addition, we tend to run the water in a sink for a few minutes before using it. You can try to avoid this as much as possible, but when you have no other option, simply collect the tap water with a bucket or small bowl and use it elsewhere.

Don’t let the faucet keep running any longer than necessary; this is just needlessly wasteful.

Having a water tank for camping can extend your trip off-grid and allows you to go longer without having to search for electric hookups.

Grey and black water tanks

If you’re at a full or partial hookup site, keep the valves closed on your grey water and black water tanks. Open them once a day to let them drain into dumping sites. Empty your black tank first and then the grey tank (from sinks and shower). Keeping these methods will actually help rinse out your hose, which helps with lessening bad odors.

Water heater

There are two ways you can heat water in your RV while camping. 

  • If you have access to electricity, use your electric water heater by turning it on at least 20 minutes ahead of when you need hot water. This will provide a full 10 gallons of hot water before cooling off again, which is enough for a quick shower or to do the dishes. 
  • To heat water during boondocking or without AC power, press the on Propane Gas button in your console. The system will work the same as it would when heated using electricity, but you must be mindful of your limited supply of propane gas.


These methods may be all that you need to stay hydrated while camping out in your RV. Boiling water and scrubbing dishes with a power washer will allow you the use of running water, but refill from a hose or drinking fountain is best if available. Camping without a water hookup is an excellent way to get out and enjoy nature, but the lack of freshwater can be irritating. If you are searching for refreshment, you may want to camp with ample jugs or other sources of fresh water. Remember that this will not be easy if there is no electricity on-site (and leaving generators running during your camping trip would increase your carbon footprint).

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