15 Helpful Tips for Saving Water While Boondocking

Water is probably one of the most limiting factors when it comes to boondocking.

If you run out of water and don’t have a way to get more, your trip is going to be cut short, and you won’t be able to enjoy your boondocking location for as long.

That’s why I’m excited to be sharing these tips for saving water while boondocking!

Quick note: we live and travel in our RV full-time. If you are boondocking in a different kind of vehicle, most of these water-saving tips will still apply to you.

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Tips for Saving Water in the Kitchen

There are two main areas that you can focus on to save the most water. The kitchen and the bathroom.

Naturally, we tend to use a lot of water in the kitchen. Cooking water, washing dishes, cleaning up, drinking water…it’s amazing how fast we can go through it! Here are some kitchen tips we’ve learned for saving water boondocking.

1. Use Disposable Items

Using disposable items cuts down on water usage fast! Fewer items to wash definitely means less water used. We like to use:

  • Paper plates
  • Paper bowls
  • Plastic utensils
  • Plastic cups
  • Disposable foil sheet pans

Because our RV is our home, we use real plates and silverware on a regular basis, but whenever we’re boondocking, we use as many of these disposable items as we possibly can so that we don’t have to wash dishes as much.

It also helps you to store any leftovers in plastic bags instead of reusable leftover containers (which we usually use when we’re not boondocking).

A white and yellow Winnebago RV boondocking in the forest

2. Rinse or Wash Dishes After Every Meal

Inevitably, there’s usually a handful of dishes that we end up using each meal. Usually, these are pots and pans and serving utensils.

I try to rinse or wash them as soon as possible to avoid food drying and getting stuck on them. Doing this right away saves you water in the long run.

If you have a dish that has food stuck in it, rinse your other dishes over it and let it soak for a while.

Dawn Powerwash Spray is helpful as well. You can even make your own version in a spray bottle if you want to.

3. Wash Your Dishes in a Bucket

Another thing to keep in mind is that your grey tank can fill up quickly when you’re washing dishes.

I like to collect most of the water in my collapsible dish pan.

Rather than dumping the water down the sink, you can either throw it outside or use it to flush your toilet if needed.

A large fifth wheel RV boondocking on the beach by the water

4. Turn Off Your Ice Maker

If you have a residential refrigerator with a built-in ice maker like we do, be sure to turn the ice maker off.

We usually make sure that our ice supply is full before heading out to go boondocking since Tucker likes to use a lot of ice.

5. Prep Food in Advance

This is one of my favorite tips. If you’re looking for one of the main tips for saving water while boondocking, this is it! Prep as much food in advance as you can.

Food prep means a lot of dishes and water to rinse fruits and veggies. I like to do as much of this before we head out boondocking as I can.

I usually:

  • Prepare/cut up any meat
  • Wash and cut any fruits and vegetables
  • Put meals together in advance in disposable foil sheet pans ready to cook
  • Bake any sweet treats that we may want in advance

Obviously, this requires planning your meals out in advance, which you will likely want to do anyway if you’re not dry camping within close distance of a grocery store.

This also helps you save water washing dishes by not having as many prep dishes.

A group of RVers boondocking in a national forest

6. Use Lysol Wipes

Normally, I use a soapy washrag to clean up the kitchen, but if I’m trying to conserve water, then Lysol wipes (or something similar) work great and don’t require any water.

7. Bring Extra Water Jugs

When we’re going boondocking, we usually bring several extra water jugs.

We use them for drinking water, making tea, and for the dogs.

We save our water jugs and refill them when we can to use them for the dogs, brushing teeth, watering plants, and flushing the toilet.

Tips for saving water in the bathroom

Ok, now that we’ve covered kitchen tips, let’s move on to the bathroom! Another high-water usage area in our RV.

8. Stretch Showers Out

Now, I’m not saying to go two weeks without showering, haha!

But if you would normally shower every day, try to stretch it to every other day or even every three days.

Dry shampoo and messy buns are a girl’s best friend when boondocking, lol!

No, but seriously, dry shampoo helps a lot.

You can also use wet wipes to “wash” your body in between showers. There are even specific wipes made for boondockers.

We haven’t personally used them, but I have friends who have used Venture Wipes and loved them!

A large RV boondocking in the grasslands

9. Take Fast Showers

When you do shower, make sure to use the least amount of water possible.

Turn the water off whenever you’re not actively using it, and shower as quickly as possible.

This is one of the main tips for saving water while boondocking.

10. Use a Water-Saving Showerhead

We have an Oxygenics Fury shower head that was made specifically for RVers.

It’s designed to save your fresh water supply while increasing water pressure at the same time.

This is one of the items on our list of essential items for boondocking!

11. Shower Together

The saying “Save water, shower together” is actually true, as long as you stay focused, haha!

Your water heater won’t have to run as long either, which is an added bonus.

A Mallard RV and truck boondocking in Utah's desert

12. Catch Shower Water to Repurpose

Use a bucket at the bottom of the shower to collect extra water while you’re showering.

You can then repurpose this soapy water to use for flushing toilets or washing your hands later on.

We call it boondocking water. ‘

13. Use a Small Cup to Catch Water for Shaving

We use a small plastic cup in the shower to catch water to use for shaving.

This makes it easy to rinse your razor without using extra water.

14. Use Public Bathhouses When They’re Available

Sometimes, campgrounds without hookups will offer camp bathhouses. Take advantage of these when you can.

You’ll be able to take longer showers, and you won’t have to worry about filling your gray tank up as fast!

A travel trailer boondocking in the desert

15. Turn Cff the Water Pump When Flushing Liquids

If you’re only flushing liquids down the toilet, turn off your water pump to save on boondocking water usage.

You can also use your collected shower water to flush anything down the toilet if you are wanting to avoid using freshwater completely.

Make sure that you use enough water with toilet paper to avoid any black tank clogs.

How to Get More Water Without Leaving Your Boondocking Location

Following these tips will help you save water, but eventually, you will run out and will have to leave your boondocking location.

We enjoy boondocking for long periods of time, so we came up with a solution for getting more water.

You can read all about our system to get water while boondocking in our complete guide to boondocking for beginners, but I’ll add a short breakdown of what we do here as well.

We start with our 33-gallon fresh water tank. After that water supply is used, we refill water.

Next, we use a water bladder and fill it up at a state park, national park, truck stop, or really anywhere we can find fresh potable water in one of our boondocking apps.

We fill it up in the bed of our truck and then transport it to wherever our RV is parked.

Tucker then uses a water pump and an RV water hose to transfer the water flow through our Clearsource water filter and into our RV water tank.

Using this system, along with our solar panels, we are able to extend our boondocking stays quite a bit!

If you are near enough to a body of water like a lake or a river, you can use a Clearsource Nomad to filter safe water directly into your rig!

A custom RV boondocking at sunset

In Closing: 15 Helpful Tips for Saving Water While Boondocking

I hope you’ve found these water-saving tips helpful and that they allow you to stay out in nature even longer!

Do you have any other water conservation tips that would help others with saving water while boondocking?

Feel free to drop them down in the comments below!

Happy boondocking!

Much Love, Janae xoxo
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Janae, alongside her husband, Tucker, has turned the world into her playground. Having lived and traveled in an RV for over four years, she has trekked through 22 US national parks, ventured across 28 states, and explored the natural beauty of 12 countries. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been when she witnessed Iceland's shimmering Northern Lights, explored the rugged terrains of Southern Utah, and traveled across Ireland for almost two months. A lover of adventure and couple travel, Janae's writings have been featured in notable travel websites and magazines, and she has collected an online community of over 30,000 passionate fellow travelers.

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