How To Conserve Water When Dry Camping

Dry camping for a weekend is one thing. Boondocking for a week or more is something else.

Extended camping requires 3 things. You need adequate power, enough wastewater tank space, and plenty of drinking water. In this article, we'll give you our best tips on conserving water when boondocking.

Don't Waste Water

Be aware of wasting water. At home, we let the water run when we wash our hands or brush our teeth. But when we're boondocking, every drop of water is valuable. We don't waste water so we turn off the faucet when we aren't actually using the water.

Catch Shower Water

Showers are where we lose gallons of water. When you first turn on the shower, don't let the cold water run down the drain while waiting for the water to warm. We keep a water pitcher in the shower to catch the cold water. We then use the water to flush the toilet.

Catch Sink Water

Keeping a bowl in the bathroom sink to catch water when washing your hands. After you've washed, pour the water into the pitcher you'll use for flushing the toilet.

Catch Kitchen Sink Water

Next to the shower, washing dishes account for gallons of wasted water. Instead of letting it run down the drain, use two dishpans for washing dishes. Fill one with hot water for washing dishes and the second pan for rinsing.

After washing the dishes, pour the dishwater into a bucket and save the rinsing water. Use the water for flushing the toilet and any time you need water (except for drinking or cooking).

Take A Navy Shower

If you've never heard of a Navy shower, you get wet then turn off the water. Wash, then turn the water on to rinse off.

Our goal is to take a shower in less than 3 minutes (water running time). If your travel trailer has a 2-gallon per minute shower head, you'll use less than 6 gallons of water.

Shower every other day

When you live off the water you carry in your trailer, a daily shower isn't practical. We stagger our bathing. One day we take a navy shower, and the next day we take a sponge bath. It doubles our water conservation and we stay clean.

Washing hair

Instead of washing hair in the shower, try a waterless shampoo. It will clean a person's hair without consuming water.

Pet tip: Dogs get dirty when camping. There are waterless soaps for pets that clean and deodorize.

Change your showerhead

A good RV showerhead will use less than 2 gallons of water per minute and have a shut-off switch.

Tip: When shopping for a showerhead, look for one that allows a slight trickle of water when it's shut off. Otherwise, the water will be very hot when you open the shut-off switch.

Use Water Jugs That Are Drinking Water Safe

No matter how much we conserve our water, we run out within a week. Rather than break camp to fill our fresh water tank, we use safe water jugs to transport drinking water.

Tip: Transferring water from a jug to your freshwater tank is easier with a hand drill pump.

Go Disposable

Using washable plates, glasses, cups, bowls, etc. are good for the environment. But they are horrible for water conservation. And they add weight to your trailer.

Disinfecting Wipes For Cleaning Up Messes

Disinfecting wipes are a must-have for every travel trailer. You'll save water and disinfect surfaces your cleaning at the same time. Use them to clean up messes in the kitchen, bathroom, and floors. We also use them to wipe off picnic tables and seats.

Use Campground Toilets

Many campgrounds don't have water hookups at each site. But they will have toilets and sometimes showers. Using a campground's bathrooms will save you a lot of water. And it will extend your stay without dumping your tanks.


Food preparation requires water. Here are a few tips on conserving water when boondocking without sacrificing a good meal.

One Pot Meals

One pot meals use less water, and they're quick and easy to make. When we're in cold weather, we make a big pot of chili or homemade vegetable soup. We make enough to last a couple of days.

Pre-made Frozen Meals

Before heading out on a boondocking adventure, prepare a week's worth of meals. You can then freeze them. Depending upon the size of your trailer's freezer, you may only have enough room for a couple of meals. We supplement our freezer with a couple of big ice chests.

Brushing Teeth And Shaving

When brushing teeth, each person needs to only use enough water to wet their toothbrush. Letting the water run while brushing teeth consumes gallons of water over a week or two.

Shaving is another item where people often leave the water running. A cup of hot water is perfect to rinse a razor while shaving. Or get a battery-powered shaver.


By making a few changes to conserve water, you can extend your camping time.

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