February 28, 2020

How To Refill Fresh Water Tank While Boondocking

When boondocking (or dry camping) for many days at a time, your fresh water tank on your RV, camper or trailer will get low. Breaking camp to take your RV to get water can be a pain in the butt. Many seasoned RVers carry a portable water container for this reason and use it to fetch fresh water and bring it back to the RV. But a five to 6 gallon water container full of water can weigh 50 to 70 pounds making it difficult to handle. Holding it over your head and pouring it into a funnel can be a very difficult task.

There are portable pumps you can buy to assist you in transferring water from the jug. I’ve tried a few with limited success. Plus water pumps require power, usually from a car battery.

I have found it much easier to simply use gravity, a hose, RV water filling attachment, and a water bandit attachment to get the water into the tank. The key to making this work well though is to create air flow and a little pressure in the tank to get the water flowing. It works surprisingly well.

Here are the items you will need to refill your water

If your RV does not have a gravity fed water filling point, you’ll have to use a portable drill pump attachment to transfer the water.

Essential Gear We Use For Boondocking

Here is how I refill water in my RV while boondocking

  1. Bring a water jug with you that has a spout (I use a 6 gallon jug with a spout)
  2. Near the top, drill a small hole above the water line and temporarily put a screw in it
  3. Go find fresh water and fill up the jug
  4. Park your car, truck or a ladder next to your RV’s water supply filling point
  5. Place the full water can at a point higher than the filling point (it is ok if the hose droops down below as long as the water can is above the filling point)
  6. Connect the water filling attachment, hose and Water Bandit together
  7. Connect the Water Bandit end of the hose to the spout on the water can (I add a zip tie for added tightness)
  8. Insert the water filling attachment in the RV water filling hole
  9. Unscrew the small screw at the top of the water can to start the water flow (you may have to lift the hose at first, but once it starts flowing you can let it go)

That’s it. In a few minutes, all of the water will be transferred into your RV tank. Repeat this process as many times as you need to.

Give this technique a try next time you are out boondocking. There are many more boondocking tips on my Tips for Camping Without Hookups page so be sure to check those out as well.

More Boondocking Tips


Often confused as Tito, Brian answers to both. Other known aliases are "Obi Wan Titobi" and "Brito". He thinks solar power is cool and enjoys being off-grid teaching others how to do the same.

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