camping near unlimited water

unlimited water

Unlimited anything is rare for offgrid folks. In this case I am camped near several mountain creeks so my water supply limited only by my willingness to carry it.


I have a few Homer buckers from Home Depot I used for water catchment and portage. Since they nest it’s not much more room to carry some rather than one. Plus you can store stuff in the innermost bucket.

this sounds like a math story problem

The creek section within easy carry distance is not very deep. The pic (posted previously) is the actual spot I am harvesting water.

I can lay the 5-gal bucket over and get it about half full. Doing this with 2 buckets would be 5 gallons (2 x 2.5 gallons). This can be increased to 7.5 gallons by filling one up completely, filling the other half full, then equalizing the two to ~3.75gal each.

Theoretically I could carry a dipper or something to increase the harvest but:

  • the trail is uneven and spillage becomes more frequent as water level rises
  • I’d have to carry the dipper
  • 7.5gal of water is already 62lbs, which is enough to carry over uneven ground at 10,000ft.


I have a tshirt bungeed over a bucket with a spigot, and use that for dispensing. The shirt filters out larger debris like bugs, leaves, bark, etc.

The water supply means I’m stepping up water use that does not affect my drinking supply:

  • brewing coffee
  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • sprouting (mung beans and green peas right now)

With non-drinking uses shifted off my freshwater supply 30 days between reprovisioning is a real option. After this 14d stay is up I might look for another spot at altitude instead of heading back to town. In theory July in SFE is cooler than July by a few degrees but that doesn’t appear to be happening this year.


In case anyone is worried…

All waterborne enteric1 pathogens are quickly killed above 60°C (140°F), therefore, although boiling is not necessary to make the water safe to drink, the time taken to heat the water to boiling is usually sufficient to reduce pathogens to safe levels. Allowing the boiled water to cool slowly will also extend the exposure of waterborne enteric pathogens to lethal temperatures. - source

bugs (flying, not microbial)

Unfortunately, being near water means being near flying bugs. And I hate flying bugs. A while back I bought a bug screen for the side sliding door and some loose netting for the cracked-open back door. This allows cooling airflow but does not allow bug ingress.

improved solar harvest

Having tolerable temps also means being able to park in the sun. So far today I’ve used solar to brew coffee, cook breakfast (hash browns), heat water for a sinkbath, and am cooking a lasagna. As of this writing it’s 1:22pm and the system has already made 2.18kWh under partly cloudy skies.


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  1. Enteric means intestinal, in other words pathogens that can make you sick from ingestion.