“How much water…”

AntiGroundhogDay posted a thread asking How much H2O do you need to boondock for a week?  Since the OP was asking for personal experience I will answer here rather than there.

How long are you willing to go without decent Internet?

Depends on what that means.  I am currently running my S&B household off a 3G cell feed.  Most folks would say that is not decent internet, but if you are frugal with bandwidth it’s quite acceptable.

I’d like to have at least a burst of internet every week or two to pull down new email, post new blog stuff, etc.

How long can you before needing to do laundry?

This answer is bound up with my expected use.  I plan on boondocking as much as possible and the general limit on that is 14 days.

So 14 days.

I am thinking

  • 14 changes of socks and underwear

  • 7 changes of shirts

  • a pair of jeans and maybe 3 pair of shorts, sweatpants

So maybe plan to roll into town on the 14th day, do laundry, use faster internet, restock supplies and water.  This would occur mid-week to avoid weekend traffic at the laundromat, and weekend campers.

How long can you go with sponge baths before a real shower?

How long can I go or how long do I want to go?  :-)  I don’t have many luxuries but I do enjoy a long hot shower sometimes.

I am thinking a solar bag shower 1-2x/week.  Maybe a long hot shower at a facility on the 14-day move.

How much food can you carry?

I cook a lot of rice, beans, etc in a pressure cooker and those store really well.  I think 3 weeks of food aboard in most cases.

How long can you go before you get bored or need a change of scenery?

I have literally never been bored in my life.  I don’t even understand the concept.  How can someone be bored when they have a backlog of things to read, do, and contemplate?

The BLM thinks I need a change of scenery every 14 days.  :-P

How long before your composting toilet fills? (really not sure if this is a week or more/less)

The general rule of thumb for composting toilets (solids, anyhow) is 2 person-months before the media has to be changed.  So one person for 2 months, or 2 people for 1 month.

So if my limits are "about a week" for most things, how much H20 do you personally use up in a week or per day provided you aren't taking multiple, full showers? Maybe one Navy shower or a solar shower per person, per week plus sponge baths while in the boonies, then hit up a real shower when we head into town?

I am thinking 2 gallons per day, 3 if being sloppy.  So 14 gallons a week up to a max of 21 gallons.  My fresh water tank is planned at 40 gallons.

How many gallons of gray water would you estimate?

Since my showering will be outside I am running a much smaller gray tank, 20 gallons.  This runs contrary to common use; most people say their gray water runs out of capacity first.

But in my judgement (and this is the subject of passionate discussions) gray water can be released as long as we follow some caveats:

  • no food waste (use a sink strainer)

  • not onto parking lots or other areas that might endanger RV use

  • not near water sources or aquatic life

  • biodegradeable soap, etc

Consider this scenario (selected for clarity rather than preferability):  camper with graywater tank and valve inside, draining into tube that exits near rear bumper.  Back camper into a parking space with grass behind it.  Open valve, drain into grass.  Close valve.


My system is set up for 14-day outings with some padding built in for emergencies.