rain: benefits and challenges

The monsoon season is in full effect: thunderstorms forecast for the next 10 days.

water catchment

old catchment new catchment setup

The tarp I’ve been using for catchment is fairly small, maybe 8x10’. The corner grommets are in bad shape (see repair below). Over the past week I’ve probably averaged 2 gallons of captured rainwater per day. The actual capture ranged from 0 gallons to 20 gallons in one notable hour. (!!!)

My process is:

  1. catching in open buckets
  2. decanting to bucket with cloth over the top and a spigot 1” from the bottom. The cloth filters out debris and the raised spigot allows sediment to collect below the harvest point
  3. water for consumption put through coffee filter to remove silt
  4. decanting to actual water containers for use


[not sure how that link will display]

I’ve been using rainwater for cooking, cleaning, showers, etc. This leaves the main freshwater tank for drinking only. I had so much extra rainwater I gave Muffin a bath; she was not a fan.

tarp repair

I bought a grommet kit and some gorilla tape to rebuild the corners.

When a campsite move became necessary (see below) I repaired the tarp and hung it off the side of the van. This allows the side cargo door to be open during light-to-medium rain.

muddy camp

I made a reprovisioning and package run to Flagstaff Proper yesterday. I intended to leave at 8am but didn’t get underway until 10am. The van had been in place for 10+ days in daily rain and was quite stuck. I spent two hilarious hours digging out, jacking up, building up debris under the tires, etc.

On return to camp I got Very Nearly stuck again, although airing down was sufficient to get out of that one (I carry a 12v 100psi tire inflator. That camp was isolated, pretty, and with good cell data but ground conditions and the “thunderstorms for the next 10 days” forecast inspired a move.

The new camp is not pretty, isolated and has worse cell data. It does have the advantage of being very close to reliable gravel road (pipeline right-of-way). It also has nearly-unlimited southern sun exposure, even if there won’t be much sun. I am 100% comfortable with the tradeoff to the more practical site.

Visible update

Visible (Verizon MVNO) has been working great in the router. So far, so good.


twitter comment thread for this post