How to Make the Most of Your Camping Water

If you are thinking about going off-grid camping, there’s always a question of preserving your camping water.

Check out this video to see a great option to solve this issue!

The Issue

There are three real things that you’ve got to think about when you go off-grid camping. First of all, food, which is pretty easy. If you’ve got a fridge or can buy tin food and baked beans, you can survive 3-5 days out there. No worries at all. The next thing you’ve got to worry about is power. But nowadays with the solar panels and lithium batteries, it’s pretty much sorted, especially if you’re driving for a little bit so you can charge it. You can have generators and also you can charge off your car as well, which is great. But the last thing is water. So to conserve water, sooner or later, you’ve got to have a conversation about…

Shower time.

A Little Skit

Kid: Oh Dad, not a spray bottle shower.

Dad: I know, but we’ve got us conserve water some way.

Kid: Well, why can’t you just get this (creek) water, heat it up, and put it in the shower?

Dad: Yeah, well, there’s cross-contamination issue and it’s kind of complicated.

Kid: Dad, what’s your job?

Dad: Love you kids and kiss your mom on the lips.

Kid: You’re a plumber. That’s what plumbers do. They take water, heat it up, and put it out the shower.

Dad: All right. Here. Shower time.

Kid: Or maybe you’re just pretending to be a plumber?

The Solution

If you’ve already got a hot water unit on your van, like a storage like this Forbes 15+ caravan does, a little 14-liter Truma, why would you put an extra hot water system in? The reason is, wouldn’t it be great, when you do have to conserve water, you can say to your wife and your kids, that they can have a 20-liter shower and it’s not going to cost you that precious drinking water. There is a way to do it safely so there’s no cross-contamination.

The Set Up

Now, on these ones, the Forbes 15+, you can get access to the shower pipes behind. That’s what you need to get access to. So we’ve put a couple of check valves in there so the water can’t cross-contaminate, because if you’ve got a mixer, especially for the hot water, the non-potable water can go into the cold main. That’s what you don’t want to happen, especially if you’re out miles from anywhere and you get some sort of bug in the water or something like that. So it’s very important that that’s all sorted out. If you’re not sure what you have to do, just call your local plumber. He should be able to explain it to you and sort it out.

We’ve got a Joolca hot water system. They do a new bracket like you can see in the video, because you’re not allowed to permanently mount them to your caravan. They’re meant to be a portable thing. So we’ve put one of the brackets on the side of the van

To Connect

We’ll show you how easy it is to hook up the hot water system to the van. You just grab your Joolca or whatever hot water system you’ve got and hang it on the bracket. Then we’ve got a 1.2 gas hose and just hook it up to the bayonet – make sure you remove the dust plug beforehand. Then keep the hose nice and straight, and just clip on to the bottom of the hot water unit.

So now you’ve got your pump. Always check which way the arrow’s going. Whichever hose the arrow is pointing plugs onto the cold. And for the other side of the pump… You can grab one of these containers, either 25 or 40 liter. We’ve made up is a little pipe like in the video, which takes onto a normal hose fitting. Then you just fill the container up down at the creek, drag it up back to the van, take the cap off, and that just slides in the pipe all the way down. And then plug the other side of the pump into that.

So now, once we turn the power on, it’ll start sucking water from the container into the hot water unit. For the power side, we’ve got an Anderson plug that can plug onto cigarette lighters. That’s all plumbed in by the an auto electrician. So now the pump’s all connected. The only thing we need to do now is grab the hot line that goes onto the hot water system. We then need to go inside and turn the valve off, make sure it goes through the correct check valve and everything.

And then when we turn the shower on inside, it’ll be just hot water coming through. And the good thing about the Joolca hot water systems is you can adjust the temperature, say, to 40 degrees, and it’ll produce the heat at 40 degrees. So it’s very safe for the kids. It just pours out a really nice temperature for them. That means your wife and kids can blow 20 liters of water using the non-potable water available at creeks and dams. And if this packs up, you can chuck it out after a couple years. But what you don’t want is to put non-potable water that might have a lot of calcium in it or salt into your Truma hot water system in your van. That’s going to cause you issues later on down the track.

So this is a good and simple way of doing that, where you can go camping for extended period of time, because you’re not so concerned about the water if you can get to a dam or something like that. If you like the setup here, just call your local plumber. They should be able to sort it out for you. But if you live in Perth, then give us a call and drop the van off to us and we’ll sort it out for you.