Dry camping (AKA boondocking) is an inexpensive and exciting way to travel in your RV. However, without proper care, your RV holding tank can quickly get a clog or start to stink. As much fun as it is to be remote within the comfort of your RV, there are a few tips and tricks to keep your RV waste systems from putting a damper on your trip. In this article we will go over preventative care, best practices, and solutions for dumping while you're boondocking.
Proper care for your RV holding tanks is a hot topic. We say this all the time, but if you ask 100 RVers how they treat their tanks when they dry camp, you will get 100 different opinions. Believe it or not, there is a right way to navigate these waters Lets get to the facts.
Your Black Water Tank
By far, the most important aspect of your trip should be preparing your black water holding tank(s). Preparation consists primarily of pre-charging your holding tank with 5-7 gallons of water before you leave and treating your tank with a quality holding tank treatment. Pre-charging is important because one of the biggest ways to prevent odors and waste build up is by using plenty of water and if you don't have access to water, its a good idea to give yourself a head-start on odor control at the beginning of your trip.
Another important aspect of preparation is pre-treating your black water tank with a quality waste digester treatment. By adding a waste digester you will consistently break down waste in your holding tank throughout your trip. This saves space in your tank, effectively increasing your tank capacity, and keeps odors under control. We recommend using RV Digest-It to treat your holding tanks before, during, and after your boondocking adventure. The top quality waste digesting microbes in RV Digest-It will work around the clock to keep the waste in your holding tank broken down, preventing clogs and odors during your trip.
To get the most out of your waste digesting treatment, use an adequate amount of water each time your flush. Every time you use your toilet, we recommend holding down your RV toilet pedal for at least 10 seconds. Ample amounts of water allow for your waste digester to reach all of the waste in your tank and it keeps the water level above the waste inside your holding tank; further controlling odors. To keep any odors from seeping into your RV, we recommend you make sure you fill your RV toilet half way with water after every use.
In the event that the steps above can't completely control smells in your RV, a mineral/salt holding tank treatment will help control odors. When you are dry camping in high heat, we recommend Unique Tank Odor Eliminator. It is a mineral/salt treatment meant to work hand in hand with RV Digest-it to control odors in even the most extreme heat. Be sure to follow all safety use directions on any mineral/salt treatment as many of them come with safe handling instructions. Read more about hot weather odor control here.
Your Gray Water Tank
With gray water, prevention of odors can be difficult. Because you are dry camping, you aren't allowed to let your gray tank drain onto public lands, meaning potential grease build up and sensor issues inside your gray tank. There are a few solutions that deal primarily with prevention.
First, you should never allow food waste down your sink and into your gray tank. If you allow food waste down your sink and into your gray tank, it is only a matter of time before strong odors appear from the grease and food waste build-up. Dispose of food waste in a trash can, not in your sinks. As much as an RV can feel like a home away from home, the water systems are VERY different. Using a strainer in your sinks is a great way to keep any food waste from making its way into your gray tank.
Second, because you have to store your gray water, it's incredibly important to use a potent waste digester like RV Digest-It. Frequent treatment will help keep your sensors clear of grease and keep odors at bay. Treating and flushing your tank before and after your boondocking trips will also help keep your gray tank free of strong odors and tough grease build up.
Note: It is often illegal to dump your RV gray water tank on public lands due to the large volume of liquids in your holding tank. Check local laws. Waste water disposal can sometimes be tricky when you dry camp, use this guide on where to dump if you are having trouble finding a place on the road.
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This is an excerpt from a training video that we offer store associates to help answer the commonly asked questions about RV holding tank problems. There is some good information here that may be valuable to you and fellow RVers who are struggling with common RV tank issues.