Dry camping (or boondocking) is an cheap and exciting way to travel in your RV! But without proper care, your RV holding tank can quickly clog or start to stink. As much fun as it is to camp in a remote location while still being 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'll 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 to say the least. 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.
Before we jump into the facts, however, we need to establish first and foremost that how you care for your holding tanks will have a huge effect on how well odors are controlled and clogs prevented. So, in the short and long run, using a RV maintenance method that is proven, comprehensive, and easy-to-follow is your best bet! We've created The Unique Method to tackle these issues at their core, preventing clogs and odors and helping you stay on top of your RV maintenance without lost time, money, or energy. Most of the issues covered in this guide are addressed specifically in The Unique Method. Following The Unique Method will fix 99.99% of these problems before they start to bug you!
Now, let's cover what you need to know about treating your holding tanks while dry camping.
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'll 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.
As covered in The Unique Method, use an adequate amount of water each time you flush your toilet to get the most out of RV Digest-It. Every time you use your toilet, we recommend holding down your flush pedal for at least 10 seconds. Ample amounts of water allow RV Digest-It to reach all of the waste in your tank. Using a lot of water also keeps the water level above the waste inside your holding tank, which helps control odors. To keep any odors from seeping into your RV, we recommend you make sure to fill your RV toilet half way with water after every use.
Like we said above, following The Unique Method will fix all the issues that can come with dry camping in most situations. However, there are some times when you'll have to have something a bit more to completely get rid of odors, especially in high heat.
In the event that the steps above can't completely control smells in your RV, a mineral/salt holding tank treatment can 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. To read our full transparent disclosure on Unique Tank Odor Eliminator, touch or click here. Read more about odor control, especially in hot weather, by touching or clicking here.
Your Gray Water Tank
With gray water, prevention of odors can be difficult. Because you're dry camping, you aren't allowed to let your gray tank drain onto public lands, which means that grease might build up on your sensor probes. But 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 control odors. 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.
Third, in the event that you get odors in your gray water tank, treat with RV Digest-It. By following The Unique Method, you should be able to correct most bad odors, but if you're running into persistent issues, Unique Tank Odor Eliminator can provide that extra odor-eliminating punch. Be sure, however, to be cognizant of safety when using this product.
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. Be sure to check all 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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