Water Conservation & Boondocking

Yesterday we received a comment asking how we manage our showers and tanks. We do a lot of the same things everyone else does, but then we also have a few tricks up our sleeves that I figured I could share.

The primary thing to remember is never let a faucet just run, and don’t turn it on full force!

In the Kitchen:

– We keep a big bowl in our sink to catch the water. Then depending on how long until our next dump, we either put the water from the bowl into our toilet or per the TreadLightly.org website, we scatter it outside. (We also use biodegradable, non-toxic soap).

– Rinsing food can take up a lot of water. So instead of rinsing directly through a strainer, I put the produce or beans in a bowl and cover it with water, strain then repeat.

In the Shower:

– We catch the water from the shower head while we wait for the water heat up and then give it to Curtis to drink.

– Use a water bowl for shaving.

In the Bathroom:

– We wash our hands so much that we do a mix of real hand washing and hand wipes.

– I find facecloths to be a little too abrasive, so before all the boondocking I used to wash my face by just splashing water on it (which wastes a ton of water). I’ve since revisited the face cloth and found that it saves a lot of water. To avoid irritation, I just press the cloth against my face rather than wiping it across my skin. I’ve also tried face wipes, but haven’t found a brand I love.


– WheelingIt: Going โ€œWater-Greenโ€ = Conserving Water on the Road
– Riveted Blog: Resource Conservation
– WeaselMouth: Instant-Off Water Faucet Aerators

Do you have any water conservation tips we could use?

Dinner Last Night:
Yesterday was the final day of the 2 weeks with no menu plan. It was kind of a fun adventure in cooking, but really I prefer a plan. I happened to have the supplies for Vegan Richa’s Doritos Cream Sauce, which was really tasty over pasta served with a salad.

2014 Cost of Camping:
1 night paid camping
65 nights free camping
66 days this year
Total spent on camping this year: $17
Daily average cost of camping: $0.26

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  • Reply Wheelingit March 8, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Excellent tips…and cheers for the mention too ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Reply Marlene March 8, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Drink beer. Save water?

  • Reply Danielle March 8, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks! I am filing this away, hopefully someday I will be able to use it!

  • Reply jerry March 8, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Steam your veggies instead of boiling. Cooks them quicker too.

  • Reply Cherie @Technomadia March 8, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Great tips for sure!

    Here’s two of mine to share:

    – For washing dishes, we keep a spray bottle with diluted dish soap. We pre-soak with that, scrub, then rinse. Saves a bunch of water.

    – I’ve now been shampoo free for 7 years now, that saves a ton of water in the shower too. (http://www.technomadia.com/2012/01/four-years-shampoo-free/)

    • Reply Leigh March 9, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Hey Cherie! Seems like spray bottles are the theme. I think I need to pick up one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply pnwdutchgrl March 9, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Chronic painful illness that keeps you bedbound makes you an expert in those things a lot of people take for granted. On bad days I can not shower myself or get to the bathroom to wash my face. Have to wait till his hubness comes home and helps me. Nothing makes you feel worse than an unwashed face and not feeling fresh.Meds took my hair so I don’t have to worry about that:-) So next to my bed I have a spray bottle filled with rose water, dirt cheap in an online store or I make my own, a stack of disposable washcloths that I use more than once and are environmental friendly. They serve as washcloth and as towelettes and before they will be thrown away I use them to wipe my rolling over the bed table.
    I spray my face with rose water and wipe, spray again and wipe until I feel fresh. It’s not really spraying it’s more misting.
    Spray some on a wash cloth and freshen up other areas on the body.:-)

    Some will frown at the use of disposable wash cloths but believe me it’s not very pleasant to have a wet cloth drying up next to you. Besides that, normal fabric wash cloths absorb way to much of the rose water, you want it on your body, just a mist and wipe it off.

    On warmer days I have a small cooling box where I keep the spray bottle for extra refreshing feeling. Maybe an alternative for your face cloths? If you do not like the rose water there are a variety of other waters that you could either buy or make. I have tried the cucumber water for instance, also very refreshing or the peppermint and other mints we had growing. That was also one if my favorites! It will save you a lot of water.

    Anything with an infuser you can use to make face waters. I have a tea travel mug with an infuser in the top that is great for small amounts.

    When were on the road I often freeze water in a plastic cup and later put it in the dogs water bowls with a bit if water. They like licking it and they do not spill half the amount on the floor while slobbering.:-)
    That’s it for now. I do have some more but don’t want to spam your comment section.:-)

    • Reply Leigh March 9, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Hi pnwdutchgirl – good to see you on the blog! I’m so sorry to hear your bed-bound, I’m glad you have that 5th Wheel to get you out of the house. The face-mister is a great idea for washing your face, even LESS water used!

  • Reply Joe Catfish March 9, 2014 at 7:53 am

    What great tips! Conservation is our magic word of the week! We are now boondocking out in Quartzsite and drained our batteries last night down to 7 volts:-( charging non essentials with an inverter… Lesson learned! Thanks for sharing your life lessons. Our family read your blog before consuming breakfast. CONSERVATION!

    • Reply Leigh March 9, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Hey Joe Catfish! Oof 7 volts!! I just sent you a friend request so I can follow you on fb. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply SV650 March 9, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      Made that mistake by forgetting to switch the 3-way fridge to propane one time. Way more careful now.

  • Reply Bert Gildart March 9, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Enjoyed seeing pictures of you two in the group picture appearing in the most recent issue of Airstream Life. But tell me, what was Brian looking at. And… how did you get aerial of your property? Did someone have one of those new drones? At any rate, interesting story about your caravan travels. Still in Borrego and not quite sure where we go from here. Cheers!

  • Reply Jess Curren March 10, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Super awesome tips!! Thanks for sharing and for the other links. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Bill D. March 10, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Thanks, Leigh, for this informative post.

    We rely on our Safari’s water tank with fresh water from home for every monthly 5-day camping trip, no matter if our destination has hookups or not. So we are very conservative in the use of water, all of the time. One trick that I use is to bring rolls of paper towels and plenty of Windex. After a meal, I spray the plates, utensils, glasses, and pans with Windex and wipe them with paper towels. If we are near an outdoor water faucet, I rinse them. If not, Larry rinses them in the trailer.

    I keep the Windex and roll of paper towels on the A-frame outside, as seen here:


    And typically during each trip we only use about a half of a 30 gallon fresh water tank as documented in my records seen here:


    • Reply Leigh March 11, 2014 at 7:05 am

      Hi Bill! I love the photo of you guys with Bert and Janie! And, wow your documentation is amazing!!

  • Reply Seth March 11, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    This shower head by Oxygenics does a pretty good job of reducing water consumption while actually boosting water pressure. I can’t explain the physics. We’ve had ours for a few weeks now and my wife gives it a thumbs up. She is a shower pro.


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