Water Storage in a Camper Conversion

We had to consider a few things to figure out how much water capacity we wanted, we hope this helps you figure out your camper conversion’s water system!

How much water will you need per day?

Here’s a table we threw together:

Usage David Belle Avg Daily
Drinking / Cooking 1.5gl .5gl 2
Solar Shower 1.5gl 1.5gl 1.5
washing clothes by hand 0.2
washing down gear 0.2
Total 3.9

David is 6’2 and sweats like crazy, so wants way more than the recommended .5 gallon of drinking/cooking water / day, especially if we’re being active (he takes salt tablets if he actually drinks that much water, don’t worry).  If we’re being lavish we’ll each take a FRESH WATER shower every other day, laundry and misc great cleaning once a week or so.  That gives us a lavish budget of 3.9 gallons per day, 2 if we’re being lean.

Note, i’m not bothering to talk about water usage for our toilette here since it has it’s own tank that we’ll fill when we fill the drinking water tanks.  We expect to use it seldom enough that we’ll run out of drinking water before it’s an issue.

What water sources will your Camper Conversion use?

In addition to the millions of water spigots in the world, most of the places on our adventure will have natural sources of water that will be safe to bathe in and safe to drink after filtering.  We’re packing our gravity filters (David has used his on several trips and loves it) and we’ll usually be by a filterable water source, when we’re not we’re fine sticking with the lean water budget.  The only place that will be an issue is…


What’s the longest you’ll be without a water source?

We’re going to spend a few weeks in the desert of the southwest where we’ll need to pack in all of our water.  We decided we’d like to be able to boondock in our camper conversion at least 3 nights comfortably without resupplying. That means we need between 6 and 12 gallons of water capacity depending on how we plan to use it.   We already have several of these 7 gallon jugs w/ spouts for emergencies, we’re still not sure if we’re going to take one or two.  If we take two, we’d probably keep it empty most of the time, which leads us to…

Where will you fit all this water in your Camper Conversion?

Not only is it bulky, water is heavy at 8.3lbs per gallon.  You need to find a spot in your vehicle that won’t result in uneven load distribution and still be accessible when you need it.  More info on layout planning over here.  If you can’t keep it accessible you’ll need a pump.  We looked at manual and electric options so we could put the water way under the bed, but decided we didn’t want to take that step just yet.  Talk to us after being on the road for a few months :).  A nice thing about an electric pump is you could make it do double duty for showers if your camper conversion’s water setup accommodated making hot water some other way.

What containers will you use?

We already have a bunch of these 7 gallon jugs that are pretty common with van conversion folks.  If we didn’t, and if we had a little more height under the bed, we might have considered one of these low profile rolling tanks.  They’re nice for tucking under stuff and they make it really easy easily with a water source that you can’t pull right up to (if you’re parked at a campground and don’t want to drive over toe the faucet).

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