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Old 04-27-2016, 08:45 AM   #1
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Question Dumb/Newbie Question regarding grey tank

I've been reading these forums quite and bit and our family is going to be dry camping in the near future for 4 days. We have only had our MH for a few months. We recently stayed in a campground and within 2 days (1 night) just about filled our grey tanks. Of course, we were hooked up to water and sewage so it was no big deal to dump and we took longer than normal showers and didn't pay a lot of attention to how much water we were using.

Dry camping is a different story though. Our grey tank is only 42 gallons, with a 50 gallon fresh water tank. I see people that dry camp for over a week and they talk about "using the grey water to flush the toilet". My question is this... how in the world do you use the grey water to flush the toilet? LOL Do you stick a 5 gallon bucket under the dump area and dump the grey tank into it as you use it so you don't fill up the grey tank? And then bring that 5 gallon bucket into the MH and pour it into the toilet when needed?

Sorry for such a newb question, I have searched and searched and no one actually says how they do it, just that they do it.
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Old 04-27-2016, 09:09 AM   #2
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Hi ghoticov -

I'm definitely not an expert on boon-docking.. but I've done it a couple times.. here are some of the simple tricks I've used..
  • Get your self a "sink tub" (the plastic ones that fit into the sink basin)
  • When doing the dishes, use the sink tub so it doesn't go to your grey tank.. you can use that water for flushing
  • When waiting for the shower water to get warm, use the same sink tub to "catch" the water and use that clean water for dishes and then flushing the toilet
  • Paper plates/plastic cups.. I don't like to use them, but when boon-docking, its best to keep dishes to a minimum..
  • Goes without saying to keep the showers to a minimum (navy shower) - we tend to "rapid fire" showers so we don't let the water in the lines to get cold so we'd have to wait for the water to get warm again..
  • We tend to meal plan using our grill more than "cooking in the kitchen" and if we do cook in the kitchen, we have pre-prepared meals at home to keep from dirtying up dishes..
Again.. as you can see, just some common sense things to keep water usage to a minimum.. Hope it helps.. I'm sure other professional boon-dockers will chime in with other great ideas...
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Old 04-27-2016, 09:22 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oakcreekeric View Post
Hi ghoticov -

I'm definitely not an expert on boon-docking.. but I've done it a couple times.. here are some of the simple tricks I've used..
  • Get your self a "sink tub" (the plastic ones that fit into the sink basin)
  • When doing the dishes, use the sink tub so it doesn't go to your grey tank.. you can use that water for flushing
  • When waiting for the shower water to get warm, use the same sink tub to "catch" the water and use that clean water for dishes and then flushing the toilet
  • Paper plates/plastic cups.. I don't like to use them, but when boon-docking, its best to keep dishes to a minimum..
  • Goes without saying to keep the showers to a minimum (navy shower) - we tend to "rapid fire" showers so we don't let the water in the lines to get cold so we'd have to wait for the water to get warm again..
  • We tend to meal plan using our grill more than "cooking in the kitchen" and if we do cook in the kitchen, we have pre-prepared meals at home to keep from dirtying up dishes..
Again.. as you can see, just some common sense things to keep water usage to a minimum.. Hope it helps.. I'm sure other professional boon-dockers will chime in with other great ideas...
Thanks for the tips!

So here's the dumb question... lol

So you capture the water with the sink tub and intend to use it to wash dishes or use in the toilet. Where do you keep it once you capture it? Do you just leave it in the bin until you need it? Or do you dump it into a larger bucket (like a 5 gallon bucket)?
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Old 04-27-2016, 09:36 AM   #4
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When the grey water drains, it flushes the line and cleans out anything left from the black tank. So empty your black tank first and then empty the grey tank. If you have built in rinsing in your black tank, leave both tanks open while you flush it clean. I don't do anything to capture grey water like ghoticov recommends. If you have 50 gallons fresh and 40 gallon grey and black, you should have 30 gallons of waste space to spare. We do use a plastic container in the kitchen sink to conserve while washing dishes. We always run out of fresh water and fill the black water before the grey is full so it's not an issue for us. I recommend getting to know your usage and then modify based on your needs. We use bottled water for all cooking and drinking but still run out of fresh water before filling our waste tanks. We can go up to a week without dumping. Two days sounds like someone takes long showers. Do you have low flow fittings on your taps? I got a 1.5 gpm shower head and it works great. There are also lots of free / cheap places to dump.
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Old 04-27-2016, 09:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ghoticov View Post
Thanks for the tips!

So here's the dumb question... lol

So you capture the water with the sink tub and intend to use it to wash dishes or use in the toilet. Where do you keep it once you capture it? Do you just leave it in the bin until you need it? Or do you dump it into a larger bucket (like a 5 gallon bucket)?
You don't really need to hold onto it, just dump it in the toilet right away. You probably won't fill that black tank. The main thing is using a basin to wash and rinse so it doesn't go down into the gray tank. Another option which may be used is to put a 5 gallon bucket under your outside drain, open your gray tank and drain into the bucket, then find a place to discreetly water the native vegetation. (Use biodegradable soaps to minimize impact on vegetation). We have gone up to a week with 4 people without having to dump gray water. of course 'Navy' showers, minimize using washable cookery, etc. Another thing to think about is not putting toilet paper in the toilet, but in a plastic bag, as people do when desert backpacking, and carry it out.
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Old 04-27-2016, 09:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghoticov View Post
Thanks for the tips!

So here's the dumb question... lol

So you capture the water with the sink tub and intend to use it to wash dishes or use in the toilet. Where do you keep it once you capture it? Do you just leave it in the bin until you need it? Or do you dump it into a larger bucket (like a 5 gallon bucket)?
NO dumb questions...

We typically leave the "tub" in the sink and use as necessary.. we scoop out water with a medium to large cup to assist with the "flushing" and have the water available to wash/rinse a dish..

Also... I forgot to mention, we also have one of these (Reliance 7-gal. Aqua-Tainer - Blue : Target) that we take with us when boon-docking.. We use bottled water to drink.. but for cooking or to rinse our hands, we have this outside on a table.. its only 7 gallons.. but it does help us conserve the water in our tank...
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Old 04-27-2016, 10:26 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by FaithBowls View Post
Two days sounds like someone takes long showers. Do you have low flow fittings on your taps? I got a 1.5 gpm shower head and it works great. There are also lots of free / cheap places to dump.
Thanks for the suggestions.... we do use bottled water to drink.

As far as the long showers and filling the grey tanks, we were hooked up to both sewer and water so we weren't in "water conservation mode". But it was interesting to see how quick they fill up when not being concerned with dumping it or using up our on board fresh water.
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Old 04-27-2016, 10:29 AM   #8
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You don't really need to hold onto it, just dump it in the toilet right away. You probably won't fill that black tank. The main thing is using a basin to wash and rinse so it doesn't go down into the gray tank. Another option which may be used is to put a 5 gallon bucket under your outside drain, open your gray tank and drain into the bucket, then find a place to discreetly water the native vegetation. (Use biodegradable soaps to minimize impact on vegetation). We have gone up to a week with 4 people without having to dump gray water. of course 'Navy' showers, minimize using washable cookery, etc. Another thing to think about is not putting toilet paper in the toilet, but in a plastic bag, as people do when desert backpacking, and carry it out.
Gotcha! We do use biodegradable soaps and things like that. We will mostly be dry camping in the dunes so not alot of places to "water the bushes". lol

But using the sink water and cold water (from the shower before it gets hot) is a good idea to use for the toilet. After those 3 days of camping being hooked up, our black tank was barely 1/3 full so I know we could go a lot longer on that if needed.
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Old 04-27-2016, 10:36 AM   #9
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NO dumb questions...

We typically leave the "tub" in the sink and use as necessary.. we scoop out water with a medium to large cup to assist with the "flushing" and have the water available to wash/rinse a dish..

Also... I forgot to mention, we also have one of these (Reliance 7-gal. Aqua-Tainer - Blue : Target) that we take with us when boon-docking.. We use bottled water to drink.. but for cooking or to rinse our hands, we have this outside on a table.. its only 7 gallons.. but it does help us conserve the water in our tank...
We are definitely covered with regards to having extra fresh water if needed. We carry a 55 gallon drum in our tow trailer (that carry our rhino and quad) that we can pump into the on board fresh water tank if needed.

If we can do like you say and not drain water from the sink or cold water from the shower into the grey tank, I think we will be ok.I think taking the "navy showers" will help a lot too. It seems its just a matter of DOING it and seeing what works for each family.
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Old 04-27-2016, 10:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oakcreekeric View Post
Hi ghoticov -

I'm definitely not an expert on boon-docking.. but I've done it a couple times.. here are some of the simple tricks I've used..
  • Get your self a "sink tub" (the plastic ones that fit into the sink basin)
  • When doing the dishes, use the sink tub so it doesn't go to your grey tank.. you can use that water for flushing
  • When waiting for the shower water to get warm, use the same sink tub to "catch" the water and use that clean water for dishes and then flushing the toilet
  • Paper plates/plastic cups.. I don't like to use them, but when boon-docking, its best to keep dishes to a minimum..
  • Goes without saying to keep the showers to a minimum (navy shower) - we tend to "rapid fire" showers so we don't let the water in the lines to get cold so we'd have to wait for the water to get warm again..
  • We tend to meal plan using our grill more than "cooking in the kitchen" and if we do cook in the kitchen, we have pre-prepared meals at home to keep from dirtying up dishes..
Again.. as you can see, just some common sense things to keep water usage to a minimum.. Hope it helps.. I'm sure other professional boon-dockers will chime in with other great ideas...
those are good tips.
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Old 04-27-2016, 10:50 AM   #11
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Depending on where theses dunes are... public vs. private lands and all, there are places that allow you to run a dedicated gray water hose out away from the camper to drain the gray water away from the campsites. Tent folks dump their gray water all the time... but, check the legality of it where you plan to be. I prefer keeping my dishpan water in the dishpan and using it to flush with... the soap helps clean the black tank, and add more water to the tank than usual so when we do dump, it's easier after being out boondocking. My older motorhome is small and the systems simple and I don't have to carry my dishpan far... maybe 4-5 steps max...LOL! Baby wipes on the dirty parts are excellent ways to max out the time between showers....I keep an old oxyclean container with it's lid in the bathroom for 'dirty' trash. Then toss it when we have it full. Just the right size for us and not clear so I don't have to look at the 'dirty' trash.
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Old 04-27-2016, 11:23 AM   #12
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Keep in mind that there are many areas that won't allow dumping of gray water on the ground so definitely check first.

You are quite different from tenters in your water usage. They can wash dishes in a cup of water, they don't take showers (unless there's a shower building), they don't run water to wash hands or brush teeth. You would be dumping many gallons of grey water and if you don't wipe your dishes off before washing you'll have garbage going in your tank, too. Gray water can be very smelly and attracks flies.

Also, to conserve tank space, you don't have to wash dishes after every meal. We keep our dishpan under the sink and dirty silverware/dishes are put in there until time to wash. We do a lot of grilling so no dishes there. Some pots (for veggies) or fry pan can just be wiped out and re-used. It's amazing how you can conserve in all areas.
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