Boondocking 101: Grey and Black Water Tanks

It’s time to talk dirty.  If you’re on a long bookdocking trip and using outside sources to save water eventually somethings gotta give and you going to fill up your tanks.  What goes in must come out, right…?

Black Water Tank:  This tank is the least of your concerns. Our tank holds 35 gallons and when you really think about it 35 gallons is a lot of excrement!  Only use enough water necessary to flush the business down.


  • Go Third World: Put your used toilet paper in a trash can.  We use a covered trash can and there is no smell!  There is another benefit to this technique, you don’t have to use the RV grade toilet paper.  You can use the good stuff from home that your finger doesn’t poke through!

Grey Water Tank:  Eventually you’re going to fill this one up.  Although, a little insight and effort will help delay the inevitable.

  • Don’t let the water run when washing hands or brushing teeth.
  • Use paper plates and plastic utensils.  This one goes against our personal beliefs on consumables, but I have to admit we use it when we boondock.  
  • Plug the drain on your kitchen sink:  Wash and rinse your dishes using the water saving techniques previously noted and then scoop the water into a bucket and pour it outside or into the fire pit.  It helps if you scrape your plates really well.  I don’t think this is littering or polluting.  It’s no different from someone tent camping, doing their dishes in a bucket, and pouring that bucket in the bushes.  Just try to use the fire ring if possible.
  • Take spit baths with a bucket of water:  This limits the amount of water you will consume and water that goes down the drain.
  • Drain some of your grey water from the tank and use it to put out your campfire.   You might raise a few eyebrows from those not in the know but it kind of makes sense.  Grey water it nothing but soapy water with a few food remnants.   *I have seen this one done before but I have not tried it myself because it might not be legal???

Happy boondocking!





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