Boondocking RV bathroom tips: Stay another day (or week) off-grid

When camping without the benefit of hookups, there are tips for every room in your RV that can help extend the amount of time you can spend off-grid before having to come in and reboot.

As I am generally not a fan of staying in RV parks any more than is absolutely necessary, I have accumulated quite a few boondocking tips over the years.

It’s a bummer to discover a great off-grid boondocking spot only to have to leave prematurely because you ran out of water, or because your holding tanks were getting full.  While the 40 to 60 gallons of water your RV tank carries might seem like a lot, you can go through it mighty quickly if you are not careful.

I had one friend who was so obsessed with having enough water, he installed an extra water tank in his truck. While that is always an option, these tips are far simpler, easier, and less expensive.


Of course, if you are camping in a place with public restrooms, showers, or even vault toilets, use those as much as is practical. However, here I’m going to assume those are not options.

RV bathroom tips for maximum boondocking time

  • Collapsible water storage jugs make it easy for you to cart 10 to 20 gallons or more of extra water along without the hassle and expense of installing an extra water tank in the truck, like my friend did. Fill up just before heading out to your remote spot. When empty, fold up and store until next time.
  • Easy to install oxygenating showerheads are a game-changer. They provide increased water pressure for a better shower while using FAR less water than traditional showerheads. Be sure to choose one with a switch that lets you shut the water off while you soap up. Oxygenics is a popular brand.
  • This is probably the most common of all RV bathroom tips, but it’s a classic for a reason: Take navy showers to conserve water.
  • Beyond the navy shower, turn off the taps and stop the water from running when brushing teeth, scrubbing hands, waiting for hair conditioner to soak in, etc.
  • Collect the water that runs while waiting for hot water to come out of the faucet. Use for cleaning, washing, or for toilet flushing.
  • Using less soap, shampoo, and hair conditioner when showering or washing equals less rinsing, less fresh water used, and less water in the gray tank. Use ONLY what you need to get clean.
  • Pick up an inexpensive solar shower or two and fill them with water just before heading out to your boondocking location. Set the bags out in the sun and you will have hot water for 2-3 extra showers per bag. By showering outside you’ll also save putting extra water down the gray water tank. For those who like privacy, you can pick up a portable shower stall pop-up tent to go with your solar shower.
  • Use a leave-in hair conditioner instead of the usual kind that needs to be rinsed out.
  • Shower less often! It may sound odd to a society conditioned to shower each and every day, but according to no less an authority than Harvard Health, it’s not at all clear that a daily shower accomplishes much. In fact, daily showering might even be detrimental to your health!
  • Rinse-free body wash or bathing wipes can keep your face and body feeling clean and fresh between showers.
  • Dry shampoo can save the need to wash your hair for several days longer than you ordinarily would. Spray on then brush out to clean shiny hair. Not Your Mother’s is my personal favorite brand.
  • Disinfecting cleaning wipes will save you water when cleaning counters, walls, etc.
  • The less toilet paper that goes down the toilet, the less water you need for flushing (and the easier your next trip to the dump station will be). I like to keep biodegradable dog poop clean up bags to deposit soiled paper in before throwing in the trash.
  • If you are boondocking out in the middle of nowhere, especially with a big group or family, take a cue from tent campers and use an outdoor camp toilet in addition to your RV’s bathroom. Check this one out. The same pop-up tent you picked up for outdoor showers also makes a good private outdoor bathroom.

Do you have more RV bathroom tips that extend your off-grid boondocking time? Be sure to drop your favorites in the comments below. Happy boondocking, everyone!

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