A supply of fresh water is an essential resource for any trip in your RV.
And if you’ve spent a good amount of time traveling, you know there are times when finding a fresh water source can be difficult.
However, with a little planning ahead and know-how, you can make sure your water supply isn’t something to stress about.
So, here are 6 of the best spots to fill your RVs freshwater tank along with some important tips and answers to frequently asked questions.
Locations To Fill Up Your Water Tank
Tip: Always plan ahead, especially if boondocking (going off-grid). Know exactly where and when you plan on filling your freshwater tank before you leave for your trip. And always have a backup plan in case one source doesn’t work out.
1. RV Parks
An RV campground offers many useful conveniences, including water hookups that let you refill the tank easily. The main consideration for whether the park you visit will have this facility is if it is a public or private park.
A private park will most likely have the basic connections for water and electricity, but also more extravagant amenities depending on how luxurious it is, including a sewage line, pool, gym, and more. To maintain those extra amenities, private parks often charge more per night.
A public park is cheaper but not guaranteed to have any water available. These parks tend to cost less per night and are often located in or around national parks.
2. RV Dump Stations
While on the road, you’ll be spending a bit of time at RV dump stations to unload the wastewater from your grey and black tanks. Along with that service, most facilities also offer potable water lines so that you can refill your fresh water tank.
The fee to empty wastewater and fill potable water at these dump stations is negligible. There might be an extra charge on top of that for extra services, though.
3. Gas Stations & Truck Stops
Most gas stations and truck stops have commonly doubled as RV stops for decades, so many of these have been fitted to accommodate travelers.
Typically, a station will have a water spigot that you can use to refill your tank somewhere on the property. And if you’re stopping for gas, a lot of times they’ll let you top off your water tank for free!
4. Forest Service Ranger Station
If you spend a lot of time traversing remote, forested camping paths in your RV, a ranger station might come in handy. It is the perfect way to refill your fresh water tank, as they will usually have a spigot that dispenses potable water for hikers and campers in the area. Ask a ranger, and they’ll be happy to direct you.
5. Self-Service Water Refill Stations
You may have seen a potable water filling station at your local grocery store, usually a Glacier or Primo machine. These refill stations provide potable water by the gallon, though it’s a bit more work to get it into your tank than a regular connection. It can also be used as an emergency source of water if there are no visible spigots nearby.
Keep in mind, these self-service stations cost money to use, charging various fees per gallon.
You’ll only need a few multi-gallon jugs and either the right equipment to gravity fill or a portable pump to transfer the water into your tank.
6. Any Store Or Business
If you’re in a tight spot, don’t be afraid to ask at nearby stores for a spigot that you can use. You’ll be surprised at the type of businesses that are able to help with fresh water, especially when you’ve already made a purchase.
Stores like Uhaul, bass pro shops, home improvement stores, and some big retailers often have water hookups available.
Always use a water filter when filling your freshwater tank. When you’re out on the road, you don’t always know how safe the water is. A water filter will help remove any harmful bacteria and contaminants before they even reach your tank.
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How Do I Know When My Freshwater Tank Is Full?
If your RV has one, use the water gauge to monitor your tank’s water levels. If not, listen for water to come out of the overflow (if you are using the city inlet). If you have a gravity-fed system you will know it’s full when the water splashes back.
Or simply keep an eye on the tank itself, if possible.
How Do I Add Water To My RV Freshwater Tank?
To fill an RV water tank with fresh water, you have three options, depending on the model of RV you have and the source of water.
- Using Public Water: Attach one end of the potable water hose to your freshwater tank’s intake valve (be sure you are connected to the local supply) and the other end to the city water spigot. Use a water bandit if the hose doesn’t fit on the spigot. Slowly turn the water on and fill your tank to the desired level.
- Using A Water Pump: If you’re not near a water spigot, but you have a water pump and external water containers full of fresh water, you can fill your tank. Connect the pump to the car battery using alligator clips, and then run a hose from the external tanks to your intake valve on the RV. Turn the pump on and fill your fresh water tank to the desired level.
- Gravity Assisted Refilling: To gravity feed your tank, you will need to have a container with a spout full of fresh water, a water bandit, and a water tank filler attachment. Simply, attach the water bandit to the water tank filler attachment, then connect the water bandit to the spout on the water container. Then, the hard part, you have to lift the water container up so it’s higher than the intake valve on the RV and insert the water tank filler attachment into the intake valve on your RV. Gravity will force the water into your fresh water tank. Keep in mind, a single gallon of water weighs roughly 8 pounds, so this method will require some strength.
How Do I Keep My RV Fresh Water Tank Fresh?
You can keep the water in your tank fresh for as long as possible by:
- Using a water filter when filling your tank to remove any contaminants and bacteria before they even reach your tank.
- Using a clean water hose specially designed for filling your tank with potable water.
- Sanitizing the freshwater system regularly.
Learn more about keeping your RV water fresh in our guide on how long to keep fresh water in your RV tank.
How Much Does It Cost To Fill An RV Water Tank?
This really depends on where you are filling up your RV water tank, but you can expect to pay between $0 and $10 on average.
Some RV parks and campgrounds will allow you to dump and fill your tanks for a small fee (or if you are paying to stay there it will be rolled into that cost, which averages $30 – $60 a night). Dump stations typically charge a small fee, as well, while truck stops and gas stations often let you use their water for free if you ask.