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Water Efficiency on The Road

Life on the road requires minimalism and planning. Making sure you have enough water is one of the most important aspects to being self-sufficient. No one wants to wake up in their van thirsty in the middle of the night with an empty water tank. Water can be stored and saved in a variety of ways. This breakdown will describe the different helpful storage methods and minimalist techniques to storing and using water on the road.

By Sam Mohun

October 1st, 2021

water on the road

Fresh Water

From professional water installations to DIY projects, a storage container where you can put clean water is one of the most efficient ways to have a usable quantity of water at a time. Three and five gallon jugs work extremely well for days at a time but need to be refilled regularly if you are full-time in your van. Larger water tanks are also available on the marketplace and can be easily installed by anyone who has basic electric and plumbing skills. To get the water from the tank to the sink, people can install a foot pump or an electric pump depending on their setup and what they are looking for in their build. 

Grey Water

It is important to have a grey water tank to save the water that drains from the sink. Three and five gallon tanks are easy and useful for greywater capture and can be carried to an area where you can dump your greywater. It is useful to buy environmentally friendly soap to reduce the environmental impact (Dr. Bronners are a good soap option). Many campsites and gas stations offer septic system disposal for a fee and now with Vanly you can find many listings that offer septic hookups as amenities.  

Solar shower

Solar showers are great for saving water and having a warm shower outside. You fill the shower bag, throw it on your hood and let the sun do the work of heating the water. It is an easy and efficient way to have a shower. Most of the time you can find water from a public water source, so you don't need anything but the shower bag which condenses down to a small and easily storable size. 

solar shower

Washing Dishes

As simple as it sounds, there are some amazingly efficient techniques to washing your dishes with little water. Pro-tip number one is to clean your pans after cooking while they are still warm, it makes it easier to get everything off before it hardens to the pan. For the rest of your dishes, you can fill a washtub or bowl that roughly fits your dishes with soapy water. Use a sponge soap and scrub all of your dishes with the water from the bowl. Then, you can rinse all of the dishes in the bowl one by one, cleaning the bowl or washtub last.      


dirty dishes

Reusable water bottle 

Get a reusable water bottle that you like and carry it with you. You can take advantage of all the free water sources you run into throughout the day. It is easy to do and good for the environment. There are many brands that can keep your water cold or coffee hot. It is essential for vanlife to have a water bottle and you only have to get one and you can use it every day.  

water bottle

Pump Sink 

By installing a pump sink in your van you are literally hand or foot pumping the water out of your tank. This makes you appreciate the amount of water that comes out at a time. These types of pumps allow you to be very precise in how much water you are using and can curb your water consumption.  

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