Rainwater collection? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 01-22-2010, 09:54 AM   #1
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Trailer: 1975 Boler
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I was wondering if anyone does enough boondocking (or is project-happy enough) to rig up a way to collect water while boondocking.

My wife and I just got a Boler, and are in the process of de-craping it to make it livable. We plan on full-timing (i want to full-time boondock), and I can't get the idea of water collection out of my head. My goal is to be as off-grid as possible with solar power, but that's not enough for me! I've boondocked before and usually find water (and propane...hmm) to be kind of annoying to run out of and have to make a trip to the nearest water tap. I'm not planning on boondocking in deserts obviously, it does SEEM like a practical idea for me. I was just wondering if anyone had done this before and had some wisdom, or if anyone can tell me it's a terrible idea so I can put it to rest and think about something else...like paying my taxes or something.

I've thought of a rigging up a hideous awning and hose type monster to a filter water and collect rainwater in a tank (not sure if I'd use the existing tank or do something else).

I'm out of the country right now (my wife tells me we're on vacation) otherwise I'd be out rigging this up.

Anyone have ideas!

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Old 01-22-2010, 10:21 AM   #2
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Cruising sailors do it all the time. We had a system to collect it off the deck after it had been rinsed.

If I were to try it on a camper, I would definately rig it to collect off the awning. Barring an awning, perhaps a tarp stretched over a collapaible frame.

The practicality of this contingent upon the frequency, rate and duration of rain in the area.

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Old 01-22-2010, 10:44 AM   #3
Trailer: U-Haul
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In an earlier permutation of my life I used to do alot of open water cruising in a small sailboat. I lived aboard for 11 years and spent 3 years in the South Pacific on one voyage and 11 months on a second. One thing I would suggest regarding collected rainwater: Do NOT store it in your main water tanks. Rainwater gathers all sort of stuff (spores, bacteria etc) as it passes thru the atmosphere and what with the water being very oxygenated this stuff soon grows into a nasty slime in your main tanks. Better to store in five gallon jerry can type containers which can more easily be cleaned or pitched out if/when the slime gets to bad. Other than that, collecting rainwater where birds can possibly poop on the collection surface brings the risk of Cryptosporidium (see link). I presently live on a small island where some residents collect rainwater for household use. This and other parasites are a real problem so precautions against contamination is a real concern.

Hope this helps,
the link:
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:53 PM   #4
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
Posts: 3,012
Another sailor chiming in to say that I'm in agreement with the previous two posts.

On the awning collection: On boats, some folks sew small fabric "udders" or put small plastic through-hull fittings in their "canvas" awnings at the low point, to which they attach the collection hose. That way you can direct the flow right into a jerry jug (after you let the initial surface-rinsing rain run off).

Another idea might be to make a way to collect the water that runs off the roof of your tow vehicle, especially if you have a lot of roof, like I do on my wagon (my car has gutters, but they do also make stick-on flexible gutters for RVs; maybe you could do something with magnets that would be removable).

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Old 01-27-2010, 04:25 PM   #5
Trailer: Scamp 16 ft
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I have thought about getting one of these to filter water right into my tank from a stream creek or lake. Not exactly what you I looking for but just another idea.

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Old 01-27-2010, 07:28 PM   #6
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Trailer: 2009 Trillium 1300 "Homelet"/2014 Subaru Outback "Rosie"
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Here is a good discussion of the subject:


I don't think he is accurate in saying that water at high altitudes was once drinkable. While a mountain stream LOOKS refreshing because it has all the refreshing appearances. However, there always were and hopefully always will be mountain goats, marmots and other critters fouling surface water.

Stay healthy!

A charter member of the Buffalo Plaid Brigade!

Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
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boondocking, dry camping

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