Well, today I realized that I had not pooped in a public restroom in close to four (4) years…Why did this come up you might ask. See today, our tanks filled up (black – toilet, grey – sinks) and I had to go use the campground bathroom. That’s when it hit me. Anyway, this is an unusual event, not the filled up tanks, or me freaking out in a public restroom, but the fact that we needed to find a place to dump the tanks…Yes, this is part of RV life.
We are currently staying at a campground that only has water and electric. There are no sewer hook-ups. There is a dump station, but hooking up the RV, dumping the tanks, and then returning to your site is a bit complicated. The dump station does not have a turn around so we would have to drive all around the park to find an area large enough to turn our 55′ rig (truck + Trailer) around and then re-park (which is also complicated).
We are here for 30 days and within 7 days all our tanks were full. So instead of lugging our huge rig through a packed out winding campground road and up to the dump station, we decided to buy an external tank. With this external tank we can drain 35 gallons of grey or black water and take it to the dump station. The external tank conveniently comes with 4 wheels and a large handle (kind of like one you would find on a wagon) that connects to your truck hitch.
So, if we have an external tank that we use to dump our RV tanks, why am I currently being confronted with my irrational fear of public restrooms? Well, our nifty external tank has developed a leak. We discovered this after we had filled the tank with grey water and then had to leave. When we came back we noticed a leak. Ew. Although grey water is only from your sink, it is still pretty gross and stinky. Robert was able to still hook it up to the trailer hitch and dump it, but we have been very reluctant to use it since then. So now, here we are, trying to figure out if we have a true leak or if we hooked up something wrong or didn’t tighten something…and we have full tanks again. We were hoping we could make it until we leave – TWO MORE DAYS AWAY!!
We probably could have used less water, but we are still very new to not having a sewer hookup. We used paper plates, plastic utensils, small cups for brushing our teeth (3 oz per brushing) and showered in the campground bathhouse (good thing I’m not afraid of that). We do use our toilet though. If we would have been closer to the public bathrooms we would have used them more (except for my little issue) and saved some water.
So, here we are, 2 days away from leaving and we have full tanks. Looks like we will be finding out why our external tank is leaking after all… in the dark. Oh, and Robert is on his last pair of gloves.
Our Travel Trailer does have gauges that let you know how full your tanks are, but they don’t always work, especially when you are not in a level spot. Level spots are hard to come by in the mountains.
Well, I hope you still want to explore this RV life, even after reading this. After all, most of you are probably just fine pooping in a public restroom…
If you are in a pinch though, an external tank can be a lifesaver. Here’s where you can buy one. We do receive a commission for all purchases made via this link.
Here’s our video of us using the external tank, before the leak.
Robert’s Note: Regarding the leak – I’ll have to attribute the leak to my user error. See, the Thetford SmartTote2 has an extendable handle. I had been towing the tank with the handle in the retracted “short” configuration. With the big hills I had to tow it over, 35 gallons of waste water weighing in the neighborhood of 305 pounds (!), and a high hitch, I was placing a great deal of excess stress on the SmartTote2. In fact, I believe at times, the tank’s front wheels were being lifted off the ground shifting a great amount of stress on the tank’s front axle/handle attachment to the tank. The constant flexing (I’ve towed it over six miles back and forth) caused stress cracks in the inner tank. I’ve made temporary repairs with silicone sealant around the front attachment plate from the wheel axle to the tank, and have been able to dump tanks successfully without any leaks. Most importantly, I’ve extended the SmartTote2’s tow handle fully ensuring that all four wheels stay on the ground, keeping the load stress where it belongs. Happy dumping! Happy RV Life!