How much water to carry, in what and where to find it
One of my sources for information about doing this on-the-road lifestyle has been a fella by the name of Bob at cheaprvliving. I have been thinking about water and living in the truck, so I searched his blog about water. Here are some of his observations.
- 5-7 Gallon Jugs—These are the workhorse for most of us and probably all you need. They come in all sizes and shapes and I carry one of each because different shapes fit in different areas of the van. (Great idea. Had thought to have them all the same shape/size.) I’m able to tuck the tall slender jugs in front of the passenger seat, in front of one of my 4-drawer plastic shelf units and even in the step under the side door of my cargo van. They’re available in white but I don’t recommend them. Sunlight can get through it and they will grow algae. (Very useful hint.)You’ll know because you will see green stuff start growing. Not to worry, just soak it with a bleach solution and it will be totally safe again. It’s very important to never store your bottles (with or without water in them) in the sun. The sun will damage the plastic and the water. The cooler you can keep the water, the better.
- Filtering—In the long run you are going to want to use a filter. (Good safety addition; have put it on the Amazon luxury list.) They work well and last a long time. There are three main types of filter: pump, gravity flow, and straw/bottle type. I have one of each on hand because they each have different advantages and disadvantages, but if I was only going to have one I would have a Sawyer Gravity flow filter. It is guaranteed to filter up to a million gallons and it is super simple to use. I like that it has no moving parts that can wear out or break. The one I have has an adapter for 5 gallon buckets so to filter water all I have to do is dip the bucket in a water source, place it on a table and let the filter hang down with another bucket underneath it. Gravity pulls the water through it and clean, safe water drips out with no effort on my part. It’s plenty fast enough for me.
- How much should I carry? Water is heavy so you are probably not going to want to carry a lot of it at once. At 8 pounds per gallon 10 gallons of water weighs 80 pounds and 20 gallons of water weighs 160 pounds. So what I do is carry 15 gallons of water (120 pounds) with me and carry another 15 gallons of empty jugs that I will fill if I have reason to be concerned. I have a 5 and 6 gallon jug that are full and in reserve and, 4 one gallon jugs I use daily. (Good hint. I was planning on carrying the full water component at all times and never thought about empty containers.. )
- How should I clean my bottles so they stay safe? I bleach all my bottles twice a year (in December and June at the Solstice) by filling them with water and pouring a generous amount of bleach in them so that the water has a very strong bleach smell. Then I slosh it around vigorously and let it sit for at least an hour when I slosh it out again. After that I dump it and rinse it out? That kills anything growing in it. (Great way to celebrate the Solstice.)
Read more from Bob here.