Living With Only Electric

living-without-hookupsThe campground here at GARF has neither sewer hookups or dump station, and not as many water spigots as campsites. Since I’ve moved from a 50 amp hookup site to a 30 amp one two weeks ago, I haven’t had a water connection.

What this means from a functional standpoint is that I’ve hardly used my plumbing since I arrived, and that has dwindled to not at all for the past two weeks. This is not the first time I’ve lived with only electric, my first season at Amazon I chose to winterize Cas for the last month rather than spend money on winter gear to keep my hoses from freezing.

For some people, the thought of staying long-term at a campground without plumbing is impossible. Unlike boondocking and shorter stays at primitive campgrounds, if you want to keep using your plumbing it means taking a special trip with the RV off-site just to dump the waste tanks and fill the fresh water tank on a regular basis. And if you’re showering daily that probably means having to make that trip more than once a week.

For me, it just isn’t worth that extra time to keep using my own facilities. I’m not adverse to using campground showers and toilets, and considering I’ve only been sick once since I started full-timing (head cold), I’m pretty well convinced that with common sense, public facilities are not overly hazardous to your health.

So here I have a few tips for those people faced with using a campground’s facilities for an extended stay.

  • Keep your own toilet paper on hand. That way you won’t be out of luck if the campground runs out, or if the roll looks to be soiled in any way.

  • Buy a pair of cheap flip-flops to wear in the shower. Then your feet won’t have to touch whatever may be on the ground.

  • If you’re especially concerned with cleanliness, there are spray on sanitizers you can buy to use on the shower walls before you get in. If you’re especially concerned with odors, carry Febreeze or another aerosolized de-odorizer with you.

  • You’re more likely to have hot water and less likely to encounter crowds if you visit the showers during off hours. Here at the festival I often shower immediately after the day is over and save the socializing about how the day went for later, that way I get in while the water is still hot and before the place has been dirtied by the rest of my co-workers.

  • Buy an organizer for all of your shower and bathroom stuff to keep it together. Walmart and other places like that have them in the Health and Beauty department and often for $20 or less and they’re quite compactable. There’s nothing more annoying than stepping into the shower only to realize you forgot something back at the RV.

  • Containers to hold fresh water are easy to come by. I bought a few 1 gallon jugs of water from Walmart and re-use them with tap water until they start getting dirty, then I buy a couple more. Several grocery stores have a policy where you can refill these jugs with filtered water for a lower price than the initial cost.

  • If you’re concerned about BPA, you can buy water containers without it, they’ll cost more is all. I also have a 2 gallon collapsible water holder that I ordered off Amazon that can hang up on a hook, handy if counter/floor space is an issue. Be careful that whatever size water containers you decide to go with, that you can move them easily once they’re full without risk of injury.

I hope this advice might prove helpful to those of you out there who are or will be experiencing a similar camping situation. With the right tools and attitude, not having water and sewer hookups for an extended period of time need not be the end of the world.

* * *

Coming soon! I’ll be taking a day trip to a nearby state park tomorrow or Thursday, the hiking trails have gotten good reviews and I’m looking forward to some more time out exploring this region. Until then take care all.

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Rita on May 30, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Here is some info about summer jobs that pay well

    • Becky on June 3, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      Thanks Rita. 🙂

  2. Marsha on May 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Great tips. I’ve become a master of water conservation since we went with the smaller water tank in our Casita in order to have more on board storage. I can shower and wash my hair using one gallon of water. We mostly camp in National Forest Campgrounds, but if we stay where there are showers we definitely take advantage of using their water as opposed to ours. And flip-flops are a must!

    Timely information for those of us starting the camping season as well as those with the privilege of the full-time life.

    • Becky on May 29, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      1 gallon, you’ve got it down to an art form! You probably do what I do for coin operated showers, wet down and then shampoo and lather while water is off, then turn it back on to rinse. Saves so much water that way. Less fun when it’s cold out and you get chilly standing around wet. 😉

      • Sam on May 29, 2014 at 7:19 pm

        You’ve just described how I wash my car. 🙂

        • Becky on June 3, 2014 at 2:18 pm

          Yep pretty much Sam, haha.

  3. Jodee Gravel on May 28, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I’ve used a beach bag in the past because my towel fits, but I think the flat hanging organizer is a much better solution for so many reasons! Thanks for the smart tips – yes, timing is everything!
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Surprise Gathering for a Best Friend and MoreMy Profile

    • Becky on May 29, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Glad to help Jodee! For my clothes and towel I just throw them in a plastic shopping bag, I keep those on hand for my trash bags so they serve double duty.

  4. David on May 27, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Excellent list of items.

    I always enjoy your posts and this is one that all and especially new RVers should read.

    • Becky on May 29, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Aww thanks and glad you liked it!

  5. Kim on May 27, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    My favorite tip for shower facilities: keep 1 or 2 of those over-the-door hooks in your toiletry bag for those times when there aren’t any (or enough) hooks provided. Perfect for hanging your toiletry bag and/or towel.
    Kim recently posted..Kansas CityMy Profile

    • Becky on May 29, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Ooh, that’s a good one Kim!

  6. William on May 27, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Hey Becky, lot of good advice. “With the right tools and attitude” is a good motto.

    I plan to boondock a lot in my bus. I will put in a larger fresh water and grey water tank so I can go a least a week before i have to dump and fill. This is also the advantage to a composting toilet. The second advantage is no water used to flush.

    My drinking water for now will be in 1 gal and 5 gal jugs separate from my fresh water tank.
    William recently posted..Interior DesignMy Profile

    • Becky on May 29, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      Sounds good! I generally don’t like drinking from my fresh tank either, there’s just no good way to clean it out you know? Have fun with the bus overhaul and enjoy.

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