Sprinter Van Interior with Water Tank

How to Refill Water for Van Life

Key takeaways

Water is one of the most essential resources for vanlifers. If you want fresh drinking water or a functional sink, hot shower, or toilet, you’re going to need access to a supply of useable water. Here are some of the best places to fill-up:

  • Campgrounds & RV parks: Many campgrounds and parks provide water fill-ups. These may be free, available at an extra cost or included with the price of admission.
  • RV dump sites: Dump sites (which are designed for dumping black and gray water tank waste) typically offer free water refills.
  • Water vending machines: If you have a portable water jug, you can fill it at a water vending machine. Usually found near grocery stores or gas stations, they charge anywhere from $0.25 to $0.40 per gallon.
  • Rest stops: Rest stops are a highly convenient place to refill your campervan water tanks (as they can be found on virtually any route).
  • Gas stations: Some gas stations offer free water faucets by the side of the building. Be sure to ask if the water is potable first (as the faucets rarely include labels).
  • National, state, and city parks: Similar to RV parks, many public parks provide water spigots available for anyone to use.
  • Local businesses: Some businesses may give vanlifers access to water spouts. For example, Cabela’s (an outdoor recreation chain) frequently offers water fill-ups.
  • Friends/family: If you’re passing a friend or family member’s home, see if they’ll let you re-fill your water supply.

No matter which sources you use, always make sure the water is potable (or safe to drink), as contaminated water can cause illness and require you to thoroughly clean your plumbing system before continued use.

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