Vanlife- 5 simple methods to take care of waste & water on the highway

One of many hardest issues about wild parking or staying off-grid with a motorhome or campervan is figuring out how one can discover contemporary, secure ingesting water and acceptable gray and black waste disposal factors while you’re on the highway, particularly within the UK which is rather a lot more durable than motorhoming in Europe.

Nevertheless, don’t let the confusion put you off. There are many choices for motorhomes and campervans to soundly eliminate waste and get water- which we’re going to share with you right here.

Don’t neglect to seize your free motorhome wild camping checklist here that will help you arrange your van to remain in a single day with out electrical energy or services.

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Motorhome waste and discovering water – what’s the large deal?

Should you do all of your motorhoming on campsites, this may seem to be a silly query. In spite of everything- it’s simple… you simply join your hose to the faucet on the campsite, and empty your gray tank and bathroom cassette into the suitable areas.

And also you’re not flawed. However…

My guess is most individuals involved about discovering water and waste disposal while in a motorhome or campervan aren’t planning on staying on campsites- or no less than not ones with services. In truth, there’s probability that you just’re planning on staying off-grid along with your van, having fun with a spot of motorhome wild camping and usually need to be as far-off from campsites as potential.

With that in thoughts, let’s get began.

Motorhome wild tenting guides for the UK & Europe

Motorhome wild parking guide

Motorhome Waste Disposal

Earlier than we get began, let’s speak in regards to the various kinds of waste. Gray waste is bathe and sink soiled water and black waste is rest room waste.

In most locations, you may’t eliminate them in the identical place. Gray water goes down a drain and black waste goes right into a chemical rest room disposal level. It’s essential to grasp that distinction earlier than we go on to the various kinds of waste disposal factors.

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Coping with Motorhome waste and water whereas touring

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The place to search out Motorhome waste disposal factors

Let’s begin with the plain one- when you want contemporary ingesting water and a secure place to eliminate gray and black waste, one of the best place to go is a correct motorhome campsite.

I do know, I do know- we’ve already talked about that you just’re attempting to keep away from these- however they are surely one of the best place to go to for motorhome services.

Often, we begin our motorhoming holidays with an empty van, because the van is saved in storage and we’re unable to replenish with contemporary water there. For that purpose, we attempt to guide our first evening of any journey right into a campsite. We additionally do the identical on the final night- so we are able to empty the gray and black waste correctly and drain any remaining contemporary water which could nonetheless be within the tanks.

After all, in the summertime you largely possible have to guide up prematurely with a view to get an area, but when you recognize when your journey will begin, it’s simpler to know the place you may keep.

And, when you’re planning to remain on campsites with waste disposal services and water in your total journey, then it’s easy- you simply use these.

However what if you wish to keep away from campsites?

How do you discover water and waste disposal for the remainder of your time on the highway when you don’t need to keep in a single day on a campsite?? Properly, there are a number of choices. You’re both:

  • Go to a campsite and pay to make use of their providers
  • Local people factors – like group facilities and automotive parks (some are beginning to present motorhome service factors for a small charge)
  • In Europe, use a motorhome aire or service level
  • Use public services (not advisable however helpful in a pinch)

Paying for campsite services

Within the UK, the place there isn’t a big community of aires and motorhomers aren’t as properly catered for, we nonetheless advocate utilizing campsite services as typically as potential.

Many campsites will mean you can pay a small charge (someplace between £5-£10) with a view to refill your contemporary water tank, empty gray waste and your rest room cassette.

Now we have discovered higher success with this by both utilizing campsites which overtly say they permit this (look on their web sites) or utilizing smaller, impartial campsites. Anybody operating a web site from a farm or discipline as an impartial enterprise are more likely to permit a ‘pit cease’.

You may telephone prematurely (advisable when you’re a bigger car or tow a trailer with your motorhome like we do) however we’ve had higher success by simply turning up and asking politely to pay for utilizing their providers.

TOP TIP: Do NOT flip up at a motorhome membership campsite (like a CMC or CCC web site) on a Friday or Sunday throughout summer time or college holidays. They are going to be WAY too busy to take care of you and are more likely to say no.


Europe aires & service factors

In case you are motorhoming in Europe, life is rather a lot simpler! In addition to aires (study how to find aires and overnight parking in Europe), there are additionally a system of motorhome service factors, typically at service areas on motorways.

To make use of these, you simply want to tug up, pay the charge (often 1 or 2€) and empty waste/ get contemporary water. Simple peezy.

So, when all of the above fails, let’s focus on public providers.


Gray Waste Water Disposal within the UK

For gray wastewater, there are methods to eliminate it correctly with no campsite. The UK, like most of Europe, has separate programs in place for rain water and gray water. Due to this fact, most roadside drains are for rainwater solely.

Should you’re fortunate sufficient to discover a gray water drain, you may simply pull your motorhome up excessive and open the waste (gray, NOT BLACK.) Most aires and approved motorhome parking places have gray water drains (though they don’t all the time say.)

Alternatively, when you’re parked up someplace, you need to use a plastic container just like the under ones, which might then be carried to the suitable disposal level or drain. 

The place to search out gray waste and bathroom disposal factors within the UK

Here’s a fantastic map from Campra (Marketing campaign for Actual Aires within the UK) which reveals aires and disposal factors across the UK.

There are a number of locations within the Lake District which have been arrange for waste disposal- here’s where to find them (thanks Paul for the hyperlink)

Gray water and bathroom waste disposal factors in Scotland

Here’s a great map from CAMPA (NOT the identical as Campra above) displaying waste disposal factors and campsites in Scotland which let you use their providers for a charge.

Can you set gray waste down a ‘regular’ highway drain?

It is a difficult one. My politically appropriate reply isn’t any, as a result of then it doesn’t return into the proper system for therapy. Having mentioned that, it’s not unlawful to scrub your automotive within the street- and that’s cleaning soap and grime too.

My trustworthy reply is, in a pinch, it’s higher to empty right into a drain than all around the highway. Clearly, utilizing correct campsite services is the most suitable choice. Attempt to use washing up liquid which is variety to the atmosphere (like those under) when you assume you may do that in some unspecified time in the future.

Additionally, attempt to wipe down plates/ cooking pans to take away fats and meals earlier than you wash up (that is good apply anyway so your tank doesn’t odor/ pipes don’t get clogged.) And PLEASE don’t simply open the outlet as you’re driving alongside, even when it’s raining.

Additionally, some smaller campsites ask motorhomers to make use of their gray water on the hedgerows, particularly in summer time. Solely do that if requested/ clear indicators.


Emptying motorhome campervan toilet cassette in the UK
Emptying motorhome campervan rest room cassette within the UK

Black waste/ rest room cassette disposal for vanlife

Public toilets- don’t use busy ones just like the M6 providers or beachfront ones. Discover a quiet village or distant lavatory. There’s an internet site and app known as Toilet Map which will help you discover locations.

Additionally, don’t tip all of it out at once- you’ll block the bathroom. Little then flush. Clear up

VERY IMPORTANT: Be sure the bathroom you’re emptying into isn’t on a septic tank/ fosse. Whether it is, and you utilize ‘regular’ rest room fluids, you’ll kill all of the micro organism.

Once more, if that is possible (when you’re motorhoming in France for instance), use fosse-friendly fluid in your rest room cassette. We use a product known as Solbio organic toilet fluid, which is pure and doesn’t include dangerous chemical substances. It’s additionally secure to be disposed of in septic tanks or fosse, which means now we have extra choices to eliminate our rest room responsibly.

The right way to make your motorhome rest room last more between emptying

To make rest room go for longer between discharges, some individuals use a pee bottle, however you want a bit of liquid in there in any other case it’ll all stick as an enormous lump.

What we desire to do as an alternative is to not put rest room paper into the bathroom. As a substitute, we use a plastic bag, like a nappy bag for all used paper, which might then be disposed of safely in a bin. 

Some individuals discover this bizarre, however we needed to do it for years on the boat so it’s fairly. Kemal for us and does cease the bathroom getting so full, so quick.

Additionally, you do NOT have to pay for costly motorhome rest room paper. Significantly, simply get a budget stuff from any grocery store so it dissolves simply. However when you’re going to place it right into a bag, you should purchase no matter model you want! However when you’re wanting an ecofriendly choice, now we have advisable some under.

Another choice for ‘sticky’ rest room paper is to not use lots of water to flush the paper down- that simply fills up the cassette. As a substitute, you need to use a twig bottle (or previous Domestos bottle with the jet spout) for focused stress to flush it down and clear marks on the bowl with little or no water use. (Thanks Bob for the tip.)

While we’re on the topic, please, fairly please, don’t empty the cassette in conjunction with the highway, or right into a hedge, or the forest. It’s inflicting chaos in well-liked areas and locations like Portugal have been destroyed by this, so please do assist shield our nation by disposing of waste hygenically. 


Discovering contemporary ingesting water whereas travelling

As for getting water, you used to have the ability to get water from garages and repair stations, however lots of these have gone now. Some individuals recommend utilizing graveyards however personally that doesn’t sit properly for us.

Should you’re a canal boat proprietor, you might need a key which provides you entry to services- some locations have these close to sufficient to a carpark for hoses to achieve. Once more, we use campsites and solely drink water from the lifesaver jerrycan we feature onboard (HIGHLY advocate this when you journey rather a lot.)


I hope that helped reply your questions. I’d love to listen to what you do- be happy to share your strategies. And if you recognize of any campsites which is able to allow you to use their services for a charge, please do drop the main points under so others can profit.

Need extra ideas for motorhoming?

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Vanlife- 5 easy ways to deal with waste & water on the road
5 easy ways to deal with water and waste disposal while campervanning

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