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Pop-up campers are very compact with minimal water systems. Since you are staying in a camper you will want to wash your hands and dishes though. So what should you do with the gray water? In this article, we discuss some pretty smart ideas to handle gray water in a pop-up camper.

Pop-Up Camper Grey Water Ideas:

  • Self- contained
  • Aquatainer
  • Collapsible Gray Water Tank
  • Hydra roller
  • Bucket
  • Mount a Tank
  • Use a Large Containter with Tow Bracket
  • Connect to the sewer connection
  • Connect to gray water connection
  • Clean Dishes and Use a sink strainer
  • Re-use Gray water

Let’s start with the basics: RVs have two different kinds of wastewaters. The black water and the gray water. The black water is the wastewater coming from your toilet so it contains human waste and it is unsafe. Gray water on the other hand is the one coming from your shower, kitchen, and bathroom sink which contains soap, food particles, bacteria, grease, and grime. 

Do Pop-up campers have gray water tanks?

Generally, most pop-up campers do not have onboard gray water holding tanks. However, there are lots of portable gray water tanks that you can buy online. Otherwise, you can just run the hose from the drain plug on your pop-up to the sewer connection. 

Since gray water contains soap, food particles, bacteria, grease, and grime, it should not be dumped on the ground. It is illegal in some areas and you will get a heavy fine if you will get caught doing it. These areas are mostly concerned about the phosphates in the soap and organics in the food particles which are bad for surface water and cause algae to grow.

However, some areas, that have a particularly high amount of precipitation allow gray water to be directly spread on the ground.

Although, you might be a type of RVer who rarely puts anything down the drain that would be dangerous or harmful. Perhaps, it could just be water and hand soap to wash your hands occasionally. 

Nonetheless, this guide will help you with 11 smart pop-up camper gray water tank ideas and a few tips to keep your portable holding tanks clean and odor-free.

Before we proceed, for more grey and black water resources, check these out:

How Would You Know If You Have a Gray Water Tank?

Pop up camper at a camp ground with fabric awning
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A pop-up camper at a campground

Newer RVs have both gray water and black water holding tanks. Pop-ups on the other hand do not generally have gray water holding tanks.

Although many pop-up campers do not have built-in gray water tanks, there are also a few PUP models that have one. The most straightforward method is to run a little water down the sink drain and see if it flows out of the camper somewhere. At the outlet look for a valve and a tank.

You can always just have to ask the manufacturer before you plan on buying one.

Gray Water Solutions for Your Pop-up Camper

Be Self-Contained

Of course, having a self-contained gray water system on a pop-up is ideal. First, you should check to see if there is a holding tank on board your camper.

However, most pop-ups do not come equipped with built-in gray water systems. Some people have actually mounted a 7 to 10-gallon water holding tank like this one under their camper. You can find the tanks and all the connections on Amazon here. This allows for a very small amount of water storage.

Note: If you are trying this because some campgrounds only allow “self contained units”. If this is true ask what they actually mean by self-contained.

Use an Aqua-trainer

Aqua-trainer is one of the most popular portable gray water tanks that you can buy in the market or online. It is mostly being used by RVers who have PUP.

It is a just 7-gallon container though so you might need two of it to use one for your shower and one for the kitchen sink. Check the price for the aqua-tainer on Amazon here.

You also need to empty it frequently, especially if you shower, wash your hands, or cook frequently.

Use Collapsible Grey Water Tank

This Collapsible container is also great for holding the gray water that you can purchase. It comes in 2 to 5 gallons so you may also need about two of it so you’ll have one for your shower and one for the kitchen sink.

The collapsible portable tank is good because it does not take up extra space while empty. These collapsible tanks are very inexpensive and come in 2 to 5-gallon sizes so its easier to carry. Check the price on Amazon here .

Use a Wheeled Hydroller

A Hydroller is an upgrade of the Aqua-trainer. It’s from the same manufacturer but more durable and on wheels. The good thing about it is it’s larger with an 8-gallon capacity. Plus, it comes in a flip-up handle so you can easily take it to the campsite’s dumping station or anywhere you can dispose of the wastewater in it. 

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You can purchase the 8-gallon hydroller on Amazon or at Walmart. If you prefer to have a longer time between dumping, this portable waste holding tank is ideal. (check the price for Camco 21 gallon tank on Amazon.

Use any water bucket or gallon

If you are on a budget or just don’t feel like buying these portable tanks, you can just use a 5 to 10-gallon bucket to hold your gray water. Simply place the bucket at the outlet of the sink in your camper.

You can get even fancier by covering the bucket. Just put a lid and a hole cut into the top that can fit the hose.

Mount a Grey Water Tank on Your PUP

Mount a gray water tank on your PUP. You can still use your kitchen or bathroom sink without getting into the trouble of setting up the tank underneath or at the back of your PUP to hold gray water.

In case you have decided to mount your tanks in your RVs, make sure that you will also use two brackets so it will be stable even when you hit the brakes while driving.

Use a Large Container with a Tow Bracket

Lifting or dragging 8 gallons of water to the nearest dump may make your back hurt just thinking about it. There are larger containers that will last a long time and then can be towed to the dump station.

You can also use a tow bracket to pull Blue Tote portable holding tanks into the nearest dump station. This is useful especially if your tank is too heavy.

This system has a 32-gallon tank and a tow bracket included. Check price on Amazon here.

Connect the Pop-up Camper Directly to the Sewer Connection

Campground sewer connection for black and gray water tank
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Campground sewer connection for black and gray water tank

Get a hose and connect a pop-up camper directly to the sewer connection in a full hookup site.

However, you will need to make sure that you have the correct connection to the camper and the hook-up. Also, a sewer hook-up is generally a larger diameter pipe.

Do hook your gray water up to the sewer connection at a campground you need this size RV sewer connection.

Connect to the Grey Water Connection

Some campgrounds do not have a full sewer connection but have a greywater line. This is more prevalent at campgrounds in the northeast.

The gray water dump line may be smaller than the full sewer connection and easier to connect to. If you plan to try this, ask the campground when you make reservations.

Wipe Off Dishes and Use a sink strainer

Using a paper towel, it would be better if you will clean and wipe off your dishes first before washing them. Just like with the sink strainer, it will prevent your tank from getting food particles that can cause harm if you will not dispose of it properly. 

Using a sink strainer helps you prevent solid debris from getting into your gray water tank. With this, you will not need to empty your tank from time to time since it is just mostly water and soap. 

Re-use Gray Water

When you are camping hauling water to your camper and back to dispose of is so much work. Any time you can you should try to re-use gray water right at your camper.

You can use a dishpan inside the sink to catch the water. (when camping, I use this collapsible dishpan.) It can be used to put out the evening fire, use it to flush the toilet, wash the mud off the car or boots and so much more.

Tips on Cleaning Your Portable Pop-up Gray Water Tanks

Portable holding tanks are very easy to find and use. Just make sure you follow these three simple steps to maintain its cleanliness and it will be odor-free

  1. Make sure to rinse and clean the gray. water tanks after use. Leaving it uncleaned will be hazardous and can create a bad odor in your RV.
  1. Use and approve gray water treatment down the sink drains. It will help remove all the dirt in odor in your gray water tanks. 
  1. After you empty your gray water tanks, use a dishwashing liquid down the sink. Then, shower your sink drains with water so it can remove grease and odor that can be produced in your grey water tanks. 
  1. Let your portable tanks get dry before using them again. It will also help you keep your gray water tank clean and odor-free. 

Important Related Questions

What Do You Do with Gray Water While Camping? 

When you go camping, you have to be mindful of the status of your gray water tank. If you think that it’s already full or almost full, then you can go to the campsite’s dump stations to dispose of it.

Is It Okay to Dump Gray Water on the Ground? 

When you are on a campsite or anywhere traveling with your rig, you should not dump your gray water on the ground as it still contains soapy and oily water that is not good for the environment.

Plus, most campsites already have guidelines in disposing of greywater from RVs so you have to make sure that you follow them. The same goes for most cities. They have designated sewage where you can dump wastewaters.

Can Urine Go in a Gray Water Tank? 

Urine should not go in the gray water tank. (In a pop-up there should not ba a way for urine to get in the tank)
Urine can contaminate your tank and leave a bad smell in it even after you dump it. If you are planning to have a compost toilet and let urine go to the grey water tank, make sure that you dispose of it but right away in a proper dump station. 

For more information, read this: Can I Pee In The RV Shower? (Gray Water Tank Questions)

How Many Gallons of Water Does a Pop-up Camper Hold?

In general, pop-up campers can hold 5 to 15 gallons of water. Hyrbid pop-up trailers can have up to 30 gallon holding tanks.

What Is a Porta-potty?

A porta potty is a portable toilet that RVers are using. This is very easy to use and dumping waste from it is pretty easy too. You just have to connect it to the designated sewer to dump black water in the campsite or any local areas that have one. 

I love my porta-potty! I take it with me everywhere and use it the van on road trips. Seriously, I would never leave home without mine anymore. This is the exact one that I have (here on Amazon).

Final Thoughts on Smart Pop-up Camper Grey Water Tank Ideas

Being an RVer means you have to be more creative and resourceful as you may need things while camping and boondocking that you won’t see in your rigs.

It’s great that people have come up with these portable water tanks that pop-up owners can use since they didn’t have built-in gray water tanks. 

But the most important of all is you will not just dump your waste anywhere. If you are on a campground, make sure to follow their guidelines, if you are outside, do some research and find out what is the guideline of the city you are in when it comes to dumping waste.

Before we proceed, for more grey and black water resources, check these out:

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