These are some of the cleanest and dirtiest RV tips and hacks you need to know!
You don’t have to be an electrician and a plumber to enjoy all the comforts of home while camping.
With these simple tips you will easily understand how to hook up RV water, electric and waste at campgrounds and RV parks with full hookup service campsites.
How To Hook Up To Water
Potable water is also known as drinking water … it is safe to drink and use in food preparation.
When you can hook up to potable water, RV camping is much easier than when you have to haul water to your campsite.
We have a DIY portable water tank for RV boondocking when we are camping without a water hookup.
Keep a clean hose.
Use one hose that is dedicated to drinking water.
Fresh water hoses are usually white in color and easily distinguished from other hoses you have in your supply box.
Regulate the pressure.
If the water pressure into your camper is too high, your plumbing can be damaged … so … you should always use a pressure regulator when you are connected to a water supply.
Steps to hook up to the water supply.
When your campsite has a water supply you need to connect to it with these steps:
- Connect your pressure regulator to the spigot at your campsite.
- Connect your fresh water hose to the pressure regulator.
- Connect the other end of your fresh water hose to the city water connection on your trailer.
- Open the valve on the water spigot.
- Go into your trailer and turn on a faucet to purge the air from the system. Voila … you’ve got water!
How To Hook Up To Electricity
You don’t realize how much power you need until you don’t have it!
Hooking up to electricity is simple once you understand the different styles of connections.
Call ahead for electrical information.
Before you go to a campsite with electrical hookups, call ahead to find out what style plug you will need for your connection … you may need an adapter.
RV plugs are always female … campground receptacles are always male.
You will need several different adapters to ensure that you are able to connect to electrical power wherever you go.
Which outlet is for me?
Most campsites have various service levels on the electric tower: 110 volt (normal household plug), 30 amp (most common for smaller trailers) and 50 amp (usually for larger RV rigs).
Plug into the outlet that matches your RV plug … or use an adapter, if necessary.
RV Power Cord Adapter 30 Amp Male to 15 Amp Female (for RVs with 110 volt/15 amp plug needing to plug into a 30 amp receptacle).
RV Power Cord Adapter 15 Amp Male to 30 Amp Female (for RVs with 30 amp plug needing to plug into a 110 volt/15 amp receptacle).
RV Power Cord Adapter 50 Amp Male to 30 Amp Female (for RVs with 30 amp plug needing to plug into a 50 amp receptacle).
RV Power Cord Adapter 30 Amp Male to 50 Amp Female (for RVs with 50 amp plug needing to plug into a 30 amp receptacle).
Hook up your electric.
When you have an RV spot with an electrical hookup, here are the steps to follow to connect your RV to it:
- Pull your electrical cord out of its storage location in the RV.
- Connect the cord to an adapter (if necessary).
- Plug into the campsite’s electrical outlet.
- Ensure the breakers are on (the campsite’s electrical power box and your camper’s breaker on your electrical panel).
- Go inside your RV and flip a switch to something that requires electricity to run (like a fan) to ensure everything is working. Also, make sure your refrigerator is operating properly. Ta –da … you have power!
How To Hook Up For Dumping Waste Tanks
This is the dirty stuff I mentioned earlier … really, who likes talking about poop?
As gross as it is, dumping is a necessary evil when you are RVing … so let’s dive right in! 😉
When we don’t have a waste hookup, we use a portable holding tank to transport our waste to the sewer.
Pack dump gloves!
You will not want to touch anything when you dump so make sure you pack waterproof gloves (we like disposable ones) and don’t ever run out of them!
Never keep your black tank valve open while camping!
Even if you are camped at a site with full hook-ups, you want to keep your black tank valve closed until it is time to dump.
Because you don’t want to drain the liquids while the solids remain in the relatively flat holding tank to become a big pile of dried poop that is almost like cement and practically impossible to remove … eeeewwww.
What you do want is the combination of the two building inside the black tank … then, when you pull the handle to open the valve and drain the tank, it is the force of the mixture that most thoroughly empties the tank.
Attach your dump hose.
You DO NOT want the hose to accidentally become unattached from either end.
When you are ready to dump, make sure you create a leak-proof seal.
Attach the end of the dump hose with the locking-tabs to your RV’s waste drain fitting.
You will turn the hose clamp clockwise until it securely connects to the notches.
Now, place the other end of your hose into the sewer drain opening … and … you are ready to dump.
Dump black first, flush, then dump gray.
Here are the steps you need to take to actually dump your tanks:
- Once your dump hose is securely attached, pull the handle to open the black tank’s valve and wait for it to empty.
- If your RV has a Sani-Flush system, use it to more thoroughly rinse the inside of the black tank.
- Now, close the black tank’s valve by pushing the handle in.
- Next, pull the handle for the gray tank to open the valve and empty it.
- Once the gray tank is empty, push the handle back in to close the valve.
- The last thing you need to do is disconnect the dump hose from the RV … usually the gray water sufficiently flushes the hose but for extra measure, you may want to use the fresh water at the dump station to do a final rinse of the dump hose.
- Now, remove the other end from the sewer drain opening and stow it away.
- If you continue to stay at that same full-hookup campsite location and will need to dump again before you leave, you may want to leave the dump hose connected.
- Lastly, add holding tank treatment to your black tank by flushing it down the toilet.
- It liquefies waste in your black tank, including poop and toilet paper.
More RV Tips
We have lots more fun and useful information about RV camping!
Just for women.
We’ve got more RV tips 101 for women traveling solo!
Essential tips for RV newbies.
If you want to learn more RV camping tips for beginners, we’ve got them!
Stay organized with checklists.
Use checklists to make sure you are fully stocked.
We have two lists that will keep you organized:
One is a regular camping checklist for packing your personal items and consumables …
The other one is an RV tool kit checklist for the items you may need during RV traveling.
Want to try dispersed camping?
We always recommend new RVers stay in campgrounds or RV parks but if you get comfortable with your rig and the whole RV camping experience, you may want to explore a bit more and go boondocking in areas without hookups or paved roads.
Our FREE printable camping trip planner template will make it easy to plan your RV trips!
Our Cool Camping Products Make Great Gifts!