Cue the music. It’s time for a parade. The blue RV tote tank parade. Let’s empty our gray water tank and head to the dump station. Yay!
Why You Need An RV Tote Tank
We love camping in state parks. Many have great campgrounds with access to nature trails, water activities and other attractions like farm or CCC museums, fossil beaches and more.
However, while you can usually find water and electric hookups, most state park campgrounds don’t have full hookups. Emptying your gray and black tanks must be done at a dump station.
When you do dishes after a meal or take a shower, the gray water goes into a holding tank. Most RVs and campers have a gray water tank with a capacity of 30-40 gallons. Our Grand Design Transcend 28MKS has two gray water tanks for a total capacity of 78 gallons. Depending on your water usage, that might enable you to go a weekend without dumping. If you fill your tanks and aren’t ready to leave yet, you have a choice. Move the whole RV or camper to the dump station or use a portable wastewater tank or “tote tank”.
An RV portable waste tank, or tote tank, is a plastic tank with wheels that allows you to empty your tank and then transport the waste water to the dump station without moving your whole camper. On our first major camping trip, we stayed in several state and national parks. We quickly learned that having a blue tote tank was a helpful piece of camping gear. We stopped at an RV store and picked up a 15 gallon Barker tote tank. Note: Amazon Affiliate Link.
Our family joke is that Dad gets to do the Blue Tank Parade. As I head out to empty the tanks, I get serenaded with parade music. Yay!
Video: Using an RV Tote Tank to Empty Your Gray Tank
In our YouTube video, we share everything you need to know for Using an RV Tote Tank to Empty Your Gray Tank.
Tips For Using An RV Tote Tank
Using a tote tank isn’t too difficult. But, there are a few things I have learned.
Our blue tote tank came with a short hose kit to attach it to the RV sewer hookups. It was a very cheap hose that had the proper fitting on only one end. I added a fitting to the other end so that it could connect to the blue tank and camper fittings securely. You might consider getting a good five foot RV sewer hose. But, you need to ensure it has the same fitting on each end. The camper and blue tank are both going to have the lug fitting so the hose has to have the swivel fitting on both ends.
When you get to the dump station, a different hose is needed. You’ll need to have a hose with the swivel fitting on one end and a sewer adapter on the other end. This allows you to put the sewer connector end into the sewer dump station securely. It would be great if there was an adapter that allowed you to use the same hose for both connecting to the camper and the dump station. However, after searching widely, I haven’t found a hose or adapter that enables both connections. So just get a standard sewer hose with a lug connection on one end and a swivel connection on the other end. Then add an RV sewer fitting on the lug end. A five foot sewer hose should be all you need.
We only use our portable wastewater tank for gray water. When emptying your tank, use good sanitation habits like wearing disposable gloves. Open both the sewer fitting and the vent cap on the blue tank. Connect it to the RV and then open the fitting to allow water to flow. Keep an eye on how full the tank is to avoid an overflow. Water from the hose will keep draining even after you shut if off so you’ll want to shut the flow off before the tote tank is completely full.
Our portable wastewater tank also came with a tow bracket. This is a metal part with a ring on one end and two rods on the other end. The ring goes over your hitch ball and the rods go through the tote tank handle. That allows you to drive the tote tank to the dump station which will likely be at the campground entrance.
When full, the tote tank will be heavy. The tank itself weighs about 16 pounds. A gallon of water is about 8 pounds. So, a full 15 gallon tote tank will weigh about 136 pounds. Campground sites are often gravel. You may not have a clear and wide path to get from your hookups to your truck. You’ll have to roll the tank to the back of the truck and then connect it to the tow bracket.
Our Barker 15 gallon tote tank does its job. However, you need to drive very slowly, about five miles per hour, when towing the tank. If someone is behind you, that can be a bit inconvenient. The wheels did fall off our tote tank once. I now check them regularly to ensure they are secure before using the tank.
Once at the dump station, connect the dump hose putting one end into the dump hole and connecting the other to the blue tank. Open the vent hole. Then tip the blue tank so that the water begins to flow. When it is close to empty, pick up the tote tank and tip it so the rest of the gray water can empty out.
I keep a bin in the bed of our truck to hold the sewer hoses. After dumping, put the hose in the bin, secure the caps on the blue tank and remove the tow bracket. If needed, repeat until your camper’s gray water tank is empty.
After all of that, you deserve a nice long hot shower. Oh wait – that will just lead to another blue tank parade.
Other Types of RV Tote Tank
There are several styles and sizes of RV portable waste tanks. I haven’t had a chance to evaluate ones from Camco or Tote-N-Stor yet. With features like four wheels and built in hoses, some of them look promising. If I get a chance to try one, I’ll be sure to provide an update.
Thanks For Reading
I hope this information is helpful. Let me know your experience with using a RV portable waste tank. And, maybe next time, try humming some nice parade music while emptying your tanks.
Oh, and how about sharing this article with your friends on social media. We’d sure appreciate it.
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