Freshwater tanks are a must-have for camping. They give us drinking water and act as a portable reserve of freshwater in remote areas. Refilling the tank can be tricky. Sources vary, so you need to know where to look for potable water.

Here’s a guide to five potential sources of freshwater for your camping trips:

  • Well water
  • Rivers and creeks
  • Rain barrels
  • Natural springs
  • Public utilities

Learn about these sources and their pros and cons, so you’ll always have access to clean fresh water on your wilderness adventures!

Sources of Freshwater

Camping trips can be hard to manage when it comes to refilling your freshwater tank. Having a few sources of freshwater is key, for making sure you always have enough for your needs. Here are five of the top sources of freshwater for camping trips:

  1. Rivers and streams
  2. Lakes and ponds
  3. Rainwater collection
  4. Groundwater wells
  5. Reservoirs

Natural Sources

When camping, it’s important to fill up your freshwater tank. You can easily source fresh water from natural sources like rivers, streams, and lakes. After you filter or purify the water, you can drink it. Boil it for 1-2 minutes if you want to make sure it’s safe.

Rivers have different types, depending on the region. Be careful when drinking the water because it’s not always pure. Streams usually have cleaner water due to higher oxygen levels. Lakes are usually safe to drink, but they can contain pollutants from agricultural runoff.

You might be able to collect rainwater into barrels. Check local laws to see if you need permission. This type of water usually requires minimal filtering.

Groundwater wells are a good way to get plenty of fresh water. However, near towns, there may be sewage contamination in the water. Check for this before using the water.

Rivers and Streams

Rivers and streams are usually an easy way to get freshwater when camping. But, it is important to think about safety when getting water from these sources.

  • If it is a remote area away from people, it is usually safe. Look for signs such as animal activity or human rubbish like litter and waste to check if the source is safe.
  • It’s good to know where the river starts and stops. If it goes through farms or industrial areas, it may be polluted.
  • If you choose this source, filter the water to eliminate bacteria or boil it before drinking.
  • Never draw water directly from an upstream part of the river. Draw it at least 10 feet downstream, so any pollutants don’t reach your tank.

Lakes and Ponds

Lakes and ponds are great for camping. They provide some of nature’s cleanest water sources. Avoid collecting directly from accessible shores and ponds. They can collect pollutants. Try to pick a lake or pond away from the beaten path, at least 200 feet.

Fill up your tank far away from garden beds, animal trails, or man-made structures. This way, you can be sure the water is uncontaminated. If possible, treat the water before you consume it. Just in case.

Man-made Sources

Man-made Sources: When camping, it’s convenient to find new sources of fresh water. Check public taps, wells, and springs. These often provide safe water. Some taps may connect to city or municipal systems. Check with local authorities to make sure the quality is good. Campgrounds usually offer filtered services for a fee.

Rainwater harvesting systems use natural precipitation. Collect rainfall in buckets or other storage systems. Filter or boil it before use. That way you’ll have an abundant source of freshwater for your camping trip.

Rainwater Collection

Rainwater collection is a great way to get freshwater. An area with lots of rainfall or camping in the rain is ideal. You’ll need a tarp, line, pegs, and a container to catch the rain. Read more about catchment systems here.

Filter the water before filling your tank. This method keeps your water sources clean and replenished. Make sure you have enough space to collect it.

Public Water Systems

Public water systems can be a great and inexpensive way to get fresh water for your tanks when camping. Most campsites have free-to-use distribution centers. Water here is tested regularly, so it’s safe to drink. But be careful!

The quality and safety of these systems depend on the local municipality, so always do your research first.

Water Delivery Services

Delivery services are a great way to get the right amount of freshwater. But you need to pay a fee. If you don’t have the money, time or equipment to collect rainwater, then delivery is a good option. Common ways of getting water are with bottled water (5-gallon containers or smaller) and bulk tanks (500 gallon tanks, brought on a truck).

When you order, make sure it is potable drinking water. Check if there are extra fees like minimum order charges and set up fees.

Refilling Your Tank

Refilling a freshwater tank during camping is a must. Take extra precautions to avoid headaches and enjoy your trip more. There are many ways to refill a tank during camping. Here are five of the best! With these sources, your tank will stay full and you won’t run out of water while camping.

  1. Source 1
  2. Source 2
  3. Source 3
  4. Source 4
  5. Source 5

Preparing for Refilling

Ready to refill your tank? Here are some tips for a safe and easy process.

Prepare in advance:

  1. Drain remaining water and count gallons.
  2. Fill an extra container with fresh water.
  3. Check plumbing is sealed tight.
  4. Inspect hoses, tubing and equipment.

Use only high-quality, potable drinking water hoses. That’s it!

Sanitizing the Tank

Before refilling your freshwater tank, you should take some precautions. Sanitize the tank with a mix of water and bleach. Use one-fourth cup of bleach per gallon of water. Pour this mixture into the tank. Let it sit there for fifteen minutes. Then rinse it out with fresh water.

To make sure the water is safe, run two tanks of fresh water through your system before drinking any new water.

Preparing the Hose

Grab a hose and water source. Check the hose’s length and connect more hoses if needed. Put a filter or strainer on the intake end of the hose. Make one yourself with wire mesh or cheesecloth if there isn’t one. Secure both hose ends with tape before filling the tank. This helps avoid contamination and flooding near your campsite.

Refilling the Tank

Refilling your freshwater tank while camping is important. It gives you comfort and emergency water if something unexpected happens. There are several ways to do it.

  • Use natural sources, like lakes, streams, rivers and ponds. Watch out for contamination and filter or treat the water before drinking.
  • Public spigots may be available. They are attached to water taps at campgrounds. Keys or special tools from campground offices may be needed.
  • Set up a rain collection system near your tent or camper. Big barrels or buckets can catch the rain and store it for later.
  • Onsite bathrooms may not have potable water, but they can provide hygienic alternatives.
  • Buy reusable containers. They store large amounts of water for many camping trips.

Using a Natural Source

Camping? Refilling your freshwater tank is easy. Use natural sources like a river or stream. Stay away from pollutants. The water should be clear and odor-free. No discoloration, plant material, or debris. Find fast-moving water with fresh air.

  1. Submerge a clean hose.
  2. Tie off on something stable.
  3. Use clean hoses contactless to avoid transferring parasites.

Using a Man-made Source

When searching for water, find natural resources that are modified for humans. These include rivers, lakes, riparian zones, and irrigated lands from farms. If you use open water, filter it before adding it to your tank.

Public fountains or taps in parks or cities are an option, if allowed by local regulations. Campgrounds may also offer potable water.

Mix in bottled drinking water to tanks until the mixture is satisfactory. Make sure the water follows government safety guidelines for bacteria and chemicals. Consider these five methods for safe tank refills while camping:

  1. Rivers, lakes, and riparian zones
  2. Irrigated lands from farms
  3. Public fountains or taps in parks or cities
  4. Campgrounds
  5. Bottled drinking water

Final Steps

Gather the needed items. Time to finish and enjoy fresh, clean water! Before pouring into the tank, make sure it is clean. Sanitize or have it professionally cleaned if necessary. Here are the steps:

  1. Check tap connection – Ensure everything is secure and no leakage.
  2. Begin filling – Connect the hose, turn on the tap and fill slowly. Check for leaks.
  3. Float the tank – Lift one side of the tank so water flows evenly. Avoid air bubbles.
  4. Clean debris – Strain or use cloth to remove debris. Discard filter afterwards.
  5. Final check – Inspect for leaks and hot/cold spots.

Safety tips: never leave tanks open; use protective equipment; be aware of hazards.


Refilling your freshwater tank on a camping expedition doesn’t have to be tough. With the right info and stuff, it’s easy to get clean drinkin’ water. On your RV or camper, carry jugs to transport the water to the site. You can use a storage tank to fill far away containers. Don’t have space for a storage tank? No worries! A manual pump will fill your containers directly.

Safety and hygiene come first! This way you’ll have clean and safe water for drinking and cooking during your camping adventures.


Freshwater tanks are key for outdoor activities like camping, fishing, RVing and boating. When in remote or rural places, or where potable water is scarce, it’s important to know how to refill your freshwater tank. Here are five sources:

  1. Reliable sources: Public fountains and establishments with plumbing. Research ahead of time to find locations in an emergency.
  2. River or lake water: Not recommended without filtration. Check for contamination before collecting.
  3. Rainwater harvesting: Set up a tarp on the camper/vehicle roof. Know the rainfall amounts in the area before setting off.
  4. Natural springs: Likely less polluted than rivers or lakes. Look for campsites with spring access.
  5. Free taps/hoses/sinks: If you get private property access, check for tethering options. Property owners may offer resources like sinks, outdoor hoses and free taps near cattle watering locations – great potential free fill-up sites!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How often should I refill my freshwater tank while camping?
A1: It depends on the size of your tank and the number of people in your group, but generally you should refill your freshwater tank every few days or as needed.

Q2: What type of water can I use to refill my freshwater tank?
A2: You can use fresh water from a hose or faucet, or you can use bottled water. Be sure to check the water for any debris or contaminants before filling your tank.

Q3: What is the best way to clean the inside of my freshwater tank before refilling it?
A3: The best way to clean the inside of your freshwater tank is to use a solution of bleach and water. Mix one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water and use a brush to scrub the inside of the tank. Rinse the tank thoroughly with clean water before refilling.

How to Refill a Freshwater Tank During Camping 5 Sources