How To Find Water – A Guide For Vanlifers. Getting water when you’re on the road, or, if living full time in your van, can be a little problematic for some people, but it doesn’t need to be.
There are several ways you can refill your vans water supply, either for free, or by being a little cheeky
Water is without doubt, our life source. Without it we can’t make a delicious cup of tea or coffee, cook, or maintain hygiene. However, being on the road full time living in a van, whether you chose a van conversion or a purpose built motor-home, brings us to the dilemma of how we find water to refill our water tanks.
What we don’t want to do is make ourselves ill. Where To Get Water Living Off-Grid In A Van – Water from unknown sources can contain microscope parasites and bacteria as well as pathogens that could give you a really bad case of the squits, or worse still, make you incredibly poorly, especially in foreign countries where the water isn’t as clean as it would be in say the UK, USA etc.
ARE WATER FILTERS ESSENTIAL?
For a small amount of money, you can install a water filter between your tap and your water tank, ideally between the tap and your water pump. Ceramic or Carbon water filters get rid of any nasties on your water.
This includes bacteria, pathogens, toxins and chemicals. As well as removing anything that your body may not agree with, resulting in 48hrs of toilet duty, ceramic Walter filters remove any bad tastes from the water.
They purify the water and will even remove limescale and fluoride, along with many other added chemicals and ingredients most of us would rather not have in our water.
Installing a water filter in your van conversion couldn’t be simpler. You simply cut the hose between the pump and the tap, push your hoses onto each end of the filter along with a couple of jubilee clips and you’re ready to go.
The ceramic water filter usually lasts a long time. They vary, but on average you can expect to pass 3000 litres of water through them before they need to be changed. Some last longer.
Every van conversion or self build camper van should have one installed. It is also a great, benefit when you need to harvest water off grid, which, is explained below.
FILL UP AT A CAMPSITE – How To Find Water – A Guide For Vanlifers
The most safest method is to obviously use the water supply at a Campsite, some vanlifers stay one night a week for example on a Campsite and fill up with fresh water, at the same time having a decent hot shower (if you don’t have one in your van) but this can be an expensive way to shower and fill up with essential water.
BOTTLED WATER FROM SUPERMARKETS – How To Find Water – A Guide For Vanlifers
How To Find Water – A Guide For Vanlifers
Most well known supermarket superstores will have cheap bottles of water for sale from as little as £0.17 per litre. Again, this can be expensive depending on your water usage, but the water will be clean and safe to drink. It may not be natural spring water though at this price.
A word of warning. In places like Morocco, cheap bottled water can lead to symptoms such as headaches and actually dry your mouth. Bottled water such as the Cien brand, is chemically treated water and can contain large quantities of chemicals otherwise banned for use in water in other countries.
Chemicals such as Mercury, is found in traces much higher than we are used to, causing some nasty symptoms. water filters can filter out these additives.
GRAVEYARDS – How To Find Water – A Guide For Vanlifers
Seems an odd call having to go and wake up the dead to get Water but many do. Most graveyards will have a tap to provide water for flowers laid at the graves.
If you’re confident and cautious, you could use this as a regular convenient supply. If you do bump into a groundsman, you could ask if you could use the water supply and offer some pocket change.
Be cautious though. The water supplied from graveyard taps is often run through old lead pipes and whilst small amounts may not be noticeable, over time this could have an impact on your health. Lead is poisonous to the human body.
RIVERS AND STREAMS – How To Find Water – A Guide For Vanlifers
If you have been sensible enough to heed the advice above on water filters, you could source your water from streams, or rivers.
Any flowing water source should be fine, as long as its not downstream from a waste disposal plant or a nuclear power station of course.
You don’t want to start growing an extra arm! Or maybe you do? But out in the wildness, most running water sources are fine, as the water comes either from a spring, or reservoir, or even from the drain off from excess rain on the mountains or hills around.
Avoid stagnant water, such as ponds or lakes that don’t have a fresh supply feeding them. Legionnaires’ disease is a common name for the pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria.
A person can develop Legionnaires’ disease by inhaling water mist contaminated with Legionella. Legionella bacteria is naturally found at low levels in lakes, ponds, and streams.
With your water filter in place, any water you drink that has not been boiled, would be safe to drink, assuming the filter has been installed correctly and you chose the correct one.
Water filters are incredible, they filter out any nasties and improve the flavour of the water by filtering out any toxins or chemicals used, especially with tap water that has been through a cleaning processing plant and had other chemicals added.
DIRECT APPROACH – How To Find Water – A Guide For Vanlifers
For many, the direct approach may be too much for our nerves to contend with, after all, venturing down a dark track late at night and knocking on the door of a remote property, can conjure up all sorts of vivid and wild scenarios in our mind.
Generally speaking though, you could knock on someone’s door, anywhere in the world and ask for some water. If you have a water container, you could use the line, “Sorry to bother you but my vehicle is overheating, I wondered if I could trouble you for some water”.
Most, if not all, will be happy to assist someone in need. You’re not asking to borrow money, simply to take some water. You could even offer to provide something for the in convenience.
As long as you’re polite, this tactic works almost every time.
Even if there is a language barrier, hand signals work just fine. Just make out you’re driving your vehicle with you arms outstretched holding and turning a steering wheel and blow.
You may look like an idiot but I’m sure they’ll understand you mean your vehicle is overheating! Either that or you’ll get a smile and pouting lips and be invited inside, at this point it’s probably best to run away!
SERVICE STATIONS – How To Find Water – A Guide For Vanlifers
Most garage forecourts have a water supply to top up your engine coolant. Whilst most supplies are safe to drink, you need to be fully aware that these water supplies are only there to provide water to cool your vehicle.
Most state clearly that it isn’t for drinking. This is usually because the pump and hoses supplying the water are neither cleaned or checked.
Legionnaires’ disease is a common name for the pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria. A person can develop Legionnaires’ disease by inhaling water mist contaminated with Legionella.
Legionella bacteria, is naturally found at low levels in lakes, ponds and streams, or in water plants that haven’t been cleaned thoroughly. Your ceramic filter will filter these out.
How To Find Water – A Guide For Vanlifers