When it comes to survival, it’s important to know the Rule of Three’s–you can live three weeks without food, but you can only live three days without water. My solar-powered Wolf Creek truck camper plays an essential role in my emergency preparedness plan. As my Bug Out Vehicle, I keep it stocked with clothing, food, water, a first aid kit, and emergency supplies. However, no emergency preparedness plan would be complete without a means to obtain additional water from natural sources. In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, we can expect the loss of all public utilities, meaning there will be no electricity and no water.
The water replenishment system I designed for my RV truck camper capitalizes on rainwater runoff. The roof of my camper is lined with three rain gutters, with each gutter fitted with two extensions. These extensions were originally designed to prevent runoff streaks from marring the RV’s finish, but they also work well in collecting rain water. The extensions are about 3 inches long and produce excellent runoff points where the dripping water can be collected in recycling bins. My rain water harvesting system consists of two Rubbermaid 23 gallon Slim Jim Containers, one High Flo 12 volt, 2.1 GPM water pump, one Camco TastePure 100 micron carbon inline water filter, and one Doulton GSS2/British Berkefeld Gravity Drinking Water System. The water pump transfers the water from the collection bins to my camper’s 30 gallon fresh water holding tank via the TastePure inline water filter.
There are basically two routes you can take when designing a water filtration system for your RV: a point of entry system that filters all water before it’s placed in your RV’s fresh water holding tank, or a filtration system that filters just the water you intend on drinking. I chose to go with a combination of both options for my system, but with less stringent filtration at the point of entry.
I considered buying a point of entry micro filtration system, but I came to the realization that it was a colossal waste of money (these typically cost $500 or more). Why filter water at this level that could be used for showering, cooking, and washing dishes? Filtering water is expensive. It doesn’t make sense, financially, to go this route, which is why I chose to go with Doulton’s SS2 micro filtration drinking water system. Besides, at $225, it was a lot cheaper to go with the SS2 rather than a point of entry micro filter.
The Doulton SS2 was designed for areas where safe drinking water is unavailable. The system is used by the International Red Cross, UNICEF, British and U.S. Embassies, Save the Children, and thousands of missionaries around the world. The SS2 is a counter top, gravity fed, micro filtration system made from a rugged, high quality, surgical grade stainless steel. It’s portable, lightweight (5.5 pounds), and telescopes down to 12.5 inches for easy transport. The unit holds 2.5 gallons of water and can produce 10 gallons of pure drinking water a day. The portability of the SS2 makes it ideal for outdoor travelers, hikers, expeditions, missionaries, and RVers who like to boondock off-the-grid. The portability of the system also means I can use it at home (we use ours daily) or on the road and for me that was the final selling point.
So what happens if we have to bug out and live in our camper and there isn’t enough rain to meet our hydration needs? That’s a great question, especially since we live here in the arid Southwest. Using the 12 volt water pump, we would draw our water from the numerous swimming pools, reservoirs, rivers, and aqua ducts located throughout the region. All of these are excellent options if they are ever needed in an emergency.
Without the ability to obtain an additional source of water, my Wolf Creek camper would be limited in its ability to stay self-sufficient. My rain water harvesting system, and Doulton SS2 micro filtration drinking water unit allows me to do this, simply and effectively, in a way that is safe for both me and my family.
Please post a guide for dummies about how to set up the rainwater collection system. I’m new to camping and have no clue how to even set it up.
Sounds like a great plan, I could also collect water from my rain gutters, but I don't have a micro filter. Just my blue filter that goes on my hose, and an in-house filter. I guess if I poured the rain water into my water tank, it would be filtered, somewhat.
What will you do if it's summer, and there's no rain?
Good question, Nancy. In an emergency I would draw water from other sources likes lakes, aqua ducts, or streams.
I'm a well driller and tank builder that's seen quite a few healthy friends living off unfiltered rainwater. Once helped an orphanage in the Bahamas fix their leaking rainwater tank, none of the kids were sick. People interested in rainwater might like to check out this web chapter; read it free, buy the book, or both. Check around a little and you'll find the flycatcher compost toilet and the $5 per sq ft house. http://www.ferrocement.com/tankBook/ch14.en.html
Thanks, Mathew. Of all the external sources of water, you'd think that rainwater would be the cleanest. And thanks for the reading.