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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 103 - How Much Water?

(Web photo)

One of the more important considerations for my 2015 Travels with my Prius is the amount of water I needed carry to live on the road.

You can live without a lot of things but water is not one of them.  I had to weigh a number of factors when I was designing the interior space utlizatiion.

Considering water I had to weigh in the fact I had limited space available and I had to guess how much water I would need per day.

I opted for this 7 gallon water container that fit on the rear footwell behind the front passenger seat.  I bought mine at Walmart. 

My concept included being able to access the water in the container by lifting my bed board, unscrewing the white cap and inserting a tube to pump the water out of the container.  

This is the tube to pump the water out not using electricity.  It is a pump to take water out of a fish tank and the plastics is for drinking water.

My other major consideration was to be able to leave the water container behind the front seat with the seat forward, when in "bed mode", and with the seat back and bed board flipped back, in "passenger mode".

If I remove the white waterproof pillowcase cover behind the passenger seat that I use to store clothing, the seat will go back 6 more inches, making the front seat very passenger friendly.

People generally take the path of least resistance in life and I was no different.  Although lifting the hinged board for my bed and exposing the cap and inserting the pumping hose to hand pump the water out of the container it wasn't practical for one person travel in the Prius.  It would be practical for spending a number of days Boondocking in the desert.  For me the 7 gallons of water would last me about 5 days in the desert.

I didn't find being stationary in the desert for days of interest to me as it lacked social interaction and since I blogged everyday I sought out going into towns for WIFI, touring around, and talking to people.

I spent 2 days in the desert on BLM land and not going into town, but this was my maximum time between being able to go to the store. 

My path of least resistance I developed regarding water storage was to leave the 7 gallon blue container full behind the front passenger seat, but use the 3 quart containers above on the floor of the front seat.  I had 3 of these 3 quart containers and would fill them up when needed.

From floor space wasn't an issue since I generally didn't have a passenger.  When I did the water containers would fit behind the drivers seat on the floor.

When I was in Tucson I would just go to the water kiosk on many street corners and pay $.25 per gallon when needed.  When there were no water kiosks I would buy water by the gallon and fill the 3 quart containers.  At campgrounds I would just fill up the 3 quart containers.

When I was in Florida and met up with other Vandwellers at Hog Pen Landing "Cuzzin Dick" gave me the tip that the screw cap containers, although containing less than a gallon of water were much better to handle and store.  They were better as the screw cap is more secure than the push on cap, although I did carry the push cap from time to time without a problem.  

The round screw cap bottles of water in the picture above are the same containers I got in Florida at the beginning of the trip and I just refilled them for the rest of the trip.

Last year I had a large fresh water tank in my Class B camper van and I didn't track usage and with a pump you use more water.  When you see the water you use you use less water.

The other thing is that there are many people that have water usage down to a science by using hand spray bottles for washing and doing dishes.  I didn't do this.  I was able to wash my hair and then use the warm soapy water to wash my body, and rinse my hair with clean water and stay close to a quart of water.  

I had purchased a 12 volt pump with spray head hose that would fit into the fill hole of the blue container but never used it.  My thought I would use it to transfer water and to heat warm water and put it in my small bucket and shower with it.  Although this would work it uses too much water unless you are in a campground without showers but had a water supply and then it will work well.

What I did find very usable are these two water containers with pull to open spouts.  This privided me with just enough water to wash and rinse the small number of dishes that I would use for dinner and give me water to brush my teeth, and rinsing my hair.  You can squeeze these bottles to make water delivery better too.

All containers and pump are designed for drinking water so my water supply was also my drinking water.

The other goal is to not have food preparation that uses lots of water.  When I made spaghetti I would only do it when I knew I had a water supply since there is a good amount of wasted water.

I never ran out of water and after I got used to washing my hair and body daily on about a quart of water my view of the amount of water I needed on the trip changed.

My goal is to see if I can design the space behind the passenger seat to store  4 gallons of water, if by myself.  If two of you are traveling just go with the 7 gallon container and the small ones and fill from the 7 gallons.

What's nice about the 7 gallon blue container is that if you park for any length of time it will nicely fit on a table and you can use as a faucet for water at your campsite.  For one person on the move as I was day after day the 7 gallon container wasn't necessary.  If Boondocking even by yourself go with the 7 gallons too.  My goal was to have food and water for 4 - 5 days & if I need to plan longer I could just pick up another gallon of water and put it on the floor.  

Water containers can always be set outside at night.  I often did this with the 3 qt containers and would have cold drinking water most of the day.


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