How to Find Free RV Dump Stations When Boondocking and dry camping

How to Find Free RV Dump Stations When Boondocking and dry camping

How to Find Free RV Dump Stations When Boondocking? One of the biggest challenges of boondocking and camping off-grid is emptying your RV holding tanks at a safe, accessible location…and without paying for it.
While many dry campers (and even some paid campgrounds) provide this service, sometimes you don’t have the option, or you want to avoid dumping at commercial locations as much as possible if this sounds like you, read on!

How Often Should You Dump the RV Waste?

The typical RV has two holding tanks: black water and gray water. A black water tank refers to the used toilet water, and you should dispose of it every 4-6 days while you’re RVing, but it can be done more frequently if you can empty it at a commercial dump station or free dump station.

Gray water, unlike black water, has very little solid waste, so that can be used for things like dishwashing, bathing, and other personal hygiene.

If you don’t have any way to get rid of your RV’s wastewater, use 3 gallons per day as a guideline on how often to dump your RV tank.

 Most people don’t know that using too much fresh water will damage their septic tank.

Use 2 gallons per person per day in your black tank (if you have one) and 1 gallon in your gray tank.

Using more than that could cause harm to your RV’s septic system; however, you want to keep a low concentration of solids in both tanks.

How Much Does It Cost to Use an RV Dump Station?

First, I’ll explain what you pay at an RV dump station to know what you are paying for.

You will be charged one fee for each holding tank at an RV dump station.

There are two basic types of RV dump stations: those operated by private companies and those run by municipalities.

Since we are concerned with saving money when boondocking, we’ll focus on private operations.

 Here’s how much it costs to use an RV dump station at these locations:

 RV Dump Station Fees * Black Tank Charge (for wastewater): $5 – $10 per use

Gray Tank Charge (for freshwater): $2 – $3 per use. If you have both tanks complete, you could be paying as much as $17 to empty them!

Now let’s look at ways to save money on dumping your tanks while boondocking.

Where Can I Dump RV Waste for Free?

While no-fee dump stations are not as prevalent in national parks and other federal lands as they used to be, boondockers can still find free places to empty their holding tanks.

Knowing where and when these service options are available, what is offered at each site, and how much wait time might be involved.

National parks, for example, offer some waste disposal during regular business hours, while some state and local governments may have one or more facilities open on weekends only.

However, for most boondockers, finding a truly free place to dump RV waste will involve using an RV park’s dump station or driving into a nearby town with such a facility.

Some commercial truck stops also allow RV owners to use their tanks and charge accordingly by weight.

Internet sites And Apps for Finding Free RV Dump Stations

There are quite a few apps that can help you find dump stations.

I’ve listed several below, but if there are others, please let me know in the comments, and I will update them in the post.

 Before you get all excited about finding free RV dump stations, it is essential to understand you might have to be willing to drive 20 or more miles from your boondocking location to use these services because some of them don’t work within your 5-mile radius from where your rig is parked.

  Websites Apps Description
RV Dumpsitesrvdumpsites.netRV Dump Sites (App Store)The RVDumpSites has a wide variety of dump stations. I can search for the ones near me or for the ones where other people have left feedback about them (free, pay, guest) and check out their prices. The app is also helpful when finding public dumps because most public dumps don’t give out their prices.
Sanidumpssanidumps.comNot availableYou can rely on Sanidumps for an up-to-date database of free dump stations covered in every region.
RV Dumpsrvdumps.comRV Dumps App (App Store)RV dumps provide RV dump station locations across the United States. You can use a map or type in your city to see where an accessible site is near you or browse by the state if you are looking for one in particular. About 7,000 RV dump stations are tracked and shared on this website.
Campendiumcampendium.comCampendium – RV & Tent Camping (App Store)Campendium provides thousands of campsites to explore the country, whether you want an RV park or somewhere completely free and remote. Campsite photos and reviews are available to make your selection with ease. Campsites provide visitors with dump stations for RVs as well!
Allstays RV Dumpsallstays.comAllstays RV Dumps app (App Store)The map helps you find a dumpsite near your current location. We use data from the most popular campground reservation app.

Other Tips to Find Free RV Dump Stations Anywhere:

1- Local Government: Some local governments provide a list of parks with sewer hook-ups that can be used as a way to find free RV dumping stations. The best part about using these lists is that they are frequently updated, so you’ll know that it’s accurate at all times.

How to Find Free RV Dump Stations When Boondocking and dry camping

2- Google Maps: If you have access to the internet while boondocking, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find free recreational vehicle dump stations in your area. Just type in a free RV dump station near me to Google Maps and see what comes up!

3- User Submitted Content: I don’t always trust user-submitted content on websites, but sometimes it is functional. You can find quite a few listings for free RV dump stations on websites like Reddit or even Facebook groups.

 4- RVer’s Forums: Many forums are dedicated to helping people find free dumping stations. These forums often contain information that hasn’t made its way onto other sites yet, so keep an eye out if you want some more options.

 5- Ask Locals: This may seem obvious, but asking locals where they would go to find free RV dump stations is a great idea. They might not tell you directly, but by asking them questions about their favourite spots, you might get lucky and find someone who knows exactly where to find one nearby.

6- State Tourism Websites: Many state tourism websites will have pages dedicated to finding things to do around their state. One of those things could very well be free RV dump stations!

  • Sherri lives in Florida and is a writer for RV SKIPPER. She also shares road schooling tips on her blog! She loves to spend time skiing, road tripping, and exploring the outdoors.

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