Stretching My Black Tank

For my first Boondocker’s Welcome stay, I thought I had it all figured out: 2 nights at a nearby Harvest Host Winery where I bought an extra bottle of wine to gift to my BDW host where I would stay 3 nights. Total of 5 nights equals the normal length of time my black tank will last. Well, normally we are out and about so we don’t use the RV toilet constantly. This winery didn’t have a customer bathroom, or if they did, I didn’t know about it, so I used my toilet a lot. When I arrived at my BDW spot, I realized my black tank was already 2/3 full! Oops.

Free backyard camping with my gracious Boondockers Welcome Host - the neighbour had a chicken coop!
Free backyard camping with my gracious Boondockers Welcome Host – the neighbour had a chicken coop!

Furthermore, I realized this BDW is a great spot to stay and with the long weekend coming, leaving on Saturday is a bad idea: campgrounds will be crowded and I might not even find a spot. My host was willing to have me stay a couple extra days but how can I extend my stay when my black tank is full? I will not inconvenience my host by asking to use their facilities – that is exactly the opposite of the point of the BDW program: I am supposed to be fully self-contained. The solution: a clean, public portapotty just 2 short blocks away at the local municipal beach! By using this toilet during daylight hours, mine can serve for night-time use only and should last through the long weekend. Pretty great solution!

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Flashback to our awesome boondock spot at Jones Pond in the Adirondacks in May 2015.

I am learning an important lesson regarding black tanks: mine is small and how long it lasts depends on how heavily it is used. When I know I have easy access to a dump station and am not trying to stay more than a few nights (ie while staying at a campground for a few days) I can use it exclusively. At any other time it makes sense to seek alternatives as much as possible. James already does this but I am realizing that I need to as well. It’s not enough to assume the tank will last 5 days. Judicious use is required and I should consider that plans may change and we may want to stay somewhere longer. Good lesson learned.

Honey Wagon Solution

Thetford 12 gallon waste tank
Thetford 12 gallon portable waste tank – yup that would work.

A larger black tank would be better but after calling Taylor Coach to enquire, it seems upgrading would be prohibitively expensive or not possible. However, Brad had a great suggestion: a smaller, portable “honey wagon” that we could use exclusively for dumping the black tank between visits to the dump station. My black tank is just 9 gallons; a 10 or 12 gallon portable holding tank would allow us to fully dump the black tank once full, effectively doubling our black tank capacity.

We could have a metal bracket engineered under the trailer tongue where the portable black tank could be securely strapped during transit so the smelly stuff can stay outside. It is an elegant solution since it is both cost effective and doesn’t require any major modifications.

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