Last Update: 5/12/2016

Finding Free Water When Living in a Van

Statue of little boy pissing. Text says "Know where to get your drinking water when you're living in a van, down by the river?" Vanholio.com

Ya gotta fuel your piss pump, Boys and Girls. But where to fill your jugs with free water when you're living in a van down by the river? Vanholio tells you how.

Now, this doesn’t really apply to you fancy pants RV folks with your exclusive fucking Club Med RV parks and dump stations. You’re covered. This is for the rest of us living on the cheap and under the radar – van life. Now, Vanholio doesn’t have a holding tank. He just has some plastic jugs, about 12 gallons worth all told. That’s enough for a week or two, depending. Maybe you’re the same?

Here’s some places Vanholio’s been lucky while driving all over the goddamned country.

?? #Vanlife question? Contact Vanholio! direct !!

Friends, Family, Work

Filling up your jugs when visiting friends or family, or at work, is the obvious option. Don’t leave their homes without water! Ever!

Campgrounds and RV Parks

Obviously, if you’re staying at a campground or RV park that has water, fill ‘er up. But just today, I noticed a city RV park in passing. I drove in, parked in a spot, filled up my jugs from the hookups, and left. Yes, courtesy would be to ask first, but I’d rather apologize later. And fuck paying!

Public Parks

I’ve found water taps in city, county, state, and national parks. Don’t just limit yourself to faucets provided for drinking, though. Three weeks ago, I parked by a city ball field to read a map. Looking around, I noticed that the bathrooms by the ball field had a regular, outside tap, probably there for a garden hose. Got a week's worth of water in 3 minutes!

Rest Stops

In some states, public rest stops have drinking water taps for filling jugs. Wyoming is really good about this.


Commercial Buildings

sillcock key image
Faucet / Sillcock Key
Some gas stations, grocery stores, and other businesses have water via regular outside taps. Take some on the sly or ask, as you seed fit. Now, you'd think commercial buildings have taps outside, just like a house, but you'd be wrong. Most have special taps outside to prevent lowlifes like you and me from getting it. Even when you ask a clerk for permission, they don't know how to work the tap. But Vanholio has the solution, thanks to super redditor Drummygummy: You just need a faucet / sillcock key (see photo at right). Now, Vanholio hasn't used one personally (yet), but the tech looks promising. All the preppers rave about them! (See the how-to video at bottom.)

Grocery Stores / Water Vending Machines

Supermarkets in many parts of the USA have filtered-water vending machines that let you fill your own jugs for about $0.30 a gallon. If you can't get free, that's a better option than bottled water. In some parts of the country, filtered water vending machines are free-standing on corner lots.

Rest Rooms

Almost anywhere, including all the places above, you can walk into a public or store restroom with your jug and fill it up at the bathroom sink if they don't have a drinking water tap. How? Bring a cup or a funnel with hose to get the water from the faucet into the jug.

Private Homes

I'd be careful about getting shot, especially in redneck country. But Vanholio has gone up to folk's houses and asked to fill up at the garden hose. Most folks oblige. You can offer to pay, but they won't usually let you.

Streams, Rivers, Lakes, Ponds

If you'll be camping literally down by the river, or by a creek or lake, why not filter your own water? Then you don't have to go huntin' for it. A decent water filter is a good investment if you're in wet place. Desert-dwellers need not apply.

Potable water is available for free all throughout the great ol' USA. Just get out of the consumer mentality and look around, dammit. Bottled water ain't any healthier than public water (except in Flint), and buying it sucks your wallet dry.



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