Having black, grey and fresh tanks on your RV is both wonderful and a chore. The tanks let you stay out in nature for as long as you can make the tanks last, and as long as you have food in the food tanks (Okay, let’s not change the name of the refrigerator and freezer). But when they end up being full, you will have to go to empty them and sometimes finding a place to do that can be tricky on its own. Dumping tanks are something you will have to do often if you’re full-time RV living. Thankfully, there are several helpful ways to find these locations, and that’s what we’re focusing on today.
Finding Places To Dump Your RV
There are websites that help you find dump stations. A lot of the websites where you can find free campsites also have filters so you can choose a campground with dump stations. Here are a few sites I recommend:
- Campendium.com – My favorite website to find campsites also has a dump station list that you can see here (USA & Canada). Pick a state and you’re shown a map with all locations to dump at, plus several filters. They also have a great phone app that I will talk about later.
- Sanidumps.com – Sanidumps is an excellent site if you’re not only pulling your camper through the USA. Here you can find dump stations in a lot of countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. You can find a location based on zip code or state. When choosing a state you can also get a Google Maps map (Link to Oregon here for example) where you will see whether it’s free, a campground, or a multi-user fee kind of dump station. I like Sanidumps because it shows you campgrounds where you can dump. It’s also easy to use on a mobile phone since you can choose to get a list of results instead of a map. A list is also available on RVDumps but not as accessible and easy to use.
- RVDumps.com – RVDumps is a good option if you’re only looking for dump stations and not campgrounds with dump stations. What I like is that you see all the locations on a Google Maps map. I go onto the map, and then I search for whatever town I am in or nearby, then I can quickly check if there’s a dump station and it gives me information like Fee, Latitude and Longitude, and a description of what kind it is (like a gas station, etc.) Note that RVDumps only show dump stations in the USA.
- FreeCampsites.net – Although this is a site to find free campsites, there are filters available to find campgrounds with dump stations. I have noticed that there are a lot of places missing though so I wouldn’t recommend using this site unless you’re also looking for a campground to stay at.
Apps, apps, apps. There’s an app for everything and of course apps can also help you find places to dump your RV. Here are the two I recommend.
- Campendium iOS App – A free app optimized for both iPhone and iPad that will do everything that the website can do, but in an app format. Search for a town or click “Nearby Dump Stations” upon starting the app. From there you can filter only to show Dump stations. When picking a location, you will see the price, reviews, photos, amenities, address, and a direct-link to Maps for directions. You will also see coordinates so you can navigate to it with your GPS. The information is added and updated by other members of the community. If you use the app, you should create an account and rate each place you go to and that way you will help others and encourage them to do the same for you. Note: While there is no app for Android yet, if you are using an Android device, Campendium has made a tutorial here to show you how to add the site as a bookmarked app on your phone. The site works great in the browser on your phone so don’t let this stop you from using it on Android.
- Trucker Path – Link to iOS / Link to Google Play Store – An app made for truckers that is also great for people in RV’s. What you will find in this app are gas stations and rest stops. It has a built-in trip planner that will let you see stops on the way. From there you see if a location has an RV dump station. This app is useful in general as well as it shows gas prices (although I recommend GasBuddy), overnight parking availability, whether they offer showers, tire care, scales, laundry, etc.
There are a lot of other apps for finding RV dump stations, but out of all I have tried the two above are the most reliable and accurate with the most information which is why I chose to only list two.
Like I mentioned above, some campgrounds will let you dump for free even if you’re not staying there. The easiest way to find out whether you can do it or not is by calling the campground. I have done that a few times, but I mostly use Sanidumps.com to get this information.
Finding truck stops that offer dump stations is easy with the Trucker Path app mentioned above. If you don’t have a phone that can run apps, you should know that a lot of Flying J’s and other big truck stops like it have dump stations.
There are books for finding dump stations, but I can’t recommend them as it’s something that becomes less and less accurate for each day that goes by. Dump stations come and go and you don’t want to drive 30 miles to a station you found in the book only to find an empty location that used to be a dump station. If you don’t have access to a website or an app, the best thing to do is call the administration of a town or a nearby campground and ask if they have a dump station you can use. There are also a lot of friendly campers that can be very helpful if you ask them a question about the closest dump station. Another thing to remember is what we talked about above, gas stations. A lot of Flying J’s have dump stations so if you’re planning on getting gas on the way, check if they have a dump station.
Finding Places To Fill Your Freshwater Tank
Finding potable water (water safe to drink) can be even more tricky than finding a dump station. Here are some ways to fill that fresh water tank.
The fact is that a lot of dump stations also have potable water available. While some reviews on Campendium.com will tell you if there is potable water at a specific dump station, I have found Sanidumps.com to have the best information as each location shows water icons based on what kind of water they have, if at all. But before you go crazy looking for potable water, look at the nearest dump station. Make sure it says potable water.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found any useful apps that specifically helps with finding potable water. I recommend visiting Sanidumps.com through the web browser on your phone and look at the water icons at the dump station location. Or you can read reviews in the Campendium iOS App.
Some campgrounds with dump stations will also have potable water available. I have also been to a few campgrounds that have water but no dump station. Best thing to do is call and ask if they have it available and if it’s potable.
Just like with campgrounds, some truck stops that have dump stations will have potable water. If not, you can ask attendants if they have it and they might be willing to bring out a hose to assist you. All it takes is a friendly question.
You can sometimes find water spigots at city, country and state parks. All you have to make sure is that it’s potable water and not for irrigation. It can also be a good idea to call the administration of the park and ask whether the water is potable and limited, as you shouldn’t take the whole water tank and leave everybody else dry.
If you check a website or an app and there are no nearby results, I recommend checking a different site. It has happened to me that a dump station doesn’t show up on Campendium, but is on Sanidumps, and vice-versa. Always check two different services if you can’t find anything on the first one.
Also, this might go without saying for most people, but help others that are having issues, and don’t get upset at somebody taking time to dump their RV, we have all been beginners and we don’t want to discourage people from going camping again.
I hope I have helped you with where you can find dump stations and fill your fresh water tank, let me know down below if you have any questions.