Daily water consumption when travelling; how much do you need?

If you’ve ever wondered how much water is required when travelling, this post dives into what you should consider, and how much water you need to take.

We’ve been travelling extensively for many years, and our Hybrid Camper has two water flow meters in built, which we use to monitor our water consumption to the litre.

Topargee water tanks
How much water do you need when travelling?

As it stands now, we are on day 8, and we’ve gone through 217 litres of water for two adults, and 2 kids age 5 and 3. That’s everything from showers, to washing clothes, drinking water, hot drinks and dish water. We are quite frugal with our water consumption, and we carry around 340L when full, which gives us nearly two weeks of full, off grid stays. If we were more careful we could easily extend this as needed, but it comes at the cost of your comfort.

In this particular example, we have been camping near rivers and have grabbed a couple of buckets for wiping ourselves down and washing our feet, but not for anything other than that. Ironically a lot of the rivers we’ve camped next to have been flooded recently and some are so orange you can’t even see 10cm down!

We’ve showered twice, and swam 3 times, with wipe downs most nights as needed. This averages out to about 27 litres of water consumed a day, which is pretty good. We do our dishes a minimum of twice a day, drink plenty of water and don’t skimp on using water where needed.

Use your water properly
Water is pretty precious when you’re off grid

Our portable washing machine is very frugal with water consumption, and our showers are done efficiently with our family of 4 comfortably able to clean up with just 14 litres of water.

Ironically, on the night of writing this post Oliver had an accident and wet the bed, and we used about another 18L of water washing his sleeping bag, clothes, mattress protector, sheet and teddy bear, so its always important to have enough reservoir available for when things go wrong (and they will!). Camping Laundry isn’t always fun, but you’ve got to do it!

Washing at Stony Creek Bush camp
Washing clothes uses a lot of water

Showers and washing destroys water use

I always chuckle when people who’ve never had a camping shower get a caravan, and empty the water tanks super fast. A shower when you are camping is very, very different to one at home, and its really easy to use 50L of water per person if you aren’t careful.

We’ve gotten our showers down to about 14L for all 4 of us, and that’s simply by getting wet, turning it off, soaping up, and rinsing off. 

Outdoor shower
There’s a steep learning curve when it comes to camping showers!

Likewise, washing clothes kills the water. If we hand wash, and use our manual washing machine we can get away with using about 20L of water for a decent chunk of clothes, but some caravan washing machines use a lot more water than that for one cycle.

How much water do you really need?

We carry a fair bit more water than most people. We have 270L in our Hybrid, 50L in our Dmax and another 20 odd litres in our toilet, giving a total of nearly 350L. This is heaps, but it gives us immense flexibility when doing a lap of Australia, as we don’t have to worry much about finding water points. As long as we come across one every 10 – 15 days we’re generally just fine.

We have managed to push our supply out to just under 3 weeks when in the Flinders Ranges (although we did shower and do some washing at Arkaroola, Willow Springs and Rawnsley Park Station) as there were limited places to get water for the first part of the Flinders Ranges.

Camp sites at Moolooloo
We found it really hard to get water in the Flinders Ranges, until we hit Wilpena

Ultimately, there are a huge number of variables that you need to think about; how long you want to go off grid, how many people are with you, what temperatures you’ll be seeing, how often you’re at caravan parks and so on and so forth.

A lot of people tour with 100 – 200L of water, and it does them just fine, but you need to fill up more often.

How much water do you carry? Is it enough?

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