RV Black Tank: Where Do You Dump It When Boondocking (AKA Free Camping)
We love spreading the word about free-camping in America. From Florida to California, there are thousands of boondocking (no-fee camping) sites for you to use.
However, there’s one question that gets asked over and over.
Where do you dump your RV tanks when you’re in the middle of nowhere?
It’s a great question to ask. Because the answer sure as hell isn’t “on the ground.”
And you may be surprised with the multiple options for dumping your black (and grey) tanks.
Let’s dive in.
What is an RV Black Tank?
There’s no such thing as a stupid question. At some point, every RVer has to learn what a black tank is.
Quite simply, an RV black tank is where your poop & pee is stored.
It holds your waste, allowing you to stay out longer without having to break camp. Large 5th wheels have huge black tanks, usually able to last at least a week. Travel trailers have black tanks that might only last five days.
Once your RV black tank is full, you must empty it (but not on the ground because that is illegal).
If you’re camping at an RV park, you probably have a direct connection to their sewer system. However, if you’re boondocking, you’ll be totally off the grid – with no immediate access to dumping.
Here are a few places you can dump your RV black tank when boondocking.
Truck Stop Dump Stations
Many interstate truck stops have dump stations for your RV black tank. You can search on Campendium or AllStays to verify if a truck stop has one.
At the truck stops, the dump stations are often located on the edge of the lot with easy RV access.
You pay at the station. By swiping your credit card at the dump, the latch unlocks, and you can proceed with dumping.
PRO TIP: Take a truck stop shower after dumping your tanks. They’re clean, private, and spacious.
Interstate Rest Stops
Less common, but even better, are interstate rest stop dump stations. These dump stations are typically free and have super easy access.
Mississippi is one of the states that offer this complimentary service.
These facilities are usually very well kept, too. Service staff cleans them daily.
RV Parks for Dumping
Even if you don’t stay at an RV park, they’ll usually let you dump your black tank for a small fee.
The benefit of using RV parks for dumping is two-fold.
- If you’re free camping on BLM land, there’s usually an RV park within 20 miles. The nearest truck stop with a dump station could be much further.
- Virtually every RV has a dump station and would be happy to collect a small fee to let you use it.
Our one tip is, call in advance. Please don’t assume they’ll let you (even though we’ve never been turned away).
County Parks & Fairgrounds
Like RV parks, many county parks and fairgrounds have dump stations and will let you use them for free or a small fee.
These are harder to find, but can be the closest option out west.
We suggest using Campendium if you’re using an app to search for an RV dump station.
Better still, we recommend using RV Trip Wizard to plan your entire route (including dump station research) before heading out.
Now That You Know Where to Dump – Give Free Camping a Try
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy). You should give it a try!
Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.
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