Should You Travel With Your RV Tanks Full?

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Should You Travel with Your RV Tanks Full?

Hop onto any RV forum and you’ll see countless threads asking if people keep their RV tanks full or empty or somewhere in-between when traveling.

It’s a good question. So we’ve done some research to provide you with the answer.

Let’s take a look!

Types of RV Tanks

If you own an RV, you likely have three different tanks. A freshwater tank holds your usable water. Your gray tank holds water coming from drains such as your kitchen sink and shower. And your toilet feeds into your black tank.

Traveling with Full Black or Gray

Most people suggest you travel with your RV black and gray tanks empty unless you’re cleaning them. In that case, empty them as usual, then add a few gallons of water to each. You can pour from a bucket or pitcher into the toilet and just run some water in your sink or shower.

When you’re driving, the water will slosh around to help clean the tanks.

You’ll see recommendations out there for adding ice cubes, a tiny amount of dish soap, or a specialized cleaner to the tanks as well. In addition, some RVs also come with black tank sprayers, or you can purchase one.

Pro Tip: Is it legal to dump RV black water on the ground?

Traveling With a Full Freshwater Tank

Honestly, there’s no definitive answer as to whether you should travel with your RV freshwater tank full, empty, or half-full.

For smaller rigs and tow vehicles, it might impact your gas mileage a little. And some people warn that a full tank could cause handling issues, especially in smaller trailers.

However, most people citing personal experience state there doesn’t seem to be a problem driving with a full tank even in the smaller RVs.

Having an empty freshwater tank when storing your RV for more than a couple of days is a good idea. It’s not a sealed container, so bacteria and other organisms can grow inside.

In fact, cleaning and sanitizing your tank regularly is a good idea.

However, many people prefer to drive their RV with at least half a tank if not a full one. Sometimes their reasoning is cautionary. What if you break down on a hot day in the desert and it’ll take hours for someone to get to you?

What if you stop for the night and there’s no water or you end up in a boil-water scenario?

Others like to fill their tank at home because they know the water is good. In addition, it’s one less thing to deal with on your way or once you arrive at your dry camping location.

Should You Travel With Your Tanks Full?

For black and gray tanks, the answer is a clear “no.” But you may want to have a little water in there for cleaning purposes. For your freshwater tank, though, it’s really up to you. Do you travel with your RV freshwater tank full or empty?

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