How long can you go on your holding tanks?

After a season of camping with several long trips, most RVers get a good sense of how long they can go with their holding tanks.

For us, with the black tank, we can go 10 to 14 days.  Our range is likely a function of how much touring we’re doing.  If we’re out and about more, our black tank will last closer to 14 days.  Question might be, do you want to hold it that long?!  Depending on the weather, you may not want to hold your black tank contents for 2 weeks as the odor when you flush may be more than you want to bear 🙂

For our upper-deck gray tank (2 sinks and the shower), we can go several days, with showers using the most tankage.

For our lower-deck gray tank (kitchen sink, dishwasher and clothes washing machine), we can go several days, with clothes washing, followed by the dishwasher using the most tankage.

When does all this become important?  When you are boondock camping (no hookups at all) or are camping without a sewer connection.

Are there things you can do, steps you can take to increase the length of time your holding tanks will “hold out”?  Yes there are.  I have a short and far from comprehensive list.

Below are my ideas.

  • Water Conservation
  • Water Usage Location Shifting
  • Tank Transfer

Here’s what I mean by those ideas:

Water Conservation
Simply stated, use less water.

My wife will wash dishes in a dish tub, wash them all, then rinse them all at the end, using water sparingly.  Even though RV dishwashers use a small amount of water, with a careful hand dishwashing strategy, you can use even less water.

When showering, washing hands, shaving, brushing teeth etc., don’t leave the water running – turn it off between steps.

Wear outer clothing more than once.  Bring more clothing than normal.  Do laundry at a campground or city laundromat.  Wait and do laundry when you get home.

Wash up at night instead of showering daily.

Water Usage Location Shifting
As the title implies, when practical, use water at other places.

Similar to what was suggested above for washing clothes, use the restroom at a restaurant or store before you come home.

Use the restrooms and bathhouses at the campground for showering etc.

Some campgrounds offer a space for dishwashing – use that when available.

Tank Transfer
A couple of thoughts come to mind here.

Transfer the contents of your holding tanks to a portable tote tank made for such purposes.  Tote the tank to the sewer dump in the campground and dump the contents.  Rinse and repeat 🙂
Portable Sewer Tote TankTransfer some of your gray water to your black tank.  For us, since we can go a LOT longer on our black tank, if we can shift some of our gray tank water to the black tank, we can increase our time between tank dumps.

While one could use a bucket to empty gray contents into it, then dump it into the toilet and flush, there are other ways.

Wash your dishes in a dish tub, place the soapy, clean dishes in the sink and dump the wash tub into the toilet and flush.  Place the dishes back in the dish tub, quickly rinse the dishes one at a time, in the air, over the dish tub (to collect the water) and place them in a drying rack or drying towel/mat.  Then dump the dish tub into the toilet and flush.

This one’s a bit out there but I’ve done it successfully – take a shower standing in a large plastic tub and dump the tub into the toilet and flush.  Sounds crazy but it’s really doable.  I carry what I would call a bus tub used in restaurants for table dishes clearing.  I carry it to use for soaking and washing my grill grates.  For showering purposes, I place this large tub in the center of the shower, point the showerhead into the tub, turn on the water, adjust the water temperature, then turn the water off at the showerhead.  I then step into the tub, place the showerhead on my head and wet my body from the top down, then turn the water off at the showerhead.  I then soap up / wash from the bottom up, finishing with my head/face.  I then turn the water on at the showerhead and hold it against my head, rinsing and moving the head around and down my body to rinse and to promote the water to drip down my body and into the tub.  In this manner, I allow very little water to spray around the shower and 99% of the water used to be captured.  Then I carry what amounts to about 3 gallons of water to the toilet, dump it in and flush.  I ended up with a little more than 1 toilet bowl of gray shower water.  But that’s around 3 gallons of water that didn’t go into my upper-deck gray tank 🙂
Bus Tub used to Shower In

So do any of these ideas creep you out?  Do you have some ideas / techniques that you’d like to share?  Follow this link to discuss on the Heartland Owners Forum.

2016 Heartland Owners Club North American Rally: RECAP

Now that winter has set upon early in most parts of the country, Heartland Owners have been busy either winterizing their coaches and campers or taking their ball (Heartlands) and going home…or somewhere much warmer.  I think its a good time to rewind to look back and share the happenings at our wonderful National Rally that was held in the lively Las Vegas in early October.

First, we all owe so much to Jim Beletti, Heartland RV’s Director of Owner Interests and Julie Hancock, Heartland Owners Club Manager who, as a team, tirelessly organized the whole shebang.  With each North American Rally, it seems that they get better than the year before.  Planning began for this rally in 2011 and continued through 2015.  Jim flew out to Las Vegas in 2013 and 2015 as he worked on finding an appropriate venue where we could fit 150 Heartlands, rally rooms to host the Vendor Hall, Rally Hall, meet with caterers, entertainment, tours, obtaining contracts etc.  Once he scored the venue, he released the dates and location so we, HOC members could make plans to attend.  Then Julie went to work programming and testing the rally registration site.

Our pre-rally days (October 2-5, 2016) started with the arrival of our rally attendees at the Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort.  Prior to the pre-rally, Jim’s rally core team arrived.  They hit the ground running,  picking up and organizing rally documentation and door prizes, getting the rooms setup and stuffing the rally bags.  Johnnie Walker RV delivered several new model Heartland ‘display coaches’ for members to take a look-see.  On Tuesday, a few Heartland Owners opened up their coaches for tours showcasing their mods and decorating ideas.

And then it happened. Heartland RV’s proudly made their presence known parading one by one as they entered the gates of Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort.  These couple days were a bit hectic; getting pre-rally attendees parked and set up and presented their own swag bags, credentials and schedules.  Members who signed up prior, got their rigs weighed and professional washes all three pre-rally days.  There were three Pre-Rally tours:
– Hoover Dam
– Rick’s Restorations/Mob Museum/Fremont Street/Downtown tour
– Vegas “Points of Interest” tour
During the Pre-Rally, members did what they wanted on their own schedule.  Many went down to the Vegas Strip, others went to Valley of Fire and Hoover Dam.  On Wednesday, Len Trujillo led a caravan of golfers to the Legacy Golf Club for a 9:00 am Tee Time.  Dometic and Atwood provided representatives to address minor issues and answer questions about their products.  In the early evening, we all gathered at the Casablanca Commons in the RV Resort for the Chili Dog Meet and Greet; a great time had by all to meet new folks and see old Heartland friends.

The first day of the Rally (Thursday, October 6th) had a full schedule.  We started our day early at 7am for coffee, tea and donuts in the rally room. Vendor tables opened up at the Heartland Marketplace with Dometic, Atwood, Dexter Axle, RV LED Lights, Theresa Stewart Jewelry, Valor TPMS, MORyde, Nancy Beletti’s Mary Kay Cosmetics, Lisa Brown’s Young Living Essential Oils and Jewelry Designs, Crocheted Creations by Cathy Daniels, and Teri Wescott Jewelry.

Ann Mayer led the morning Wake Up Workout zero impact exercises, seminars and presentations throughout the day.  We all caravanned over to the M Resort Spa Casino for a 5pm belly-stuffing buffet dinner and then danced it all off at the Ravello Lounge for music entertainment (think ‘Beach Boys’ and the ‘Eagles’).

Day two (Friday, October 7th) was a repeat of the day prior.  Our evening was a planned patio party with with music entertainment provided by Heartlanders, Len Trujillo (a fabulous one man band).

Saturday, we all rose early again for morning hot beverages and sugary vittles with presentations and seminars until noon.  We all met at the big rally room at 5pm for a wonderfully tasty catered dinner and fellowship.  After dinner, we sat through the Heartland Gives Back presentation ‘Soldier’s Best Friend’ (very few dry eyes).

This year’s Heartland Gives Back initiative (HGBi) will beneficiary will be Soldier’s Best Friend (SBF). SBF provides U.S. military veterans living with combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with Service or Therapeutic Companion Dogs, most of which are rescued from local shelters. The veteran and dog train together to build a trusting relationship that saves two lives at once and inspires countless others.

We proudly opened our hearts and wallets raising over $4000 that evening; the amount needed to train one animal to be put into the service of a military veteran.

After the presentation and eyes were dried from the emotional presentation, the door prize drawings began with Jim Beletti emceeing the event.  My, there were A LOT of door prizes!  The prize runners surely got their workout that evening delivering to the winners at their tables.  After all the door prizes were awarded, we put on our dancing shoes to a DJ music venue.

After door prizes, Jim Beletti asked the Soldier’s Best Friend representative to return to the stage.  At that point, Jim pulled out a poster-sized check from Heartland RVs for ANOTHER $4000!  Can you believe it?  Chris Hermon, President of Heartland RVs authorized Jim to make a matching donation for up to $4000.  Wow – $8000 was raised in total for Soldier’s Best Friend, fully funding the training of “TWO” animals to be put into the service of two military veterans.  Thank you Chris Hermon and Heartland RVs!

Sunday morning, we woke with our alarm clocks onc last time for an early morning all-hands catered breakfast in the Rally Room.  Rally attendees said their goodbyes with hugs and handshakes checking out by noon with a few core team volunteers staying behind to clean up the venue.

So, if you didn’t attend yet are reading this, let’s just say you missed a GREAT ONE!  We hope to see you in 2017!

Save the date!!

2017 North American Heartland Owners Rally!

Elkhart County 4H Fairgrounds

Goshen, Indiana USA

June 13-18, 2017

(a 7-day pre-rally is also being planned for June 6-12)

(link to rally details)

See you in the Heartland!



Club President’s Desk

Club President
Jim Beletti, Club President

Hello Heartland Owners Club Members,

Summer camping season is in full swing. Have you been out with your Heartland yet this year? I hope you have.

Goshen Rally Report
This past June, Julie and I and a team of amazing volunteers put on the 10th Anniversary of the North American Heartland Owners Rally in Goshen, Indiana. What a hoot! Continue reading “Club President’s Desk”