One of the most exciting vacations you can take is to steer off into the wild into the great outdoors in an RV. The RV lifestyle gives you the freedom to explore hidden gems and camp in remote and scenic spots to get away from the bustle. That said, there are few things more frustrating than running out of water smack dab in the middle of the adventure. After all, a continuous source of water is an essential part of day-to-day life even in an RV. This is where a water tank for campers in an RV, whether it’s a fresh water tank or hot water one, is a vital part of RV camping gear. A well-built and good capacity water tank allows you to camp just about anywhere without worrying about where you’ll get water to cook or drink.
Water storage is the foundation of an RV life, which is what you build the rest of your life around. That said, this opens a whole lot of questions that can seem daunting: how much water you’ll need, how to store it, how many tanks to buy, and so on. That’s why we’ve also included a handy guide to buying these water tanks and done all the legwork for you. So, make sure that you never run out of water by choosing one of the 13 best water tank for campers for the RV camping life, both fresh and hot water ones.
How To Choose The Best Water Tanks for Campers?
There’s a ton of Best Accessories for RV Camping, right from batteries and kitchen stuff to water tanks. Just like you need the Best RV Batteries for Boondocking or camping off-the-grid, you also need good quality and capacity water tank as well. What’s more, if you’re going camping in a cold place, then maybe you’re going to need a hot water tank for RV too. Are you not going to be camping near a drinking water source? You have to ensure that at least one tank you have is a fresh water tank for camping. So, what are all the considerations you need before investing in camping water tanks? Read on.
If you’re looking for other RV essentials, check out the Best RV CoversTravel and the Best Deep Cycle Batteries for RV.
The size of the tank you will require largely depends on two things – how long you’ll likely go between refills, and how much water you’ll consume. Obviously, it’s possible to estimate only one of these things, but as a thumb rule, you need to estimate a minimum of one gallon (4 liters) per day per person for cleaning, cooking, and drinking. Things such as water for pets, washing, and like will obviously use more water. So, yes, you need to work out all those estimates and always keep a good reserve.
Another important factor is how long the stints will be between refills. For instance, will you be desert camping with not a drop of water in sight, or will you be camping near filler stations or springs? Or maybe, you’re going to be going through a ton of wild areas? In the first and last case, you might want to consider a slightly bigger tank to give you an important reserve.
Ultimately, the payload of your RV is an important deciding factor when you decide the size of your water tank. Remember one thing: a 1 liter of water weighs 1 kg, which means a gallon of water will weigh just over 8 lbs. Also, it’s very important to balance the weight of the other items in your RV with the weight of your full tank. So, if you’re planning to carry a ton of water, then remember to not fit the fuel and the water tanks on the same side. They could end up tilting or leaning your RV to one side.
Since tanks are also filled with water to drink, most RV fresh water tanks for camping are made from food-grade BPA-free plastic such as polyethylene. If you’re not going to be keeping a separate drinking water supply, then this is all the more important. If you find even food-grade plastic containers giving your water a funny taste, then consider alternative materials such as stainless steel.
Finally, we come to sterilization, which is an important process for keeping your water tanks clean. That’s because sitting water can grow bacteria and quickly become slimy too. Either flush them out using natural products such as sodium bicarbonate or vinegar or cleaning solutions. Or, you could opt for a sterilizer that can be left in, such as Milton.
Can I mount the water tank beneath the RV?
Yes, especially if you want to save on space within the RV. These tanks, also known as underslung water tanks come in many sizes and shapes and can be mounted underneath your van too. However, the under RV-mounted water tanks require installing a few important components such as brackets. This is unlike inner tanks that can fit into any nook or cranny. Underslung tanks are especially good for larger RVs, but they’re vulnerable to the cold. So, it’s best to avoid underslung tanks while traveling to colder climates.
REDCAMP Portable Water Container
Amongst the most portable water tank for campers is the REDCAMP Portable Water Container. It might be able to hold just 4.9 gallons of water, but this fresh water tank for camping is an excellent option for an instant water source and van conversion on a low budget. What’s more, it can easily be removed from the RV for refilling, especially since it measures just 12.6 inches in length and about half of that in width and height. Thus, its size is ideal for stowing away in nooks and crannies such as cupboards or under the sink. Furthermore, it even comes with a cleaning brush, water pipe, and sealing cap, and is crafted from food-grade and odorless HDPE plastic that’s also PVC and BPA-free.
- Made from BPA and PVC-free food-grade plastic.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Comes with accessories.
- Small capacity.
Camplux Mini Tank Electric Water Heater
Available in sizes of 1.3, 2.5, 4, and 6 gallons, the Camplux Mini Tank Electric Water Heater is an excellent hot water tank for RV camping. It’s a water heater along with a tank, which is what makes it an excellent option for RVs, especially smaller ones. The compact yet efficient electric RV water heater heats water to very high temperatures at its maximum capacity, with 4 gallons being enough for a shower. At the same time, it doesn’t have that big a capacity that the tank takes up too much space. Moreover, the in-built insulation foam reduces heat loss as well, thus making it a blessing in colder climates. Besides being able to be mounted easily, the glass-lined tank is easy to maintain for a long time, while the elegant design cover makes the appliance and the tank look pretty too!
- Efficient and compact.
- Comes in many sizes.
- Super hot water on the highest setting.
- No warranty.
Big Berkey BK4X2 Countertop Water Filter System
Amongst the best water tank for campers is the Big Berkey BK4X2 Countertop Water Filter System, which is also a great fresh water tank for camping. If the taste of a plastic water tank is off-putting, then this fancy Big Berkley stainless steel water tank is just what you want around for drinking water. This one can hold 2.25 gallons of water and comes with a kit that includes two Black Berkey filters, a spigot, and two lids. What’s more, it also has two fluoride elements capable of filtering 100 and 3000 gallons of water in a lifetime. This is a great option for sterilizing the water before you drink it, and perfect for long off-the-grid jaunts. Finally, the container is made of high-grade 304 stainless steel.
While you’re looking at sterilized water tanks for camping, you might also be interested in the Best Water Purification Tablets, so you can look only for tanks instead.
- Made from high-grade stainless steel.
- Can hold 2.25 gallons of drinking water.
- Great for off-the-grid camping.
- Slightly expensive.
Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater
Yet another excellent hot water tank for camping in an RV is the Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater. What makes this reasonably priced heater-cum-tank so great is the fact that it that can heat water between the temperature range of 65 and a whopping 145 degrees Fahrenheit. What’s more, it’s versatile too, and can be mounted on a wall or on a shelf, and even rested on the floor. It boasts a lightweight and compact design, thus making it extremely portable to be carried around just about everywhere. Moreover, the durable glass-lined tank is great for keeping the water safe and free from germs and dirt. Despite its small size, this Bosch water heater heats up your water very quickly, is backed by a two-year warranty, and doesn’t require propane cylinders to operate.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Durable glass-lined tank.
- Two-year warranty.
Class A Customs 55 Gallon Water Holding Tank
Are you looking for an underslung fresh water tank for camping? One of the best options for an underslung water tank for campers is the Class A Customs Water Holding Tank which has a whopping capacity of 55 gallons! The biggest tank on this list, the Class A tank is made from FDA and NSF-approved thick plastic material that’s also BPA-free. So, it’s safe to hold drinking water, making it a freshwater source for remote, off-the-grid camping. Furthermore, it even features two half-inch screw-in balloon fittings, but it needs to be ventilated since it’s a non-pressurized tank. The best bit is that despite its size, the tank can be installed in any position, including vertically. Plus, it can be rotated as well and can be used to haul water from water sources while you’re camping too.
- The largest capacity of 55 gallons on this list.
- Can be installed in any position.
- Made from safe plastic.
- Occupies a lot of space.
Suburban SW12DE Water Heater
Suburban is a notable name when it comes to RV water heaters, and the Suburban SW12DE Water Heater also happens to be a hot water tank for camping. This premium unit comes with a 12-gallon tank which is the ideal size for many campers. It’s perfect for a quick shower or two, while not being an excessively bulky tank at the same time. The steel tank also boasts a porcelain lining, while the anode rod protects against electrolysis, thus ensuring that your water heater lasts for a longer time. Featuring an electronic or pilot ignition, the contraption also comes with a remote switch that electronically controls the water heater. If that wasn’t enough, the copolymer insulation jacks specially designed for the tank retain heat better too. Finally, it’s easy to install, use, and maintain as well.
- Decent tank capacity.
- Insulated to maintain heat.
- Anode rod inside to prevent corrosion.
RecPro RV Water Tank
Yet another one of the best underslung water tank for campers is the RecPro RV Water Tank, which is also an excellent fresh water tank for camping. RecPro is famed for making sturdy and robust tanks and that too in a variety of different sizes ranging from 10 to 100 gallons! This one has a capacity of 42 gallons, which is a nice middle-of-the-line tank for RVs. It’s seamlessly designed for preventing blowouts and leaks, thanks to the thick FDA-approved plastic that’s also BPA-free. Moreover, it’s fitted with more than one port for easy hook-ups, including NPT connections and a water fill inlet. The tank comes pressure tested as well and just needs to be cleaned once before you begin using it. All in all, this is an excellent place to store your fresh water supply if you’re out for longer times in the wild.
- Excellent capacity of 42 gallons.
- Made from safe plastic.
- Durable and pressure-tested.
- Some users said that they had to buy fittings separately.
Barbella Electric Hot Water Heater
Yet another great hot water tank for camping in an RV is the Barbella Electric Hot Water Heater. There’s a lot to like about this heater-cum-tank system, starting with the fact that it’s compact enough to be installed even in your small RV. At the same time, it’s affordable enough to be a great option even for those campers who’re on tight budgets. The tank capacity is small, so this heater is best for solo or a couple of campers who don’t have very large hot water needs. At the same time, it’s great for washing a handful of dishes and even for a quick shower. Besides it using green environmentally friendly material, the heater is so efficient that it powers off automatically when the set temperature is achieved. What’s more, the temperatures can be adjusted between 131 and 167 degrees Fahrenheit optionally.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Adjustable temperature.
- Limited hot water supply.
Class A Customs 24 Gallon Black Water Tank
An equally important water tank for campers is a grey water tank, which holds wastewater from your RV’s shower or sinks. An excellent grey water tank is the Class A Customs 24 Gallon Black Water Tank, which is usually mounted on the outside of the RV for ease of emptying when it fills up. This Class A Customs offering can hold 24 gallons of black wastewater and is seamlessly built from medium-density polyethylene resin. So, it prevents all and any possibilities of leaks. What’s more, it also comes fitted with a 3-inch PVC female pipe adapter and is overall resistant to rust, corrosion, and stains. It even comes with a brace and mounting to prevent it from moving during transit. However, remember to not place any weight on the tank or hang it by straps.
- Comes with a PVC pipe adapter, mounting, and brace,
- Resistant to rust, corrosion, and stains.
- Has a good 24-gallon wastewater capacity.
- Slightly lengthy.
Eccotemp EM-7.0 Mini
The Eccotemp EM-7.0 Mini is a great hot water tank for camping in an RV. It’s perfect for RV owners who’re working within small space constraints and want to be conservative with appliances. This lightweight mini-tank heater installs just about anywhere, including right next to plumbing fixtures so you don’t have to install any additional plumbing setup. Notwithstanding its small size, this tank heater can still store up to 7 gallons of hot water, along with quick recovery times. What’s more, it heats water anywhere between 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but you’d rather not run the heating element for prolonged periods of time and let it cool down. You should know that despite its versatility, the heater needs to be insulated and cannot withstand cold temperatures.
- Quick recovery time.
- Stores 7 gallons of hot water.
- Ideal for small spaces.
- Cannot withstand cold temperatures.
Igloo Portable Water Storage Container
A great portable water tank for campers is the Igloo Portable Water Storage Container, which is also an excellent fresh water tank for camping. Offering a larger 6-gallon capacity, the portable water tank is crafted from heavy-walled and rugged plastic. What’s more, it comes in a vibrant blue color so that you can clearly differentiate it from the other water tanks that you might be carrying. It also comes with an in-molded handle that makes it easy to transport it from the house or the water source to the RV. To top that, the flexible spout makes it easy for you to install this just about anywhere and use water conservatively.
- Decent 6-gallon capacity.
- A flexible spout and in-molded handle.
- Durable and rugged.
- Some users recommend checking it for water tightness when you buy the tank.
Suburban 5239A Water Heater
We have yet another nifty hot water tank for camping in an RV – this time it’s the versatile Suburban 5239A Water Heater. Running on both electric and propane, this heater-cum-tank is perfect for just about any situation on the road. To start with, it boasts a 120V AC element for quick heating, along with a safe and automated 12V DC direct-spark ignition gas heating system. Moreover, it comes with a porcelain-lined durable steel tank with a capacity of 6 gallons, which means it’s neither too small nor too big. What’s more, the in-built anode rod protects against corrosion and rust, and it’s even resistant to damage from boiling water. It might weigh 32 lbs, but the unit can provide lots of hot water, and that too quickly. In fact, it’s amongst the fastest tank heaters on this list.
- Amongst the fastest recovery rates.
- Durable steel 6-gallon tank.
- Runs on both electricity and propane.
- Slightly difficult to install.
The Dairy Shoppe Stainless Steel Transport Can
Occupying the top spot on the list of water tank for campers is the Stainless Steel Transport Can from The Dairy Shoppe, which makes for an excellent traditional fresh water tank for camping. Despite featuring a milk churn shape, this stainless steel milk is great for storing water while you’re traveling long distances in your RV. The quirky and decorative container is made from robust 304-grade stainless steel. What’s more, it has a spigot for easy dispensing and even has a strong-handled lid with a rubber sealing gasket. Moreover, it has no interior seams, which makes cleaning and maintaining it a breeze. The secure close lid makes it easy to transport, given the fact that the container comes in multiple volumes – 2.6, 5, 10, and 13 gallons.
- Comes in multiple volume sizes.
- Made from robust and high-quality stainless steel.
- Durable, secure, and long-lasting.
- Virtually none.