How To Refill Your Your Freshwater Tank

If you think you might need to refill your freshwater tank on your camping trip, we’ve got a complete guide to help you do just that. If you’re like us, you want to get on the road and head up the nearest motorway to see where the beaten path takes you. But, knowing how to refill your freshwater tank during camping is a vital detail you can’t miss before putting your foot down. 

When it comes to getting fresh water here in the UK, you may have heard of an Aquaroll or a Jerry Can but not realised exactly what it’s for or how to use it. So, we’ve got the ultimate FAQ list to help you in filling a camping water tank and getting portable fresh water for wherever you need it.


Portable Freshwater Tank

Here at Camping Cubs, we’ve dabbled in a bit of everything when it comes to escaping the house and 9-to-5. That means we’ve taken out the van, hired a motorhome and wandered off into the distance with a tent and the little ones. So, we’ve got a handle on answering these niggling questions about the important stuff:

What is an Aquaroll Container?

First thing’s first, we should clear up what an Aquaroll is since we did mention it. The Aquaroll container is a branded jerry can container used to hold, store and carry water as an external and portable freshwater tank.

The Aquaroll – as it is now – was launched in 1992 from the Shropshire factory right here in the UK. It has a full capacity of 40 litres (which makes 40kg of water), weighs around 4.5kg itself and has dimensions of 49cm in length, by 39cm in depth. 

The best part is that you know it’s manufactured using 100% food-grade and virgin plastic material. Meaning the water it stores won’t be contaminated by any external materials and will remain safe to drink for the storage period. 

Some final notes about the Aquaroll include its ability to roll on its two outer wheels via a large handle for easy moving around the camp. As well as this, it’s newest model features two necks instead of the one. One is on the top and the other is on the side. This helps to accommodate for all heights, all water pumps and all mains adaptors when learning how to refill your freshwater tank during camping.

What is an External Water Pump?

When you’re out camping, whether it’s with an American-style RV, a caravan, a motorhome, a converted van or just a tent and your two legs, you’ll need to be able to transfer the water from your Aquaroll to wherever you need it.

This is where your external water pump comes from and it is a vital part in knowing how to refill your freshwater tank during a camping trip. This is because – when you

want to fill any internal water tanks – you have to be able to pump the water from the Aquaroll into the tank or through the pipes for immediate use. 

You can attach a 12V water pump to the tank and the camper’s battery using some crocodile clips. However, this is certainly a job to do while the cubs are entertained elsewhere.

P.S. Many pumps don’t actually come with a plug attachment, so you’ll need to make sure a plug head is in your shopping cart before filling a camping water tank.

How Much Water Do You Use in a Day When Camping?

Being able to discern how much water you use each day is a key part to understanding how far afield you can go and where you need to stop off for a refill.

It’s worth noting that a life on the road means a life more frugal with water. Think about showers, toilet breaks, the dishes, constant handwashing, cooking, clothes-washing, cleaning, brushing your teeth and more. They all use water. So, it could mean only showering once every other day to decrease your water usage.

With this in mind, as a family of four, you can generally get away with stretching a 100L tank for around 2 to 3 days. For an individual, you’re looking at using 20L per day on a shower day.

However, this doesn’t always mean you should just multiply up however much water you use for the days you want to travel. Especially if you’ve got a nice big water tank. In fact, there are a few reasons not to do this. This is because it depends on how you use the water, where you travel, when you’re travelling and how long the water has been in the tank for.

Here’s why you shouldn’t try and carry as much water as you can:

  • It will increase your fuel consumption
  • It can decrease water quality
  • It can freeze in your pipes 
  • It can heat and grow bacteria in the warmth
  • It can weigh down your motorhome’s suspension
  • It can cause limescale build-up in the tank

How Many Gallons of Water Can My Portable Freshwater Tank Hold?

Ok, we can’t tell you exactly how much your portable freshwater tank can carry, but we can tell you where to look. When it comes to the nitty gritty about how to refill your freshwater tank during camping, you’ll need to know how many litres of water

your internal tank can carry as well as your portable freshwater tank (i.e., your Aquaroll). 

Filling a Camping Water Tank

Most freshwater tanks in a motorhome or campervan will have a 100L capacity but this can vary up to 125L which you can double-check in your handbook. As well as this, your portable freshwater tank such as an Aquaroll has the litre capacity written on the top and is generally 40L.

Although, this doesn’t mean these are the capacities you’re legally allowed to carry on the British open road. 

One way to check how much water you can carry on your travels is to go to your nearest weighbridge (your local council can point you in the right direction). When there, make sure the campervan is fully loaded with luggage, campers and accessories (but without the water). Grab the weight number and compare it with the gross vehicle weight (GVW). You can find your GVW on a plate under the bonnet of the camper or in the handbook. 

Whatever kilogram weight you have left over can be used for carrying water!

Can You Refill a Freshwater Tank from a Tap?

Technically, yes: knowing how to refill your freshwater tank during camping from a tap is ok. However, it’s not always advised. At least not without some forethought.

This is because you’ll need a hose. However, it can’t be just any hose. It needs to be a food-grade hose so that no contaminants from the hose enter your freshwater supply in the motorhome. 

As well as this, while most taps here in the UK supply drink-safe water, not every single tap does. And you should be cautious of this. So, it’s best to keep it to the camping pitches and their water supplies or waiting to refill your freshwater tank while camping for the home. 

More How To Guides

Where Can You Fill Your Portable Freshwater Tank?

There are plenty of places you can find to fill your portable freshwater tank aside from at home. In fact, there are many restaurants, pubs, local shops, garages and more who will lend a helping hand when asked. So, it’s pretty hard for us to give a conclusive list for you. 

What we can say is that our favourite pitch (camping site) is Pier Cottage Caravan Park. They have almost everything when it comes to facilities and entertainment including a swimming area for the little ones and some scenic views. Of course, the all-important water source is available at this pitch, too.

However, here are some other ways you can check out places you can refill your freshwater tank during camping with the kids:

  • Cool Camping 
  • Wiki Camps UK
  • Camper Mate
  • Camper Contact
  • Site Seeker

How Do You Hook Up to the Water on a Campsite?

And, finally, the question you’re really here for: how to refill your freshwater tank during camping holidays in the UK.

There are actually three methods. They all involve accessing your water inlet, so make sure you have removed the cap. 

The Tap

The first method is using a tap (which we mentioned earlier). This involves simply using a food-grade hose connected from the tap to the water inlet. This is actually the quickest and the easiest as the tap’s pump is doing all the hard work for you. Hint: more often than not, your hose will have an orange water pressure gauge which you can use to tell whether your water tank is full or not.

The Portable Freshwater Tank

The second method is using that Aquaroll and pump we also touched on earlier in this article about filling a camping water tank. It means you have to have filled it already at a water supply (using any method you want as long as it’s food-grade). Then, it’s a case of standing the portable freshwater tank up by your water inlet and connecting it using the water pump.

The Gravity

The final method involves using gravity. However, this isn’t a very popular, safe or water-efficient method. It really just means getting your portable freshwater tank (or any food-grade container) higher than the level of the water inlet on your camper. Then, attaching a food-grade hose to the tank and the inlet and waiting for gravity to do its job.

Here at Camping Cubs, we suggest leaving out the gravity method until you’re really stuck in the sticks. We also suggest using a mixture of the tap and the Aquaroll for both speed, ease and portability: but make sure you’re not going over your GVW! 

How Long is Water Safe for from a Water Tank?

A final consideration for filling a camping water tank is how long you should keep and use the water for. It’s advised to not use any water past 24 hours. Especially when sitting in the warmth or laying stagnant. 

Earlier, when we mentioned a 100L water reserve lasting 2-3 days for a family of four, we really only mean that the water lasted that long with some travelling in-between that was out of the heat. 

This is because the chlorine added to the water supply dissipates after 24 hours and is no longer working to prevent bacteria growth or a biofilm!

And that brings our 8 FAQs about filling a camping water tank to a close.

We love to hear from you and help where we can, that way we can make sure we’re all enjoying what Britain has to offer us happy campers.

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