DIY Water Tank for Camping (Gravity Fed)




About: - I am 'that' Karl

A lot of times when I camp, I camp in remote areas with no utilities, including water.

Since I find water to be quite important, I take it with me.

I built a little micro camper (see my other instructables) and I needed a way to carry a fairly large amount of water easily. So I carry it in a tank on top of my camper.

This instructable covers the building of my latest water tank

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Step 1: Original Tank

I had already built a water tank system previously. It is a galvanized water tank fastened to a frame that sits on top of my micro camper. It is strapped down with ratchet straps when I travel, I can remove it when not needed, and it allows for gravity flow for ease of use. It is a pretty handy system, but I found it to be too small for a long weekend.

So I decided it was time for an upgrade...

Step 2: Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose ;)

I removed the old galvanized 15 gallon tank from the frame I had previously made.

That tank has found a new home on another micro camper.

I went to the parts store (a 53' van trailer that I have that is full of camper parts) and picked out a water tank out of a camper I had previously torn apart for parts.

This 30 gallon tank is lighter and bigger than the old galvanized tank.

Step 3: Converting the Fill Spout

The existing fill spout on the tank is a 1.25" poly pipe extension. Some adapters were needed to make it work for my purpose.

I attached a 1.25" to 2" Fernco Fitting to the tank fill spout, then a 2" threaded fitting was slid into the Fernco fitting, A couple of caps were added to close the tank...

One cap I use when in transit to keep the tank closed, when I get to where I am setting up, I use the other cap that i drilled holes in, to allow air into the tank so the water can drain correctly.

Step 4: Plug Any Unneeded Holes

The tank I salavaged had a hole I did not need so I plugged that hole.

Step 5: Adding Water Lines and Valves to the Tank

I quit using copper or PVC several years ago... Nothing beats PEX in my opinion.. It is flexible, can withstand freezing, and it is very rugged.

The first thing I did was install 1/2" threaded male to PEX fittings in the bottom openings of the tank... This tank had 3 openings on the bottom, 2 on one end, 1 on the other end.

On one end of the tank I connected the two openings, and ran a T to go under the tank, this will allow the water to drain if the camper is off balance left to right or front to back.

The long pipe connects the two sides so that I can pull water from either side.

Step 6: Attach the Tank to the Frame

I strapped the tank to the frame I had previously used..

Step 7: Some Final Thoughts...

The water tank works nice because I can pull water from either side of the camper.

The tank is much lighter than the previous galvanized tank when empty, which makes it easier to set on top of the camper.

Now I have 30 gallons of gravity fed water available when camping...

Stay tuned to see what I do with this water supply next ;)



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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago

    And if you wanted a source of hot (or at least warm) water you could coat this with some roll-on or brush-on truck bed liner and the black color would absorb heat from the sun's rays, while the coating will have (at least a little) insulation value. Sort of like having a 30 gallon version of the old hanging black bladder-bag sold in most camping departments. Nice work, BTW!!!


    3 years ago

    great work karl. 8m going to attempt a trailer build myself. Have u thought possibly of mounting the water on tongue in enclosure with spare, utilizing solar on top, kill 2 birds...even possibly constructing a tray type thing on the top for carry all function. Excellent work. Merry Christmas!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nicely done. I presume you are a fair weather camper, as this will freeze in cold temps....

    Nice design for using on either side of the trailer.

    3 replies

    Maybe this or a new tank could insulated for colder weather. I wonder if there is a reason for alternating the plumbing with metal and plastic parts. Did you work with spare parts laying around your shop or you could not find proper fittings where you live?

    The fittings and the pipe are PEX. PEX pipe is always a plastic type of pipe, not PVC... It is able to withstand freezing without bursting. The fittings are brass and are also PEX....


    4 years ago on Introduction

    You know, this trailer has a low ceiling, but I have considered for some time mounting the water tank in the trailer I'm designing at the ceiling inside the cupboards so it won't freeze and I won't have to rely on an electric water pump. Haven't seen that done. CG will be higher, but it's a trailer, so nobody will be riding in it.