When camping comes to mind and you begin planning to sleep outdoors in a tent or in a camp trailer away from urban areas, you envision a warm, sunny campsite that is relatively clear of hinderances and hostile animals, a place for a campfire to grill, brew coffee, and roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Fishing, hiking, boating, swimming, stargazing, or just plain hanging out in pure relaxation are all part of the allure of camping that build a lifetime of fond memories and reflection.

Drinking-Water Quality

Whether you camp in a pitched tent, camp trailer, or fully outfitted fifth wheel RV or motor home, there is one item that is essential to ensure full enjoyment of the camping experience: water. All water used for cooking, drinking, making beverages, washing dishes, and brushing teeth must be potable and free of pathogenic biological contaminants that may be present in unprotected water sources.

There are many campgrounds and highway rest areas across the U.S. that have warning placards in restrooms and on water faucets throughout the grounds cautioning against drinking the on-site water. Failure to heed these warnings has resulted in countless unhappy campers who have suffered gastrointestinal distress, such as from traveler’s diarrhea or dysentery, which kept them close to the bathroom and sidelined instead of enjoying the great outdoors.

Safe, potable water is available from sources that include your own kitchen tap; fill up jugs with tap water to take with you. Or buy prepackaged bottled water in convenient single-serving-size plastic bottles.

There are also onboard freshwater storage tanks in RVs equipped with a pump to repressurize the fresh water for use at the kitchen sink and bathroom lavatory, tub/shower, and toilet. While these holding tanks are made with food-grade materials, contamination may still occur due to groundwater sources such as a private residential well, where sediment, iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide (rotten-egg odor), or bacterial conditions may create taste issues and make the water unpleasant to use. While the bacteria may be only a nuisance type or nonpathogenic, sanitizing the holding tank per the RV manufacturer’s guidelines is highly recommended. This is especially true when the RV sits unused for months at a time and water remains in the storage tank.

Onboard Filtration

There is a rapidly growing trend in the camping community regarding onboard water-filtration systems being plumbed into the cold water at the kitchen sink to provide safe point-of-use water for drinking, making beverages, and food preparation. Portable filter systems that connect campground water and the RV via garden hose are common, and these systems filter all the water used in the camper or RV.

Campers who use large fifth wheels or motor homes with separate plumbing bays may elect to have a point-of-entry (POE) filtration system installed to filter all the water used throughout the service plumbing. Others will have a split-system installed, in which the POE filtered water will be further treated with a specially prepared filter and separate dispensing faucet for just the cold water at the kitchen sink.

There is good reason for this trend: Most of us have unlimited access to information, credible or not, via the Internet, social media, and the 24-hour news cycle. Add to this the constant updates regarding emerging contaminants of concern, such as PFAS. It is no wonder consumers are taking precautionary steps to protect their well-being by making sure they have good, clean, safe water when they venture out. Many homeowners who have adopted the camping lifestyle have water-filtration systems installed in their homes and want to ensure they and their families are protected when camping.

The Onboard Advantage

Here are some advantages to having a water-filtration system in the camper or RV:

Campers end up with fewer plastic bottles for recycling.

Less weight is added to the trailer or tow vehicle. Water weighs 8.4 pounds per gallon, and most campers pack at least five gallons of water if there is no freshwater tank aboard the RV.

Advanced filtration technologies make it possible for a single filter to do what used to take a two- or three-stage filter system to do.

Smaller, space-efficient filters are easier to install in the camper or RV plumbing bay.

Campers enjoy peace of mind knowing their water is safe when replenishing onboard freshwater tanks from unfamiliar sources.

Spare filter cartridges in protective wrap may be conveniently stored in the camper or RV for future replacement.

Third-party testing, validation, and certification offer consumers peace of mind knowing their filtration system will provide safe, high-quality water while they enjoy their camping excursion.

Water Is Life

There is no desire fiercer than the need to quench thirst. The human body is roughly 70 percent water. Humans can live for weeks without food but only about three days without water. High-quality water bathes the cells, cushions the brain, and supports internal organs for optimum health and wellness. It is no exaggeration to define the thread of life in one word: water.

About the author

Gary Battenberg is a senior business development manager for Argonide Corporation. His four decades of experience in the water industry covers mechanical and adsorptive filtration, ion exchange, UV sterilization, reverse osmosis, and ozone technologies. He has worked in the domestic, commercial, industrial, high-purity, and sterile water treatment arenas. A contributing author to Water Conditioning & Purification International Magazine and a member of its technical review committee since 2008, Battenberg was voted one of the magazine’s Top 50 most influential people in the water-treatment industry in 2009. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (407) 488-7203.

About the company

Founded in 1994, Argonide Corporation is a family-owned business focused on water filter manufacturing. Today, Argonide sells filtration cartridges and systems all over the world, commercially and residentially, across many applications and markets. Products include NanoCeram, DEAL carbon blocks (diatomaceous earth media coated with aluminum oxide-hydroxide), and the COOLBLUE Microbiological Water Purifier System.

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