The XPCamper is quite amazing in that it holds a massive 70 gallons of fresh water. Before we crossed the border into Mexico, we filled it up to the top. How long does 70 gallons of water last you in Mexico? I estimate that we used about 75 gallons of water the first 30 days in Mexico (about 2.5 gallons per day). This has been used as drinking water for two people and for washing dishes. We’ve bounced in and out of campgrounds with showers and non-potable water, so there has been no need to use the shower in the XPCamper.
On a couple of the beaches we’ve stayed on, you can purchase barrels of non-potable water. Typical cost is about $100 pesos for about 40 gallons of water (about $8 USD). This is great to use for showering and doing dishes, and it really helped us conserve our purified drinking water.
However, eventually we ran down low and needed to refill our tank. So, how do you manage this? Turns out there are several options.
5 Gallon Jugs
You can buy water in 5 gallon jugs from just about any super market. You will also find guys driving around in trucks full of 5 gallon jugs of purified water. They often stop by RV parks, or you can even ask the owner, and they may be able to arrange a delivery.
For the XPCamper, the water tank opens near the top of the camper. Before we started, I rigged together a way to pump water out of 5 gallon jugs and into the XPCamper using a Kayak Bilge Pump and a bit of PVC pipe and hose from Home Depot. This was necessary, because the water tank opening is so high that it’s nearly impossible to siphon it in.
Pumping 10 gallons of water into the tank with the bilge pump was a workout! Looking back, I wish I had just purchased an extra 12-volt pump that matched the water pump already in my XP. It would allow me to quickly pump water out of these 5 gallon jugs, but in addition it would be nice to have a back up should my primary water pump fail.
Water Purification Centers
Another option is to find a water purification center. They have these in almost every town we’ve been in. We drove up to one in town recently, and using some spanish I had looked up earlier on google translate, I was able to get them to fill my water tank directly. Here are the phrases I used (if there are any spanish speaking readers, I would love feedback):
Necesito cien litros de agua para mi RV. I need one hundred liters of water for my RV.
¿Se puede bombear el agua en la RV? Can you pump the water into the RV?
Filter Non-Potable Water
Finally, our XPCamper has a 3M water filter on it that can purify 7500 gallons of water before it needs to be swapped out. In theory, we could fill the tank with non-potable water and just drink it. We also have a steri-pen that we could use once the water has been run through the 3M filter as an extra safety precaution. However, since the purified water has been cheap and easy to come by, why even take a chance? If we had opted for a full reverse-osmosis water filter on the XPCamper, I’d probably feel differently.
What does it cost?
The purified water is pretty inexpensive. For about $20 pesos (just under $2 USD), you can get a 5 gallon jug. If you are keeping the jug, you have to leave a deposit. When we filled our XPCamper up with water from the water purification center, we got about 40 gallons of water for only $60 pesos (about $5 USD). I think this may be because there wasn’t a good way to measure how much water we were taking, the hose just went directly into the XPCamper water tank.
Finding purified water and filling our tanks has been easy here in Baja. Hopefully that trend continues for us on the mainland. Non-potable water is so easy to come by, that at some points I wished the XP had two separate water areas — a small tank for purified drinking and cooking water and a larger tank for showers and dishes, but it would probably over-complicate the plumbing. On the other hand, we could have just shelled out for a reverse-osmosis water filter and we wouldn’t have to worry about it.
Our friends, Richard and Ashley (Desk to Glory) are driving a 4-runner, and they just trade the 5 gallon jugs of purified water in at the super market for refills. This has seemed to work pretty well for them. They also purchase 1-gallon jugs if the 5 gallon jugs aren’t available.