Where to dump your waste while RVing

Where to dump your waste while RVing

Family RV trips are a fantastic way to travel. While on your way, you will take in beautiful views and enjoy time with family and friends. However, there is one part about RV trips that nobody likes to discuss: dumping the waste. Don’t be discouraged. It is a lot easier than you think.

Of course, you can’t just dump the waste from your RV anywhere. Nor would you want to. Most people who enjoy RVing and camping also enjoy the great outdoors and want to do Everything they can to ensure its beauty for generations to come. That’s why we have put together this post for you on where to dump your waste while RVing.

What is an RV Dump Station?

An RV dump station is a place specifically designed for the safe disposal of Recreational Vehicle waste. The waste is disposed of into a communal septic tank, typically via a hose, where it can decompose safely and without affecting the environment.

It’s essential that you use a designated dump spot to get rid of RV waste. Doing so will prevent the cause of any environmental damage and ensure sanitary conditions for the surrounding area.

How to Find RV Dump Stations

Before you dump any waste, you need to find the right place to do it. Knowing when and where on your trip you will dump will ease frustrations and allow you to enjoy your trip. There is no sense in waiting to the last minute only to get frustrated or have to travel out of your way. There are several different ways you can look up RV dump stations, a simple web search. There are informational dump websites that list out the locations of RV dump stations throughout the U.S.

It’s a good idea to map out possible dump stations before you hit the road so you can incorporate them into your itinerary. If you can’t find an RV waste dumping site or your lightweight travel trailer doesn’t have a bathroom, there are other natural ways to dispose of human waste.


Catholes refer to a hole dug into the ground to dispose of and cover up waste. You should choose a cathole site at least 200 feet away from your camp, any trails or water, and a place you know campers won’t walk. Proper catholes should be at least four inches wide and six inches deep. But, it’s a good idea to check your campsite’s rules ahead of time. Once you’ve done your business, refill the cathole with the original dirt, and disguise it with debris to back its natural appearance. You’ve got to pack it with you for the used toilet paper because toilet paper won’t disintegrate. We recommend a duct-tape-covered zip lock bag.


A latrine is essentially a multi-day, large group version of a cathole. If there are no toilets around and multiple people camping for multiple days, along latrine-style dugout is convenient, effective, and respectful. Similar to catholes, this placement should be at least six inches deep and six inches wide. Latrine contents decompose slower, so it’s a good idea to sprinkle a handful of dirt on top of the latrine after each use. The soil enzymes will decompose the waste much quicker.

Waste Bags

Waste bags, or WAG bags, are like doggie poop bag bags for humans. These bags are designed to collect and carry human waste in the wilderness both safely and discreetly without the need to lug a toilet around with you. Waste bags are puncture-resistance and coated with a special odor-killing powder. What’s more, they come with hand wipes and toilet paper for the utmost convenience.


Groovers, or river toilets, are portable versions of outhouses. Typically, a groover is made up of a seat and tank combo with a locked-in lid to ensure no spills happen in transit. Groovers are very cost-effective and are great for multi-day car camping trips in areas without toilets. A groover may be a better method for kids or new campers who aren’t comfortable using the cathole method. Even better, growers hold TP just like regular RV toilets do.

Premium Portable Toilets

Portable flushable toilets are a fantastic way to answer nature’s call without the modern conveniences while you are out enjoying nature. There are many different portable toilets on the market to fit needs and budgets of all sizes. Some portable toilets are foot-pedal powered, while others use wall switches. A few can even swivel the seat 90 degrees to fit RV or camping situations of all kinds. This is one of the most expensive options out there, but it is also the most comfortable and most like using a standard bathroom.

RV Dump Station Etiquette

  • Dump the black water tank before you dump the gray water tank because the soapy water from the gray tank will clean out some residue the hose leaves behind.
  • You don’t have to dump the black water tank until it’s at least two-thirds full. 
  • Never leave the black water tank valve open while you’re hooked up to a campsite because this can cause the liquids to drain and create solid waste hardening at the bottom of the tank— a disaster to clean up!
  • Use a six to eight-foot heavy-duty sewer hose to make handling the water tanks a lot easier.
  • Carry an extra garden hose with you to rinse the tanks if the dump station doesn’t have one. Just make sure you store it in an area where no contact with your drinking water hose is possible.
  • Remember, RV dump stations are a privilege, and you must treat them as such. When in doubt, remember the golden rule: leave the area cleaner then you found it.

Tips for a Smooth Dump

Level the RV Before You Dump Your Waste

You may notice that many RV dumping stations are on uneven ground. The uneven ground can make it challenging and even impossible for you to empty your tanks. So, if you notice uneven ground at the dumping station, it’s a good idea to take out some jacks and level your RV. If you don’t have jacks, you can purchase some rubber leveling pads.

Keep Gloves and Disinfectant Wipes on Hand

RV dumping is messy; there’s no way around it. Make sure you’re prepared with a solid pair of disposable gloves and disinfecting wipes. Please keep them in an easy-to-access place.

Make Sure You Have a Good RV Sewer Hose

You want to ensure you have a solid RV sewer hose on hand to connect all of the required gear to the dump tanks. There are also sewer hose support systems on the market to help ensure things flow smoothly.

The Ice Bag Trick

After dumping the tanks, some people pour bags of ice down the RV toilet to allow it to slosh around the black tank as they drive— this facilitates some water sloshing around and scraping off anything stuck inside.

What is RV Right for Me?

Before you dive too deep into waste, make sure you have the RV that suits your travel needs. Whether you are considering a travel trailer or a complete bore home on wheels, there are many choices to guarantee a fun family trip. Be sure to look for a service guarantee when you buy your RV—the more comprehensive, the better.

Whether you’re looking for new RVs for sale, used RVs for sale, trailers for sale, or something in between, count on RVW Wholesalers. We are the nation’s premier RV service. Contact us today to learn more!