How to Get Drinking Water on Your Van Life Adventures


Water can sometimes be scarce, whether traveling with your van or camping in the wilderness. Knowing where to find clean drinking water to stay hydrated and healthy is crucial, or what kind of container to use if you have your own water filtration system. Here are some suggestions for where to locate drinking water on your upcoming van life journey.

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Water from a Garden Hose

I like to use a garden hose to fill up my Jerry Cans with drinking water. It is quick, easy, and practical. Before filling the cans, I will always filter the water using a water filter. I’ve discovered that this is the easiest approach to obtaining drinking water.

My water containers are filled with a simple garden hose.  The garden hose is connected to a water faucet, and the water filter is connected to the other end. I allowed the water to run from the filter into the jerry cans.

Gas Stations

Numerous gas stations, particularly in rural areas, offer drinkable water faucets. It is wise to inquire anytime you stop for fuel to replenish your water supplies whenever possible. Again, your hose and adapter will be really useful.

Just be sure to ask the gas station worker nicely if you can fill up your water cans. Most people won’t mind if you are buying gas at the same time. Just make sure to ask first.

Buying Water from a Grocery Store

When water faucets are not easily accessible, my second option is to purchase water from a neighboring grocery store. In general, water costs between $1 and $2 a gallon. I don’t need to filter this water any further because I know how pure and fresh it is.

The only difficult part is pouring the water into my jerry cans. Before turning on the water supply and pouring water into my jerry cans, I usually place the store-bought water jug on top of them and let the water drain into the cans. All I have to do is keep an eye on them so they don’t tumble over and make a mess.

Look no further than your local grocery store for a cheap way to get drinking water on your van life journey.


Your local campground is a great place to get water, especially if it’s made for RVs. Most campgrounds will have a faucet where you can fill up your jerry cans or van’s water tank. They might charge you a small fee if you aren’t staying at the campground, but it’s usually not much. However, I still filter this water to be safe.

Water Filtration Stores

The water quality is excellent, but you should still have a way to fill jerry cans or the water tank in your van. Some of these establishments won’t fill water tanks because they lack the necessary equipment. A gardening hose should be brought just in case.

Drinking Fountains

There have been a few times when I’ve filled my jerry cans at a drinking fountain, but it takes longer than other options. Some water fountains have an additional spout for filling bottles or other containers with water. These are typically utilized to fill dog bowls and are only a few feet off the ground. Although this water is more difficult to filter, for the most part it is clean.

Lakes, Ponds, and Rivers

Ponds, lakes, and rivers are some of the remaining sites where you may get clean water to drink. I stay away from this water as much as I can unless I am certain that it is okay to drink because it is typically dangerous. If you use these water sources, I advise you to put the water through two filters in order to achieve the clean drinking water you want: once when you fill up your cans or tank, and the next when you actually drink it.

Boiling the water to cleanse it is an efficient approach to accomplish this. Before drinking, let the water cool for one minute after bringing it to a rolling boil for around three minutes.

If there are any animals in or near the pond, you should also use caution. You might wish to look for another supply of clean water. If not, be cautious when adding drinking water to avoid sucking contaminated water into the hose, which could encourage the growth of bacteria.

Primo Water Refilling Stations

Primo Self-Service Refill Water stations are easily accessible and surprisingly affordable. Just bring whatever container fits your need to any there 25,000 retail locations across the US and Canada. Just make sure you bring a water container that fits within the receptacle. 

Website Water Location Resources

The best websites to use for finding water on the road are iOverlander, Google Maps, and Yelp. It provides directions and lists water shops, campers, and public water sources. At each location, you can see what water is fit for consumption. With just your smartphone, you can access safe drinking water everywhere in North America. You can find out where to get water by visiting the following websites.

Types of Water Filters to Use

There are lots of different types of water filters. Most of them are reasonably priced but need to be replaced periodically. For starters, read the product’s instructions. Here’s a list of the most common water filters. 

  • RV Water Filter
  • Brita Water filter
  • Berkey Filters

Purifying Water Methods

Numerous portable purifying techniques are available. I always boil or filter the water before putting it into my jerry cans whenever I’m in a region where the water isn’t purified. I’ll be able to trust the water then. Never should dirty water be used and put into your cans or tanks.

Water Purifier: The most reliable type of water purification used nowadays and found in the most expensive vans is an electric water purifier. The purest drinking water is produced by a water purifier using a multi-stage process that includes UV and UF filtration, carbon block, and contemporary water filtration technologies.

Boiling: There are further methods for purifying water if there are no campgrounds nearby. One method for getting rid of all the bacteria and making sure the water is safe to drink is to boil it. Just boil some water, then let it stand for five minutes before drinking or using it to prepare meals.

Water Chlorination: An older method called water chlorination involves adding a light bleach with around 5% chlorine to the water. This is typically done in times of emergency. Water is rendered safe for ingestion after being swiftly disinfected by this mixture, which acts as an oxidant.

  • Potable Aqua Water Chlorine Purification Tablets ($13)

  • Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets ($10)

Solar Purification: Using the sun’s UV rays to purify water is called solar purification. A plastic bottle is filled with water, shaken to release the oxygen, and then placed horizontally in the sun. This successfully eliminates any viruses and germs in the water, making it safe to drink. 

  • Aquamate Solar Still Emergency Water Purification Inflatable Kit (Amazon $240)

Water Containers

If your van does not have a built-in water tank, you’ll need a water container for your van life or other outdoor adventures. Below is a list of the most used water containers.

  • IGLOO Jerry Cans (See Picture Above)
  • Reliance Aqua Tainer Water Container
  • Redcap Portable Water Container


Don’t worry; you can find water wherever you go by using easily accessible water sources. Ensuring you always have clean drinking water will help you avoid running out while traveling. After reading this article, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding high-quality water. However, feel free to comment below if you do.



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