How Hookups Impact Our Daily Lives | Full Time RV Lifestyle

When we were researching the RV lifestyle, we read all about hookups and how they worked. Tim blogged about all of the details in this RV 101: Hookups post. We were well aware that some campgrounds have full hookups, some have none, and others have a combination of them. Here are the combinations we’ve seen thus far on the road.

  1. No Hookups aka Dry Camping
  2. Electric & Water Only
  3. Electric Only
  4. Full hookups (electric, water, sewer)

What we didn’t yet know, however, is how these various combinations hookups would impact our daily lives. So I’ve made this table below to explain.


Hookup TypeLifestyle ImpactModifications
No hookups (dry camping)Water:
Fill motorhome's water tank either at the campground if they have a water full, or fill it before we leave the previous campground. We'd never camp without access to water!

Must limit use - use paper plates so we use less water on dishes. No showering in the RV - we take showers in the bath-house. We bathe the baby in the RV, but dump the bath water outside or use it to flush the toilet (so it goes into the black tank, which is hard to fill)

Without a water hookup, the water pump has to run. This is noisy every time you turn on a sink, but you get used to it.

Since there is no water hookup at the site, you are limited to what your tank can hold. Conservation is the name of the game!

No white noise machine to help baby sleep better. No air conditioning or fans. No power to keep laptops/cellphones charged. No TV. No power for the Mobley (internet source we primarily use).

Since the walls are really thin in an RV, you can hear pretty much anything going on outside. The baby can also hear us come into the room, no matter how quiet we try to be. The loss of the white noise machine is kind of a big deal for us, because it allows the baby to sleep more soundly. We all know how important sleep is! Maybe we will find a solution for this as we get into boondocking.

Use portable water containers. Fill up with fresh water, leave them outside, and use them to wash dishes or rinse sand off your body.

Run the generator if you're allowed (some places have rules against use, or limited hours you can use it). It is also noisy, somewhat smelly, and considered an annoyance to neighbors - so we try to limit its use.

We also have this large battery which we also use for the tow brake controller. It's awesome for charging our phones, laptops, Mobley, etc multiple times.

Without this battery, we'd be a lot less likely to try dry camping again. The fact that we an recharge a lot of our devices + keep internet access (if we get good signal) is important to us.
Electric & Water OnlyWater:
Water access is available right at the campsite, so there is no need to fill the tank or use portable water containers. We use paper plates sometimes (especially if we will be there awhile) to limit gray water. The gray water tank fills up quickly, and with no sewer hookup, we'd have to go to the dump station to dump it, which involves packing up the RV, bringing in the slides, pulling up the stabilizing jacks, and then going to the dump station.

Showers fill up the gray tank fast. Use the bath-house for showering if possible. If not - shower VERY quickly and run the risk of overflowing the gray tank.

No impact. Can use the TV, AC, charge devices, etc.
We have seen lots of people with these tote tanks when there is no sewer hookup. People empty their gray water/black water into these, then pull them over to the dump station with their cars. It avoids having to close up the entire RV and drive it over to the dump station. We haven't purchased one yet, but are considering it. The main con is having to store it when you don't need it.

Electric OnlyWater/Sewer:
With only electric available at the campsite, we have to use water from our holding tank. This means we have to limit our water consumption. In this scenario, we'd user paper plates and shower in the bath house.
Again, use portable water containers. Fill up with fresh water, leave them outside, and use them to wash dishes or rinse sand off your body.
Full Hook Ups (Water, Electric, Sewer)This scenario is the most like living in a house. You don't really need to pay attention to how much water you are using, because it is freely available to you at the site (water hookup), and you can drain the tanks (sewer hookup) any time you need to.

The difference is, you need to drain the tanks! If you forget to do that, or don't do it often enough, the tanks will overflow. Tim drains our tanks every couple of days when we have full hookups.

Some places (mainly at RV parks) there is even a cable hookup, so you can get some channels.
None needed

Since there’s not really any interesting pictures to go along with hookups, other than the ones we put in our last post about this topic (of the hoses connecting, dump station, etc) I’ll leave you with this dump station sign from Ft. DeSoto Park. We have a backlog of things to write about on the blog, so keep an eye out for more posts soon.

Dump Station Sign - RV Life


  1. It’s posts like this that snap me back to reality. The idea of traveling the country in an rv sounds glorious and care free until I’m reminding of all that goes into it. I imagine it was a learning experience the first few times you were limited. I would be a little nervous ‘dry camping’!

    1. It’s definitely a learning experience and isn’t as glamorous as it may look! Even with full hookups, at the end of the day, you have to watch your sewage train through a tube into a hole in the ground – something that just doesn’t happen in a house! Ha!

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