Boondocking Basics

Learn the core concepts of off-grid camping, boondocking, and overnight parking

Using Water Purifying Tablets for RV Use

Using Water Purifying Tablets for RV Use


Water purifying tablets are typically used by hikers who want to fill their canteens and bottles from a clear, running stream. These tablets will kill all pathogens, including bacteria, protozoa, virus bodies, and girardia.

They’re also used by RVers and boondockers to make their water safer to drink.

Some brands make these tablets lightly effervescent, meaning they produce bubbles (like carbonated water, or Alka Seltzer tablets), mostly to give the effect that it’s working.

water purifying tablets
Potable Aqua, Water Purifying Tablets

Using Water Purifying Tablets for RV Use

These tablets are supposed to be dropped into into a bottle or pitcher of water and then stirring or shaking for 10 minutes. After stirring, let sit for 30 minutes. By then, it should have killed everything off.

Most of these tablets are sold in a 1/2 gallon size (one tablet for every 1/2 gallon of water)…

  • This only applies to using tablets with some kind of filtered water (tap water, water from an RV filter, etc.)
  • If using with water from a stream, lake, then use one tablet for every 1/5 gallon of water)

Can I Put Water Purifying Tablets in an RV Water Tank?

They’re not meant to be used in RV water tanks, however companies that make these tablets do make them in larger sizes specifically for other types of holding tanks.

Some brands of tablets used by consumers are lightly effervescent, meaning they produce gas bubbles that need to escape. If you were to put them in your RV’s water tank, then it needs some kind of vent, or overflow, to let the gases escape.

To best of anyone’s knowledge in the boondocking world, they will still work if you put them in your RV water tank. The question is how to get them into your tank…

  • Probably the easiest way is to stuff them into your water hose, then connect the hose to the faucet and your RV intake, and turn on the water.
  • These tablets are pretty small, usually no larger than an aspirin, often times smaller.
  • These tablets are supposed to dissolve rapidly, perhaps in less than 10 minutes. So, as long it takes at least 10 minutes to fill your tank, you’re probably good to go.
  • Make sure your RV’s intake has some kind of screen to prevent undissolved tablets from entering into the plumbing system.
  • How many tablets you will need depends on the brand of the tablet. Each brand has different specifications. It also depends on how much water your tank holds.
  • If you want to let the tablets dissolve into a bucket of water, and then use your RV’s winterizing system to draw the solution into your holding tank, you will have to do this and fill your water tank, all within 10 minutes, so that the solution has the necessary 30 minutes to kill off pathogens.

What Are the Best Brands of Tablets?

The best tablets are made of Chlorine Dioxide. These kill everything, including Cryptosporidium, but are still safe for humans…

There are other brands of tablets that are made of Iodine. These only kill bacteria and viruses. These do not kill Girardia or Cryptosporidium.

Aquatabs are the most popular brand of water purifying tablets, but they are not the most effective. They kill everything except for Cryptosporidium.

Read Related Articles

Leave a Comment