The 6 Best Sewer Hose Kits
6. Camco 39551 Easy Slip
5. Lippert Components 360784
4. Prest-O-Fit Ultimate
2. Valterra D04-0475 Viper
1. Camco 39742 RhinoFLEX
A Brief History Of Portable Plumbing
Spend any time in an RV, and you’re likely to learn more than you’ve ever hoped to know about sanitation, not to mention your fellow travelers’ bodily functions. Traveling with a shy bladder or a fussy colon? Prepare to be mortified. If your rig’s gas leak alarm is among the highly sensitive ones that respond to the aroma of fresh farts, you may want to travel with a dog so you can blame Fido when it goes off. Heaven forbid, you should have a bowel movement while staying at a busy RV park. The alarm starts wailing, you flush and scramble to silence the stupid thing, and suddenly everyone around you is well aware that you’re holding up your pants and flailing frantically at an errant gas alarm. Or so I’ve been told…
Intestinal dramas aside, the fact remains that when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go, and going in an RV necessarily involves dealing with the aftermath in ways you’re unlikely to confront in sticks-and-bricks accommodations. That’s where the much-maligned but absolutely vital black tank and sewer hose kit come in. Whether you’re boondocking in the middle of nowhere, parked in a relative’s driveway, staying a few days at a state park with a dump station, or vacationing at a swanky private park with full hookups, you’ll have to give careful consideration to your plumbing facilities, capacity, and upkeep.
Modern portable toilets and their associated plumbing are generally based on the chamber pots and water closets of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Like their present-day porcelain cousins, toilets designed for RV camping use a flushing mechanism developed by the erstwhile innovator Mr. Thomas Crapper, whose ingenious solution for cleaning out toilet bowls immortalized him in the most ignominious fashion imaginable. The primary difference between these descendants of the original crapper is in the materials used for inflow, output, and collection. In an RV or porta-potty, PVC and other lightweight materials stand in for the heavier stoneware and metal fixtures used in permanent installations. An RV toilet also employs a flap-valve to keep sewer gases from backing up into the coach, with a rooftop vent to let them escape harmlessly.
Hooking Up: Why RVers Don't Do It In The Dark
Don’t kid yourself that any of the above options will exempt you from dealing with the poop, pee, paper or other products of one's daily constitutionals, which is to say nothing of all that gets washed down the sink and/or shower drain. The only way to avoid all that is to avail yourself of the nearest sticks-and-bricks facilities, unless, of course, you want to go au naturale in the wilderness, which is a whole other matter, and generally frowned upon in urban settings. Aside from that, if nature calls in full darkness, you may not want to take your chances with the local wildlife (any sound with the remotest possibility of coming from a predator on the prowl could very well scare the crap out of you, in which case you’ve got a different cleanup to deal with, assuming you survive the encounter with whatever went bump in the night). And arachnophobics, beware: spiders love to lurk in dimly-lit public facilities, so you can either master the mysteries of the storied black tank, or curse a bladder that insists upon being relieved at 3 a.m.
Whenever you use the onboard facilities, you’ll make a deposit into your rig’s waste collection system. Even the largest ones will only hold a few days’ worth of pooping, peeing, wiping, washing and the like, all of which must be emptied into a public waste management system. When you’re boondocking in the wild or dry-camping in an urban setting, that means finding a dumping station, and probably paying a modest fee for the privilege of trying to look nonchalant to any passersby while braving the elements and dealing with the effluent. In some campgrounds, it’s a matter of timing your visits to the dump site to avoid queueing up with everyone else whose tanks are full. And even if you’re staying at the aforementioned swanky private park, you’ve got to connect your rig to the hookups when you get there, and make a tidy exit when it’s time for departure. Common courtesy and good sense dictates that you shouldn’t be doing either after dark, especially if you hope to be welcome there in future.
When Good Hoses Go Bad — A Possum's Tale
Speaking of hooking up in darkness, anyone who’s spent much time road-tripping in an RV can almost certainly raise the hairs on the back of your neck with accounts of their nighttime misadventures. As if maneuvering a giant vehicle on narrow and uneven roads with uncertain overhead clearances weren’t tricky enough in daytime, it gets even scarier when the sun goes down. And that’s just until you get where you’re going. Once you reach your destination, you still have to negotiate the entrance and site selection process — which can be pretty confounding after hours — find your spot, and wrangle your rig into the appropriate setup without disrupting your fellow campers’ proceedings (or local wildlife, as the case may be).
If you’ve done the job right, all will be well come morning, right? Not so much. Just ask the full-time RVer who awoke to find a peppering of possum-toothed holes in a brand-new sewer hose, the critter presumably having been attracted by the steak-scented dishwater from the previous night’s dinner. Or the one who found himself standing ankle-deep in shower runoff, an undiscovered clog in the line having backed everything up. And let’s not contemplate the embarrassment of explaining to an irate park official why you’re irrigating the grounds with untreated human waste, if some problem should crop up unbeknownst to you. So for goodness’s sake, invest in a good-quality sewer hose and adapter kit for your rig. Maybe two. Just in case there’s a hungry possum lurking outside.