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Skoolie Fresh Water Capacity: How Much Is Needed?

The amount of fresh water capacity a skoolie needs per person is between 2 – 6 gallons of water per day. This depends on the length of the trip or desired time spent off-grid, the number of people, and the amenities on board, including a sink, shower, and washing machine for laundry.

In this guide, we will dive into the water usage of each area of a skoolie to help you calculate the exact amount of fresh water your skoolie may need, which is a direct input into what size fresh water tank to install in your skoolie.

Water Usage Per Person Daily

The average amount of water used per person per day living in a skoolie ranges from 2 to 6 gallons. The amount of water used per person daily can vary depending on factors such as personal hygiene habits, climate, and activity level. For example, one adult typically uses around 5 gallons of water daily, while two adults use around 11 gallons. Children generally consume around 3 gallons per day.

Calculating Fresh Water Usage in a Skoolie

a 100-gallon skoolie fresh water tank

Several factors can affect freshwater usage in a skoolie. These include the amount of time spent boondocking, the number of people living in the skoolie, and the amenities on board. For example, a skoolie with a shower and an RV flush toilet will use more water.

To calculate fresh water usage, consider how many people are living in the skoolie and for how long. Based on the average water usage per person per day, you can estimate how much water will be needed during a specific period. Additionally, consider the amenities on board, such as a toilet or shower, and estimate how much water each will use.

Boondocking vs RV Park Hopping

The first decision to make when calculating how much fresh water is needed in a skoolie is whether the main lifestyle will be boondocking off-grid or hopping between national parks, state parks, and RV park campgrounds.

Boondocking will require more freshwater storage as you will rely completely on your onboard fresh water storage between fill stations.

Hopping between parks and campgrounds will require less on-board water storage as you will only need water to cover a potential few-night stay where you don’t have a water hookup at your site or water fill station nearby.

Drinking Water

1 gallon daily per person

The recommended amount of drinking water daily per person in a skoolie is at least one gallon. The exact amount of water needed daily per person depends on climate and level of activity.

Having a reliable drinking water supply for everyone staying in the skoolie is the most important factor, especially when traveling off-grid to do some boondocking. Having an in-line fresh water filtration system on board is a good idea to ensure the water is safe to drink. You never know what may be in the water at random fill stations.


0.25 – .75 gallons daily per person

Cooking a typical meal for two people in a skoolie will require anywhere from 0.5 to 1.5 gallons of water, depending on the recipe and cooking method. This is a general estimate and can vary widely depending on the type of food being cooked.

As with drinking water, the water used for cooking should also have gone through a water filtration system. In an RV, this is called potable water.


1-3 gallons of water per day

Washing dishes can use a significant amount of water, but there are ways to conserve water. Generally, washing dishes by hand will use 1 to 3 gallons of water, depending on the method used. Installing a sink faucet aerator is one way to reduce the water flow of a standard faucet from 1-1.8 gallons per minute to 0.5 gallons per minute. Other solutions to help conserve water include installing an RV faucet or a valve to restrict water flow rate.


a skoolie shower toilet bathroom combo in one room
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A 3 to 7 minute shower uses 3 to 15 gallons of water

Showering uses a significant amount of water in a skoolie – second to a washing machine if a skoolie has one. On average, a 3- to 7-minute shower uses 3 to 15 gallons of water, depending on the shower head.

Below are the gallon-per-minute (GPM) flow rates of different types of shower heads typically used in a skoolie:

  • Standard Home Shower Head: 1 to 2.5 GPM
  • RV Shower Head: 1 – 2 GPM
  • Low-Flow Shower Head: 0.5 – 1.5 GPM

Installing a low-flow shower head can help reduce water usage.


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