How to Empty Your Black Tank Without Moving Your RV

The biggest downfall to RV boondocking is having to tear down camp to go empty our motorhome’s or camper’s sewage holding tanks. But what if we told you that we’ve figured out how to empty our RV black tank without even moving our fifth wheel? See how we do it without losing our boondocking site!

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How to Empty Your Black Tank Without Moving Your RV

While we’ve figured out how to replenish our water without moving our fifth wheel when we’re boondocking, there’s still one looming stinkin’ issue. How do we empty our fifth wheel’s black tank without having to pack everything up to head to the dump station.

Between the two of us, we could stretch our holding tanks for about ten days before it’s time to empty to empty our black tank. So, we came up with a solution!

Emptying our RV black tank at a campground or RV park

When our fifth wheel is hooked up to a campground sewer connection, we can tell when it’s time to empty the black tank. It’s when our toilet burps when we flush. We just go outside to our RV’s utility panel, pull the lever and let ‘er rip! All of our crap and gray water goes through our RV sewer hose into the yucky hole in the ground. And then we’re done with it until the next burp. 

However, when we are at a campground that doesn’t have a sewer hookup, we simply empty our black tank into our portable sewage tote. Then we drag it to the campground’s dump station.

Boondocking - black tank to portable sewage tank honey wagon

Our fifth wheel stays put. We don’t even have to interrupt our camping experience by breaking camp. We’d just walk it over dragging it behind us. Or, hook it onto our truck bumper trailer ball hitch and pull it the short distance to the campground dump station. Sounds easy peasy, right?

Well, that’s SO not the case when we’re boondocking or camping off the grid.

 

What happens when we have to empty our black tank when we’re boondocking?

There is nothing like boondocking out in the wild! The million dollar views of desert saguaros, snowcapped mountains and frothy coasts are our number one reason we enjoy dispersed camping in off-the-grid locations.
 

But, when our RV toilet starts to burp again, we grumble. Because it’s time to pack all of our camping gear, hook up the fifth wheel and find a dump station.

And, since we don’t leave our camping gear, fear of someone helping themselves, we just hope another camper wouldn’t take our spot. Or, we have to spend time looking for another primo spot to park our fifth wheel.

Our Black Tank Sewage Disposal Solution

With the help from our son, Dana, who is an adventure motorcycle rider and outdoorsman, we learned about a cool option.

He told us about a heavy duty pulley system that big game hunters hook into their 2″ receiver on their pickup trucks. Hunters use them to lift their big game up into the their pickup truck beds without straining a muscle or breaking their back.

Dana mentioned that adventure motorcycle riders have also caught onto this. But, instead of lifting big game animals, they use this pulley system to lift their motorcycles up into their truck beds.

Our son said “if this works for hunters and ADV riders, then it should work to lift your crap tank (portable sewage tank) too”.

I think he’s on something!

Our sewage tank holds 25 gallons. Which when full, it weighs in about 208 pounds. That’s way too much for us to lift up into our truck bed to go empty at the dump station. 

So, we ordered one of these pulley systems to see if was the answer to our boondocking black tank dilemma.

How it works

First, Dan empties our black or gray tank into our portable sewage tank until full. Then, wheels it over to the back of the truck where this Rack Jack pulley system is temporarily installed. Dan attaches it to the truck’s 2″ receiver.
 
He then puts the vertical column on the post and attaches the boom with the winch. It is now ready to hoist our portable sewage tote.
 
Always On Liberty - Rack Jack Pulley System for Black Tank Sewage Disposal
 
He attaches the cargo straps securely around our honey wagon and clasps it to the pulley system.
 Always On Liberty - Pulley System for sewage disposal
 
He then hoists the sewage tote up to the truck bed.
 
We do want to note, we use TWO cargo straps. These photos were taken just for demonstration purposes only.
 
Always On Liberty - Pulley System lifting RV Sewage Tote
 
Dan then, pushes it over into the truck bed and unhooks it from the pulley system.
 
Always On Liberty - Pulley System with Sewage Tote
 
He then, disassembles the pulley system and stows it in the truck bed for storage and stashes our sewer hose to reach the dump station sewer hole.

About the Rack Jack Pulley System

The Rack Jack pulley system is a hitch mounted hoist that swivels a full 360 degrees that allowed us to load our RV portable sewage tank with a simple 3-piece attachment and easy installation.

Since the manufacturers design the boom/winch piece as one unit, there is no cable threading or alignment of holes or pins. There is a bracket and slot design that is fool-proof that anyone could assemble.

Rack Jack Pulley System

It features machine pulleys to produce a high quality product that will not bind or jam. They even provide a hook for attaching our straps that cradle the sewage tank.

The total weight of this pulley system is 42 pounds.  So keep that in mind when it comes time to buying your portable sewage tote. Or, if you already have a much larger one, it’s wise not to fill the tote as full to stay within the Rack Jack’s specified weight limits.

Always On Liberty Black Tank Pulley System

 

We’ve absolutely love not having to pull in the slides and hitch up our fifth wheel just to go empty our black tank. This solution allows us to stay off the grid longer. We won’t lose our boondocking site. And, we don’t have to drag our fifth wheel just to go find a dump station. It’s definitely an incredible tool that is worth it’s weight in gold.

So, if you boondock for long periods of time, here’s the perfect solution of how to get rid of your crap without moving your RV!

We recommend reading all instructional information by the manufacturer for proper and safe use. We were not compensated to write this product review.

2/27/18 EDIT:

We some negative comments of why we didn’t seek other measures or solutions ‘instead’ of using the Rack Jack (i.e. macerator, composting toilet).

We do what works for US and our situation. While yes, we ‘could’ go with other options, those are/were not viable solutions for US.

We didn’t want to have another piece of machinery to keep maintenance up with or clean each time we’d use it. And, we didn’t want to alter our black tank sewage system in our RV by getting a composting toilet.

This worked for US and that’s all that matters. 

Related helpful boondocking articles

How to prepare your RV for Boondocking

Water Conservation During Boondocking

Aqua Tank II Water Bladder – Product Review

Valterra RV Sewer Hose Storage – Product Review

WEN 56200i 2000 Watt Generator – Product Review

Absolute Must-Have RV Boondocking Gear

 
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23 Replies to “How to Empty Your Black Tank Without Moving Your RV”

  1. I don’t know who got all bent out of shape about this article as indicated by your edit, but I found it thoroughly entertaining and helpful. If those were your goals, you nailed it. Thank you for sharing. I’m heading out to get a honey pot and a Rack Jack this weekend.

    1. Thank you for following along! So glad our blog post on the Rack Jack was useful. Let us know how it works for you! Safe Travels!

  2. Is there a weight limit to the lift? This system looks like something we have been looking for. Thanks for sharing the information.action. Hope to meet up with you in Q artists.

    1. Hi Ken, thank you for your interest! The weight limit set by Rack Jack is 300 pounds. Remember each 1 gallon of water = 8 pounds. Don’t forget to add the weight of the tote. Ours is about 10-15 pounds empty so make sure you consider that in your weight. Larger totes will of course weigh more. -Dan

  3. This would be great for this Single female camper. I appreciate your post.
    (Some people ruin it for everyone. To quote my Dad, there’s more than one way of doing things! ) l for one like your idea!

    1. Jennifer, great for you to be out there solo!! Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. We certainly hope some, if not all, of our recommendations help make your journey easier and less stressful on the road. Safe travels and enjoy the road!

    1. Hey Izzie, I don’t think we’ve ever run into that issue. Perhaps tip it a little so it dumps through the sewer hose? Just be careful that nothing falls out (if you know what I mean! LOL). Good luck! Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook page too!! http://www.facebook.com/alwaysonliberty -Dan & Lisa

      1. Izzie I have a Camco rhino 21 gal and Dan is correct, I tilt it into a standing position, slowly open the vent and away everything goes. When done hook up the hose and it has an internal sprayer, when it runs clear i’m done

  4. My husband and I are not getting any younger, which means getting the 5th wheel hitch out of the truck is way too much for our old bodies. We use a rack similar to the one your using to get the hitch in and out of the truck bed….works great, and our old bones thanks us.

    1. Hi Liz, glad you both found a similar remedy. Those hoists can be a back saver for sure!!! Safe travels and enjoy! Thank you for reading!

  5. Here’s something else to help with your water refilling at unkown sources. We bought a filter that hooks to the hose and to the filler end that goes into your spout for the tank. Works great. Cameo EVO water filter 40631, available at Walmart, Amazon, RV stores.. love the jack idea, was going to get ramps to wheel our generator into truck bed but then it take up more room.

    1. Hi Holly, we are glad this helps. Just be aware that if you have RVs and campers waiting in line behind you as you fill your RV with that filter, it slows down the flow which may make some unhappy campers who are patiently waiting to fill their’s. We’ve seen some filling stations that disallow using filters for this reason. But yes, we appreciate filtered water too!

  6. New to RVs and here to learn. Are you able to connect the honeypot in the bed of the pickup to empty it, or do you have to find a way to lower it out of the truck first?

  7. Great idea but late for us. We traded our TT for a new Lance 1172 truck camper. No place for our blue tank, our idea of roughing it is no sewer hook-up. The hoist looks great for field dressing deer, moose, and elk.

    1. Hi Danny, thanks for reading and yes, that hoist is actually designed to lift big game into pickup truck beds. This setup we blogged about is geared more towards big rig fifth wheels and travel trailers who intend to boondock for extended periods of time. Safe travels and enjoy your new truck camper!

    1. Hi Jackie, thank you for reading. Not having a truck with a trailer hitch does present a different scenario. Our suggestion is boondock with a friend that has a truck and you both can lift the sewer tote into the truck bed. There are commercial pump trucks but I’m not sure they’d be up to going far out to pump your motorhome out. Just monitor your intake. Make the guys pee outside! LOL

  8. It’s funny I just now read your blog but have been dealing with this issue for years. What I use is the rhino camco portable tank that has the larger wheels and roll it up into the back of my truck using ATV ramps. Been working great so far

  9. The hoist is a great idea. I have a 21 gallon tote and find that the wife and I can lift it into the truck bed together. When i am by myself, my truck bed has tie-downs in the front of the bed. I hooked a small pulley with a 1/4 inch rope. Tie one end to the tote, and using ramps, I can pull the rope with one hand while pushing the tote with the other. Just another way. On a side note, I use Reliance Aqua-tainers for water. I have 4 of them at 7 gallons each giving me 28 gallons to re-fill the fresh water.

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