How to Use a Camping Sink

How to Use a Camping SinkCar camping has become much like living in the comfort of your own home. Outfitters have invented portable toilets, showers and sinks. With these products, campers feel at home in the wilderness. A camping sink is a relatively easy product to use as it mimics the sink you have in your home. There are several varieties of sinks, but the general concept is easy to grasp.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Water
  • Camping sink
  • Dishes
  • Towel or paper towels
Step 1
Collect all dirty dishes, silverware, and glasses from your campsite. It's best to have all dirty items together at once to avoid several rounds of washing.
Step 2
Collect water from your water source.
Step 3
If you're drawing water from a stream or lake, treat the water. You can filter the water, or chemically treat it with bleach, iodine, or a chlorine substitute (like AquaMira, see resources).
Step 4
Fill the wash basin with the clean water. As an extra step, you can boil or heat the water with your camping stove (if you bring the water to a rolling boil, this will also kill any harmful bacteria).
Step 5
Add your dish soap. If you have a two-basin camping sink, fill both basins, but only put dish soap in one. This will allow you to wash and rinse effectively.
Step 6
Wash your dishes. Lay out a towel or paper towel upon which you can place wet, clean dishes.
Step 7
When you've finished washing your dishes, check around your campsite for more dirty items. You can also wash clothing in the sink, but you shouldn't do this until you've cleaned all your dishes.
Step 8
Empty the basins. Most camping sinks have release valves at the bottom of the basins. Leave the sink out to air dry, and wipe clean with a dry towel or paper towel.
Step 9
Remember to pack out all garbage. Practice Leave No Trace ethics.

Tips & Warnings

Since you'll be dumping the dirty water directly into the ground, make sure you use a biodegradable soap (see resources).
If you're using a scrubber or sponge of some sort, make sure to bring this home---these need to be disposed of properly, not in the woods.
Make sure you bring the sink at least 100 feet away from any water source---even though you've used biodegradable soap, you don't want to contaminate a water source with bits of food and bacteria from clothing.

Article Written By Duncan Jenkins

Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.

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