You should always carry some type of water filtration with you in your minivan camper conversion, or in any RV, camper or even your backpack. You’ve all heard the old story of “Montezuma’s revenge”, but the whole truth is, it doesn’t just apply to traveling in foreign countries. Water quality can change drastically from one area to another, even in this country, and some people’s stomachs are sensitive to those changes!
We got into a park one time that had just opened up in the spring, and got the most god-awful chemical smell out of the water, that I have ever seen. I don’t know if it was Benzene, or what it was, but just the vapor from the shower caused my eyes to burn even in the other room! We weren’t about to drink the stuff, or even use it for cooking! After a couple weeks, it finally dissipated, but I have never before run into such a thing! Even the park couldn’t (or wouldn’t) tell us what it was! But we have lived in many parts of the country, and the water of different areas can all have different characteristics.
In one city it might be a heavy iron concentration, which causes everything to turn reddish brown, leaves stains on everything, and you can even taste it in the water. In other places, they have high sulphur content, and the water actually smells terrible… like rotten eggs! Other places it may have lime or other hard water minerals, which leave white or brownish deposits on things after the water evaporates. Heat separates these hard-water minerals and can build up in your water heater, especially if you have an electric element in it.
What we have found that works well is a dual filter setup with both a “yarn wound” filter for sediment, and a charcoal filter for taste and odor. We had to make our own when we started traveling, by hooking two large filter canisters (with replaceable filters) back to back. Now I have seen the same type setup ready made. That is the Watts, model number 520022 RV/Boat Duo Exterior Water Filter Combo. Usually these are fairly large (quart-size) canisters with a mounting bracket so that you can hang it on the side of your RV near your utility hookup. We also put quick connectors on ours so that all we have to do is “plug it in”. We use a short section of water hose from the filters to our RV hookup, and a normal 25-foot hose to the park’s spigot.
Even for the minivan camper conversion, where you don’t have a “city water” hookup, it’s still a good idea to have a similar filter setup to carry with you, in case you run into a situation like we did, with extremely “questionable” water. If you decide you don’t have room for the larger, two canister version, then at least get an inline single filter to attach to your water hose for every time you fill your drinking water containers or sink reservoir. We recommend the Culligan RV-800 Level 1 Recreational Filter. Even one filter good is better than nothing to keep out sediment and other things.
Filters come in many different grades for many different purposes, and all the technicalities are too much to get into here. All we can suggest is do a little research and see what works best for you.