There are now a plethora of resources out there for RVers interested in boondocking and dry camping.
The major hurdle for many boondockers, however, is how to find free RV dump stations between dry camping destinations.
With the popularity of RVing going up in recent years, it is natural for new people to seek more remote campsites.
Being able to find places to empty your RV’s holding tanks between those remote sites is just a reality of life on the road.
Even if you aren’t staying in a campground, most places will allow you to utilize their dump stations for a small fee.
But we are here to help you keep some extra cash in your pocket by finding free places to empty your tanks.
So let’s “dump” our findings!
How Much Does It Usually Cost To Dump An RV?
If you pay for a site at a more traditional campground, the cost to use the dump station is built into the cost of your site.
Some campgrounds may try to twist your arm for a few more dollars, but that is extremely rare if you already booked a site for a minimum of one night.
If you are not paying for a site, most RV parks and public campgrounds will charge anywhere from $10 to $25 to use their dump station. Private campgrounds and luxury RV resorts may charge even more if you are not an overnight guest.
So Where Can I Dump RV Waste For Free?
Aside from the technically “free” use of an RV park’s dump station that is included in the cost of an overnight stay, truck stops and gas stations sometimes have free dump stations.
For boondockers, this allows you to empty your wastewater tanks and refill your gas tank in one convenient stop.
Additionally, many city wastewater treatment plants and highway rest stops offer free dump sites for RVers and campers.
Just keep in mind that treatment plants often have more restrictive hours of operation than rest stops, but not all rest stops boast RV waste dumps.
Online Resources And Apps For Finding Free RV Dump Stations
There is an app for that! No, seriously, companies have now even developed mobile apps to help RVers and campers find free places to dispose of their “unmentionables”.
So if you can hop online to download an app before you hit the road.
Here are six of our favorite apps and websites that will help you track down free or low-cost RV dump station locations near you:
This is one of the most extensive collections of RV waste management locations online.
They have been collecting information on free and paid RV dump stations for more than 15 years and their platform currently has more than 17,000 locations.
The Sanidumps database is constantly being updated and it is heavily reliant on user-submitted information.
As a searcher, this information will help you stay up-to-date on real-time information on the ground and it will help you avoid going out of your way to find that a free dumpsite is temporarily out of order.
You can use a variety of criteria to find free waste disposal places on this platform.
They include sites in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, and Mexico right now.
After specifying your country, you are able to further narrow down your search by choosing a city or province or entering a postal code.
This platform also allows you to add new locations if you discover a free dumpsite that is not already on there.
While there is a Lite version of Sanidumps available as an app in the Google Play store, there is not a similar version currently available for iPhone users.
2. RV Dumps
This website is another great search tool for both free and paid dump stations.
They also offer a number of how-to guides and online resources for RVers to dispose of wastewater properly and learn other useful RVing tips.
The platform allows you to search using a map feature, entering your specific location, or reading through a list of sites by state.
They also actively encourage users to submit corrections if they arrive at a site that doesn’t quite live up to expectations.
The map feature on this platform is highly useful because it breaks dump stations into categories based on their associated costs.
You can filter results by interstate dump stations, free sites, sites that cost $10 or less, $20 or less, $30 or less, $31 or more, and all others (such as those that merely suggest a donation or for which the cost is unknown).
These filters are also color-coded to make it easier to identify the locations that fit what you are looking for.
When you click on a dump station icon, it pulls up a description that includes the physical address, latitude and longitude, associated costs, and a one-touch button that allows you to immediately begin navigating to that location.
Just like Sanidumps, you can also submit an entirely new location to this platform if you are a dump station trailblazer.
There is a version of an RV Dump Stations app available in the Apple Store for iPhone users as well as being accessible through your preferred browser.
Have you heard of freecampsites.net? Well, this is the exact equivalent, but for finding free dumpsites.
The platform even looks almost identical and is super easy to navigate. You can either input your exact location or use the map feature to zoom into an area to look for locations.
This platform has a wide variety of locations and they are organized as ‘free’, ‘pay’, ‘guest’, or ‘no info’.
The sites that are labeled as ‘no info’ simply because users have not yet reviewed them (so, honestly, they may not be the best bet).
As you hover over each location, it also tells you how many miles away they are from your search location.
For sites that have been used, you can read reviews of user experiences so you know any details on how to pull in or who to check in with when you arrive.
If you have to rely on a paid dump station using this platform, it does have the info on how much they cost so that you are not blindsided.
There is an app version of this platform available in the Google Play store as well as being accessible via your web browser.
5. Allstays RV Dumps
The Allstays RV Dumps app is available in the Apple Store and it is the only paid app on our list.
It has a low annual cost of just $2.99 per year and the app provides a large database of dump stations at campgrounds, truck stops, rest areas, stores, casinos, gas stations, Elks lodges, military camps, RV dealers and service centers, and wastewater treatment plants.
The app has a map feature which allows you to more easily visually search for a free dump location near you.
It also boasts one-touch calling that makes it super quick to place a call to places you are interested in to double-check their existence and availability.
The app also syncs to the preferred navigation on your phone so that you can start navigating to a dumpsite with the touch of a single button.
Plus, it includes offline functionality and manual lookup mode that provides better usability in places where cell service is a little spotty (just keep in mind that navigation and calling features may not work in these situations).
The Campendium app is currently only available in the Apple Store, but you can always log in to the website to search for locations that offer free RV dumping.
There is also a way to add a shortcut to the Campendium site to the home screen on Android devices.
This resource began as a platform for finding RV parks, overnight parking, and free dispersed campsites around the United States.
It has since expanded to include a fourth important search category: RV dump stations.
Once you set your category to ‘Dumps’ and your price preference to ‘free’, you will also be able to filter your results by distance, rating, and the number of reviews.
If you really want to read about the quality of a free site before you drive all the way there, this last feature can be especially useful.
Additional useful filters include accessibility based on RV length, elevation, ADA accessibility, and ownership categories that will tell you more about the organization that is managing the waste disposal site.
If you become a Campendium Supporter, you will also have access to a number of additional search features and fringe benefits.
This includes ad-free browsing, the ability to filter results based on cellular service by the network, and much more.
How To Find RV Dump Stations Offline
If you don’t want to download the latest mobile apps or have to go online to search for a free dumpsite near you, here are a few ways to find spots offline.
1. Stay at the Nearest Cabela’s Location
Cabela’s has quickly outpaced Wal-Mart for the best temporary overnight location for RVers.
Because most Cabela’s locations have an inventory of kayaks and other outdoor recreation gear locked up outside, they have better security than Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel, and other places that offer free overnight parking for RVers.
If the added security isn’t enough to convince you to prioritize Cabela’s over those other spots, most Cabela’s locations also offer a free RV dump station because they are banking on the fact that you will wander inside and pick up a few camping supplies while you are there.
2. Investigate Highway Rest Stops
Not all rest stops will have a place to dispose of your dirty wastewater, but some will.
Even if your tanks are only half-full the next time you pull into a rest stop to stretch your legs, look around to see if they have a dump site you can take advantage of for free.
3. Explore City Wastewater Management Facilities
All modern cities maintain wastewater management facilities and some are even open to the public for wastewater disposal.
Think of the commercial trucks that pump out Port-a-Potties and septic tanks. They need someplace to dispose of the wastewater once the truck is full.
Instead of paying a private facility or even dedicating a city worker’s salary to a separate dump facility, most wastewater management facilities will set up a dump location where these commercial trucks can pull in, empty their tanks, and pull right back out.
If you find a facility like this on your travels, the odds are pretty good that they won’t bat an eye when an RV pulls in to dump either.
4. Keep An Eye Out for Dump Station Signs
Occasionally, you will come across random signs for dump stations on your travels. Common places to look for them include city parks and large truck stops/gas stations.
Not all of these facilities will be free, but some will be (which makes them worth investigating!).
How To Practice Good Dump Station Etiquette
If you are going to seek free RV dumpsites, you have an ethical responsibility to keep those facilities in good condition.
Because many of these facilities aren’t maintained by an operating campground’s maintenance department, there can be less funding to keep them clean.
So please adhere to proper dump station etiquette when using these sites.
Be Patient With Others
Some of these locations can get quite crowded precisely because they are free.
So it is best to arrive when you don’t necessarily have a time crunch to dump and be elsewhere. And always be patient and respectful of your fellow RV dumpers.
Use Proper Equipment and Maintain It
Getting your grey and blackwater safely and successfully into the dump station inlet requires the proper equipment.
Invest in the right length of hose and proper fittings for both ends of that hose to ensure that you don’t make a mess at the dump station (and make yourself sick by getting waste on you!).
Using proper equipment also includes wearing disposable gloves and keeping your hose, connectors, and valves clean.
If you don’t maintain your equipment well, the likelihood of leaks will be much higher and nobody likes to pull up to a dump station that has been neglected by the previous user.
Stay Present During Dumping
Even seasoned RVers know that it is never a good idea to leave an actively dumping sewage hose unattended.
Things can come loose and waste can begin going where it shouldn’t even if you have done it several times.
Plus, you should always be dumping black water first and then following it with greywater to flush the nastiest of the nasty out of your sewer hose.
Sometimes, you will need to open a valve only slightly to let the initial pressure decrease before opening it all the way.
At the end of the process, it is a good idea to refill your tanks with a little fresh water and then flush that through your hose as well.
All of this requires presence. So just stay around so that you can keep the process moving or quickly shut things down if they don’t go as planned.
Hose Down and Rinse Spillage
As much as the right technique should allow you to dump your wastewater without a mess, spills sometimes happen.
Be courteous of your fellow RVers and dumpsite users by hosing down and rinsing spillage into the dump inlet before you depart.
Fortunately, most locations will have a spigot or water hose right there to make this step easier.
Waste management is nobody’s favorite part of RVing. With these resources at your disposal, we hope that it makes your disposal needs a little easier and helps you save a little money in the process!
Last Updated on by Aaron Richardson