By Russ and Tiña De Maris
No, this isn’t some kind of new prescription medication. RV water bladders are devices that allow you to fill up your RV’s fresh water tanks without having to transport your RV to a water station.
A commercial water bladder is a plastic container resembling a water bed. Placed on the roof of your tow vehicle, filled with fresh water, then (cautiously) driven back to your rig, it’s a handy invention. By hooking a water hose between the water bladder and your RV water inlet, gravity empties the bladder into your RV fresh water tank.
Drawbacks? Some have found that the weight of a filled water bladder can “pop” the rig’s roof, leaving a bit of a dent. Often it can be popped back into shape. Some have rasied concerns about how police might view a rig tooling down the highway, apparently hauling a filled water bed on the roof. Could it possibly violate a law — or at least cause an unwanted traffic stop? We’ve never heard of it happening.
Put the water bladder in your pickup bed. But in the bed it’s harder to get the water out since gravity flow is out of the question. An RV water pump, mounted on a chunk of plywood and equipped with appropriate fittings can fix that. If your RV battery compartment is fairly close to your pumps, a short length of paired wires equipped with “crock” clips to hook up to the battery can make quick work of the issue.
When we were transferring water to our rig, our RV batteries were too far to reach, and a long run from the truck battery back to the pump was also impractical. We wired our transfer pump to the truck-to-RV battery charge line, and with the ignition switch turned on to “fire” the battery isolator system, our little transfer pump would spring into life.
On the subject: Some RVers have found a less expensive alternative to the formal water bladder. Instead, they’ve started using an inexpensive air bed, adapted to fit a water hose fitting. We’re not sure how “drinking water safe” air bed vinyl plastic is, but if you don’t use your RV fresh water for drinking purposes, it’s worth considering.