Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Water Bandit and Household Sink Hose Adapter

A few days before our most recent trip we had a problem with the outdoor water faucet at our house. There was no way to rectify the problem before the trip and I wanted to leave, as we always do, with our fresh water tanks full. I remembered something that I saw at the RV accessories shop at our Roadtrek dealer that would allow me to attach a fresh water hose to any faucet. There was no way we could get to that shop three hours away so I decided to take a chance that a nearby travel trailer shop might have this.  The problem is I could not remember the name.

We went to the trailer shop and looked on the wall of accessories for water hook up. There on a peg was a shopworn package that was it - the only one they had - and it is called the Water Bandit. We bought this - $7.99 - at this shop which was actually higher priced than it should have been but as they say " a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" and we bought it.

The Water Bandit is made by Camco, that makes many other RV accessories. There is another company that puts the exact same thing out except in a different color and that one is called the Water Thief. It sounds like these are made for stealing water but what they are made for is attaching a water hose to an unthreaded faucet or a threaded faucet with broken threads.

The Water Bandit is a flexible but firm rubber sleeve with a brass water hose connection on the end. The inside of the top of the water bandit has rubber threads to screw onto a damaged, threaded hose faucet, and this is followed below with a smaller open for a friction fit on a non-threaded faucet. It can be used on any faucet. The instructions are VERY CLEAR to NEVER close the end of the hose that the water is coming out of as it will cause too much pressure at the connection and the Water Bandit will come shooting off the faucet. Complaints in reviews that I have read about this since purchasing it all focus on the user using a nozzle on the end of the hose or a water cut off and the Water Bandit ballooning and shooting off the faucet. This is not how this is to be used and this also makes this for filling tanks only. You cannot connect the end of the hose to the city water connection and then not have an open faucet for the water to flow through inside.

When we were getting ready to leave, we tried it and it worked. You first screw the hose onto the Water Bandit -

Next you push the water bandit over the end of the faucet -

Try to push it up as far as it goes. Positive user reviews of the Water Bandit suggest to use a screw tightening hose clamp on the Water Bandit to lock it onto the faucet. We did not want to do that on the kitchen faucet so Meryl held it in place while I had the hose outside to fill the front tank. Since the water cannot be shut off at the exit end of the hose, we used our back up the Roadtrek walkie-talkies to communicate when to turn on the water and when to shut it off. The Water Bandit ran with no leaks held in place by Meryl at the faucet. The water pressure did back up a little in the faucet and there was a small leak at the bottom of the faucet where the faucet turns. This was not a problem as the water just ran into the sink. I should add that our kitchen sink is about three feet away from our house's side door so the hose only had to go through the house a few feet, in case you thought we dragged the hose through the house.

As I have been reading about those who use the Water Bandit, I have learned that there are some State, Federal, and Regional campgrounds that have water spigots at the campsites with no threads for a hose. Unless you know the campground, this is a big surprise when you get there and find out you can't connect your water hose. The Water Bandit is ideal for this and will enable a connection to a spigot where one was not intended. For this I would use the clamp - easily found at any home or hardware store.

NOW - after we bought the Water Bandit I remembered another way to connect a hose to a household faucet. There are adapters sold in plumbing departments of home stores that will do this. Just in case the Water Bandit would not work on our kitchen faucet, I went to Home Depot to see if they had one. There were various types and I asked the salesman in the plumbing aisle what to buy. He gave me this one -

This is made by Neoperl and is just called "Faucet Adapter". It is lead free. The part number on the package is 571493. This connects a male 15/16" - 27 thread or a female 55/64" -27 thread household faucet to a female 3/4" hose (standard garden and fresh water hose size) and a female 55/64" -27 threaded end. The package will say male 3/4" hose as that is what the end is on the adapter. Why so many dimensions. This adapter is made to replace the water aerator/strainer on the end of a household faucet. On some faucets these are male attached and on the rest these are female attached. This will fit both. On the outlet end, you can put this on the sink and leave it installed all of the time. It allows you to screw the aerator/strainer back on the faucet when a hose attachment is not needed and then just remove that when you are going to attach a hose. These are made for portable dishwasher and portable washing machine attachments to sinks. It cost about $6.

To use this, you unscrew the aerator/strainer end off the sink, set it aside, screw this on and attach a hose just like you would screw the hose onto an outdoor faucet. When you are done, unscrew the hose, unscrew this adapter from the sink - unless you want to leave it there - and screw sink's the aerator/strainer back on.

This was fast and easy and the best part is that the end of the hose can be shut off with the water at the sink still on - as long as the adapter is screwed onto the sink tightly - there is a washer inside to prevent leaks. In fact, there are two washers included - one tall and one short to fit different sinks. The short washer fit our sink.

This was even better than the Water Bandit. It allowed us to both be outside at the Roadtrek - me with the hose in the door fill and Meryl inside the Roadtrek checking the water level on the monitor panel. I had my water fill nozzle on the hose that allows me to shut off the water flow as soon as the water starts to backup into the fill opening and could that caused no problem inside at the sink.

With the kitchen sink closer to the Roadtrek on the driveway than the outdoor water faucet on the other side of the house in the backyard, this was easier than filling the Roadtrek the way we usually do.  The Water Bandit is now in the "water box" that we keep in the outside compartment of the Roadtrek that holds all we use for hooking up to water. It will be there with us in the event of a water connection problem on the road. The sink adapter will stay at home ready for the next time we need to - or want to - fill the Roadtrek from the kitchen sink.

Both are good to have if you ever find yourself with a problem outdoor faucet at home, and the Water Bandit is definitely good to have if you encounter a campsite water spigot with no hose threads.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Storage and How We Store Things in the Roadtrek - Part 3


We have had many readers contact us to write an article with photos of how we store things in the Roadtrek when we travel. Meryl is a master of finding a place for anything to fit - in the house, in the car, and especially in the Roadtrek. I asked Meryl to write this article. Here, once again, is Meryl...


 On the shelf over the toilet we have 2 fabric crates.  One holds cleaning type items - like Lysol spray, spray cleaner, etc.  The other holds personal type items - q tips, shampoo, bar soap for showers, etc.  On top of the box with personal stuff is the privacy curtain we made which hangs from the shower curtain track so that one can use the toilet en route without having to stop and pull the back window curtains closed.  Next to these boxes are a few latex gloves in a zip bag to use as it is easier to have a few out than pull the box out each time.  These are basically bathroom related items.  On the floor of the toilet compartment (we have an aisle toilet, not the permanent bathroom option) we have 2 boxes of camping toilet bags (wag bags).  Just in case something happens with the toilet we have these to use and we use them during winter trips when we travel without using the water system.  There are 2 boxes as one would shift around too much.

In the storage under the seat of the third front seat (in front of the toilet compartment) I have another set of personal and kitchen towels and another set of sheets and pillowcases sealed in plastic zip bags so that they can be changed on long trips.  The toilet chemicals are also in here.  I have a large accordion folder with the various instruction books and manuals in folders. A hair dryer is in here.   There is also a second spare  roll of toilet paper in here as it is easier to access quickly if needed.  We have quilted foil inserts (Reflectix) for some of the windows and they are also in here.  It is an area that can be reached fairly easily, but still takes some work, but is large.

We have a mesh net that goes around the back of the third seat which can hold magazines, brochures, etc. on the front of the seat.  It is a convenient place for these.

On the shelf over the door we have hats to wear if it is sunny and a jacket for me is rolled up in here.  There is a folding “gopher”, the thing to pick up items dropped on the floor (or items at the back of the space under the bed if one does not want to crawl under.)  In the pocket for the opera window covers we keep a folder with maps of and information about campgrounds which we go to on a regular basis.   

We have the overhead front drawer, which was an option when we ordered the Roadtrek.  This holds an assortment of items - folded up rain jackets, a zippered bag with tools, a rechargeable electric drill/driver,  another with spare parts, a clipboard that holds stationery items inside, two pop up garbage cans - one for garbage and another to hold wet umbrellas if needed - and a vinyl box to hold magazines brought along to read..  There is more than this, but this is all I can remember.  The items here are fairly light in weight and are used from nightly to as needed and need to be easy to access. 

In the pocket on the back of the passenger seat is a fold up umbrella and a very small fold up seat.  On the floor behind the seat (in the carpeted front area, not the dropped floor) is a bath mat rolled up that we use as a door mat for the second passenger door when it rains.

In my map pockets I have reflective markers that we put out on the campsite ground when we find a level spot so we can find it again, walkie-talkies to use when pulling in and finding level, as well as when we pull out of our driveway at home.  A red light flashlight to use when hooking up at night (red LED does not attract mosquitoes).  Rubberized, knit gloves to use when setting up in wet or cold weather.  Coupon holders (I have travel coupons and coupons for food and stuff and for restaurants that I pull from our car and house hen we travel.)  I also have an envelope that holds items I have collected at home for this trip - reservations, brochures, etc.  Car charger for laptop, basically stuff I might need from the seat while riding or on my way out the door.

In the compartment over the windshield, I have a spare pair of glasses, more spare parts - such as fuses - and other small items that are rarely used as this is not an easy section to access with the sliding top draw in front of it. 

The glove compartment holds glove compartment items.  We also have a plastic box between the seats which holds other items related to or needed while driving.  On the top of the glove compartment I have sunglasses and we have the labeled, leather tags that that we made to snap onto the steering wheel at night to remind us to check and take care of everything we need to before we drive off in the morning.  During the day we keep a remote thermometer for the refrigerator in one of the cup holders over the glove compartment.

I have no idea what “Me” has in his map pockets other than sunglasses and eyeglasses.

Moving back behind the driver’s seat where we started, in the pocket there is a folding umbrella.  On the floor between the seat and the closet (where we started) there is a very small folding table, a windshield reflector, and a small folding step "Me" made.                   

On the shelf over driver’s door is “Me’s” jacket rolled up as mine is on my side. 

 Wherever there is space that needs to be filled to keep stuff from moving I put the crumbled plastic store bags or sweatshirts if we bring them.

In the rear of the Roadtrek, accessed from outside, we have 3 laundry baskets to hold assorted tools and items we buy en route.

In the storage section outside under the driver’s side we have a thin coiled general use garden hose,  a can of bug spray (sealed in a plastic bag) and a spare TV cable wire.  There are leveling blocks, the water filter, a piece of swimming pool noodle, 3 potable rolled water hoses stacked on each other with a small plastic box in the middle of them with water related items (such as a water pressure device, hose washers, etc.), then a slightly larger plastic box with electric related items such as polarity and voltage testers, 30 amp to 15 amp converter and vice-versa, 50 amp to 30 amp adapter converter, a portable RV surge/power protector , a TV coax cable wire and, of course, the Roadtrek's electric line to attach us to the campground’s electricity.  I try to keep the water related items separate from anything, such as the bug spray, that one would not want near one’s drinking water.
I think that covers everything.  There are always odd items (both in that they are not normally with us and often in what they are) that have to be fit in on different trips.  It is generally a quandary where to put them, but I always manage to find a place that fits them, even if it does not seem the most logical place.