Procedures for RV Camping in Mexico

Water Conservation

When you travel in Mexico you need to make a conscious decision as to whether you wish to put Mexican water in your fresh water holding tanks. If you elect to do so, you must sanitize the fresh water tanks upon your return to the USA . If you elect to only use good potable water in your fresh water tanks, below are procedures we used to maximize our water conservation.

  1. Before leaving home, collect about 20 gallon milk containers and sanitize them with a Clorox mixture of 1 to 50 parts good water. Screw top containers are preferred.
  2. Before leaving home, purchase a Y hose connector and a shower head compatible with your hose fitting that has a shut off valve. This can be used to take showers with Mexican water. Yes, they will be cold showers. However, you can attach several hoses, fill them and lay them in the sun while you are gone for the day. When you return you will have hot water for the shower!
  3. Test Mexican shower procedure using the Y connector and putting the hose through the bathroom or other close available window. Connect the shower head and make sure shower head fits over shower enclosure in RV. If not, purchase quick disconnectors so shower head can be attached easily. With both Y valves closed, turn on shore water, then turn on the Y valve to the show and test connections into shower. The other outlet may be used to refill bottle for toilet use.
  4. Purchase and install shut off valve on regular RV shower head, so you can minimize water usage when taking a normal shower when Mexican water is unavailable.
  5. Distribute the empty milk containers throughout the RV storage area using cardboard boxes. When you get to a campground near the border, empty grey/black water tanks; fill fresh water tank and milk containers with good water and store all the containers so that they won't tip over.
  6. Distribute bottles of water evenly around RV for weight distribution. Consider the weight distribution when you start using these containers.
  7. Before leaving home, purchase paper plates, bowls, and plastic cups to minimize dishwater use.
  8. Before crossing border, turn off water valve to toilet and store two water containers behind toilet that will subsequently be filled with Mexican water for toilet and sink use. Mark these bottles with an M to distinguish them from the good water containers and so that they can be refilled with Mexican water. Flush the toilet ONLY with Mexican water.
  9. When dry camping in Mexico and using RV water for shower, collect initial cold water (good drinkable water) in a container. This water can be subsequently use for drinking, dishes or cooking.
  10. If you use a safety razor for shaving, you can practice water conservation. Heat bottled water on stove and pour a little in bathroom sink and mix in some Mexican water. Use mixture to moisten your face. Use an old plastic glass to scoop up some water from sink for cleaning razor.
  11. As you use your containers filled with the USA water, return some of the emptied bottles to their stored area for reuse by refilling from water purchased at Wal-Mart or bottled water at the campgrounds.
  12. Use a lot of paper towels and handy wipes to clean pots and pans before washing.
  13. Minimize kitchen sink usage by keeping soapy water in a small container in kitchen sink for silverware and rinse with bottled water or boiled water.
  14. Buy bottled water, lots of paper towels, and toilet paper as you go and resupply.


Electrical Procedures

Mexican power at campgrounds is generally high, approximately 130-135 volts. High voltage will eventually damage your light bulb filaments and motor windings. The high voltage will definitely damage the electrical motherboards in the refrigerator, furnace, hot water heater and microwave. When traveling in Mexico the refrigerator should ALWAYS be set to propane, never to electric. Your equipment may operate at this high voltage, but the damage is progressively additive. In certain conditions of high voltage, an alternative is to utilize several extension cords to reduce the incoming voltage by one or two volts. On the other hand, Mexican campgrounds may have voltages as low as 100. A better defense for this bad high voltage condition is to install a power monitor system that will sense the bad power/frequency and power surges and won't allow this bad power to come into the RV, thus protecting the RV equipment.
Mexican campgrounds usually have 15 amp circuits, very seldom was 30 amp wiring found. Once all the RVs in the caravan are plugged into the power, the voltage generally drops to around 125. With a power monitor system, you may be blocked from incoming bad power and will thus have to run your generator or exist on battery. Most RVs have a power switching box that uses generator power in preference to shore power.

  1. Purchase a good governor power tester that determines voltage, frequency and phase. At a minimium it should determine correct wiring of the shore power.
  2. ALWAYS test with the governor before attaching to shore power .
  3. If you connect to shore power which has an open ground, you will get shocked if you touch any metal on the RV.


Date Reviewed: 3/26/06