How Does Our Sink Work?

We’ve tried pretty hard to have as many homey comforts in our van as possible to make life easier. One of these that is essential is running water, which we have made happen through a water system that we constructed. Our water system consists of two seven gallon tanks, a foot pump, tubing, a faucet, and a stainless steel sink. At first, our plan was to build all of our cabinets, etc. ourselves, but as we ran out of time and recognized the limits of our handiness, we decided the best move was to purchase something that was already put together.

Before we could move forward with a cabinet to house the system, we had to build the system itself. The most important part is the foot pump – we purchased a Diaphragm Foot Galley Pump from Amazon, which moves water from the fresh water tank through the tubing, to the faucet. It was important to me that we get a foot-operated pump rather than a hand pump so that we have both hands free while using the sink, and it has been worth it so far!

The pump pulls water through the tubing, out of our fresh water tank, through the pump, and up to the faucet. The used water comes through the drain and into a gray water holding tank which we empty periodically as needed.

As far as the cabinet goes, we purchased a bathroom sink cabinet from Home Depot that was already put together. We removed the porcelain sink from the top of the cabinet, and installed our own stainless steel sink along with a plywood counter top which we cut to fit the outline of the sink. I then stained the plywood to prevent water damage, and to make it look nicer 🙂 .

We needed to cut out a place for the foot pump to come through the bottom, and installed the pump underneath the cabinet so that the lever is accessible, but not in the way. The pump itself is screwed directly to the floor, and the cabinet is attached to the floor and to our bed frame on the side.

The double-cabinet doors open up to house both 7-gallon water tanks (we also have a spare fresh water tank that we store under the bed so we can bring more water with us when camping). It’s a little bit of a tight squeeze, but they ended up fitting perfectly!

Overall, this system has worked really well for us so far. Looking ahead, I’d love to add in some additional counter space – this means we may need to move the sink cabinet and water system to the opposite side of the van away from the sliding door, so we’ll see! We’re learning that this project will continue to be a work in progress as we go. I’ll add more pictures soon – thanks for reading! 🙂

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7 thoughts on “How Does Our Sink Work?”

  1. On 2nd thought, why not add a tank to the roof filled with water? Then it can be gravity fed with no pump. And run the drain through the floor so it goes directly out of the sink.


    1. This is really cool! Thanks for sharing. We have a high roof so the water tank up top would be tough, but we also use biodegradable soap so the change to the drainage system would work well in our set up! Thanks! 🙂


  2. This was a really interesting read. I am always curious how people set-up systems with running water in their vehicles. I was really impressed with how you tackled the different obstacles and DIY’d your way through it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a neat set up. We own some wooded acreage, and I would someday like to have a cabin or something over there, but since there’s no well or septic or electric, we would need to figure out a system like this.


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