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From the pages of I RVing: Summer 2022
Sewer Hose

The Dirty Little Secret Behind Sewer Hose Selection

Let your camping style be your guide as you check these specs.

Let’s be honest here: Sewer hoses may not be the most fun topic. That is, unless they’re the centerpiece of some tragicomic camping tale—and generally, you want to avoid that experience. But, truth be told, the stories are common because dirty work is necessary when you camp. And whether you’re purchasing your first RV or your fifth RV (hi, mom and dad), you wanna get this crap right. Recent products have advanced to make things easier, so we’ll get down and dirty on the secret to choosing the right hose for you. That way, someone else’s sewer hose horror story can be the center of attention on the campground.

Everything Starts with You

There are lots of sewer hose options, and for the uninitiated, making a selection can feel daunting. But the choice really depends on what type of RVer you are. Are you living in your RV and parked in a long-term spot? Or do you prefer taking quick trips on the weekend? Maybe you’re a full-time traveler. The point is, assessing your camping style is starting point in determining the right hose for you. Also consider the type of terrain you will be parked on. You’ll want to take your answers into account when assess the different purchase criteria.

Match Thickness to Your Use

This is a big one, because thickness of the hose material is the primary factor that sets one hose apart from the next. In fact, a hose’s thickness and price are often directly related. Manufacturers measure sewer hoses in mils, which is a unit of measure that equals one-thousandth of an inch or 0.001 inches. A sewer hose’s mil can range anywhere from 8 mil (alright for the weekend warrior) to 25 mil (for full-timers and cross-country travelers). The thicker the hose, the more durable they are. Next, let’s look at materials.

Choose a Durable Option

Back in the RV Stone Age, all hoses were vinyl. And those hoses were very susceptible to punctures and scraps. But in this present Golden Age, materials are more durable. Higher-end hoses are typically made of PP/PO (polypropylene/polyolefin), which can be more rigid to hold its shape, like Valterra’s Dominator or the Camco RhinoFLEX. Or they’re made of TPE (thermal plastic elastomer), which is more pliable, like Thetford’s Titan. Here’s the main difference: PP/PO hoses can be easier to store, but a TPE hose is easier to set up. Also check that your hose material is UV protected. This will prevent it from drying and cracking from sun exposure.

Consider Wire Compression

All hoses have a wire inside. In those aforementioned old days, this used to mean if you stepped on or drove over them, they were flattened and unusable. Not so today. Many newer hoses bounce back when compressed. Several top-of-the-line hoses have additional beading along the wire so you can drag your hose around without abrasions, like Valterra’s Silverback and RhinoEXTREME. If you are a full-timer that doesn’t change location, you need a thicker material, but no beading. But if you’re camping in crowded areas or boondocking in rough terrain, you will want the most protection you can get with beading and crush-proof wire.

Find a Flexible Fitting

Believe it or not, sewer hoses used to come without fittings. You had to hose clamp them on yourself. Now, nearly all come with preattached fittings on the ends of the hose. Some even rotate. Having a hose with rotating fittings means that when you twist them onto connection points the entire hose will still lay flat. No twisting, no binding, no problem. Some rotate on the interior of the fitting, and some rotate on the exterior. Ones with interior rotation have grooves on the inside that can trap gunk which will hold smells and make the fitting breakdown faster. Ones that rotate on the outside last longer and stay cleaner.

The dirty little secret behind everything is ensuring that your money is spent on features that truly benefit your camping style. Whatever you choose, check your hoses regularly to make sure there’s no wear and tear. Also, having a backup hose is always a good safeguard in a pinch. Trust us, there are worse ways to waste your money.

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