Boondocking / Dry Camping, How To's and Why Not's, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons, RV Upgrades & Mods

The Best RV Water Filter

One of the top questions we are asked is “Do you drink the water out of your RV tank?”. The short answer is “yes, absolutely”, but here’s why! After living and traveling full-time for 4 years now, we’ve learned a lot about water. We’ve also learned a lot about how to keep our water safe and clean for drinking, showering, and cooking. Our system has allowed us to physically see what we are cleaning out of the water that comes from all the different sources we’ve been hooked up to. And it can be pretty disgusting! We’re going to share some information that is vital to your health.

My RV came with a water filter. Isn’t that enough?

A few years ago, we thought by using a carbon filter in our single canister water filter and changing it regularly, we were doing a good job filtering our RV water. It turns out that it is not true! We learned that while using a carbon filter on your RV certainly won’t hurt, if it is your only filter, they quickly get clogged, and only filter out very large silt and sediment. Once clogged they are basically ineffective and can lower your water pressure inside your RV. It also doesn’t filter out any of the really bad stuff like bacteria.

What are microns?

  • Filters are rated by the size of the particles they can remove. Size is measured using microns. Micron ratings can either be nominal or absolute, meaning average or exact.
  • The smaller the micron rating, the finer the particulate removed. A 5-micron filter, for example, removes particles as small as 5 microns. Anything smaller passes through the pores.
  • The use of filters in order with reduced micron ratings allows for fine filtration without the loss of pressure or flow through the filters.
  • It is often cheaper to replace a cheaper sediment filter more often than to replace a more expensive lower micron filter.

Why do you need an RV water filter?

You probably have one of these in your RV. Most newer RV’s come with a simple carbon filter. Please don’t drink from your tanks if this is all you have and you have not personally tested your water supply!

Contaminates range in size. This may not make much sense to the average person, but it’s something you really need to know to stay healthy. Silt and sediment are typically are 50 to 100 microns. Where bacteria is much smaller, at around 5 microns. A typical RV filter usually has a filtration rating of nominal (average) 10 microns. And that’s at best, meaning you change it often. Gross! What this means is you’re letting in a lot of unhealthy things like bacteria. Sure the carbon filter is removing some of the smell and sediment, but take my word for it, it’s not clean and pure water.

What’s in your water?

Pure water contains only one compound, H2O. It is very rare to find pure water. This is why filtration systems exist. Several contaminants can be found in water. Contaminants can be classified into two parts: those that make the water dirty, or taste and smell bad, and those contaminants that can make you sick. When we had our “weekend” RV, we never drank out of the tank, and our water always smelled dirty. We had a lot to learn! Contaminants are the worst problem and include cysts, spores, protozoa, and viruses. These contaminants are usually very tiny; a diameter of less than 2 microns. The first step in removing these contaminants is to use a very fine filter.

Why Clearsource?

Do we filter all our water that comes into our RV? Yes! Here are some reasons we chose our Clearsource Ultra.

  • The 5-micron first stage filter removes or reduces rust and sediment.
  • The second 0.5-micron second stage carbon block filter improves taste and smell and removes or reduces chlorine, volatile organic compounds, and other contaminants.
  • And lastly, the third filter called VirusGuard (which was the most important for us) provides even better protection than advanced survival filters, with A 0.2-micron water filter that removes bacteria, cryptosporidium, cysts, Escherichia coli (E. coli), giardia, iron, legionella, manganese, norovirus, parasites, polio, pseudomonas, rotavirus, sediment, ultrafine particulates, viruses, and other biological hazards.

Our VirusGuard filter uses NASA-developed technology to remove or reduce not just bacteria and cysts, but viruses and heavy metals using electro-adhesive media. No other RV water filter on the market provides anything close to that level of protection. 


What does all that mean? It means it is more likely that you’re not going to get sick from the water sources you’re hooking up to.

Let’s break down costs

  • 80 percent of plastic water bottles end up in landfills. It takes up to 1,000 years for every single bottle to decompose. So if the environmental costs are not enough for you, keep reading.
  • On average, a bottle of water costs anywhere from .70 cents to $3 a bottle. If we go with the middle range of $1.50 per bottle, the average person should be drinking 3-5 bottles a day. That’s about $6 to $8 spent on bottled water. That’s $2,190 to $2,920 a year per person in your household. How’s this water filtration system looking now?

Clearsource isn’t just for RV’s

Since we live and travel full-time in our RV, our Clearsource water filter system was the best choice for us. But this system can absolutely be used in typical sticks and bricks home. Whether you have a well, cistern, or city water, you will also see, taste, and feel the difference these water filters provide.

Why don’t we mount our Clearsource filter to the RV?

We are asked this a lot. The easy answer for us is we boondock a lot. This means we rely on our own onboard water tanks. If we decide to stay a couple of weeks, we typically would run out of water before then. So we have this amazing water bladder that folds up smaller than a book, and we head out to fill it up and bring it back to the RV, pump it into our tanks and we’ve got water! The other option is to pull our RV out, find a water source, and bring it back. We typically choose to fill our water bladder, meaning we want that same filtered water to go into our water bladder, and then back into our RV. So keeping our Clearsource filters mobile is important for our lifestyle.

Do you have one of these?

On the road, we see so many people with these. For your health, please do better. Did you know this lets in a lot of sentiment and all bacteria? It only filters out anything bigger than 20 microns. And after doing a lot of research on sentiment – I’ll just say EWWW! Here is an actual quote from the standard brand: “Protects against bacteria: Premium KDF provides protection against bacteria growth while filter is stored or not in use.” – Wait! So if it’s not being used, it’s giving protection against bacteria? What about when it’s being used? That answer is no!


There are many good water filter choices out there. When you are comparing costs, please don’t always go with the cheapest. Go with what will fit your needs. If you’re saving $25 but you’re taking more chances of getting sick, in the long run, you’re not saving anything. For us, Clearsource was by far the best choice for us. We highly recommend the Clearsource Ultra for anyone in an RV. Full time RVing or even just weekend and vacation RVing. There is no better way to ensure clean water.

Before & after the upgrade

Our old canisters just laid on the ground became dirty, and gross on the outside. I knew our water was clean but were the filters doing their optimum job laying on their side? Our new Clearsource Ultra system is not only beautiful on the outside, but now sits up off the ground, and is much cleaner. We also have no doubt they are working in their most optimal position.

You can see a short video we made here:

Please consider using our link below. Also, the team at Clearsource is amazing at answering all your questions. You can give them a call, text them or contact them through email at:

Also – feel free to contact us with any questions about our Clearsource Ultra. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding our particular system.

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