If you've recently purchased a riverfront or lakefront parcel on which to camp (and perhaps eventually build a retirement home), you may be a bit overwhelmed at the amount of work it can take to make a campsite comfortable. However, there are a few fairly inexpensive modifications you can make to your property to allow you to spend several days or even weeks living in a tent or camper without needing to run to town for supplies (or to use the restroom). Read on to learn more about what you can do to make your new campsite feel more like home.

Sanitation and water

Two of the most important and immediate needs that will allow you to enjoy your property are a source of drinkable water and a sanitary toilet. Fortunately, today's technology can bring both these to your property without requiring you to spend an extensive amount of time or money.

If you have a powerful water filter, you can use nearly any source of natural water and turn it into water suitable for drinking, bathing, or cooking. If your local zoning and land use regulations permit you to pump water out of the nearest river or lake, you can opt to install an underground pump and run piping to your campsite. Your water can then be filtered using reverse osmosis or ion-exchange methods that will remove minerals and bacteria, leaving you with pure water from a tap or spigot. Learn more by consulting local potable water services.

For those who aren't legally permitted to pump water from a nearby natural source, another option may be an underground holding tank and water collection system. By keeping a constant supply of treated water at hand, being conscious about water usage, and collecting and treating rainwater and morning dew, you'll be able to live a fairly normal daily life while being completely off the water grid. You may want to enlist the help of a contractor experienced in water collection methods to let you know the most efficient ways for you to bury the holding tank and to collect the highest possible amount of outside water. You may even be able to install a water collection basin that allows you to take an outdoor shower.

A composting toilet can also help you reduce water usage while allowing you, your family, and any guests to use a pleasant and private toilet. Composting toilets include a raised toilet seat with a collection area that allows waste to be mixed with sawdust, cedar chips, or another substance to minimize odor and kick-start the composting process. Once the waste is composted, it will be significantly smaller and can be transferred to a holding area where you can dispose of it or use it to fertilize a small garden. By building a small exterior structure from wooden beams or sheets of metal, you'll have an inexpensive "outhouse" with a toilet that will require minimal maintenance for years.


If you're planning to eventually build a home on your property, you'll want to go ahead and run electrical wiring to the site while the land is largely untouched. Even if you don't plan to construct a permanent residence there, if you're operating any pumps or other machinery that requires a source of power, using a generator can become expensive. Depending upon the utilities immediately available and the amount of sun and southern exposure your campsite receives, you may be able to tap into public utilities at a relatively low cost or even generate your own electricity using solar panels and storage cells.

In most cases, if you're able to either dig a trench for power lines to be buried or install a tall pole on your property, the power company will be able to run electrical wires to your property at a fairly low cost. Once your campsite has electricity, the possibilities are limited only by your available time and budget.