Updated on June 19, 1999
One of the common problems for an RVer is how to support the sewer hose from the rig to the sewer hole-in-the-ground connection and to control the hose's slope and routing.
Some people just let the hose lay where it falls. When they dump the tanks the hose will writhe around as it fills with fluids. If the sewer connection is elevated (as is often the case), the hose stays filled with fluids until you pick it up at the rig end and walk the fluids down to the sewer connection and run them out of the hose into the sewer. The hose can be amazingly heavy, and sometimes the fluids pull a vacuum as they try to find a source of air to fill their vacated space.
Lord help you if the hose tears or the connection at one of the ends pulls apart under the strain; you have instant embarrassment flooding the ground around your rig and smelling up the campground.
Several commercially available systems can be of some help in supporting your sewer hose. The ratings below are my own.
One is a black plastic Slunky, one of the first presents my Dad gave us when we got our first RV. The best thing I can say about this product is that it is among the cheapest, coming in at $20 to $33, depending upon the length. The black rubber ties that come with it to hold onto the hose can come loose; more often one by one they are lost. If you do not have the Slunky tied at both ends and several places down the middle, it rapidly collapses back into itself or rolls over, spilling the hose onto the ground.
The more rigid aluminum scissors support does a better job of supporting the sewer hose, but there is little flexibility in the length of the support (it extends out to 6'), and the longer you extend it, the lower it gets. If you park with your dump valves too far from the sewer connection, you end up with deep valleys of hose hanging down to the ground at either end where they fill with whatever is flowing down the hose. This stand costs about $36.
The minimal quarter-wrap cradle works well if you get it set up properly with the cradle well-tied at the rig end of the hose and some kind of supports under the cradle. However, even though its length is adjustable, it is limited in maximum length to about seven feet. It costs about $15, but you may need to purchase other items for supports.
Some who are going to be at the same site for an extended stay have time to become rather inventive. They may purchase a length of 4-inch diameter PVC sewer pipe and run their sewer hose through the pipe from the rig to the sewer connection. On the other hand, this creative camper bought a 10' length of roof gutter to support the hose. Blocks or whatever is handy (see the paint can) are used to support the carrier and hold it in place. The problem is that when you move, you must find some way to carry the large pipe, and at the next place you set up you must be sure to position the rig valves the proper distance from the sewer connection.
Another commercially available solution is the extendable Prest-O-Fit Support and Protector with 25' hose. The support extends from its 5' collapsed length out to 8.5'. It stays connected to the sewer hose so it can protect the bottom of the hose when you slide it into the your storage bumper. I am not sure what you do with the other 15+' of hose. You still have the problem of supports to lift it off the ground. This system costs $50.
I recently concocted another solution using scraps of 1/2-inch PVC pipe and a set of PVC tees. It has the advantage that it can be configured to different distances and heights as needed. It is light weight and easy to carry around. And it is relatively cheap, especially if you can find some scrap PVC pipe. It cost me about $12.
There are three basic parts to the assembly. The base is two tees with a 2-inch nipple glued between them. When gluing, make sure the tees are separated by half an inch and they are alligned in the same direction. You will need five to eight of the base assemblies.
The legs are lengths of PVC-pipe with a tee at one end. You will need a pair of each length leg. I recommend you create legs with lengths of 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 inches. It is helpful to put a band of the same color paint or tape around the matching legs, with a different color or pattern for each length. You can match them by length, but sometimes in the dusk it is hard to get it right.
The legs are inserted into the base and then connected together with runners, lengths of PVC-pipe with no tees. I suggest you have pairs of runners with lengths of 12, 15, 18, 22, 26, 30, and 36 inches. This will provide up to 13' of support. Again, it is useful to put a band of color around the matching runners, with different colors or patterns for each length.
Note: if you DO NOT glue the tees to the legs or the legs to the bases, you can interchange the legs and shorter runners. This can give you more length or higher support in those odd cases when you may have such a need.
You will also need some small bundgy cords, about 12 inches long with large hooks that you can bend even wider to go around the half-inch PVC pipe. At each end of the support and at one or two places in the middle, hook a bundgy cord onto one runner, bring it under the other runner and over the top of the hose, back under the first runner to hook onto the second. Take care that you angle the bundgy cord across the sewer hose so you do not pull the cord down into one of the creases of the hose. This arrangement will keep the runners from spreading and hold the hose into the valley between the runners.
To set up this support, lay pairs of runners along the ground from the dump valve to the sewer connection, selecting the lengths to fit the distance. Next choose the leg heights you will need along the path. Start at one end and build the support, putting it together like tinker-toys. Press the legs and runners firmly into the tees. Stick the extra legs into the sides of the some of the bases to provide lateral support.
Position the support structure along its path and place the sewer hose on top. Attach the hose at the sewer connection and then to the rig, laying the hose along the runners. Finally, strategically attach the bundgy cords at the various points along the hose to hold it in place. Now you are ready to dump.
By the way, I use a cloth bag to hold the bases, legs, and bundgy cords. I wrap a bundgy cord around the runners to keep them together.