RV Sewer Hose Fittings: Avoid Sewage Spills
(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
By Kelly Beasley
Last Updated: August 14, 2022
There is no better way to ruin an otherwise successful camping trip than to have a dump station accident because your drain line or RV sewer hose fittings failed you at the exact wrong time.
We get it. Dumping the waste-holding tanks on your camper is just about the least glamorous job you have before putting your recreational vehicle away. Don't make it harder by using the wrong RV waste hose fittings.
Because there are so many different RV sewer connections, let's learn about them and figure out which RV sewer fittings you need.
What Is An RV Sewer Adapter?
An RV sewer adapter allows you to connect your camper drain hose to the waste outlet of your motorhome, fifth wheel, or travel trailer, as well as the sewage inlet at a dump station or campsite (with full hookups).
The RV hose adapter allows a secure fit on either end of the drain hose, which reduces the smells and helps prevent sewage spills.
You may or may not need any additional adaptors from what comes with your drain tube, and it depends on several factors, which we discuss below.
Types Of RV Sewer Hose Fittings
There are numerous types of RV sewer hose fittings and RV sewer connectors. Most RV waste fittings have a particular job and are extremely helpful in NOT having any sewage spills, and others make the job easier.
The sewer hose itself is a necessity. However, depending on whether you are constantly moving or stationary, other RV drain hose fittings help you get the stinky job done.
Some RV sewer hose ends are clear adapters that allow you to see when your tank is empty, others keep the smell at bay, end caps keep any lingering sewage inside the hose, and there are different options for other jobs.
Let's see what you do and don't need when it comes to RV sewer pipe fittings.
What Is An RV Sewer Elbow?
A sewer elbow is an RV sewer connector that changes the angle of the dump hose.
They come in 45 and 90-degree options, where the 45-degree one is typically used at the RV's sewer outlet end, and the 90-degree elbow is used at the end of the hose that goes into the ground sewer outlet.
RV sewer elbows typically are clear so that you can observe the flow of wastewater, therefore knowing when a tank is empty.
Clear RV Sewer Elbow
A clear RV sewer elbow is used at either end of the RV sewer hose and comes in a 90-degree and a 45-degree option. An RV sewer elbow serves two functions:
- The elbow itself allows the hose to angle down at the RVs sewer outlet, pointing it towards the ground. Typically this would be the 45-degree sewer elbow. A 90-degree RV sewer hose elbow is also used on the end of the hose that goes into the ground sewer hole, making the 'turn' from parallel to the ground to straight down into the sewer hole.
- The clear RV dump elbow allows you to watch the flow of waste, letting you know when the tank is empty.
It's nice to have a 90-degree RV sewer hose adapter for the dump station end and a 45-degree one (or straight - see next section) to connect to the RV sewer outlet.
Some sewer hoses come with a 90-degree elbow, and others do not.
How Do You Store An RV Sewer Elbow?
Storing an RV sewer elbow is an essential consideration as it will have come in contact with human waste (yuck!). You will need to have a storage container dedicated only to sewage accessories.
This can be a large resealable plastic bag or a small plastic box. The size will depend on how many sewage-touched items you will need to store.
Clear RV Sewer Hose Adapter
A clear RV sewer hose adapter is an attachment for your drain hose that allows you to see when the tank is empty.
There are three different versions of clear RV sewer fittings you can purchase:
The clear RV sewer connection fits on either end of your hose, connecting the hose to the RV or the end to the dump station.
It may seem gross, but without it, it's hard to tell when your tank is empty.
On top of that, some people like the satisfaction of seeing 'bits' come out when draining their holding tanks. I know, I know, GROSS!
But you know what?
I'm one of those weirdos that have (and like) my clear RV sewer hose adapter. You might be, too!
You will quickly become a member of one of two teams.
- It will either seem super gross to you/unimaginable to have.
- You may feel strangely satisfied watching the contents drain out.
Whichever team you join, you'd be surprised to see how long it takes for your tanks to be truly empty. Without a hose with a transparent section built-in or one of the below clear RV sewer fittings, you won't really ever know when you have finished emptying your tanks.
Remember to remove the clear connection once you are done draining your tanks. They are not meant to be kept on your RV permanently.
Valterra 5" Straight Clearview Adapter
This 5-inch straight clear RV sewer connection mounts to the end of your camper's waste drain tube, and your drain hose then attaches to the other end. The clear section allows you to view the contents of your waste tanks as they drain.
Valterra 45 Degree Clearview Adapter
This 45-degree clear RV sewer fitting is often used to angle your drain hose down towards the ground while letting you see the contents of the tank emptying. It is connected directly to the RV's drain pipe.
Valterra 90 Degree Clearview Adapter
This 90-degree clear RV sewer elbow can mount to the end of your waste drain tube if you have a lot of ground clearance (you won't be able to attach the hose if there is insufficient clearance). Otherwise, it can go on the end of the drain hose that goes into the sewer dump if your hose doesn't come with a sewer elbow already.
RV Sewer Cap
What is an RV sewer cap? It's a plastic cap that attaches to your waste tank outlet via the bayonet fittings. It keeps critters out and closes your camper's sewer opening when not in use.
Be careful- if you fail to COMPLETELY close the RV waste valves to either your grey or black tank, liquids will seep through.
If that happens, opening your RV waste valve cap comes with a huge unwelcome type of gushing surprise! (I've done it more than once.)
These caps often come with a tether to attach to your drain outlet. You might hear the RV sewer cap tap along the pavement if you forget to re-connect it to the drain pipe.
If this happens, the cap may break away while driving down the road. Luckily, they are cheap and replaceable.
RV Sewer Donut
An RV sewer hose donut is a round rubber seal shaped like a donut (thus the name). It makes for a snug connection between the sewer hose and the campground sewer hole, effectively stopping disgusting sewage smells from escaping from where the hose dumps into the ground.
Some campgrounds require you to have and use this RV sewer seal. It looks and sounds funny, but without it, often there are gaps. With gaps, you get odors.
The sewer donut provides a tighter seal so odors cannot escape. Nobody wants to smell their sewage, and especially not anyone else's. Sewage odors can be an issue when you are at a full hookup campsite and leave your hose connected to the ground sewer hole.
Another name for this device is RV sewer hose doughnut or RV sewer collar.
How Do You Use A Sewer Donut?
To use an RV sewer donut, insert the sewer collar into the ground sewer hole.
Insert the end of your sewer hose into the camper sewer donut to form a seal. Boom, you're ready to go!
Wye Sewer Connection
An RV sewer hose Y connector is a Y-shaped RV sewer hose coupler that allows you to simultaneously dump two tanks into one ground sewer dump.
The RV sewer Y connector is handy for campers with two separate tank outlets coming from the RV. This is typical when a rig has two different gray water holding tanks, one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom.
If you only have one dump inlet at your camping spot (most only have one), then this Y sewer connection allows you to dump both simultaneously. This prevents you from continuously changing out which drain hose is hooked up to the ground dump connector.
Camco Sewer Hose Adapter
The connection between your waste hose and the sewer drain is critical to ensure your RV's wastewater makes it into the right place without spilling everywhere.
That said, sometimes, the sewer drain opening isn't user-friendly.
It may be at a weird angle, or the threads are messed up and don't allow for the sewer hose adapter to screw into it.
As a result, you have a bad seal that lets odors out and has the potential for a nasty spill.
The Camco sewer hose adapter solves the problem of making a secure, tight connection with a less than cooperative sewer drain.
See the below video to learn why you might need this RV sewer adapter.
RV Sewer To PVC Adapter
An RV sewer to PVC adapter allows you to attach a PVC pipe to the RV instead of a sewer hose or extend the camper's sewer outlet using a rigid PVC pipe.
This is useful for those who don't intend to move their RV ever or very often. A PVC sewer pipe is less likely to spring a leak or to deteriorate from the sun than a traditional sewer hose.
It's a much more hardy and permanent way to connect an RV camper to the sewer.
There are different styles of PVC adapters, depending on how you plan on using them. They are equipped with either female and male bayonet fittings, and some of these come with threads on the PVC end, while others are smooth and may be cemented to the PVC pipe.
Sewer Fitting Wrench
I bought the Lippert Waste Master RV hose hose because of its cam-lock design of attachment to the RV sewer outlet.
Trying to twist on a bayonet-style hose while squatting almost always threw out my back or challenged my wrist/arm strength.
I didn't know that there was a product that helped one twist traditional hoses on and off. What a concept!
This tool helps anyone attach and remove their traditional bayonet-style hose from their RV.
Which RV Sewer Hose Adapter Do You Need?
Many RV sewer hose kits will come with the necessary fittings that allow you to drain your waste tanks. However, there are some situations when you need to purchase something additional.
Whether or not you need any additional RV sewer hose adapters will depend on several factors:
You may have a travel trailer or fifth wheel with a lot of ground clearance; therefore, the sewer outlet is pretty high up. In this case, you may want to get a 45 or 90-degree sewer elbow to 'point' the hose towards the ground.
Watching the waste flow out of the tanks may be a bit gross (or fascinating - it depends on the person). To do so, you need to have a clear section somewhere to see the flow. One way to do this is by having a clear sewer elbow attached between the RV's sewer outlet and the drain hose.
It may be self-evident if you need any additional RV sewer hose adaptors, or it may be something you don't realize until you have some experience with this particular rig.
Don't go out and buy "all the things" just because someone says you should. Wait until you know what you need before you spend your hard-earned money.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Size Is RV Sewer Pipe?
An RV sewer pipe size is 3 inches in diameter, and all modern recreational vehicles come from the manufacturer with this universal sewer pipe opening size.
How Do I Connect My RV Sewer Hose To PVC Pipe?
You can easily connect your RV sewer hose to PVC pipe by purchasing the correct adapter (above). Adapters come in various configurations and ways to attach to PVC pipes. Find the adapter you need to fit your setup, install it, and have a rigid sewer connection from your RV to the ground dump station.
How Do I Connect My RV Sewer Hose To My Adapter?
Connecting your RV sewer hose to an adapter fitting is a pretty straightforward process. Both the hose and the adapter typically use bayonet-style connectors and have the same 3-inch diameter interior measurement.
There are lug fittings on one end and 'hooks' on the other. These twist together to form a secure connection.
To connect the two, you line up the lug fittings of one with the 'hook' (or bayonet) fittings of the other and twist until secure.
This may require a bit of twisting force as a rubber gasket gets slightly compressed, forming (in theory) a water-tight seal.
There are many RV sewer connection parts out there for you to choose from. Depending on your needs and how your camper is setup, you may need some or none of these RV sewer accessories.
At the most basic level, all you need is a dump hose that comes with RV sewer hose ends (bayonet fittings). One end connects to the RV sewer outlet and the other end to the dump station.
Anything on top of that is extra (which you may or may not need). Some dump hoses come with everything you need, while more basic options will need some of the above RV hose fittings.
Figure out what you need, and you're on your way to hoping to god you never have a spill at a dump station.
Author: Kelly Beasley
As a seasoned and passionate RVing expert, I have dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 5.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road. Join me on this journey and let's make some unforgettable memories.