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Picture of tent in woods.


A portable sink for camping (also known as a field sink) can be an important piece of equipment to have on an extended trip with your family and friends. Combined with a grill and ice chest, you’ll have a nice outdoor kitchen.

In addition to washing dishes, this sink can be used to wash your hands and face, brush your teeth, and clean your various camping tools and utensils. It’s also great for getting the little kids cleaned up after playing in the woods. This can make a big difference to those that don’t want to rough it too much.

If you’re going to be at the campsite for a few days or more, you’ll be reusing your dishes and cooking utensils, so you’ll want to wash them properly to avoid getting any food-borne illnesses.

Here are some guidelines to washing dishes with a 3-compartment sink system:

Working from left to right, number your sinks 1, 2, and 3.

  • Sink #1 will be used for washing/cleaning. Fill with very warm water and add soap. Since you are outdoors, an environmentally-safe soap like Dr. Bronners or CampSuds would be good.

  • Sink #2 is for rinsing. Fill with warm water.

  • Sink #3 is for sanitizing. This is a very important step in the process.

  • You have 3 options for sterilization:

    • water sterilization tablets (drug store or restaurant supply store)

    • bleach (2 teaspoons per gallon of water)

    • boiling hot water (do not use bare hands in this sink)

Washing Tips:

  • Before washing, use a scraper or paper towel to remove most of the food from the dishes.

  • Begin washing the cleanest dishes first, then progress to dirty dishes and pots and pans.

  • Start in sink #1 with a wash cloth. Rinse the soap off in sink #2.

  • Let the clean dishes sit in sink #3 for a few minutes while you wash more dishes.

  • Be careful to not let the bleach water or hot water splash on you or anyone nearby.

  • Spread the sterilized dishes on a layer of paper towels.

  • If cared for, these paper towels can be used more than once throughout the trip.

  • Before you purchase a camping sink, you need to know which size is best?

  • As you can see, a portable sink for camping can be a great tool for keeping you and your guests safe and at ease.

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