Sunday, January 29, 2012

Activated Charcoal, Quietly Separating Living from Camping

When we began to consider living on a boat, we realized that we weren't willing to make too many sacrifices in order to make the thought a reality. Most of the time I spent on boats in the past was much closer to camping than it was to living in a house. Although camping works for a few weeks at a time, we knew that our level of comfort had to be much closer to that found in a house in order for us to be comfortable on a boat all day, every day.

One fantastic item that helps us stay comfortable is something that, by design, never makes its presence known: activated charcoal, the stuff that makes filters, such as water filters, air filters, etc., "filter." Most people that have spent time vacationing on boats (or camping at campgrounds) are probably quite familiar with plastic-tasting water and stinky toilets/outhouses. Those are two anti-comforts that everyone can live with for a few days in order to enjoy the great outdoors, but probably not what many people would appreciate living with every day in their homes.

We, too, are unwilling to drink plasticy water and pinch our noses when we use the bathrooms in our home, and, thankfully, we don't have too--all because of activated charcoal.

We have two water filters on our boat, one that filters the water that goes into our ice maker and a second that filters our drinking water. The result is great tasting water (and ice) that you would never guess came from a 25-year-old, fiberglass water tank.

We also recently added an air filter to our holding tank vent line. Although our marine toilets are the type that smell the least (freshwater, vacuum flush), we were still catching some occasional odors when our tank approached full. Now, thanks to the activated charcoal, even those occasional smells are a thing of the past.

The lesson? Many of things that make a boat the most comfortable are not the luxuries you see (such as microwaves and television) but those you don't.

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