The Best Van Life Foot Pumps – Hands-Free Water System

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A quality foot pump can do wonders for making your van feel like a home instead of just camping.

Some van lifers will use gravity-fed primitive water systems. Others will have fully-fledged electrical water pumps built into complex water systems. Using a foot pump falls somewhere between.

Having a quality water system was crucial for me during the year I spent traveling full-time in my van. A foot pump allows you to have both hands free for tasks such as doing dishes whereas a hand pump requires you to have one hand occupied.

A foot pump lets you regulate how much water you’re using whereas with an electric pump, it’s either “on” or “off”, potentially wasting water. And while an electric pump is convenient, a foot pump is easier to install.

Some people install a foot pump as a backup option in case their battery bank runs dead and they cannot use their electrical pump. Others use a foot pump for their first few van life trips while they’re still considering their van needs and build setup.

Our overall top choice for the best van life foot pump is the Whale Babyfoot Galley pump. It provides good water pressure and many van lifers use it because of its reliability and ease of installation and use.

Everybody’s needs differ, so we’ve provided a few “best of” recommendations.

Let’s get started.

Best Van Foot Pumps

Van Foot Pump Reviews

Here are our reviews of the best van life foot pumps.

Whale Babyfoot Galley Pump – Best Overall Foot Pump

  • Max Flow Rate: 2.2 GPM
  • Floor Space Used: Medium

The Whale Babyfoot Galley pump is our overall top best foot pump for van life.

It pumps a healthy 2.2 gallons per minute and has both the most and best reviews of any pump on this list.

It uses a little more floor space than the “Whale” Gusher pump but is a great value for money. It’s a simple pump that does the job well.

Marine Boat Baby Pump – Best Budget Foot Pump

  • Max Flow Rate: 2.11 GPM
  • Floor Space Used: Medium

The Marine Boat Baby Pump is our top choice for best budget foot pump. It’s manufactured as a foot pump for use on boats but works just as well for van life.

This pump is more affordable than the Whale Babyfoot, but also has a slightly lower max flow rate of 2.11 gallons per minute. Additionally, some say this pump leaks at times and that it can be difficult to operate.

If you’re new to van life and want a super simple budget setup, this might be the pump for you.

Whale Gusher Galley Pump – Best Flow Rate, Least Space Used

  • Max Flow Rate: 4 GPM
  • Floor Space Used: Small

The Whale Gusher Galley pump has the best flow rate of any foot pump in this list at 4 gallons per minute.

It also uses the least amount of space, usually mounting into the base of your sink setup. This means you’re less likely to trip over it as compared to the other pumps on this list.

These are great benefits but it also comes at the highest cost compared to the other foot pumps. If I was going to pay this amount for a water pump, I’d just get an electric one.

Some people have had some issues with this pump where it’s slow to discharge after engaging. That said, if you absolutely want a foot pump that has great water pressure and is out of the way, this is a strong contender.

Buying Guide

When buying a foot pump for your van there are two primary considerations other than the cost.

Max Water Flow

The max water flow measures the largest amount of water that can move as you’re using the foot pump. Otherwise known as “water pressure.” This is measured in GPMs or “Gallons Per Minute.” The higher this number the more water will flow as you use the foot pump.

Floor Space Used

You’ll want to attach the foot pump to the floor of your van somewhere convenient for pumping into your sink. If the pump is big and bulky it will take up valuable space in the van. And you’ll risk tripping over it or accidentally stepping on it and pumping water. Consider how big the pump is and where you’ll be installing it in your van.

Foot pump installations are fairly easy

Foot Pump Install

Installing a foot pump is pretty straightforward. You’ll use PEX tubing to connect the foot pump to your blue water source to pull the water out into your water faucet. You’ll want to use hose tail fittings and hose clamps where appropriate. Use pipe dope and PTFE Teflon tape for any threaded connections. You can read more about integrating these components in our ultimate van water system guide.

Our Verdict

This should give you everything you need to decide what’s important when researching what van life foot pump you’ll need. And if a foot pump is the best choice for you.

The Whale Babyfoot Galley pump is the go-to foot pump for many van lifers. It’s a quality foot pump that gets the job done.

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Robert Johnson is the founder of Van Simply. He spent eight months traveling full time in his converted camper van and takes frequent shorter trips to explore the world. He enjoys taking his van on surf trips, visiting national parks, and meeting up with the wonderful people he has met on his travels.

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