Skip to Content

What Is A Galley On An RV?

What Is A Galley On An RV?

If you’re a beginner in the world of RVs, you might have heard the word ‘galley’ being mentioned occasionally and are probably wondering what it means. So what exactly is a galley on an RV?

A galley refers to the kitchen in an RV. Alternatively, the word is also associated with the water tank in which used water from the kitchen sink flows and is stored. This tank is commonly called the grey water tank as well.

Let’s talk about the purpose of a galley in an RV and how you can make cooking in the kitchen easier. I’ll also discuss how the galley tank functions as well as the different types of water tanks that are present in a camper.

What Is A Galley On An RV?

The kitchen in an RV is referred to as the galley. This is a small area designed to be compact yet functional that usually includes a sink, microwave, refrigerator, shelves and cabinets, and counter space.

The size of the kitchen and the number of appliances varies according to the type of RV but is also customizable to some degree. 

Make sure to choose a motorhome that includes the appliances and fixtures that you need, or can be added in the future.

The contents of the kitchen should be according to your cooking style, for example, if you’re someone who prefers simple one-pot dishes or microwaveable snacks, you probably don’t need a fully equipped oven and an array of pots and pans.

The word galley may also be used to refer to the water tank in which the water from the kitchen sink goes.

This might be the same as your grey water tank, where water from your shower and sink (but not the toilet) also go, or a separate one. All the water that you use in the kitchen to wash your cooking supplies, utensils, dishes, etc. ends up here. 

Grey water tanks usually have a maximum capacity of around 50 gallons. Remember to keep a check on the amount of water in the tank and empty it at a dumping station if becomes more than two-thirds full.

Check out this video on how to empty a galley tank for more information on this topic.

Galley Essentials

A motorhome has limited space so organizing and fitting everything in the kitchen is a challenge and requires a lot of thought.

Hoarding stuff is definitely not an option which means that you should carefully consider the utility of each utensil/ kitchen equipment before adding it. Here are some basic kitchen must-haves that will go a long way while RVing!

  1. Pots in a few different sizes and a pan
  2. Basic utensils and crockery such as bowls, mugs, plates, and glasses 
  3. Fuel 
  4. Chopping board
  5. Drying rack
  6. Containers for storing food and plastic wrap
  7. A pair of scissors and bottle and can openers
  8. Dish towels and paper towels
  9. Dish soap and sponge for washing dishes
  10. Plastic bags for throwing garbage

What Is A Galley Tank?

As the name suggests, a galley tank is where dirty water from the kitchen (galley) goes to be stored until it is emptied at a dumping station.

The water that flows from the taps is from the fresh water tank and after you use it at the kitchen sink it is collected and carried away to the galley tank.

How Many Types Of RV Tanks Are There?

In most RVs, there are at least three basic tanks—the fresh water tank, grey water tank, and black water tank.

Let’s look into the purpose of each tank in detail.

  1. Fresh Water Tank

The freshwater tank holds clean, potable water. This tank supplies water to the sink, shower, and toilet in your RV.

You should take care to fill this tank using a clean hose with fresh water only and a spigot marked for potable water, as mixing it with dirty water can cause contamination and lead to a number of health problems. 

  1. Grey Water/ Galley Tank

In a lot of RVs, there isn’t a separate galley tank for used water from the kitchen only, so the grey water tank is the one in which dirty water from your kitchen sink, bathroom sink and shower collects.

Some RVs also have an extra galley tank that stores water from the kitchen only.

  1. Black Water Tank

Last but not the least, there is the black water tank. This tank also stores dirty water, but an important distinction it has from the grey water/ galley tank is that water from the toilet specifically goes here.

This water contains human waste which is why it is stored in a separate tank, and under no conditions should be mixed with the other tanks.

How To Empty The Galley Tank

The galley tank, as well as the black water tank, is emptied at specific sites called dumping stations. You can often find these along with a potable water refill station for your fresh water tank.

If you’re out boondocking, it would be wise to have an idea of the location of dumping stations in the area.

Emptying the RV’s grey water and black water tanks might seem like icky business but it’s pretty quick and straightforward. Put on a pair of rubber gloves and attach your emptying hose to the black water tank valve of the RV first.

Then attach the other end to the black valve of the dump station and make sure both connections are secure. 

Open the valve and wait till the tank drains completely, then repeat the process for the grey water tank. You’re done! It’s also a good idea to rinse both the tanks with water and cleanse them on a regular basis using chemicals made specifically for this purpose.



The term ‘galley’ can refer to either the kitchen of an RV or the tank that holds used water from the kitchen sink. This tank is also commonly called the grey water tank and in most campers, it holds water from the shower and bathroom sink as well.

It is different from the other two types of water tanks that are usually found in an RV; fresh water and black water tanks.


Up Next:

Best Class A RV for Winter Living? (7 Crowd Favorites)

Best Small RV for Couples? (7 Crowd Favorites)

What is the Best Class-B RV for the Money?

What Is The Best Heater for an RV?


(Featured image:

Share this article!