After clocking up countless miles, journeying through over 25 different countries in our trusty campervan, and sharing campfire stories with like-minded van life enthusiasts, we’ve picked up a thing or two about the ins and outs of life on the road. One question we often get asked (usually with a slightly sheepish grin) is – what’s the best campervan toilet for van life?
Navigating the bathroom situation is undoubtedly one of the more… let’s say, ‘intimate’ aspects of van life, yet it’s absolutely crucial for a comfortable and sustainable journey.
I’ve had my share of experiences with diverse toilet alternatives – from portable cassette toilets and composting toilets to the humble pee jars, and not forgetting my personal favourite, the collapsable bucket / toilet if you can really call it that!
So buckle up, and rest assured that we’ll keep this discussion as ‘clean’ as possible! Remember, embracing the liberty of the open road doesn’t imply letting go of all homely comforts.
Thetford 92820 Porta Potti 365 Portable Toilet, White-Grey, 414 x 383 x 427 mm
Thetford Cassette toilet C224-CW.
Nature’s Head® Self Contained Composting Toilet with Close Quarters Spider Handle
Tabeskly Camping Toilet Portable, Folding Portable Toilet for Adults Luggable Camper Festival Caravan Port Loo Campervan Car Travel Cassette Portaloo Composting Chemical Toilet Commode
Over my three years of living the van life, both with and without a toilet, I’ve come to a conclusion – having a bathroom solution within your campervan is crucial. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a permanent fixture or an expansive bathroom area, but a handy solution for those unexpected emergencies or late-night nature calls is absolutely beneficial.
Ease of Use – With an onboard toilet, the hunt for a restroom, the necessity to dig a pit (where it’s permissible), or the need to venture out on a chilly night is eliminated.
Comfort – Let’s face it, perching on a toilet within your van’s privacy is much more agreeable than squatting outside.
Privacy – Especially when you’re camping in a group, an onboard toilet offers you the privacy to tend to your needs without becoming the camp’s talking point.
Hygiene – Public restrooms aren’t always the cleanest. Having your own toilet helps maintain personal hygiene.
Environmental Responsibility – With the burgeoning community of van lifers using public lands, having a toilet onboard is a more sustainable choice, contributing to the cleanliness of our camping spots.
The Task of Emptying – Regardless of the type of toilet you opt for, emptying it is an inevitable chore. Some toilets may be less daunting to handle than others, but once your toilet’s full, emptying it jumps to the top of your task list, sidelining any adventures you may have lined up.
The Odour – Ideally, a well-maintained campervan toilet shouldn’t emit any unpleasant smells. Still, in reality, you might encounter an occasional hint of an odour, even if it’s only the scent of a deodoriser, in your compact space.
Space Constraints – Despite their generally compact size, campervan toilets consume a notable amount of your limited living space, less than 100 square feet in many cases. You’ll also need to factor in the toilet when planning your van’s layout. If not, you might have a toilet but no convenient spot to store it. Allocating a dedicated space for a toilet implies compromising on some other essentials.
Types of Campervan Toilets
There are several types of toilets available for campervans, each with its pros and cons. Let’s dive into them.
Best Portable Toilets For Campervans
Portable toilets, or portable camping toilets, are among the most straightforward types of campervan toilets. They usually consist of two sections: an upper freshwater tank used for flushing and a lower waste tank. They’re often lightweight, and their compact design makes them easy to transport and store, even in smaller campervans.
The waste tank can be easily detached from the freshwater tank for hassle-free emptying. Also, many models come equipped with a pressure relief valve to prevent splashing during disposal. However, keep in mind that these toilets require the use of special chemicals to reduce odours and break down waste.
THETFORD PORTA POTTI 365 CAMPING TOILET
The Thetford Porta Potti Qube 365 is an excellent choice for those seeking a high-capacity, user-friendly, and durable portable campervan toilet. This model doesn’t require a connection to a drainage or water system, making it a highly versatile and convenient choice for a wide range of campervan setups.
The Porta Potti Qube 365 is a family-sized portable toilet that features a natural seating height for optimum comfort. The toilet’s white finish provides a clean, modern aesthetic, while the manual flush and piston pump system ensures easy and effective waste disposal.
One of the key features of this model is its impressive 15-litre flush capacity, paired with a 21-litre waste tank, making it ideal for longer trips or larger groups. The toilet has an integrated pour-out spout for easy and hygienic emptying, and the cover-lock ensures secure and odour-free transportation.
What sets the Thetford Porta Potti Qube 365 apart is its intelligent two-part design. The toilet is made up of two halves: the top half houses the freshwater flush tank, seating bowl, and cover, while the bottom half is the waste tank. This design makes it incredibly easy to disassemble, empty, and reassemble the toilet, even when you’re out in nature.
The Thetford Porta Potti Qube 365 also boasts an improved valve handle system for easier and more efficient flushing. The updated carry handle of the waste holding tank enhances portability, and the improved seating comfort provides a more home-like experience.
High Capacity: The Thetford Porta Potti Qube 365 comes with a generous 21L waste tank and a 15L freshwater flush tank, making it suitable for extended trips or larger groups.
The Dripex Portable Camping Toilet is an excellent choice for those seeking a reliable and efficient portable toilet solution for their campervan. Made of high-density polyethene, it assures durability and longevity, promising to stand up to the rigours of camping life.
One of the standout features of this camping toilet is its waste level indicator. This practical feature allows you to easily monitor the level of contents in the waste tank, taking the guesswork out of maintenance and emptying.
The Dripex model shines when it comes to preventing leakage and odour. The double-sealed drain valve ensures a tight seal, keeping unpleasant smells contained and preventing any potential leaks. This is especially crucial in a small, enclosed space like a campervan.
The toilet is designed for easy cleaning, a must-have feature for maintaining hygiene on the road. Plus, its two flush system allows for a faster flush with less water, an efficient design that helps conserve water resources when you’re off-grid.
With a generous 20L capacity, the Dripex Portable Camping Toilet includes a 2-gallon fresh-water tank, capable of providing at least 50 flushes before requiring a refill. This feature makes it ideal for longer trips or larger groups.
Importantly, this toilet does not require an external water or power connection to operate, offering a truly portable solution. Its design includes a removable lid and carry handle for easy emptying, adding to the unit’s overall convenience and user-friendliness.
High Capacity: The Dripex Portable Camping Toilet boasts a 20L capacity, with a 2-gallon freshwater tank that provides at least 50 flushes before needing a refill.
Waste Level Indicator: This is a helpful feature that takes the guesswork out of knowing when to empty the waste tank.
Odour and Leak Prevention: The double-sealed drain valve effectively contains odours and prevents leaks, ensuring a more pleasant campervan environment.
Easy to Clean: This toilet is designed for easy cleaning, an important feature for maintaining hygiene on the road.
Efficient Flushing System: The two-flush system enables fast and efficient flushing using less water, which is an excellent feature for water conservation during off-grid trips.
Slightly Heavier: Weighing 6kg, the Dripex Portable Camping Toilet is a bit heavier than some other portable toilet options. While not excessively heavy, this might be a consideration for those with limited physical strength or who plan to move the toilet frequently.
No Assembly, but Disassembly Needed for Cleaning: While no assembly is required, the toilet does need to be disassembled for cleaning. This might be a bit more complex for some users.
Size: With dimensions of 40cm x 40cm x 36.5cm, it might be too large for campervans with very limited space.
Composting toilets are an eco-friendly option, as they transform human waste into usable compost over time. These toilets don’t require any water or chemicals to operate, making them a sustainable choice for the environmentally conscious.
In most composting toilets, solid and liquid waste are separated. The solid waste is mixed with a composting medium like peat moss or coconut coir, which facilitates the composting process and helps control odors. The liquid waste is stored in a separate tank and needs to be emptied more frequently. Keep in mind that while these toilets are more environmentally friendly, they require more maintenance than some other types.
One of the main cons of a composting toilet is the price. They are far more expensive than any of the other toilets on our list.
Nature’s Head® Self Contained Composting Toilets
The Nature’s Head® Self-Contained Composting Toilet is a revolutionary solution in campervan toilets. It stands out for its self-contained, urine-diverting, and waterless operation.
One of the key features of this toilet is that it is a composting model. This means it uses natural processes to break down waste into compost, reducing the need for harmful chemicals and conserving water resources.
What sets this composting toilet apart from the others is its compact, lightweight design, making it perfect for a campervan toilet. Despite its compact size, it doesn’t compromise on user comfort, delivering a user-friendly experience.
Another standout feature of the Nature’s Head® Self Contained Composting Toilet is its odourless operation. This is a critical factor in a small space like a campervan, ensuring a pleasant living environment even with the toilet in close proximity.
Constructed to endure, this toilet features stainless steel hardware, lending it durability and robustness to withstand the toughest conditions.
Eco-Friendly: As a composting toilet, it recycles human waste into compost, reducing the need for harsh chemicals and conserving water, making it a great choice for environmentally conscious campers.
Odorless: The urine-diverting feature, combined with the composting process, helps control odors effectively, ensuring your campervan stays fresh and pleasant.
Compact and Lightweight: The toilet’s design takes into account the limited space and weight capacity in campervans, making it an ideal fit.
Durable: The robust construction with stainless steel hardware ensures this toilet can withstand harsh conditions and heavy use.
Waterless Operation: The lack of need for a water connection offers ease of use in campervans.
Long Lasting: Due to it no having any chemicals, its a lot easier to dispose of waste, enabling to be off grid for longer.
Need for Regular Emptying: Depending on use, composting toilets may need to be emptied more frequently than other types, which can be seen as a potential inconvenience.
Higher Initial Cost: While it can save resources in the long run, a composting toilet often has a higher upfront cost compared to portable or cassette toilets.
Requires Special Products: Like most portable toilets, the Thetford Porta Potti Qube 365 requires the use of special toilet chemicals to reduce odours and break down waste, which means ongoing costs.
Maintenance: While not overly complicated, the composting process requires a bit of upkeep, such as adding peat moss or coconut coir to aid in composting.
Cassette toilets, also known as cartridge toilets, are a common choice for many campervan owners due to their ease of use and hygiene. These toilets feature a built-in container or cassette that collects waste. When the cassette is full, it can be removed, emptied, and cleaned at a proper disposal site.
Cassette toilets usually feature a flush system, just like residential toilets, but they require a specific type of toilet chemical to reduce odors and break down waste. While they provide a more homelike feel, keep in mind that they are typically more complex to install and take up more space than portable or composting toilets.
Thetford Cassette toilet C224-CW
The Thetford C224CW Cassette Toilet is a high-quality, self-contained toilet solution ideal for use in a campervan, caravan, or motorhome. It distinguishes itself with a unique design that comprises two parts: a permanently installed toilet and a removable waste-holding tank.
One of the notable features of the Thetford C224CW is its independent 9-litre flushing water tank. This is particularly beneficial for vehicles without their own onboard water tank, allowing for a fully functioning toilet system independent of other resources.
The toilet’s waste-holding tank boasts an 18-litre capacity and features a helpful indicator that notifies you when it’s time to empty the tank. The waste tank can be accessed and removed through a small door on the outside of your vehicle for easy and hygienic maintenance.
Flexibility in installation is another significant advantage of the Thetford C224CW. It can be installed against the external side wall, the rear wall of your vehicle, or even against an interior wall, provided there’s level access on the other side for waste tank removal. This provides versatility to fit the specific layout of your vehicle.
Moreover, this model also offers a fully adjustable swivel seat/bowl that can be moved through 180 degrees. This feature can be a game-changer when dealing with tight or awkward spaces, allowing for a comfortable toilet solution even in the most compact campervans.
Beyond its functional design, the Thetford C224CW is built with lightweight, high-quality, durable white plastic for long-lasting use. It’s equipped with a quiet yet powerful manual piston pump system for efficient flushing. It also features a vent button for splash-free emptying and an automatic pressure release vent to prevent gas build-up.
High Capacity: With an 18L waste-holding tank and a 9L independent flushing water tank, this toilet provides ample capacity for use.
Easy Maintenance: The toilet’s removable waste-holding tank and external access door make emptying the tank a straightforward process.
Flexible Installation: The design allows for installation against external or internal walls, providing flexibility to suit the specific layout of your vehicle.
Adjustable Design: The 180-degree swivel seat/bowl can be adjusted to accommodate tight or awkward spaces, enhancing usability.
Durable and High Quality: Made from high-quality, durable plastic, this toilet is built to withstand the rigors of travel and long-term use.
Manual Flushing System: While efficient, some users might prefer an automatic flushing system for increased convenience.
Space Requirement: Although it offers flexible installation, the toilet still requires a certain amount of space, which may be a challenge in smaller campervans.
No Template for Installation: The absence of a template for installation may make the initial setup more challenging for some users.
Dry toilets, also referred to as bucket toilets, represent the simplest and most basic form of campervan toilet systems. The concept is quite straightforward — they are essentially a bucket with a toilet seat on top.
While this may sound crude, many van-lifers appreciate the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of this option. Bucket toilets are incredibly light and take up minimal space, which makes them perfect for smaller campervans. Also, because they don’t require water or electricity, they are an environmentally friendly choice.
To use a dry toilet, you’ll need to line it with a biodegradable bag before use. After use, the bag should be sealed and then disposed of properly, just like pet waste. This system requires minimal maintenance, making it a practical choice for those on extended trips where access to waste disposal facilities may be limited.
To combat odors, some van-lifers choose to use cat litter, peat moss, or coconut coir in their bucket toilets. These materials can help absorb liquids and minimize smells, making the whole process a bit more manageable.
Despite their simplicity, dry toilets do have their drawbacks. They aren’t as comfortable or easy to use as more advanced toilet systems, and waste disposal can be a bit more hands-on. Also, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of using a bucket toilet, and it might not be a suitable solution for larger groups or families.
However, for the solo traveler or those on a tight budget, a bucket toilet can be a perfectly adequate solution for managing waste on the road. It’s all about personal preference and what works best for your unique van life setup.
Tabeskly Camping Toilet
The Tabeskly Camping Toilet is a versatile solution for campervan use.
One striking feature of the Tabeskly Camping Toilet is its portability. Weighing in at just 2.4kg, it is easy to carry around, making it a perfect companion for those on the go. This makes it an especially appealing choice for van life, where space is at a premium, and every item needs to earn its keep.
Height adjustability is another key advantage of this model. Its height can be adjusted freely from 8cm to 50cm, accommodating all kinds of users. This feature ensures comfort for everyone, from small children to tall adults, making it a convenient choice for families or groups with varying needs.
The Tabeskly Camping Toilet also impresses with its durability. It can hold up to 300kg, attesting to its robust build. Furthermore, it’s waterproof and washable, ensuring that it can withstand all kinds of outdoor conditions and maintain hygiene with easy cleaning.
Perhaps one of the most unique features of this model is its one-piece telescopic folding design. This easy-to-travel setup makes the unit even more comfortable the more it is extended, offering a practical and comfortable solution for toileting needs while travelling.
Versatile Usage: Besides functioning as a toilet, it can also serve as a storage seat, trash can, or storage box.
Lightweight and Portable: Weighing only 2.4kg, it is easy to transport and carry around, making it a great travel companion.
Adjustable Height: With the ability to adjust from 8cm to 50cm, it can accommodate a wide range of users, enhancing its convenience and usability.
Durability and Strength: With a capacity to hold up to 300kg, it proves to be a durable and robust choice.
Easy Maintenance: The toilet is waterproof and washable, making cleaning and maintenance simple and efficient.
Lack of Sophisticated Features: Unlike some other models, this toilet does not have advanced features like a flushing system or waste level indicators.
No Odor Control: Without a built-in system for odor management, users might need to invest in additional products to maintain a pleasant environment.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing your campervan toilet.
Size and Weight Considerations
When it comes to the size and weight of your campervan toilet, you need to consider both the physical space within your campervan and the overall weight that your vehicle can safely carry.
The physical space will determine the maximum size of the toilet that can fit in your campervan. Measure your designated toilet area to ensure that the toilet you choose will fit comfortably. Also, think about how the toilet will be positioned and if there’s enough room for it to be used comfortably.
In terms of weight, remember that every addition to your campervan contributes to the overall load. Consider the toilet’s weight when empty and when full, as a full waste tank can add significant weight. A lighter toilet might be a better option if you’re close to your vehicle’s maximum weight capacity.
Ease of Use
Your campervan toilet should be straightforward and easy to use. A complex or confusing toilet system can be a significant hindrance, especially when you’re in the middle of nature and far from any potential help or maintenance services.
Consider things like how to use the flush system (if there is one), how easy it is to empty the waste tank or replace the composting material, and if any special products or procedures are needed for use. An easy-to-use toilet will make your life on the road much more enjoyable.
An easy-to-clean toilet is essential. The best campervan toilets are designed for simple and efficient cleaning to maintain hygiene.
Ease of Cleaning
Hygiene is incredibly important in a small space like a campervan, so you’ll want a toilet that’s easy to clean and maintain. The best campervan toilets are designed with simplicity and efficiency in mind.
For example, many portable toilets have smooth interiors and removable waste tanks to facilitate cleaning. Composting toilets usually have a simple design with fewer nooks and crannies where waste can get trapped. If you’re considering a dry toilet, check if it’s easy to remove and replace the waste bag.
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to campervan toilets is odour control. No one wants their living space to smell like a bathroom. Therefore, you should look for toilets that offer effective odour management solutions.
Many modern campervan toilets have sealable valves or lids to trap odours in the waste tank. Others, like composting and dry toilets, separate liquid and solid waste, which can significantly reduce smells. Some toilets even have ventilation systems or fans to further aid in odour control. Always check customer reviews to see if the toilet’s odour control measures are effective in real-world use.
Remember, the best campervan toilet for you depends on your specific needs, preferences, and campervan setup. By considering these factors, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision that will enhance your van life experience.
Choosing the best campervan toilet is crucial to a comfortable and hygienic van life experience. While the ultimate choice depends on personal preference and your specific van life setup, the options listed above are some of the best in the market. Remember, a great journey starts with great preparation, and choosing the right toilet is a step in the right direction!
What is the best toilet for a campervan?
The best toilet for a campervan depends on individual needs and preferences. However, the Thetford Porta Potti and Nature’s Head Composting Toilet are excellent options to consider.
Are composting toilets smell-free?
Yes, most composting toilets are designed to be odour-free, as they separate liquid and solid wastes, which reduces smells.
How do I clean a campervan toilet?
Each type of toilet has specific cleaning instructions, usually provided by the manufacturer. Most require regular emptying and cleaning with specific cleaning agents.
Can I install a toilet in my campervan myself?
Yes, most campervan toilets come with user-friendly installation instructions. However, if you’re not comfortable with DIY, you might want to hire a professional.
Is it legal to dump campervan toilet waste anywhere?
No, it’s illegal and environmentally harmful to dispose of toilet waste improperly. Always dispose of your waste at designated dump stations or use composting toilets.
I have always wanted to travel and luckily I always got to travel to some amazing countries while I was growing up with my family and this really encouraged me to continue this and get out into the world on my own when I was older.
My goal growing up was really to see as much of the world as I could, but then I started going to work and really concentrating on my career and travel took a back seat. I still tried to get away a few times a year but I always knew there was an end goal which was to travel as much as possible.
So I got my head down and worked as hard as I could as an e-commerce manager. I have always been techy, I love computers and websites, so that’s where it gave me the idea to start this blog and also have my own web design agency. If you want to check it out or need any help then please take a look rrwebdesign.co.uk (shameless plug there)
But after covid, we both knew this was now the right time to take the leap and go and see the world after being trapped inside our house and working from home for a couple of years. We realised more than ever that you only get one life and you really need to make the most of it and do what you love!
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