So whether I’m headed for a campground with great restroom facilities or even planning to stay some nights in motels, I carry a campervan porta potty.
Why Campervan toilets are crucial to vanlife success
Cleanliness: Gas stations, restaurants and rest stop toilets can be hit or miss with regard to how clean they are and some tend to be very dirty. I’m not over the top with regard to cleanliness, but I am mindful of staying clean on the road and don’t feel the need to risk getting sick. And if there’s family, kids, friends involved, I’m extra careful and definitely don’t take chances. It’s worth it to have a campervan toilet to avoid less than clean public options.
Quick: Convent, any time, any place. Just pull over, climb in back, problem solved. No searching, no extra driving, no stress. The time it can take to find a public facility can throw off your itinerary or even get you lost. Hoping for a rest stop, gas station or truck stop to come along is a gamble that doesn’t always pay off.
Are they friendly? With van life on the rise everywhere, gas stations and restaurants are less and less likely to let random travelers use facilities for free. “Restrooms are for customers only” signs are more common than ever on the road, and the cost of always having to make a purchase before using the restroom can start to add up (how many random packs of gum or bottles of water does one van need?). Pretty sure some places bank on travelers needing a toilet and being forced to make a purchase. I like to think that this one advantage, not having to make unecessary purchases, has paid for my campervan toilet.
It’s 3 am. Do you know where your toilet is? Some of you don’t need this one explained. I’m talking to the very special club known as “men over 40”. But it’s not only those of us with aging prostates needing a late night tinkle. Kids, moms and pretty much everyone needs some middle-of-the-night-relief from time to time and that’s no time to be wandering off across the campground to the public restroom, or out into the woods.
Available types of campervan porta potty
You can always tell how crucial a campervan accessory is by how many brands and types of products are on the market, and campervan toilets are one such accessory.
When it comes time to choose one, perhaps there even too many toilets for campervans. And that’s what this article is all about: simplifying the process of choosing a toilet that’s just right for you. So fear not and read on, the Van Sage has got you covered with all the crucial details.
Flushing campervan toilets are fully self contained with fresh and waste water tanks. These include cassette style portable toilets. We’re surprised how well these work and, if you’ve got the space in your van, this is one of our top picks.
Most like home: Designed to provide familiar comfort and a satisfying flush.
Cleanest: The waste is contained in a tank, so there’s little or no odor.
The waste tank fills up and needs to be dumped.
Mid range in size and price.
Bag toilet: Just like it sounds; a disposable bag is attached under the seat that gets tied off and thrown out after use. Some vanners will add some kitty litter to the bag so they can get a few uses out of a bag.
Simple: No fancy moving parts or needing to get water. Just use it and throw out the bag.
Inexpensive options available.
Often collapsible, easy to fold up and store away. Easy to set up outside the van at the camp site.
Composting Toilets are the Cadillac’s of portable campervan toilets. They break down and compost human waste through bacterial activity that results in a very clean, no-odor, fully self contained system.
They cost more than the others but, Cadillac style, Cadillac price.
Most complicated: There’s a learning curve that includes adding a microbe mix and other sciency stuff, but it’s pretty straightforward and worth the effort.
Composting campervan toilets sit taller than the other types so if you’ve got a low roof van, you might want to avoid these or plan on using them outside the van in a tent.
Toilet tents are a great addition to your portable toilet for outside-the-van privacy. Check out our article on van tent attachments, which can also provide the necessary privacy to use your camping toilet.
You can’t rely on rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and truck stops for your restroom needs.
Public restrooms tend to be dirty. It’s nice to have your own clean toilet, any time you need it.
A flushing cassette toilet is a great choice for comfort and middle of the road price.
For the ultimate in simplicity and lowest cost, consider a bag toilet with a folding frame.
Composting campervan toilets are considered the high end.
Here are the top campervan toilets we’ve found
Camco 41541 Portable Toilet – 5.3 gallon
★ VanSage Top Pick. We love this campervan porta potty for its brilliant design, portability and innovative odor elimination system.
- 2.5 gallon flush tank, 5.3 gallon removable holding tank
- Less odors and leakage with slide valve seal lock
- Tank is secured to the toilet with side latches
- Under type flush
- Solid, tough build
- 15.5″ H x 14″ W x 16″. Seat Width, 13 inches
Dometic – 974 Portable Toilet 2.6 Gallon
Two sizes to fit your family and offgrid vanlife needs. The comfortable lid and tank indicator make it a top option among campervan toilets.
- 2.6 and 5 gallon versions
- Tough ABS build materials
- Easy to clean, smooth finish
- Comfy, latching lid, secure for travel
- Holding tank prismatic level indicator
- Simple cleaning with splash free emptying, automatic tank vents and longer discharge swing arm
- Mounting brackets available on 2.6 model
Reliance Products Hassock Portable Lightweight Self-Contained Toilet
This bare bones campervan porta potty serves the most basic urge without frills, complexity and does it all at a great price.
- Portable, self-contained. Includes 1 Eco-Fresh packet
- Removable inner bucket for easy disposal
- Works with Reliance “Double Doodie bag”
- 14.7 by 14.7 by 14 inches. 5 pounds
- Five year warranty against manufacturer’s defects
Cleanwaste Portable Toilet with Waste Kit
★ VanSage Top Pick. Smart design, compact size and easy waste disposal. This campervan porta potty takes simplicity to the next level, and at a great price.
- Easy setup with 3 locking legs
- Folds to small size for compact storage with carry handle
- Up to 500 lbs weight allowed
- standard toilet seat and bowl dimensions
- Mesh holder prevents waste bag slippage
- Drip edge prevents bag contact with waste
Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet
★ VanSage Top Pick. The Cadillac of campervan toilets, this product is loved by vanlife travelers for its remarkable ability to break down solid waste into odor-free, easy to dispose compost.
- Made in the USA
- Full size long seat for comfort
- Empties in seconds
- Includes Vent hose and fan
Thetford Porta Potti Curve Portable Campervan Toilet
The essence of innovative campervan porta potty design, function and all at a reasonable price.
- Award winning portable toilet
- 4 gallons fresh, 5.5 gallon waste capacity
- Comfortable height with larger bowl
- Electric power flush with battery
- Tank level gauge
- Sealed valve to reduce odors. Leak proof
- No back splash empty
Stansport 4B Campervan Porta Potty
Another no-frills option, it folds flat for quick, easy storage and you can’t beat the price.
- White plastic seat on strong, tubular steel legs
- Removable plastic ring holds bag in place
- Folds flat for easy storage
- Includes 7 plastic bags
- One-year warranty for manufacturer defects