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Discover the best portable camping toilets of 2024, ideal for your next outdoor adventure! This comprehensive guide explores the best portable camping toilets, designed for ultimate convenience and mobility. Perfect for use in cars, campers, and overland rigs, these self-contained toilets offer the comfort of home while on the move. Unlike cassette toilets, which are fixed installations in your camper, portable camping toilets provide the flexibility to be used anywhere, making them a must-have for outdoor enthusiasts.
When nature calls, we all need to go somewhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re living out a DIY van conversion or a fully converted adventure rig, having a toilet is important. When we lived out of a ProMaster conversion van with a cassette toilet we shared all the details about that. After that, we have switched to a portable toilet that we have absolutely loved using different types of portable toilets for the last 5 years.
Dive into our article to find the perfect portable toilet for your camping needs.
Don’t have time to read the entire post on the best portable toilets for camping? This is the best portable camping toilet that we’ve used and love.
What is a Portable Toilet?
A portable toilet offers a convenient and hygienic solution for sanitation needs when traditional bathroom facilities are unavailable. These compact, lightweight units are designed to be easily transported and set up in cars, campers and overland rigs as well as tent camping sites, festivals, and remote locations. They typically consist of a waste tank, a seat with a lid, and often include features like flush mechanisms, odor control systems, and waste level indicators. Portable toilets provide the comfort and privacy of a standard toilet, ensuring a more enjoyable and worry-free outdoor experience.
While there are some similarities, portable camping toilets are different from cassette toilets. A cassette toilet has a removable cassette that you remove from the camper to dump however the toilet is permanently mounted in the camper and requires a fresh water line and sometimes a 12v connection. If you’re looking for more information on cassette toilets, click the button below:
Types of Portable Camping Toilets
There are quite a few types of portable toilets and in this article, we will focus on the following four types:
- Dry flush toilets
- Folding toilets
- Bucket toilets
- Porta potty toilets
This post will not be covering composting toilets for RVs. However, Joe and I briefly experimented with a bucket composting toilet before we hit the road in our first RV. That experience was enough to convince us to stick with the traditional gravity flush and black tank arrangement that came with our Newmar Bay Star. (If you’re intrigued, you can read all about that experience in Joe’s book, Take Risks.)
What are the Best Portable Camping Toilets for Cars, Campers and Tents in 2024?
1. Thetford Porta Potti (aka Thetford Porta Potti Curve)
The best portable camping toilet in our experience is the Thetford Porta Potti 92306. What sets this particular porta potty apart is its generous tank capacity, allowing for extended periods of dry camping without the need for frequent waste disposal. This feature proved invaluable in maximizing our time boondocking, undisturbed by the need to constantly empty the tank. Our appreciation for the Thetford Porta Potti 92306 goes beyond its practicality; we were so impressed with its performance that we decided to create a comprehensive video review.
To keep the portable toilet clean, we used the recommended non-abrasive cleaner by Thetford.
Why We Loved It
- It’s not just a “potti”: It’s portable! This means you can fully remove it from your camper. When we changed rigs, or needed to camp in a different vehicle for a few days, we took our toilet with us.
- Tank size: The 5.5-gallon tank on our Thetford gave us more capacity than other portable camping toilets we’ve seen. It’s even got more space than some cassettes. This means we can spend more time dispersed camping in the national forest without breaking camp to dump the tank.
- Bells and whistles: This might sound like overly high praise for a toilet, but some of the features on this thing are just fun. For instance, there’s a hidden toilet paper roll holder in the base. There’s even a battery-operated pump if you want to use fresh water for flushing. (We don’t use this because that means the tank will fill up faster, but it’s nice to have.)
- No water required: As I mentioned above, we typically don’t use water to flush. That’s because we want to conserve fresh water and fill our potty as slowly as possible so that we don’t have to dump it as often. When we needed to “flush” we would take a small amount of water in a cup and pour it into the bowl to rinse it.
- Easy to dump: The Thetford Porta Potti has a swivel arm and cap that makes the dumping process easy and clean. We could carry the toilet anywhere, so we didn’t need to move our camper to dump. And we don’t have to use an official sewer dump at an RV park or dump station, either. The waste tank can be emptied into a pit toilet or public restroom (but it can also be dumped into a RV dump station).
- Level indicators: There are liquid level indicators for both the fresh water and the toilet itself. The toilet will indicate when it needs to be dumped, so there’s no worrying about overflow.
- Controlling odor: We don’t typically treat our toilet with chemicals because we don’t like the chemical smell and instead use white vinegar. If there is odor, it’s usually caused by us not rinsing the bowl enough so a quick clean will help with those smells. If the contents of the toilet are starting to smell, then we’ll add a little deodorizer and that takes care of any odors completely.
- Low cost: As luck would have it, portable camping toilets like ours are the least expensive option out there. Part of that is the fact that there’s no installation required. Which reminds me –
- Easy to install: No need to worry about a complex installation process involving cutting holes in the exterior of your RV. Just mount the mounting plate to the floor it to lock it in place…or pack it securely in a trunk or cabinet.
Things We’d Change
The only negative we’ve found about the Thetford Porta Potti is that it gets heavy when it’s getting full. If you wait until the waste tank is almost full to empty it, it might be close to 45 pounds! This is one of the reasons we never pass up an opportunity to dump the waste tank. One option would be to get a folding hand cart to wheel the waste tank to where we dump it.
The portable camping toilet we use is by no means the only option out there, nor is it the best choice for everyone. Here are a few other portable camping toilets that might be a better option for your van or RV.
2. Dometic 2.6 Gallon Portable Toilet
We currently have the Dometic portable toilet that we used during our Summer with Mom road trip and now use it our current Storyteller Overland MODE LT. We’ve found this RV porta potty easy to use and empty. That said, it does have some notable drawbacks. First, the bowl is very small and when men sit down to use it, their “package” may hang into the toilet quite a bit touching the bowl itself. Second, the toilet is very short and for a taller person, it may feel like their squatting when they try to do their business. I would also advise that men do not try going #1 in it while standing (unless the toilet is on some type of platform) because you’ll get a lot of splash. We put ours on top of the cover for our shower basin and that gives us the height we need to make using the toilet easier.
While the short height can be a negative for some, it means that the Dometic porta potti is much easier to store. With the 2.6 gallon waste tank, it’s also much easier to carry and dump.
3. Camco Portable Toilet
The Camco portable toilet is very similar to the Thetford we love but with a slightly smaller tank (5.3 gallons). The “extras” are slightly different, but all the basics are the same. The biggest difference between the Camco Premium Travel Toilet and the Thetford is that the Camco is about half the price (at the time of writing this). That said, I can’t find any information on how or if this toilet can be mounted to the floor of a camper. If there isn’t a way to mount it, it would either need to be strapped in somehow or stowed in a cabinet.
4. Bucket Style Toilet
Bucket style toilets, like this Bucket Style Toilet with Bags and Chemicals, have become more popular with quite a few options available. However, these are not for the faint of heart! Bucket toilets, are a type of portable toilet that looks less like a toilet and are simply a bucket with a seat on it, to make the whole experience more comfortable. Your waste goes into a plastic bag and then you typically sprinkle some type of chemical on it to help reduce the smell. You can make several deposits into one bag, however the smell will increase and the bag will be heavier to toss out. Also, you risk tearing the bag on the way to throw it away.
Rather than chemicals, some campers use sawdust or other materials with a bucket toilet instead. Either way, you’ll want to keep odors down and pests out by keeping a lid on it when it’s not in use.
4. Cleanwaste Go Anywhere
If you’re looking for something that takes up minimal space, the collapsible Cleanwaste Go Anywhere might be the portable camping toilet for you. The whole setup comes in a convenient carrying case making it a great portable camping toilet.
The folding toilet is different from a traditional toilet in more ways than one. It’s essentially a portable seat that can make your life easier if squatting isn’t your thing. Like the Luggable Loo, it requires no water and can be used just about anywhere.
One drawback (depending on your preference) is that there’s no holding tank, so you’ll need the Go Anywhere Toilet Kit waste disposal bags to make it work.
5. Laveo Dry Flush Toilet
As its name implies, the Laveo Dry Flush uses no water at all. It has cartridges that you load into it and with each “flush” the Laveo will wrap your waste in material that looks like it belongs on a spaceship. When the cartridge is full, simply remove and toss the whole spent cartridge (with waste) in the trash. Replace the cartridge, and you’re done! No messing with liquids or odors. You’ll need to purchase refill cartridges and according to the Laveo’s website, each refill pack is good for approximately 17 flushes. The refill packs can get pricey and at the time of writing this, the cost averages out to about $2.50 per flush.
6. Wrappon Waterless Toilet
Joining the list of dry flush toilets that look like they belong in space, the Wrappon Waterless Toilet is almost unrecognizable as a commode. It’s a green cube that might be mistaken for a piece of modular furniture or a storage cube if it didn’t have a toilet seat on top.
The Wrappon can be folded for transport and storage. Like the Laveo, it’s battery operated. Once your business is complete, simply push a button, and the unit will seal off your waste into a bag for easy disposal. This toilet uses a powder to absorb liquid, control odor, and make your deposit easy to throw away with your regular trash.
It’s worth mentioning that when you have a toilet that seals each deposit off into an individual bag (as this one does), there’s a lot of plastic involved. Eco-conscious campers might prefer more traditional portable camping toilets for that reason, though some brands offer bags that are biodegradable.
1. More options for disposing the waste.
When we lived out of our Class A motorhome, it had a traditional gravity flush toilet setup with a foot flush pedal that empties into an onboard black tank. With a fixed black tank, when we needed to empty it (how to dump an RV black tank), we had to drive our RV to a dump station if we weren’t at a campground with a sewer dump. With a portable toilet, we can detach the small waste tank and walk it to the nearest bathroom or dump station to dispose of the waste.
2. It’s Clean and Easy to Dump (Sometimes)
When dumping a portable toilet, simply pour the contents of it into a toilet and flush. If you’re using a good quality deodorizer like this one, then there should be little to no smell but if we’re at a friends house, I’ll turn the fan on just in case. When done properly, there will also not be any splashing.
It can be difficult to dump into a dump station or RV sewer drain as the opening is only about 4 inches across. When this is the only option, I will try to dump the tank when it’s half full and take much more care to make sure the spout of the holding tank is lined up with the sewer drain.
3. Use it where you want to.
When we moved into our first Class B van, we switched to having an onboard cassette toilet. The toilet was permanently mounted in our van, but instead of filling up a black tank, our toilet emptied into a portable cassette tank. When we needed to dump, we just opened up an exterior door, removed the suitcase-like cassette, and wheeled it to the nearest bathroom or dump station. The thing is, when we switched vans we couldn’t take our toilet with us because it was permanently mounted to the camper. Portable toilets solve this problem because you can take them anywhere – even in the family SUV during a long road trip for kids who may need to go more often.
4. Less expensive than many other options.
It’s very easy to flush your hard-earned money down the drain when it comes to RVing, and toilets are no exception. Depending on the kind of evacuation experience you’re looking for, camping toilets can be surprisingly expensive. The cassette toilet option in our pop-up truck camper was over $1,000 and composting toilets are similar in price. Most portable camping toilets for vans and small campers are a fraction of the cost.
5. It’s a great backup toilet.
While we use our porta potty in an RV, there are many uses for portable camping toilets even when you’re not living out of a camper. These toilets can be used as a backup when the power goes out and water is no longer being pumped to your house or if there is a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane.
Where Do You Dump a Portable Toilet?
The quick answer to this is into any toilet or RV dump station however it’s a bit more nuanced than that.
1. Standard Toilet
We will typically dump our porta potti into toilets at rest areas, public park bathrooms, state and national park bathrooms, campground bathrooms and friend’s toilets at their homes. We’ve never had any issues with using public restrooms and no one has ever said anything to us about it (most people have no idea what we’re even doing). In reality, all we’re doing is putting the same stuff down the toilet that they are, just more of it. That said, we haven’t taken our toilet into a retail store or restaurant.
In state/national parks, we’ll typically dump when we reach a trailhead that has a bathroom. These tend to be pit toilets and makes the job of dumping even easier because you can just let-er-rip and not worry about backsplash.
When the toilet stalls have been full, I’ve even dumped our toilet (with liquid waste only) into a urinal. You just have to limit the flow so it doesn’t overflow.
2. Porta Potties
You know those portable toilets they have at events and construction sites? Well, these are by far our favorite place to dump our toilet. They’re easy because you just prop the door open with your foot, lean in and dump! It’s also nice because when we are at an event, we can avoid using the portable toilets they have set up, and simply go in every other day to dump our toilet.
3. RV Dump Station
I do not like dumping the toilet at an RV dump station and will always look for alternatives. The problem with them is that, as I mentioned earlier in this article, the size of the drain is much smaller and makes it more difficult to dump. Dump stations are also typically disgusting as they have remnants of other people’s waste all around the area, and you have to walk over it and stand right next to the sewer in order to empty the toilet. It’s also a two person job (unless you can find a rock) if there is one of those metal drain covers as one person needs to hold it open while the other dumps.
Privacy With a Portable Toilet
Since a portable toilet doesn’t come with 4 walls like a traditional bathroom does, what do you do about privacy? For us, that was never a problem since we aren’t shy about going in front of each other and the camper was all the privacy we needed from the outside world. For those who aren’t that comfortable, an easy solution is to buy a portable shower tent and put that outside along with the toilet (or even inside if you have the room).
The other option is to tell the person(s) you’re traveling with to go take a walk for a few minutes while you take care of business in the RV. There have been a few times where I overindulged on spicy food and, for the sake of our relationship, I told Kait she needed to exit the van.
We found the portable toilet solution that works for us. If you’re looking for the best portable camping toilets to use in your car or RV, we hope this was helpful for you.
If you decide to go with one of the portable camping toilets that use disposable waste bags, be sure to check with the waste management company in your area for proper human waste disposal.
What kind of RV toilet do you have, and is your toilet portable?