Portable Toilet For Camping: All-In-One 2018 Guide [Infographic]
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Have you ever been camping in the woods? It’s all fun and games until you find yourself in need of a toilet. If you have ever used a shovel to dig a small hole for your business instead of using a portable camping toilet, you can probably relate. Even the most clumsy portable toilet can be a luxury compared to squatting in the woods, or god forbid, hanging your business over a boat.
In fact, portable toilets are pretty useful when you go camping, boating or any other place that doesn’t have a clean and fixed toilet. Portable toilets for camping are not only convenient and inexpensive, they also give you the privacy and an enormous amount of decency when you want to use the toilet outdoors.
To make the choice of which portable toilet is the best, we’ve created a Top5er list with the 5 absolutely best toilets in 2018. But before that, let’s check what to actually look at when choosing the perfect portable toilet. We’ll also cover what types of movable toilets there are and what are the problems you can encounter (and how to fix them quickly).
Let’s start off with the overall summary you can quickly check in the infographics below to get a bit of a grip on what to look for when buying a portable toilet:
Best Portable Toilets Of 2018 – Top5er list
We’ve compiled a list of the most popular portable toilets for camping based on quite a few factors. Starting with the capacity, weight and flush number of each toilet and up to how popular they are and how much does a portable toilet cost. Here is the list of best outdoor toilets:
1 – SereneLife Outdoor Portable Toilet Review (Best Of All)
When it comes to outdoor toilets, the overall best pick is SereneLife and it’s quite easy to see why just from the picture. It is robust and durable; these are two very important qualities when it comes to portable toilets for camping where you need for a toilet to withstand dirt, rain and other nasty problems.
As you can see from the list of best portable toilets, they all have 5-6 gallon capacity. What makes SereneLife outdoor toilet better than all the rest is the flushing technique and convenience.
How to flush a portable toilet? Most of them have a flushing method but the SereneLife toilet is the easiest and more reliable to use. You can see the flush nozzle of the outdoor toilet that you just press like a normal toilet button and start the flush.
Being above 11 pounds, it is the heaviest reviewed toilet for camping. Well, how heavy are the best toilets for outdoor? About 10 pounds is the short answer. We’ll see a toilet that weighs only 3 pounds and is very movable. However, when designing a portable toilet, you really need to have two separate parts – water tank and the bowl, along with the sealing waste valve, waste tang tube with cap and so on. All of these add weight to the portable toilet making it a bit less portable but much more comfortable and useful.
The SereneLife toilet holds 5.3 gallons in the portable toilet water tank which is enough for more than 50 flushes. Oh, and just look at the reviews on Amazon. Have you seen a product that would have 4.9/5 star rating? Pretty much everybody loves the reliability of the SereneLife toilet.
How much does the best portable camping toilet cost? About $100. If you’re spending $300+ for a tent, then $100 for doing your business conveniently shouldn’t be a problem at all. You can check the price of the portable toilet here:
At the first sight, Luggable Loo looks pretty much like a bucket you do your business in. And guess what, it’s exactly that! With an addition of a toilet seat, the Luggable Loo is the cheapest portable toilet on the list.
Admittedly, it looks like a bucket but this portable toilet bucket is the only one of all camping toilets that has more than 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon. And most of them are very positive at that! What makes this bucket with toilet seat the most talked about outdoors toilet?
It’s simple. It’s light. It’s cheap. That’s right, you literally get what you see. A 5-gallon bucket you can do your business in.
Being light is very important for a portable toilet. In fact, how portable a toilet is pretty much comes down to size and weight, and this bucket with toilet seat weighs only 3 pounds. Which portable toilet is perfect for camping or fishing? Well, Luggable Loo is one strong choice.
The Luggable Loo doesn’t have the option to flush. Do all camping toilets flush? Some do, some don’t, but the ones who don’t are easier to clean and less can go wrong with them.
But the real reason everybody loves Luggable Loo is the price. How much should you spend on a portable toilet? You can spend $200 for a luxury version but the Luggable Loo is pretty much the cheapest portable toilet you can get. You’ll need $40 for one of these and you don’t have to worry much about it breaking down. For this price, the camping toilet is pretty much expendable.
If you want a simple and light toilet for fishing, camping or hiking, you can check the price below:
3 – Porta Potti Portable Toilet Review (The Luxurious One)
You can even find some luxury even as far as outdoor toilets are concerned. The Porta Potti toilet is a choice for everybody who wants to go to the loo at a camping trip the same way you do at home. The Porta Potti is basically a mini standard toilet. It comes with a big 5.5-gallon waste tank and 4-gallon water tank that is enough for about 70 flushes.
If you’re looking for an RV portable toilet or for longer trips, the Porta Potti will do the job. The design of the outdoor toilet is quite impressive – it’s sleek and modern, and it even comes with a comfortable seat height.
The height of a portable toilet seat is on average quite lower than for an ordinary toilet (even below 13 inches). Porta Potti offers a considerable 15-inch height from the floor to the seat.
When you’re asking yourself what is the best portable toilet for camping, RVs, vans and so on, you have your answer. The great thing about this high-end outdoor toilet is that using it feels like you’re at home in your own bathroom. It even has a compartment for a toilet roll.
How do you carry the portable toilet around? That’s very important because you don’t want to just touch one of these all over the place. As you can see from the image on the left, the Porta Potti has a handle between the water tank and toilet bowl. That’s how you can pick it up and carry it wherever you want. Nonetheless, be aware that despite weighing 10 pounds, it can weigh more than 30 pounds when fully filled with water.
It’s also easy to clean it. We go through the section of how to clean and how to dispose of the portable toilet waste further on. For example, some RV or camping places have a designated ‘dump space’ where you can empty a portable toilet. Cleaning it can be a messy business but the curly edges and few joints Porta Potti has makes cleaning an outdoor toilet easier. On top of that, it has a rotating pour-out spout that’s useful when you’re emptying the portable toilet water tank – you won’t get the backsplashes.
Sealed valve: it is golden. Portable toilets can start to give away a bad odor, especially if left for a few days in the sun, as you might imagine. The Porta Potti has a special sealed valve that prevents bad odor from spreading. Like all high-end toilets, it’s leak proof which further prevents odor from spreading from the camping toilet.
Being a high-end toilet, it also has the highest price. Nonetheless, for $30 or so extra you’re buying the most expensive portable toilet but also the most comfortable and best-looking one. Check the current price here:
4 – Zimmer Comfort Portable Toilet Review (Easiest To Carry)
Zimmer Comfort is a small and practical outdoor toilet for travels and camping. It has two separate parts made out of polyethylene – the 5-gallon waste tank that you can easily empty, and the 3-gallon freshwater holding tank.
The 15″ high x 14″ wide x 14.5″ dimensions make it one of the smallest portable toilets that you can normally seat on. Sure, there are some even smaller toilets for hiking, but doing your business sitting on those feels like trying to hit a paper cup with your business.
A great thing about the small portable toilet is that it can both be neatly packed for trips and camping, and, above all, it is light. While an average toilet for camping has a weigh of about 10 pounds, the Zimmer Comfort toilet weighs less than 6 pounds. You can pick it up quite easily, even if it’s filled with 3 gallons of water.
Here is how it works in 3 easy steps:
As you can see from the toilet photos, the upper compartment holds the water and uses a sophisticated flush to use as little as possible water to flush. The lower compartment holds the waste and it can be cleaned out quite easily with some portable toilet cleaning chemicals and water.
The key feature of the Zimmer Comfort toilet is the sealing waste valve that is a must for all decent portable toilets. The seal makes a permanent barrier between the upper compartment and the lower waste compartment. This, in turn, keeps the waste and the bad odor trapped in the lower compartment. If you worry about the stink from the portable toilet, your best bet to keep down the odor is by buying a portable toilet with a sealing waste valve.
To even further keep down the smell when you’re on vacation and use an outdoor toilet on a daily basis, you can use deodorizing tablets that sanitize the smell of the toilet even further.
You can buy one of the smallest outdoor toilets below and add the deodorizing tablets as well:
5 – Camco Standard Travel Toilet Review (Standard Toilet For Ourdoors)
There is nothing special about the Camco Standard toilet for camping. And that is exactly the point! The Camco Standard has all the standard specification that a good camping toilet should have.
What is the portable toilet made out of? The standard polyethylene hard plastic, of course. It has all that an outdoor toilet needs; a 5.3-gallon waste tank that is well-connected to the 2.5-gallon water flush tank. You can get something like 40 flushes from that 2.5-gallon portable toilet tank.
The upper water part of the toilet bowl is separated from the lower waste tank by a valve lock that seals perfectly and takes care of the odor. On top of that, it prevents leakage from the Camco portable toilet. To keep the two parts together, the connection is reinforced with side latches as well.
What are the dimensions of a standard portable toilet? 15.5″ x 14″ x 16″, which is larger than a small toilet for camping (#4 pick) but smaller than the high-end toilet for the entire family (#3 pick).
Nonetheless, if you need a sturdy-looking and reliable toilet for camping, RV or a boat, and you’re not picky about how it looks like, the Camco toilet is a suitable option:
5 Things To Consider When Buying A Toilet For Camping Or RVs
Portable toilets are quite different than normal indoor toilets. We’ve already written about what to look for when picking the best toilet but the outdoor toilets are another story. We don’t have to decide between one-piece and two-piece toilet because all portable toilets are one-piece; it’s just more convenient.
However, when picking an outdoor toilet, we have to be aware of certain metrics. Here is the list of 5 things you should always check when comparing portable toilets:
#1 Size And Weight Of Toilet (Smaller For Hiking, Bigger For Camping)
As you might imagine, the size and weight are very important; normally we want to reduce both of these. What sizes of portable toilets there are? Well, a standard size would be something like 15 x 15 x 15 inches. Anything below that is considered a small portable toilet and anything above that is considered a larger toilet more appropriate for longer (a week or more) vacations.
When it comes to the toilet size, there are two things to remember:
The smaller the toilet, the easier it is to carry it. But, on the other hand, it is less comfortable to use, obviously. Smaller outdoor toilets are more appropriate for hiking, short trips, and finishing trips.
The larger the toilet, the heavier it is to carry; however, it is much more comfortable than the smaller varieties. You can use it for longer trips; the big outdoor toilets are especially appropriate for RVs, boats, vans or longer camping trips. And, of course, if there are more people, a larger portable toilet makes sense.
And remember, larger toilets are more stable – that counts for much when you’re squatting on a toilet.
Weight depends on the size but also on the material. What are portable toilets made out of? Usually light materials like ABS plastic or high-density polyethylene. In fact, polyethylene is the most popular choice when designing a portable toilet because it can be easily maneuvered into shape and it has a high durability/weight ratio.
#2 How Many Times Can You Flush?
If you don’t want constantly refilling the portable toilet with water, you’ll probably have to opt for a bigger water tank. With the advancement in portable toilet flushing mechanisms, an outdoor toilet offer anywhere from 30 to 80 flushes per one filling on the water tank.
There are two factors that define how many times you can flush the camping toilet: the volume of the water tank and the volume required for a single flush.
You can get anything from 2-gallon to 6-gallon water tank. The water tank is the upper compartment of the outdoor toilet and if you can readily refill it, you can opt for low-volume tanks (it’ll make carrying the portable toilet filled with water easier). However, if you can’t or don’t want to refill it more than once or twice, go for the high-volume tanks.
A standard toilet uses 1.6 GPF (gallon per flush) of water. The portable toilets are designed to use only about 0.1 GPF. Of course, the flush is not as thorough as with a standard toilet but in the outdoors, it will do the trick.
Combining the water tank size of portable toilets and flush volume, we can calculate the number of flushes you get with one filling. Being a key metric, the producers of outdoor toilets will usually state the number of flushes. Just a tip: take that number with a grain of salt. Some producers might exaggerate with the flush number.
#3 Waste Tank Volume
The bottom part of a portable toilet is the waste tank. It’s where all the feces end up. Of course, camping toilets are meant for multiple uses and the feces accumulate to, in the end, fill the entire tank. That’s why it’s important to check what kind of volume does a portable toilet waste tank have.
Interestingly, the majority of outdoor toilets have 4-6 gallon waste tanks. Why are all portable toilets so comparable when it comes to waste tank volume?
It’s quite simple actually. The waste tank, the bottom part of the toilet, gives height to a toilet. A portable toilet would be unusable it would be too low: that’s why the waste tanks are quite big to heighten the base for the water tank and, finally, the seat of the camping toilets.
#4 Do Portable Toilets Smell? (Key Is Sealed Valve)
One of the key concerns is that the toilet for camping will smell. It’s easy to imagine all those feces macerating and producing an outworld aroma that the whole camp will smell. But do the portable toilets really smell?
Not if they have a sealed valve. The key to an odorless portable toilet is to completely shut off the bottom waste tank when you’re not using a toilet. Of course, when you flush the outdoor toilet, the seal will open and let the water and feces through to the waste tank. The sealed valve is the key feature that completely separates the tanks and prevents leaks.
Tip: If you can still smell the portable toilet, use deodorant tablets for toilets. You just flush them down to the waste tank and it will cover the smell (or at the very least, you’ll smell the deodorant pills instead of feces).
Also, check how both the tanks are connected. Strong connection with sealed valves will not only take care of the odor but it will also increase the stability of the portable toilet. Check that one tank doesn’t wobble on the other; they should be held together as one uniform piece.
#5 How To Clean A Portable Toilet? (And What To Dispose Of The Waste)
Sooner or later, the camping toilet will be full and you’ll need to empty the portable toilet and clean it. How to empty a portable toilet? Well, simply pour out the waste. That is easier said than done. For emptying purposes, portable toilets usually have a big spout. If you’re lucky and the camping toilet’s spout is wide enough, the waste will drip out without a problem.
However, what to do if the waste is stuck in the portable toilet? Well, you can shake it but a more effective technique is to use a water hose and flush the feces out. Another way of emptying toilet for camping is to use chemicals to soften the feces; add the chemicals, leave it for half an hour and then flush it out with more ease.
In order for portable toilets to be hygienic, they need to be regularly and properly cleaned. Here is a great article about how to clean a portable toilet. In short, you have to spray the insides with water and add anti-bacterial spray to prevent the growth of bacteria. High-pressure hot wash is a good idea as well if you have an option. In the end, you can even use some odor removing fluid to get rid of any persistent smell.
And finally, where to dump the portable toilet waste? Improper disposing of toilet waste can be damaging to the environment and can even be against the law in some states. In order to help you properly dispose of the portable toilet waste, some camping and RV sites offer dump stations or vault toilets. Those are something referred to as the ‘black tanks’.
Types Of Portable Toilets For Campers, Camping, Hiking, RVs, Boats
There are several varieties of portable toilets. Usually, you can’t get a portable toilet specifically for camper of a portable toilet designed only for boats. Nonetheless, you can narrow down your choices by knowing which features you’re probably going to need for a specific use.
For example, if you’re going hiking, you don’t want to carry the biggest portable toilet there is. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a portable toilet for campers, you would probably want a bigger and more comfortable toilet with a big water and waste tank.
In any case, we usually don’t decide for a toilet because it has a big water tank, for example. We base our choice of what it need it for; be it if you want to know which is the best portable toilet for RVs or camping. Below you’ll find some rough features that are desirable for a specific outdoor activity.
Types Of Portable Toilets
Portable Toilet For:
Above 10 lbs
Above 10 lbs
Below 8 lbs
14x14x14 - 16x16x16
No water tank
Easy To Carry
Small And Compact
Porta Potti Toilet
Porta Potti Toilet
Zimmer Comfort Toilet
Portable Toilets For Campers
Campers can be quite amazing but what’s usually not amazing about campers is a lack of a toilet. While some RVs have a toilet, almost none of the campers have one. It doesn’t really matter if we talk about travel trailer or popup camper – usually one the luxury ones come with microwaves and toilets.
By now you see why portable toilets are a great idea for campers. What should be the features of a portable toilet for campers? First of, it should be big and comfortable. Chances are you’re going to use it every day for longer periods of time and you want for the toilet to be comfortable and to have big tanks so you don’t have to clean the portable toilet or refill it with water all the time. This is all about comfortable living; on the other hand, if you go hiking, you just want to do your business and move on.
The perfect portable toilet for camper should have dimensions above 15x15x15 inches and with a big waste tank (more than 5 gallons) and considerable water tank (at least 3 gallons). That will probably bring its weight up to more than 10 lbs but a portable toilet for campers is meant to be a bit more stationary as let’s say a hiking toilet.
There are two things you want to make sure when buying a camper toilet:
Should be comfortable (you’re going to use it daily for weeks on end).
Where are you going to dispose of portable toilet waste? Make sure to notice the ‘black box’ for emptying an outdoor toilet when you park your camper at a camper park.
RVs And Toilets – Some Have Them, Others Need An Extra Toilet
Unlike campers, some RVs, even not the most deluxe ones, come with a toilet and you don’t need to buy an additional portable toilet. On the other hand, there are also some RVs that come without a toilet. In some cases that makes sense – a toilet, after all, can be unhygienic and contribute to an unsavory smell in the RV.
The specifications of a perfect portable toilet for RVs are pretty much the same as for campers. Just make sure it’s big and comfortable enough; you don’t want to clean it too frequently and it should feel you’re doing your business in the bucket.
Also, make sure to notice the ‘black boxes’ on RV camps. Sooner or later you’ll have to ask where to empty the portable toilet waste – the ‘black boxes’ are the designated containers for portable toilet waste
Hiking Portable Toilets
Portable toilets for hiking are a completely different matter. Whereas you could afford to get a heavier toilet for camping or RVs, toilets that are best for hiking are small and, above all, lightweight.
When you go hiking, you pretty much have two options as far as your toilet needs are concerned: either bring a portable toilet or do your thing in the woods. Admittedly, more often than not hikers don’t want to be dragging a hiking toilet along. Chances are sooner or later you’ll find a toilet or just do your business in the woods.
The hikes where a portable toilet would come in useful are usually the ones where you camp on the way. It makes little sense to drag a toilet with you on a one-day hike. However, if you’re going to be in the wild for a few days and have a tent with you, a portable toilet for hiking could be a viable option.
Common sense says such a toilet should be light (under 10 lbs) and small (below 15x15x15 inches). The smaller and lighter portable toilet the better. Oh, and you usually don’t want a portable toilet with a water tank and fancy flushing system – that comes with a considerable addition to the weight you don’t want to carry on a hike.
Outdoor Toilet For Camping
What is really interesting about portable toilets for camping is that you can see pretty much the same kind of portable toilet on camping sites. No one really comes with just a bucket or the fancy flush portable toilets; everybody has a nice and decent, not too big and not too small, toilet.
Here are some requirements that an outdoor toilet for camping should have:
Light enough to be easily carried around.
Comfortable enough to not drive you nuts even after a week of camping.
Large enough water tank (2-4 gallons) so you don’t have to refill it all the time.
Big enough capacity or waste tank (4-6 gallons) so you don’t have to empty the portable toilet too frequently.
What is the best tip for buying a portable toilet for camping?
Stay away from the small ones and stay away from the big ones. Everything in between is fair game. The average price of a portable toilet for camping is about $100. If you’re looking at a toilet with a price tag $150, you’re probably looking at a toilet more appropriate for campers or RVs.
Do You Even Need A Toilet On A Boat?
It’s easy to imagine why you don’t need a toilet on a boat. Being surrounded by water in all directions gives you at least few options where to do your thing and flung it over the boat. But in some cases, portable toilet for a boat is a smart idea.
The first thing is simple – you don’t really want everybody on the beach or a river bank to look at you while you’re trying to enjoy some privacy. Of course, if you’re in the middle of the ocean, the need for a boat toilet because of this becomes less apparent.
The second thing is that you want some privacy and that includes the people on the boat. It doesn’t matter is there are only 2 people or 100 people on the boat; if you’re squatting over the water, chances are people will see you. It can also be a bit indecent.
In such cases, a portable toilet for a boat is a good idea. Usually, the preference is for a small and compact kind of portable toilet for small boats. However, if you have a big boat that has a lot of space, you can also choose a more comfortable boating toilet.
Do You Use A Portable Toilet On Your Trips?
This is about it. If you have experience with portable toilets and would like to share them, you can comment below.
And the end of the day, doing your business outdoors might be awkward but considerably less so if you use a portable toilet. Some decency and privacy should be a part of every visit to the loo.