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4 Best Campervan Toilet Options for Van Life

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Choosing whether or not to have a toilet in your campervan is a tough call. While having a campervan toilet makes it easier to stealth camp, dealing with a black tank or a bag of doo-doo isn’t the most fun activity in the world.

Plus, a van toilet takes up room in what’s already a really small living space. That’s the main reason we don’t have a toilet in our campervan, which is a small Chevy Astro.

Instead, we rely on campground bathrooms, vault toilets, truck stops, fast food joints, or my personal favorite: going in the great outdoors.

We are backpackers already, so digging a cat hole isn’t a big deal. If you do choose this method, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and then cover everything when done to leave no trace.

To minimize toilet paper usage with this method, we use a portable bidet.

However, you may be one of those people who absolutely needs a campervan toilet to live the van life. You may need to get up and “go” throughout the night or want your privacy in the morning.

We hope this post helps you pick the best portable toilet for van life, or maybe you’ll decide to go au natural with no toilet at all.

 

In a hurry? Here are our top three picks!

Best Chemical
Porta Potti White
Porta Potti White
  • Holding tank indicator
  • Battery-powered flush
  • 5.5 gallon waste tank
Best Bucket
Luggable Loo
Luggable Loo
  • Snap-on lid with cover
  • Use with bio-bag
  • 5-year warranty
Best Composting
Nature's Head
Nature’s Head
  • Separate containers for #1 and #2
  • Easy to install/maintain
  • 5-year warranty

Do you even need a campervan toilet?

Before you put a van toilet in a DIY campervan conversion, you’ll want to first weigh the pros and cons. A van toilet is a very personal decision and depends on the type of travel you’ll be doing and how comfortable you feel “going” outdoors.

Campervan Toilet Pros:

  • Easier to stealth camp in a city, as you don’t have to go outside or seek a business to go #1 or #2
  • Good if you need to go to the bathroom multiple times per night
  • Handy if you stay in RV parks or campgrounds a lot and are squeamish about public restrooms
  • Perfect for people who love boondocking but aren’t comfortable with digging a hole
  • Portable camping toilets can easily be emptied into a regular toilet – you won’t have to go visit an RV dump station

Campervan Toilet Cons:

  • A van toilet can be smelly if you don’t take care of it properly
  • Emptying a toilet of #2 can be a gross experience, and you’ll have to find the right place to dump
  • A campervan toilet takes up precious room inside a van
  • You’ll have to deal with cleaning a toilet on a regular basis
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Things to think about before choosing the best portable toilet for van life

Woman standing next to a campervan with no toilet
We live in a tiny Chevy Astro van, which is why we didn’t choose to use a portable toilet for our campervan.

Are you set on having a portable toilet in your campervan? Here’s what you should consider before making a purchase:

How much space do you have? 

Look around your campervan and figure out where your van toilet will go. Take measurements and figure out just how much space you can dedicate to a portable toilet. 

If you don’t have a lot of space, you can always use a folding campervan toilet with a bio bag. My dad just started van life and he uses this folding toilet.

Do you want a permanent van toilet or one you can carry around? 

One type of portable campervan toilet, called a permanent cassette toilet, is meant to be permanently mounted inside your campervan. This toilet is connected to your vehicle’s water system for flushing and features a small outer door where you can access the tank, or cassette.

Then, the tank can be carried or wheeled to a restroom or a dumping station.

Do you want to deal with a waste tank you’ll need to empty? 

Think about whether you want to deal with a van toilet with a waste tank you need to empty and clean, or if you prefer dealing with a bio bag or composting toilet instead.

Do you want to go both #1 and #2 in the campervan toilet? 

Some people choose to only do #1 in their van toilet. That means you don’t need to add any chemicals, and can simply clean the toilet with water and maybe a little vinegar or bleach.

Do you want to put toilet paper in your van toilet?

Another question to ask yourself is whether you want to put toilet paper right in your portable van toilet for your campervan. This can cause the tank or bag to fill up even faster.

Some van lifers choose to stick their paper into a trash can with a lid, then empty the can frequently.

The 4 best van toilet options for a campervan

A portable toilet inside a shower in this Dodge Promaster campervan
This Dodge Promaster fits a shower and a toilet. Photo: Off Grid Adventure Vans

There are quite a few different options when it comes to choosing the best campervan toilet.

In this post, we’ll tell you about the pros and cons of each van toilet so you can decide what’s best for you.

The portable chemical van toilet

Woman sitting on a portable toilet for van life
Photo: Instagram/threeweekstowander/

Pros:

  • Small and compact
  • Easy to move around
  • Feels like a normal toilet,
  • Easy to set up
  • Affordable
  • You can bolt some to the floor of your van

Cons: 

  • Have to dump waste
  • Liquids can freeze in winter
  • Have to deal with chemicals
  • Can be smelly

A portable chemical toilet for van life is easy to move around. This means when you’re not using it in your campervan you could set it up outside using a privacy tent.

Plus, you can easily hide it away when the van toilet isn’t in use.  

These small porta potties for van life comes with a small waste tank and a freshwater tank for flushing. 

Some come with a hold down kit, so you can secure your portable toilet while driving around.

Some portable toilets can get about 50 flushes per tank – not bad! The main problem some van lifers talk about is the smell if not cared for properly. You also have to deal with removing the waste tank and carrying it to a toilet or outhouse for dumping.

Here are the most popular portable toilet models:

Thetford White Porta Potti

Folks in van life Facebook groups rave about the Thetford White small porta potty for van life. This toilet is specifically designed for use in RVs, trucks, boats and vans. We love that the toilet has a sealed valve to prevent odors from escaping.

The Thetford white features a battery-powered flush, and a capacity for over 50 flushes. There’s both a freshwater and a wastewater tank inside the toilet.

One van lifer says you can secure this to the floor of your van.

Features:

  • Comfortable seat height
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Holding tank indicator
  • Battery-powered flush
  • 4 gallon fresh water tank
  • 5.5 gallon waste tank

Serene Life Outdoor Toilet

This rugged and corrosion-resistant Serene Life outdoor portable toilet is a great pick for van life. Like the Thetford, you’ll get over 50 flushes before you have to empty the detachable holding tank.

What sets this toilet apart from the others is it comes with its own carrying case. It also uses a 3-way pistol flush system with the press of a button.

A double-sealed drain valve protects against nasty odors. We think this is a van life toilet worth checking out!

Features:

  • Rugged construction
  • Corrosive resistent
  • 3-way pistol flush
  • Carrying case
  • Waste level indicator
  • 3.2 gallons freshwater
  • 5.3 gallon waste tank

Camco Premium Portable Toilet

The Camco Premium Travel Toilet is another great option for a van toilet. This portable toilet has a 5.3 gallon holding tank with a 3.75 gallon flush tank.

This van toilet was built to avoid odor, from its sliding valves to ABS material that keeps waste and odors from clinging to the walls. A pump flush action thoroughly rinses the toilet’s bowl and a comfortable seat makes you feel right at home.

While this Camco toilet gets mostly great reviews on Amazon, some warn the tank started leaking after not much use. (ew!)

Features:

  • ABS material keeps odors at bay
  • Easy waste removal
  • Large seat and bowl
  • Latching lid for easy transport
  • Pump action flush
  • 5.3 gallon detachable holding tank
  • 3.75 gallon flush tank

With one of these best toilets for van life its a good idea to put some sort of odor neutralizer in the detachable holding tank part of your toilet. I have heard some people using just vinegar as a deodorizer.

Here are some portable toilet chemical options:

Bag or Bucket Portable Van Toilets for a Campervan

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to set up
  • No chemicals required
  • Easy to throw bag away
  • Small
  • Environmentally-friendly

Cons: 

  • Bags must be thrown out frequently

Bag or bucket portable toilets for van life are the most affordable on the market, and can even be homemade.

You don’t have to buy an entire bucket toilet – if you already have a 5-gallon bucket laying around, just buy one of these lids that fits right on top!

Then, attach either a waste bag or a regular old plastic bag with some poo power, cat litter or peat inside and #2 away!

What’s cool is that you can legally throw the bags away in any garbage dump.

These portable camping toilets are small enough, but you’ll need some sort of cabinet or place to tuck them away inside your campervan. These van toilets can be used either inside or outside your van with a privacy tent.

Here are the most popular bag or bucket toilets:

Luggablo Loo

The 2.3-pound Luggablo Loo comes with a snap-on lid with a cover to mask odors. It’s compatible with Reliance’s own Double Doodie Toilet waste bags. However, one reviewer uses it with a regular kitchen bag and a few scoops of cat litter!

This affordable van toilet comes with an incredible guarantee – a 5-year warranty against material or workmanship defects.

Reviewers say the Luggable Loo is smell free and efficient.

Features:

  • Snap-on seat and lid
  • Affordable
  • 5-year warranty
  • 200 pound weight capacity
  • Convenient and easy to use

Camco Bucket Toilet

Another respected brand of bucket toilets for van life is Camco, which also comes with a snap-on seat and lid attachment. The main difference between the Camco toilet and the Luggable Loo is the Camco can hold 300 pounds.

It has a smooth interior which makes it extra easy to empty and clean.

The Camco bucket toilet‘s seat and lid are made out of UV-resistant polypropylene.

While most reviewers on Amazon love the toilet, some say its hard for a grown man to use.

Features:

  • Snap-on seat and lid
  • 300 pound weight capacity
  • Smooth interior for cleaning
  • UV resistant seat and lid

A composting van toilet for a campervan

 

A post shared by FarOutRide.com (@faroutride) on

Pros:

  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Low odor when used correctly
  • Can go a long time before being emptied
  • High quality

Cons: 

  • Most expensive option
  • Requires maintenance
  • Requires power
  • Isn’t portable

Composting toilets are some of the best toilets for a campervan and are becoming increasingly popular among van lifers. They’re environmentally-friendly and have a low odor if properly maintained. You can go a long time without emptying the toilet as well.

These toilets do require more maintenance and setup than other toilets. They also need a power source to run properly, with outside venting.

You can read our full review of composting toilets here.

Composing toilets are the most expensive option on this list for van toilets. However, they are durable and high-quality, and a great choice if you’re going to be spending an extended amount of time in your campervan.

Here are the most popular composting toilets:

Nature’s Head Composting Toilet

Nature’s Head composting toilets are by far the most affordable ones on the market and are very popular amongst full-time travelers.

Nature’s Head uses stainless steel hardware, can take the jostling and vibration of life on the road. They’re also small enough to fit in the tiniest space.

This composting toilet is fairly easy to install and has separate compartments for #1 and #2.

Features:

  • Hardy design
  • Connects to 12-volt system
  • Separate containers for #1 and #2
  • 5-year warranty

Separatte Villa

Separett’s toilets are sleek and minimalistic, and most-closely mimic a normal toilet. According to Separett’s website, their toilets “overcome the ‘visual acceptance’ hurdle of changing toilet systems.”

A huge difference between Separett and the other options listed here is that the composting doesn’t happen inside the toilet.

Instead, you remove the biodegradable bag and put it somewhere else, like in the ground or a separate composting pile so it can continue composting.

Features:

  • Hardy design
  • Connects to 12-volt system
  • Separate containers for #1 and #2
  • 5-year warranty

Folding/Collapsible Toilets for Van Life

Pros:

  • Easy to store
  • Affordable
  • Can use with either bio bag or dig a hold in the ground
  • Sturdy and lightweight

Cons: 

  • Doesn’t feel like a traditional toilet
  • You have to deal with bio bags if going that route

Another type of toilet we can’t leave out is a folding/collapsible toilet for a campervan. These toilets can fit in any type of van because you just fold it up and slide it anywhere in your van.

My Dad uses this type of toilet and just stores it under his bed platform when not in use.

You can either attach a bio bag to your folding toilet, or just dig a deep hole in the ground and put the van toilet right on top. If you do that, you won’t have to worry about carrying your waste until you find a dumpster.

Popular folding toilets to check out:

Green Elephant Folding Commode

The Green Elephant folding van life toilet is only 3.5 pounds and is made of durable stainless steel.

If you choose to use a bio bag, it covers the entire seat, keeping the toilet clean and sanitary for storage.

You can fold the Green Elephant toilet down almost completely flat to fit anywhere in your van conversion. This is a great toilet for smaller van life vans.

Features:

  • Durable stainless steel
  • 3.5 pounds
  • Folds down almost flat
  • Supports up to 250 pounds
  • Great height for comfortable sitting

Blika Stainless Steel Camping Toilet

The Blika folding camping toilet for a campervan is different from the Green Elephant in that it can support up to 300 pounds.

The stainless steel construction is rust-resistant and durable with rubber stoppers to prevent slipping.

Blika’s folding van life toilet has a comfortable sitting height and folds up neatly for storage.

Features:

  • Rust and corrosion-resistant stainless steel
  • Folds down almost flat
  • Supports up to 300 pounds
  • Great height for comfortable sitting

Accessories to go with a campervan toilet

Van toilet sitting inside a privacy tent in the woods
You can always get a privacy tent for your van toilet! Photo: https://www.instagram.com/farakannabushcraft/

If you’re “going” out in nature, there are some accessories to make your van life bathroom experience a little more comfortable.

Here are our top favorite accessories for a more pleasant #1 and #2 in the great, wild outdoors.

A Portable Bidet

One thing we truly love using while camping in our campervan is a portable bidet. A portable bidet means you’ll use far less toilet paper. You can even fill the bidet with warm water to make the washing experience more enjoyable.

I kid you not – we have TWO of these. One lives in our campervan and one in our sailboat. We even take it backpacking so we don’t have to carry toilet paper around.

Rapid Dissolving Toilet Paper

Another thing you’ll want to consider is toilet paper that easily disintegrates. Scott’s Rapidly Dissolving Toilet Paper for RVs and Boats is a great choice. This means if you do want to put toilet paper into your portable toilet, it will dissolve very quickly and won’t take up as much space in your tank.

A Privacy Tent

A privacy tent for your portable toilet might be something to consider if you’re going to be camping in a public place. This is great for campgrounds when you don’t want your toilet inside your vehicle.

We’ve see a lot of these when boondocking in more crowded places!

Conclusion on the best portable toilets for a campervan

Before buying the best portable toilet, spend some time thinking about whether you really need one in your campervan. There are opinions for and against. Here’s a really interesting article on Curbed about why one 4×4 Sprinter van owner chose not to have a toilet in her van. 

Also, check out The Bearfoot Theory’s blog post about Pros and Cons of a Sprinter van bathroom.

Ultimately, you’ll have to decide whether or not you absolutely need a portable toilet for a campervan.

Or, you can do what some people do, and only use a toilet for #1. There are plenty of other toilets out there for #2, including truck stops, rest stops, gyms, coffee shops, campground bathrooms, you name it.

A portable camping toilet for van life does add another level of convenience when you’re living full-time on the road. It’s especially a good idea for someone who has to go to the bathroom frequently throughout the night.

If there’s a toilet right in your van or RV you won’t have to stop as often for bathroom breaks.

Luckily, there are so many options out there that you’ll be able to pick the best portable toilet perfect for your unique situation.

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20 thoughts on “4 Best Campervan Toilet Options for Van Life”

  1. Lived in vehicles 40yrs.5string electric violinist fiddler pro at14. Long long life.many stories,need to write a book.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for an extensive review of the different possibilities. We have considered it several times, but still we have not got one. Partly due to the space (VW Caravelle old type does not have plenty of space), partly due to the practical challenges, but not least because we mostly travel only a month or two during summer in very remote areas. Therefore we still stick to the original method of squatting in the great outdoors. My wife claims she will continue as long as hips and knees are functioning well! For sure privacy can be a challenge when staying at popular sites. But, well, I think most campers know to respect privacy if they get a glimpse of a bare bottom among the bushes.

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