Camping toilets fast became a necessity for any camping trip.
Shared bathrooms at busy campsites can be an unfortunate experience and this really provides a convenient and simple solution to this problem.
There are numerous designs and they come in various shapes and sizes. Ranging from rustic bucket toilets and supportive commode toilets, to modern portable chemical toilets.
It can be a headache choosing which is right for your trip. But don’t worry, we are here to break it all down in simplistic fashion to provide you with an easy understanding of what’s available.
There are many ethical practices one must learn before taking a chemical toilet on the road, but once fully prepared, they are the most hygienic and effective method of waste management.
Best Portable Camp Toilets Reviewed
1. Dometic Portable Toilet 5.0 Review
Our last feature-full portable toilet comes from Dometic. With lots of features here such as pressurized water, tank level indicator and durable design, let’s see more details from this camping porta potty.
Incredibly durable with a resistant build that can work well in all conditions. The ABS construction allows it to be used even within treacherous weather conditions and environments. This is especially useful when on the road as it can withstand bumps and bruises, and can also sit nicely within your toilet tent at the campsite.
Tank Level Indicator
The prismatic tank has an integrated level indicator, this lets you check on the level of the tank to see if it needs emptying. This is especially useful and saves you from using an already full tank, which creates a horrendously grimy situation. This is exactly why there are price tags on feature-full camping toilets like this, they prevent those horrible experiences.
A top feature includes a push button flush, which is of course very convenient and easy to use. The seat is also substantial in diameter and can comfortably fit most adults. It also has a lid that latches down tight, compact and secure when on-road or moving. Especially useful when moving around the campsite with a full tank, stopping any spillages.
- High Strength ABS
- Push Button Flush
- Tank Level Indicator
2. Camco Premium Travel Toilet Review
With over 1000 customer reviews on Amazon and still maintaining a high score of 4.5 out of 5, it’s an effective and fully functional camping toilet. With a host of features such as a massive 5.3 gallon detachable tank, odor free material, and a powerful pump flush. Probably one of the best travel toilets for under $100 around.
The large holding tank that can hold up to 5.3 gallons and is also easily detached for emptying and cleaning. The tank is sealed solidly to avoid any water leaks and also stop any smells working their way out. It features a smart ABS resin which is used in the interior of the toilet and tank, this stops any odors sticking to the toilet and lingering for hours on end. It also stops any dirt and waste sticking to the material so you can wash it clean easily after use.
What we like about the camping toilet from Camco is its large seat. A lot of travel toilets have small seats, which makes it difficult to sit on comfortably. With measurements of 16 x 16 x 17 for height, width and diameter, it performs excellently well.
- Large Sized Toilet Seat
- Powerful Flush Flow
- Lightweight 11.5lbs
3. Porta Potti 550 Review
An award-winning portable toilet from Porta Potti, it is like the spaceship of camping toilets. With a homelike feel, large bowl size and a seat height designed for comfort, this camping toilet is special.
As you can see visually it’s very modern in appearance. A fresh, bright white color and seat height you would be used to at home. In this model, the bowl size is larger than previous models, with benefits like less splashback and holding more waste.
Battery-powered flush provides a strong water flow, clearing waste and cleaning through the bowl at the same time. Additionally, the ergonomic carrying handle for easy lifting and the integrated paper holder is within arms reach. A tank level indicator is also a new feature, alleviating having to keep take off the lid and check manually.
Capacity and Dimensions
The dimensions of the camping toilet are 18 x 18 x 16 in inches and the water tank has a capacity of 4 gallons. While the wastewater capacity is around 5.5 gallons in total. There is a sealed valve engineered into the design which stops odors from escaping. A rotating pour spout is an additional feature that empties the waste tank, simultaneously reducing splashbacks.
- Award Winner
- Sleek Design
- Sealed Valves
4. SereneLife Portable Toilet Review
This makes the list because of its main asset, its flushing power, and efficiency. It’s also a durable travel toilet with a rugged design, an economical flushing system and a fair price to boot. Let’s check out more of its main features.
With a piston pump flush, it can flush water through the toilet powerfully, keeping it clean and odor free. The 3.2 gallon water tank offers over 50 flushes from start to finish. A 3-way nozzle assists in creating various angles of flush, removing stubborn grime. The waste tank holds 5.3 gallons to be exact and has easy access for filling and disposal.
The seat also has an attachable seat cover so when it’s not being used, you can cover up to keep it safe and tidy. If it is fixed down in your RV or boat/SUV, then this can be used to cover the toilet and stop any water leakage when moving.
A rugged design, engineered to endure being on the move with RV’s, boats, and trucks alike, handling continuous movement. Secondly, the material utilizes a high-density Polyethylene, infused with a corrosion-resistant membrane. Insanely durable and strong with durability that equates to longevity, giving more bang for your buck.
- Rugged and Compact Design
- Resourceful 50+ Flushes
- Piston Pump Flush
5. Thetford Corp Porta Potti Review
A smaller, lightweight version of their 5 gallon models. The 345 is a newer and improved model of the previous 320P and much more aesthetically designed to boot. With reduced tank size and weight, this is a great choice for smaller camping groups.
Small and compact design allows for easy maneuverability especially with the ergonomic handle featured. It also has been fitted with a piston flush that is very easy to use and produces a strong flow of water.
Incredibly easy to clean, which is probably one of the most important issues to deal with. The holding tank has been completely sealed via the valve, which traps any odors within. There is also a removable seat which is great for cleaning, just remove and blast with a RinseKit to stop dirt accumulating under the rim.
Capacity and Dimensions
Measuring up at 13 x 17 in inches for height and width, it is smaller than some of the other 5 gallon portable toilets. It has a 15.5-inch depth which creates a good flow through the system. The fresh water tank holds 4 gallons of water which is enough for around 33 flushes.
- Fully Sealed Waste Tank
- Lightweight and Compact
- Piston Flush Feature
6. Reliance Hunter’s Loo Review
A very easy to use and simplistic camping toilet that soon became a best seller due to its lightweight design and practical features. Useful for on any outdoor trip as a fast and effective method for emergency bathroom breaks.
Incredibly light weighing under 3 lbs, easily carried and maneuvered around the campsite. Its measurements are 13.5 x 13 x 15.5 in inches, for length, width then height. As you can see it has a height advantage over the hassock self-contained toilet below.
It has a very simplistic design, for example, a seat is easily added on top of the bucket making it a million times more comfortable to sit on. Secondly a lid with a snap back action, this is convenient and hygienic at the same time. This means you don’t need to fiddle around with the lid to make sure it’s closed.
Take it camping, fishing, and hunting or even draw straws and have the loser carry it on your next hike. It’s only a few lbs. so it’s not very strenuous and it will never be more than that when carried, as you wouldn’t carry it when it has waste inside.
- Lightweight 2.4lbs
- Snap-On Seat and Cover
- 5 Gallon Capacity
7. Camco Bucket Toilet Review
A great option for a versatile camping toilet that can be used for all scenarios of outdoor recreation. Fishing, hunting, camping and backpacking alike, you will find this lightweight model very easy to carry and use.
Utilizing a soft and smooth interior it can be hosed and washed very easily without the need for scrubbing. Dirt and grime will not become stubborn on this easy to clean material.
With a 5 gallon capacity, it will suffice for even large camping groups, while the bucket itself remains lightweight to carry when empty. Additionally includes a seat and lid which attach on to the top, providing comfort when in use. The lid is a snap back, which fixes tightly to the bucket, trapping odors.
Using a Polypropylene material in its manufacture, it’s incredibly resistant and durable. Withstanding any chemicals used to break down waste. Additionally, it is UV resistant, as well as the lid and seat.
- Easy Clean Interior
- Durable Polypropylene
8. Reliance Hassock Bucket Toilet Review
Clearly the market leader in camping bucket toilets, Reliance is back again with a variation of their original bucket toilet. This one is wider and deeper than the latter, but is shorter by an inch or 2. It’s also twice the weight as the bucket toilet, however, it’s still super lightweight at only 5 lbs. in weight.
The seat is molded with polyethylene onto the thick rim, shaping the seat accordingly. A contoured seat is proven to be effective for our health and body when sitting for extended periods.
A hidden paper holder is integrated into the cover. Secondly, the cover is an inner splash cover, stopping any unwanted splash-backs when using from a height.
With measurements of 14.7 x 14.7 x 14 in inches for length, width, and height. The contoured seat and paper holder features probably add to the extra weight, also the inner splash cover which is an additional cover. But I wouldn’t say no to these features to save a pound or two. This whole unit can fit comfortably inside a utility tent, besides your main family tent.
- Inner Splash Cover
- Hidden Toilet Paper Holder
- Contoured Seat
9. Green Elephant Folding Commode Review
Essentially a folding chair with an attachable waste bag. However, as a commode, it is engineered to be way more stable and sturdy than your average chair. With a host of features to make it safe and secure and a capacity to support heavy weights, it’s a great choice for all the family.
Easily carried at only 3.5lbs it’s also very conveniently stored as it folds up into a thin and compact shape. Pop it in the boot or hook it up onto the roof rack easily. Separate camping toilet bags are sold by Green Elephant that are compatible with this model that are 8-gallon waste bags.
A dependable frame that can support up to 250 lbs. The frame is also rust resistant which is important when it’s a camping toilet. As not only does it sustain urine but also weathering. Even some non-visible droplets are enough to accumulate rust over time, so this is a welcome feature.
The dimensions are 15 x 16 in inches for width and length and the height is 15.3 inches tall. The width and length are substantial. Combined with the oversized plastic seat, it’s equivalent to your home toilet. The seat is secured tightly to the frame with screws so it won’t be wobbling or sliding around during use.
- Compact Fold Up Size
- 250lbs Weight Capacity
- Lightweight 3.5lbs
10. Reliance Products Collapsible Toilet Review
This economical camping toilet is a collapsible fold up choice for your next outdoor adventure. Pops out easily, folds in a simple fashion and can be stored simply. Let’s check out some more details.
A highly portable camping toilet that has an integrated handle for easy transportation to and from the car. It’s also collapsible, the legs fold inwards after use which means it’s very simple to store away. Collapsing into a compact shape, around 5 inches in height approximately.
Surprisingly strong with a weight capacity of 300lbs, which is 50lbs more than the Green Elephant commode. It also features a leg locking system, so you don’t have to worry about the legs folding in on you.
This is also compatible with the obligatory waste bags that are made by Reliance. These waste bags are known as Double Doodie Bags and come compatible with every model of portable toilet.
- Discount on Bulk Buys
- 300lbs Weight Capacity
- 5 Year Warranty
Chemical Toilets vs Bucket vs Commode
These are the more robust and luxury models that are full of features. With dual tanks for fresh water and waste containment, they can be used as camping toilets within a toilet tent. Also popularly used in RV’s, boats and trucks as they can be fixed with brackets for maximum security.
They offer the most features, flushes and usage out of all the camping toilets. They are also simple to manage with an easily detachable waste tank and a sealant that stops odors and leaks. Worth the extra dollar if you are looking for a long term option for continual road tripping and camping excursions in groups.
These are perfect for emergency uses and quick fishing, hunting, and camping trips. The options are endless and bucket toilets fill the need where others simply aren’t able to be used. They prove to be very effective in these scenarios and other similar events.
However, with buckets, you will need to get your hands dirty at some point, it’s pretty unavoidable. Without proper sealants on most of them and a plastic bag as the main collector, it’s not for the faint hearted.
Camping commodes are geared towards people who require more stability than a bucket toilet but still want the same simple function and price tag of one.
A camping commode is ideal, usually with folding legs that pack away tight and neatly and a very lightweight framework.
Environmentally friendly as well as you can dig a hole under the commode, where the waste bag would usually lay. You can then cut a hole in the bottom of the bag which creates a funnel directly from the top of the commode to the hole beneath.
This requires a bit of extra work and only recommended for a long duration, but will alleviate any waste disposal issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do Chemical Toilets work?
They may look complex at first sight, like the mother ship of toilets, but they are in fact very simple to use. You can break them down into 4 sections to get a clearer insight into the functionality. The waste tank, fresh water tank, flush system, and the seat. These are the 4 key areas of a chemical toilet.
They operate similarly to a standard toilet you would find at home, you poop, flush and the waste is taken away into the sewer system. It’s the same principle however after flushing the waste is then stored in the waste tank. Within the waste tank, the incoming waste will be met by some chemicals that are designed to break down the waste and suppressing any odors.
The flush, however, comes from the fresh water tank, which normally comes in 2.5 and 5-gallon options. When the flush is pressed the pressured water will start its circulation from the fresh water tank to waste tank, carrying the waste along through with the flush. The better models are generally resourceful in their flushes, giving you around 33-50 flushes per 5-gallon tank, on average. The desirable models will have a piston flush which clears the pan with ease and will erode any stubborn stains.
The pressure is created in various ways depending on the model and system. Some will have a hand pump or a foot pump. Others will generate the pressure automatically when filled from the faucet, by way of an airtight seal.
Seat and Seal
Lastly the seat. The seat is usually integrated onto the portable toilet and has a lifting mechanism allowing easy opening and closing of the hub. Seats vary in size and shape, some more compact models have a narrower diameter, while the larger ones are wider with more depth. Shape also differs, some are more straight and flat while others have a curved and contoured seat shape. Some also have a seat cover which seals the whole toilet in, which is useful while in transit in your RV or boat.
How Do Bucket Toilets Work?
These are very simple and fast to set up, the pop up tent of toilets if you will. We won’t make this harder to understand than it needs to be. They use waste bags, usually ranging from 3-8 gallon sizes that attach around the rim of the bucket and then rest and drop inside the bucket. They have an integrated or attached seat on the rim, you sit, drop your waste and the waste bag below will collect it.
Then when it’s ready for emptying, you pull the waste bag out, tie a knot and dispose of accordingly. You can rinse and clean out the bucket after each trip to prevent a buildup of stains or odors. Although the waste won’t penetrate the waste bag lining, it’s a safety and hygiene precaution only.
How do Camping Commodes work?
The commode is very similar to the toilet bucket, the only difference is the strength of the framework. Commodes are designed to hold heavier weights, securely. Normally in the form of a seat, the legs will extend or fold outwards. There will be a large, oval or rounded seat on top, much like a normal chair.
You then attach the waste bag around the seat, either over the top or underneath the rim, depending on model. You drop your waste and the bag will collect just as before. The one bonus with the commode is the bottom isn’t sealed like a bucket toilet. So this allows you to dig a hole beneath, allowing more depth and easy disposal after.
How to Empty a Chemical Toilet?
Firstly we want to start off on the right foot, with hygiene. You don’t have to, but wearing some protective gloves would be a good idea. Especially if you’re going to be doing regular waste tank runs.
Okay so the waste tank is filling up and you think it’s time to empty.
Detach the tank accordingly and ensure it’s not too full, as you don’t want any spillages on your way to the disposal area, around 3/4 would be fine. Even less if it’s a 5 gallon tank and you struggle with heavier weights or you have a long distance to travel.
The next step is to take the filled waste tank to the correct waste disposal area. These are commonly found on all campsites and campgrounds alike and can be easily identified with signs and markers usually when you enter the site. It’s a good idea to identify where it is and perhaps pitch in relation to this, if you will be doing a lot of back and forth trips.
When you arrive, if your portable toilet has a rotating spout this will show itself to be very useful, allowing you to rotate the drainage away from your body, with an added bit of length. If it doesn’t have this feature, don’t worry, you will just need to bend over slightly more and aim it away from your body, to avoid any unwanted splashbacks and things of this nature.
After it’s been fully drained, there should be a nearby hose or faucet. Give it a good rinse out 1-2 times, if your freshwater tank is also running low it may be a good idea to take both cassettes together at the same time. Two birds with one stone and all of that!
So now you’re waste tank has been emptied and cleaned thoroughly, you’re ready to take it back to basecamp and reattach it. Reattach both waste and water tanks back the same way you took them apart and it will be ready for use again immediately.
Here’s a nice little clip showing how it’s done briefly.
How to Empty a Bucket Toilet?
This tutorial is only for biodegradable waste bags, we strongly suggest you use these and not plastic bags which are not environmentally friendly or easy to dispose of.
Also, we want to mention in regards to bucket toilets. Many people use 2 buckets, 1 for urine and 1 for feces. This is because sometimes if you just want to pee alone, the waste bag will soon fill up if it’s all going into the same bag. This applies more to group camping rather than solo camping, where that wouldn’t be an issue. If you do this, put a few inches of water into the bottom of the bucket or waste bag to capture the urine and dilute it instantly, causing fewer odor issues.
As for the disposal of waste bags. Our main choice would be to bury the waste bags after you’ve finished using them. Remember again, this is for biodegradable waste bags, so they don’t have an effect on the environment when buried.
As a rule of thumb, we tend to start our digs at least 50 feet from any trails or public footpaths for obvious reasons. Also, campsites and water sources are just as important to steer clear of as mentioned in various wild camping etiquette guides.
The depth of the hole should be around 6-8 inches deep, don’t dig it too deep as this reaches a new level of soil which actually doesn’t help in breaking down the waste. The soil between 6-8 inches is perfect for breaking down waste and the biodegradable waste bags. The holes should be filled back in properly and also disguised if possible, this is to not draw any attention from animals and campers alike and digging up your buried treasure.
Note that you should not try to bury more than 1 waste bag in the same hole, try to keep 1 bag per hole. You don’t need to create holes miles away from each other but a few feet at least will be a good idea.
Try to avoid burying toilet paper if possible, but if it’s absolutely necessary to try to use the paper that is perfume and dye-free. This will break down at the correct soil level along with human waste.
How to Clean a Chemical Toilet?
Generally speaking, they are very simple to clean, just follow a few easy steps to keep your camping toilet clean and germ-free.
So while preparing to use your portable toilet you can use a chemical deodorant to prep the tanks for use. There are many brands out there to choose from but Aqua Kem and Eco Smart are 2 of the more well-known ones in this area.
To clean the actual units and exterior of the tanks you can use a cleaning liquid or spray. You need to be careful of a few things while doing this.
Avoid any scouring pads as these will scratch the hell out of the plastic units. Also, don’t use any scouring powders or acids and definitely try not to use any concentrated cleaners. These will also have a bad effect on the material of the toilet and wear down any plastic parts and seals.
You can go with a non-abrasive, safe cleaner like Aqua Clean and also just use a standard soft sponge to wipe and rub away any dirt and grime.
You can wipe dry with a cloth or towel and that’s pretty much it, it’s ready to be used again.
How to Maintain a Chemical Toilet?
There are many little hints and tips to maintain your portable toilet giving it more longevity and durability.
If you are planning to be using it in near-freezing temperatures, near wintertime, winter camping or traveling to cold areas. It’s a good idea to put a small amount of anti-freeze in the tanks to keep the water liquidated, keeping the water system running freely.
When storing you can use a storage deodorant in the waste tank compartment to stop any odors building up over time. We all now know how to clean our portable toilets, however, we can’t turn them inside out like a pillowcase. Chances are a tiny bit of grime might be stuck and accumulate in the far corners that are unreachable. Even microscopic accumulation will develop an odor in time, so this is a good way to counter that.
Camping Toilet Buyers Guide | How to Choose?
If you’re forking out for one of the chemical toilets, you want to make sure there is a functioning and effective waste disposal method. Bucket toilets, commodes and the like all have a manual method by way of waste bags. So decide if you want to get your hands dirty so to speak, or have a smoother disposal process with a chemical potty.
This is dependent on the purpose of use and how many people you intend on using it. For your own personal a 2.5 gallon tank would suffice. However, if you will be sharing I strongly suggest the 5 gallon. This will cover numerous uses and flushes before needing to empty. The same goes for bucket toilets, they have the same gallon sizes and as for commodes, waste bags also have a volume size, they range from 3-8 gallons generally speaking.
We want to make this task as simple as possible, go in, do your thing, flush then get out. Then when it comes to disposal time, we want a smooth process in the same fashion. Detach the tank, empty away, reattach and start again. Likewise with bucket toilets and commodes that use bags. Detach the filled waste bag, tie a knot, dispose and attach another bag. Job done.
This is surprisingly useful although people may be unaware of its importance. For example, depth allows for a longer drop or fall, which is good for large wastes and keeps the odor far below. The shape or contour of the bowl can also prevent things like splashbacks. A good height will provide a comfortable experience, but too low will bring discomfort and cramps.
For a chemical toilet, a strong, resourceful flush is best. A good water flow with a powerful flush, like a piston flush for example. This will clear the bowl of waste and odors efficiently. Secondly, how resourceful the water system is with the water is important. The same 5 gallon tank for one model may only offer 20 flushes with overuse of water, whereas a well-made resourceful flush system will give you upwards of 35-50 flushes per tank.
For example, a piston flush is a powerful feature in the water system, which is not evident in all camping toilets. Secondly, a tank level indicator is very useful, without it you need to judge or keep checking the level of the tank. The level indicator avoids these issues and keeps you on track with the freshwater tank and waste tank alike. Lastly, a toilet paper holder is very cool. Some models have incorporated additional features like a hidden paper holder within a splashback seat.
A simple one but one that offers the most comfort along with the height. A contoured seat will do wonders if you’re squatting for a long duration and will avoid any sores or pinches. A snapback lid seat is also a nice feature for the bucket toilets, to keep the odors firmly trapped inside and the lid sealed. There are attachable toilet seats available, especially for bucket toilets, so if you’re using one without, you can replace it with a contoured one.
Another important feature as all camping toilets are made with variable levels of durability is the weight capacity. The robust portable toilets with 2 tanks always do a very good job with weight capacities, usually offering 250+ lbs. and upwards. The commodes are also designed to carry excessive weights and can reach 300 lbs. in weight capacity. A fixed leg or leg locking system is also useful for commodes so look out for that.
Camping Toilet Ideas and Tips
Now you don’t have to buy anything extra with your toilet at all.
You can buy them as they come and they will definitely be fit for use. But feel free to check out this section to find some really great additional ideas that make toilet time even easier.
Even after emptying the waste tank, many people believe it’s a good idea to re-fill the waste tank with a small amount of water. This creates a low-level water line that can trap and hold existing waste that didn’t escape, controlling odors and also collecting new waste better. It makes sense logically, if new waste hits the dry base, you’re giving it time to stick and become stubborn. Having a low level of water ready and waiting to collect the waste is a good idea.
Biodegradable Waste Bags
We strongly recommended the use of biodegradable waste bags for environmental reasons. The last thing we want to be doing is burying bags upon bags of plastic into Mother Earth, right folks? So let’s do it the right way.
They are environmentally sound and come with a free bio gel waste gelation to solidify any waste, prior to disposal. They are sealable and leak-proof making these a good option as a waste bag.
An important procedure is to use toilet deodorants. They are specially designed for camping toilets and are a good choice to cover this task.
Used to deodorize the toilet and neutralize any odors. Just place them in the waste tank or bucket prior or post use.
They also come in gel form just drop them in the holding tank and it will break down any waste and paper into a liquidated mass.
Bucket Toilet Seat
A good idea also for your bucket toilet is to have a spare seat available and ready to use. It may happen on some cheaper models that the seat may get damaged, the locking mechanism may break or any other manner of accidents that tend to occur. We break the ones at home often enough, so it’s bound to happen from time to time in the outdoors as well.
A lot also don’t come with seats and if you are making one by way of DIY this would be a great asset to your build.
Toilet Tissue Covers
An economical way to avoid those grimy seats in the campsite or campground facilities. Simply lay the tissue cover over the seat and sit down comfortably without fear of hygienic and contamination issues.
They often come in a travel size portable bag which is reseal-able and the paper itself is dissolvable and environmentally friendly. So you’re not going to be damaging the environment or clogging any pipes when using them.
Protective Cleaning Gloves
Like in the maintenance and cleaning guide we discussed, a pair of gloves would be an excellent addition to the cleaning process.
Grab a Latex pair that are powder-free and also most importantly, disposable. Nitrile has a good group also which helps to grip the waste tanks and buckets. This is a nice feature as we will probably be blasting our camping toilets with a hose at this point. Nitrile is also more elasticated than the vinyl gloves and has a stronger resilience to puncturing than the latex gloves. For the puncture resistance is key as we are dealing with waste.
Especially if you are using a bucket toilet or camping commode and you are camping off the beaten track. You may need to dig your own holes to store your waste bags.
Keeping our gear volume to a minimum is important and this does a good job of integrating its way into our main gear. A camping shovel has numerous uses which we will not cover here completely. But, mainly for the digging catholes to bury your waste bags, it’s key.
To summarize the chemical toilets provide the best approach for bigger groups, with the most functions and practical use. Bucket toilets and commodes also have their place, for smaller groups and quick trips away. The choice relies heavily on the purpose of use and what kind of trip you will be going on.
We hope this sheds some light on what’s available and which type of toilet you will need for your trip.
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Until next time folks,