One thing most people take for granted until they experience a temporary outage is indoor plumbing. We recently had a plumbing situation where every single drain in the house began backing up, kitchen sink, bathroom sink, tub, toilet, etc.
We tried everything, plunging, liquid drano, baking soda and vinegar, boiling water, nothing that usually worked was working for more than a few days. After a week without plumbing, it was time to call in a professional. It took snaking 120 foot with two different cutters and then a few pulses from a water bladder to clear our main sewer line.
Whether you currently have public sewer services or a septic system, when things back up, it can really cause an issue for the entire household. Now that our temporary plumbing back up has been resolved, I can tell you that I want to be more prepared next time.
I’ve started stockpiling baby wipes for personal hygiene, I brought my outdoor camp shower in from the shed, and I’ve been researching the best portable camping toilets. Below are some of the things I’ve discovered in my research.
Types of Portable Toilets
Bucket Toilets are just what they sound like, a toilet made from a bucket. Typically it’s a 5-gallon bucket with a makeshift seat attached to the rim to make it a tad more comfortable to sit on.
I’ve seen everything from a rolled up towel, to a pool noodle, or even an actual toilet seat attached to the rim of the bucket to make the seat more comfortable. The bucket is lined with a waste bag and cover matter, composted wood chips or mulch is best, is added after every use.
The bucket is then emptied when full, and buried in a cathole or dumped into a larger drum and left to compost until it becomes soil.
Freezing Toilets are dry toilets which require electricity to freeze the waste. No venting or water is required for these toilets but they do need AC power to operate.
Container Toilets can come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes but the ones you’re most familiar with are the large porta-potties that are often used at fairs and other outdoor events.
The waste goes down into a container which is emptied frequently. Small container toilets are designed so you can contain the waste in the container until you can empty it safely.
Incineration Toilets require no water to operate but they do require power and an exhaust pipe vented through the roof. Waste is incinerated and turned into ash.
Composting Toilets come in a wide variety of styles including cassette toilets, container based toilets, and with or without urine diverters. Composting toilets are great for extended camping trips, on boats, or even as a substitute for the standard flush toilet.
Commode (Bedside) Toilet are a common piece of equipment used for people who are elderly, who have mobility issues, or who are injured. They are frequently used in nursing homes, hospitals, or private homes and are placed beside or near patient beds so they don’t have to walk to and from the actual bathroom. These must be emptied daily as the catch pot is small and is not sealed.
Features of the Best Portable Camping Toilets
Ease of Use
This is probably one of the most important features to consider when making a decision regarding the best portable camping toilets. You want a toilet that is easy to use, not only for yourself, but for any guests, including children, who may need to use the portable toilet.
Portable toilets with indicator gauges for the wastewater tank and the freshwater tank will make it simple to know when to empty the wastewater tank. This is critical when multiple people are using the toilet for several days or longer.
When it comes to choosing the best portable camping toilets, one of the key factors to consider is maintenance. Nobody likes to clean up a mess, especially when it’s someone else’s waste. Make sure the portable toilet you choose has features that make maintenance quick and convenient.
Look for portable camping toilets that have an adjustable pour spout, a waste level indicator, and sturdy carrying handles. You absolutely must have a toilet that seals tightly to keep odors inside and to prevent any leaks. Most portable camping toilets include a rotating pour spout and vent button to make emptying into a standard toilet less messy.
If you intend to use your portable camping toilet for any length of time, comfort is definitely a factor to consider. Consider the height of the toilet to ensure that it is comfortable to sit on if it will be used regularly.
Another factor to consider is the weight capacity of toilet, especially if you have larger adults who may be using the toilet. Many users claim that portable camping toilets with a deeper bowl are more comfortable.
When choosing a space for your portable camping toilet, whether in a tent, RV, or van, make sure you leave enough space for you to sit comfortably as well.
The Best Camping Toilets You Can Get
Disclosure: This post has links to 3rd party websites, so I may get a commission if you buy through those links. See my full disclosure for more.
- Rotating pour spout
- Odor resistant materials
- 3-way piston flush
- Level indicator
- Up to 50 flushes before emptying
- 5.3 gallon tank
- Level indicator
- Handy carrying case
- Comfortable seat
- Easy to use
- Compact size
- Choice of colors
- Perfect for pop up privacy tents
- 5 gallon waste reservoir
- Very affordable
- available in 18 or 24 liter
- Detachable pour spout
- Larger seat
- Top closes tightly
- Deep bowl
- Replaceable piston pump
- Folds to briefcase size
- 3 locking legs
- No assembly required
- Supports up to 500 pounds
- Standard commode height
- Up to 350 pound user weight capacity
- Ideal for most vehicles
- Fully integrated handles
- Uses disposable sanitary bags
- Ideal for one or two people
- Seat is comfortable
- Toilet is close to standard height
- Waste bucket is small
• Stows easily, compact size
• Extendable grip to make dumping easy
• Limited weight capacity
• One push button flush
• 5-gallon waste tank capacity
• Full sized seat
• 3-gallon fresh water capacity for 60+ flushes
• Easy to fill and clean
Tips for Using the Best Portable Camping Toilets
- Make sure to maintain the seal on the waste tank so it seals tightly to prevent odors.
- When using a cassette type portable camping toilet, add the manufacturer recommended enzyme or odor fighting tablets or liquid to help reduce odor.
- When emptying cassette toilets into standard toilets, always remember to push the vent button to reduce splashing.
- Use only manufacturer recommended biodegradable toilet paper for your portable camping toilet.
- To help prevent odors from escaping waste water tank, keep a little fresh water over the seal.
Consider ease of use, maintenance needs, and comfort, and you’ll surely to get the right camping toilet for your needs. Do you already have a favorite portable camping toilet? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart.
For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of nine grandsons and one granddaughter, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.