Best Portable Camping Toilets of 2020

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Home comforts with a portable camping toilet.

When you are in the back and beyond, sometimes you need to go to the toilet. Short of hiding behind a bush, there are ways to bring the comforts of home to the campsite. You need to get a portable toilet.

So, which are the best portable camping toilets? Let’s find out.


Types of Portable Camping Toilets

While they all fall under the banner of portable, there are different varieties of camping toilets.

Bag/Bucket Toilet

Reliance Products Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet
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The description of this type of toilet leaves little to the imagination. It is precisely what it claims to be; a bucket or a bag that you defecate into and then throw in the trash or empty at a chemical toilet disposal point.

A bucket toilet consists of a bucket, a seat with a closable lid and a liner bag to collect the waste. The bag should have kitty litter or sawdust in it to reduce the moisture and combat odors.

You can dispose of the bag in the trash just like you would a used diaper.


Flush Toilets

Camco (41541) Portable Travel Toilet-Designed for Camping, RV, Boating and Other Recreational Activities-5.3 Gallon
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Flush toilets are a step up from bags or buckets in that they have a separate chamber to collect the waste product. The best bit about this type of toilet is that they have a sealed sliding flap to trap in the smells and chemicals are added to the tank and the flush to reduce odors and help break down the solids.

There are 4 main elements to a flushable cassette toilet:

  • A water pump.
  • A toilet seat with a lid.
  • A freshwater reservoir for flushing.
  • A detachable chemical waste tank that forms the base of the toilet.

These are the best toilets to use if you are staying in one place for an extended period. The downside with this type of toilet is you can only empty them at designated chemical disposal points. So, they are better suited to gentile camping on authorized sites with facilities rather than wild camping.

Also, unless you have an indicator on the tank, you might have to open the reservoir to check if it is full.


Compost Toilet

Nature's Head Self Contained Composting Toilet with Close Quarters Spider Handle Design
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Composting toilets are the pinnacle of camping and RV commodes. They are far removed from the basic bucket and chuck it option. Compost toilets are a favorite of RV-ers because they are clean, environmentally friendly and can be used for prolonged periods between emptying.

The main components of a composting toilet are as follows:

  • A liquid waste bottle.
  • A toilet seat with a lid.
  • A solid waste bucket.
  • A trap door to separate the liquids.
  • A composting agitator crank.
  • A vent pipe.
  • A 12-volt vent fan (optional).

They work by separating the solids from the liquids, which reduces cross-contamination. The solids tank typically has a drying agent added, like coffee grinds, sawdust or peat moss. This helps to draw out the liquid and start the composting process.

The agitator crank turns to mix the solids and helps to break it down, and the vent pipe channels bad smells to the outside. The 12-volt fan helps to aerate the waste material to ease the decomposition and to stop odors.

Just like the bucket option, you can safely dispose of your waste in the trash. It will need emptying every 2 weeks or so, depending on how many people use the toilet. The liquids will need emptying more regularly.

Compost toilets are better suited to RVs and campervan conversions because they are not portable like chemical toilets and often require an electrical supply to power the fan.


How To Choose a Portable Camping Toilet

Whether it’s capacity or price, there are many elements to consider when choosing a portable toilet.

Watch That Price

Price is top of the list because the costs can range from a few dollars to a couple thousand. The bucket option is always going to be the budget option, and the composting toilet will have you counting the zeros.

Type of Toilet

The type of portable toilets vary to suit different environments. For those who like to leave the well-trodden path, a bucket/bag combination would work best. Wild camping is not the same as visiting a campsite with facilities. You have to travel light, and the bucket toilet is about as light as it gets.

Flush toilets are better suited to campsites because you can only empty them at designated points. The chemicals in the waste tank are harmful to wildlife.

Compost toilets need a power supply for the 12-volt fan and so fit the RV and campervan conversion environment better. They are not as portable, so taking one on a tenting trip is not going to work.

Love the Environment

Flush toilets use chemicals, which are not environmentally friendly. You can only empty them at designated points. You can’t even flush them into your septic tank when you get home. The most nature-friendly option is the compost toilet because there is no contamination, and it is a dry process that uses time, air and a drying agent to break down the waste.

Urine is full of plant-friendly ingredients like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, which plants love. Don’t fret about emptying your pee into a hedge; just don’t choose the same spot each day.

Dry or Wet System

This choice boils down to bucket or flush versus compost toilets. Dry systems produce the least amount of odor and have a higher capacity between disposal. But, and this is a biggie, they are expensive compared to the other varieties.

Wet systems are perfectly adequate for depositing your waste, but they are prone to producing smells that aren’t pleasant.


The Best Portable Camping Toilets of 2020

As we delve deeper into the world of portable toilets, we bring you the 7 best options to make your camping trip a breeze.

1. Luggable Loo Reliance products

Best Bucket Toilet

Reliance Products Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet
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This toilet is very simple to use. It is the most basic form of travel toilet, and that reflects in the price. Compare this to some of the Porta-Potty styles, and you will see savings of over a few hundred dollars. That said, it doesn’t have any of the Porta-Potty refinements, and it is as far removed from a standard toilet.

It consists of a 5-gallon bucket with a seat and lid, as well as a waste bag to collect the solids. You could pee in the bucket, but for the best results, you should try and keep it to solids only. The bags should have a drying agent like kitty litter, sawdust and peat moss to start the composting process.

Why We Love It

Simplicity

You cannot argue with the concept of a bucket with a seat and lid. What more is there to say about how simple this toilet is, and yet it is effective, especially if you are hunting, fishing or wild camping.

Cost-Effective Option

Comparing the cost of a Porta-Potty style toilet with the price of this Luggable Loo is like comparing a Rolls Royce with a Toyota. You will save a few hundred dollars when you buy this toilet.

Easy To Transport

Thanks to its compact dimensions, this is a toilet that is easy to transport. It doesn’t take up much room in the trunk of your car, and it is lightweight when empty.

Keep In Mind

Pretty Basic

Strangely enough, this is Luggable Loo’s biggest attribute and largest failing. It is the least like a toilet of any on the list. This won’t be a problem for some who accept that the type of camping they like is all about challenges and hardship.

Can Be Smelly

It isn’t ideal, sharing your tent with a bucket full of human waste. And even when you bag it up, you still need to store it until you reach a trash can.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)3
Dimensions (inches)34 x 37 x 32.5
Capacity (gallons/ liters)5 gallons waste
Flush (battery/ manual)No flush
Additional featuresSturdy metal handle
Price$
Warranty5-year

2. Camco (41541) Portable Travel Toilet

Best Portable Flush Toilet

Camco (41541) Portable Travel Toilet-Designed for Camping, RV, Boating and Other Recreational Activities-5.3 Gallon
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This is a portable toilet in the same style as the Thetford Porta-Potti. It has a detachable waste tank, a sliding hatch to seal in odors and prevent leaks, and a fillable flush tank. It does have one significant difference in that it has a manual bellows-type flush mechanism.

This means that you don’t rely on batteries to activate the flush. As we know, batteries lose juice over time, but with this toilet, that isn’t an issue.

The waste tank is larger than the Porta-Potti by 0.3 gallons, but the flush tank is about a third smaller, so you won’t get as many flushes. It’s also 3 inches shorter in height, so tall people may not find it as comfortable.

Why We Love It

Great Price

This toilet is half the price of the Thetford, making it an affordable alternative. It may lack the sleek lines and curves of the Porta-Potti, but looks aren’t everything when you save half the cost.

Manual Flush Action

The bellows style of flush action is sturdy. It also means you are not reliant on electricity or battery power to work the flush. This toilet will keep flushing long after the batteries are dead on the Porta-Potti, and think about the savings on additional batteries.

330 Pound Weight Capacity

This toilet has a significant weight capacity of 330 pounds. This means that larger members of your family can benefit without fear of the toilet collapsing under their weight. It proves this is a sturdy and robust portable toilet.

Keep In Mind

Smaller Flush Capacity

The flush tank on this toilet is about a third of the capacity of the Thetford. It isn’t a deal-breaker, but it does mean you will be filling it more often. It makes it that bit harder to keep the toilet clean after use.

Side Emptying Cap

We get that the tank needs emptying, but the cap style and location increase the risks of leakage as the seal ages. You don’t get this problem on the Porta-Potti because the pouring spout is a retractable one that sits on the top of the tank.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)10.8
Dimensions (inches)14 x 16 x 15.5
Capacity (gallons/ liters)5.3 gallons waste and 2.5 gallons flush
Flush (battery/ manual)Manual bellows-style
Additional featuresRobust clips and additional weight support
Price$
Warranty1-year

3. Porta-Potti White Thetford Corp

Best Luxurious Portable Camping Toilet

Porta Potti White Thetford Corp
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Thetford is the world’s largest manufacturer of portable toilets, so they should know a thing or two. This model has a 4-gallon flush tank, which should give you 56 flushes, and a 5-gallon waste tank.

The flush is battery operated, so it removes the need for a power supply, making an ideal toilet for a tent or an RV, and it has a level indicator for the waste and fresh water tank.

It even has a concealed toilet roll holder built into the base.

Why We Love It

Battery-Operated Flush

Some toilets require a power supply, but this Porta-Potti is battery-operated, so it removes that worry. Installing this toilet in an RV or camper conversion will not drain any power from the leisure batteries.

Know the Water Levels

Knowing how full your waste tank is or how empty the flush tank might be is crucial if you want to stay on top of your toilets cleanliness and emptying regime.

Comfort Seat Height

The seat height is just over 17 inches, meaning that taller people or those with mobility issues will find this Porta-Potti easier to use. It means that everyone is catered for on the family camping trip.

Keep In Mind

Costs a Lot

This is not a budget option by any stretch. You can get portable toilets a lot cheaper than this model. However, it is from the leading maker of portable toilets, so you are getting a quality product. Just remember, quality costs money.

Heavy When Full

Imagine lugging 5 gallons of human waste, and you’ll soon work up a sweat. These cassettes are hard to lift when full. Some cassettes have wheels, but this model lacks that luxury, which, for the price, you might have expected it to have.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)12.79
Dimensions (inches)17.64 x 15.28 x 17.72
Capacity (gallons/ liters)5 gallons waste and 4 gallons flush
Flush (battery/ manual)Battery
Additional featuresConcealed roll holder, comfort height seat, optional floor plate
Price$$
Warranty3-year

4. Nature’s Head Self-Contained Composting Toilet

Best Portable Composting Toilet

Nature's Head Self Contained Composting Toilet with Close Quarters Spider Handle Design
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This toilet utilizes a dry system to biodegrade the waste matter in the solids tank. It has a vent pipe as well as a 12-volt fan set into the head. The fan circulates fresh air around the bathroom and aerates the solids to help them decompose.

Because the system is dry, no cross-contamination occurs because the solids and the liquids are separated. The solids bin can last 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the usage, and the great news is there is zero smell.

You do need an additive like coffee grounds or sawdust to coat the solid matter, and the agitator arm on the side helps to mix it all together.

Why We Love It

No Smells

By removing the liquids from the solids, you eliminate cross-contamination, which is what creates the smells associated with portable camping toilets. Keeping the fecal matter completely dry helps to break it down slowly over prolonged periods.

Good for Nature

This is the greenest way of going to the toilet because it uses no water, chemicals and relies on decomposition to turn the waste product into reusable compost. It is so green, what you pooped earlier could help to grow your flowers.

Works in Almost Any Environment

Trucks, RVs, camper conversions, boats; you name it, and this Nature’s Head toilet will work there. All you need is enough power to run the 12-volt fan, and that only draws 0.1 amps.

Sturdy Construction

Nature’s Head toilets were originally designed for the marine environment, so as a result, they are robust and built to last. They even get the thumbs up from the US Coastguard for standards.

Keep In Mind

Very Pricey

You cannot hide from the fact that this composting toilet is expensive. It makes the Zimmer camping potty look like a budget option. Even compared to other compost toilets, Nature’s Head toilets are costly.

21.5 Inches Tall

This composting toilet sits at around 21.5 inches tall, so little ones will struggle getting onto this unit. It also means that it might be too cumbersome for some RVs and campervan conversions.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)28
Dimensions (inches)20 x 20.5 x 21.7
Capacity (gallons/ liters)5 gallons waste and 4 gallons flush
Flush (battery/ manual)No flush (dry system)
Additional featuresSeparator flap, spider agitator handle, 12-volt fan
Price$$$$
Warranty5-year

5. Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Toilet System

Best All-In-One Portable Toilet System

Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Total System
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If you are looking for a complete all-in-one toilet package, this is the best choice. It comes with a collapsible toilet, a toilet tent, and 15 waste kits. It even has a carrying case to pack it all away.

The tent could be used as a shower cubicle if you so wished, and the fact that this set packs away so compactly means it will take up minimal storage room in the camper, RV or car. The tent stands at 6 feet 6 inches, and the floor area measures 4 x 4 feet.

There is no floor to the tent, but that is an advantage, especially if you decide to mount a shower system instead.

Why We Love It

Complete System In One

This set takes up such little space in your vehicle that it could be the ideal solution when taking day trips with the kids. You could pitch it at the beach or when you are on a picnic.

Compact Package

This pack folds down to 28 inches by 6 inches, which is a compact little kit. It means that you don’t need to own a massive RV to transport it to different locations. It will fit comfortably in the trunk of a saloon car.

Increases Camping Flexibility

There may be sites or locations that you have avoided in the past because you lacked the toilet capabilities to stay there. This changes that and increases the flexibility and possibilities of where you can camp.

Keep In Mind

Very Basic Toilet

The toilet that comes with this set is pretty basic. It consists of foldable legs and a plastic bag to collect your waste. This isn’t going to be an issue for some who think just having the toilet is a luxury, but keep it in mind.

Creepy Crawlies

There is no groundsheet with this tent, so check under the rim of the toilet before you sit down. Bugs love tents without floors. You may have to tolerate sharing your poop with pests.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)7.98
Dimensions (inches)25 x 25 x 25
Capacity (gallons/ liters)No maximum capacity
Flush (battery/ manual)No flush (dry system)
Additional featuresCarry bag, 15 waste bags
Price$$$
WarrantyNo stated warranty

6. Reliance Products Fold-to-Go Collapsible Toilet

Best Collapsible Camping Toilet

Reliance Products Fold-to-Go Collapsible Portable Toilet, 9824-21W, Gray/Black, 14.5'x14.5'x14.5'
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This is the ultimate collapsible toilet. It folds down to just 5 inches high, making it the ideal choice for those who like to hike off the beaten track and wild camp in secluded spots. It easily fits into a backpack and is compatible with Reliance Products Double Doodle bags.

The unique leg locking system will take the weight of a 300-pound person, and the lid fits snugly around the seat to create a seal that discourages smells. When the toilet is full, simply remove the bag and seal it up, ready for the trash.

You need a dry agent to add to the poop bags, such as sawdust, coffee grinds and peat moss.

Why We Love It

Totally Compact

The way this toilet folds down is so simple and yet ingenious. To pack a toilet this small into your backpack or car, is amazing. It may be basic, but it does the job well.

Total Convenience

The bag system means that you can take this toilet anywhere and never leave any human waste out in nature. All you need to do is tightly seal the bags to avoid smells and dispose of them when you find a trash can.

Ideal Budget Option

Sometimes you need a toilet solution that is basic and gets the task done. You might not want to spend big to get the best that money can buy. This toilet does almost the same thing as the Nature’s Head unit but for far less money.

Keep In Mind

Very Basic

This toilet is not going to please everyone. What it does best is to be basic, and for some, that is a step too far. The idea of pooping into a bag is one that horrifies some fair weather campers.

You Need a Trash Can

The idea of storing your waste in bags while you try and find a trash can is far from appealing. If you are remote camping, you might be better off digging a hole to defecate in and then burying the waste.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)4.5
Dimensions (inches)14.5 x 14.5 x 14.5 (5 inches when collapsed)
Capacity (gallons/ liters)No maximum capacity
Flush (battery/ manual)No flush (dry system)
Additional featuresNone
Price$
Warranty5-years

7. Zimmer Portable Camping Porta Potty

Best Chemical Camping Toilet

Portable Toilet Camping Porta Potty - 5 Gallon Waste Tank - Durable, Leak Proof, Flushable Easy to use RV Toilet With Detachable Tanks for Effortless Cleaning & Carrying, for Travel, Boating and Trips
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This Portable camping and RV toilet has a bellows-style flush and a freshwater tank that holds 3 gallons. The waste tank is 5 gallons and has a pouring spout mounted to the rear at the base.

The sliding trap-door seals the waste tank, containing all the odors inside. It also ensures there is no leakage. The two parts of the toilet clip together using sturdy latches, and both the freshwater and waste tank benefit from large and robust handles.

The toilet sits approximately 16 inches in height, so it should be comfortable even for the tallest people, and it weighs 9.75 pounds.

Why We Love It

Bellows-Style Flush

With this type of flush action, you don’t need any power to engage the flush. It’s all done manually, which is an advantage because it is less prone to breaking down, and it won’t lose power like battery-operated systems.

Sturdy Construction

This toilet is made from high-density polyethylene, so it will last the rigors of life in the wild. It can take the knocks of constant travel and emptying.

Large Carrying Handles

Two large carrying handles make it easier to transport both elements of the toilet for filling and emptying. It also makes it easier to maneuver to and from the car.

Keep In Mind

High Price Tag

Expect a hefty bill when you buy this toilet because it is the most expensive Porta-Potty style toilet included on the list. It’s even more costly than the Thetford, our luxury pick.

Not Comfort Height

This is a few inches shorter than some in its class, which means those with mobility issues or taller people will find this less comfortable to sit on.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds)9.75
Dimensions (inches)16.5 x 12 x 13.5
Capacity (gallons/ liters)5 waste tank and 3 flush tank
Flush (battery/ manual)Manual (bellows-style)
Additional featuresSturdy clips, leak-free spout
Price$$$
WarrantyNot stated

Portable Camping Toilet Comparison Chart

ProductBestWeightDimensionsCapacityFlush (battery/ manual)Warranty
Luggable Loo Reliance productsBucket3 lbs34 x 37 x 32.5″5 galNo flush5-year
Camco (41541) Portable Travel ToiletFlush11 lbs14 x 16 x 15.5″5.3 galManual1-year
Porta-Potti White Thetford CorpLuxurious13 lbs17.64 x 15.28 x 17.72″5 galBattery3-year
Nature’s Head Self-Contained ToiletComposting28 lbs20 x 20.5 x 21.7″5 galNo flush5-year
Cleanwaste Go Anywhere ToiletAll-In-One8 lbs25 x 25 x 25″NoneNo flushN/A
Reliance Products Fold-to-GoCollapsible4.5 lbs14.5 x 14.5 x 14.5″NoneNo flush5-years
Zimmer Camping Porta PottyChemical10 lbs16.5 x 12 x 13.5″5 galManualNot stated
Jump to the Full Portable Camping Toilet Reviews

How To Clean and Maintain a Portable Toilet

The correct cleaning regime depends on the type of toilet you have. Bucket toilets are for solids only, and they collect in a bag, so it is merely a case of lifting out the bag with the waste and disposing of it safely. Some disinfectant spray will suffice to give the rim and seat a wipe around.

Compost toilets have a solids chamber that operates in the same manner. The waste collects in a bag, which lifts out for disposal. The urine pot is the most likely cause for odors, so after emptying, rinse it with some hot soapy water and then sterilize it with vinegar and baking soda.

Chemical flush toilets require the most maintenance and cleaning because the solids and liquids mix in the same chamber. After emptying, rinse around with water and ammonia to neutralize future smells.

FAQs

Can You Poop in a Portable Camping Toilet?

100 percent, yes! That’s what they are designed for. Bucket toilets are for solids only, flush toilets combine solids and liquids in the same tank, and compost toilets allow you to separate the two.

Do Portable Toilets Smell Bad?

Some do, but it depends on the toilet and how frequently you empty it. Compost toilets produce almost zero odors because they are a dry system. Bucket toilets produce odors because they are poorly sealed, and no chemical additives are used to control the smell.

Cassette flush toilets create a slight odor if the waste material festers in the tank for too long, but the chemicals mask the smells to some extent.

How Do You Dispose of a Camping Toilet Bag?

You throw it in the trash just like you would a diaper. Human waste, sealed in a marked bag is perfectly safe in a trash can, unlike dog waste. Dog feces contains bacteria that can cause stomach upsets and toxocariasis, which is a type of roundworm.

How Often Does a Portable Toilet Need To Be Emptied?

It depends on how the toilet gets used and how often. A bucket toilet should need emptying every couple of days. A chemical toilet can last 2 to 3 days for 2 people using it and 3 to 4 days if you are using it solo.

A compost toilet can last 2 to 3 weeks between disposal, and the urine pot lasts 2 to 3 days.


The Scoop on the Poop

Some people like their creature comforts and will refuse to use a portable toilet point-blank. The idea of using a plastic bag horrifies them. But others see the benefit of roughing it and view any type of toilet as a luxury when camping.

There are toilet styles to suit everyone, but if you want a top-range portable toilet, be prepared to spend a lot of money.

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About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.
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