*Able Camper is supported by its audience. When you buy via links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

When you set out camping, you are looking for an authentic reconnection to the outdoors. You cook outside, eat outside, and sleep outside. After all the normal campout activities, you need to relieve yourself.

Although you’re out in nature, you can’t go anywhere. You’re not a bear. Your next best option is a camping toilet. It’s sanitary, it’s safe and you can probably read a magazine while you handle your business.

How Do Camping Toilets Work?

The functionality of a camping toilet is simple. There is a sitting area and a holding area. Assuming it’s a portable potty that is not housed in a portable structure, you do your number one or go number two, and the waste is collected in a waste compartment. The waste is treated using chemicals that disinfect the waste material, making it safe for disposal.

This principle applies to a lockable facility that allows you to have your private sessions behind closed doors. This set up is a bare-knuckles approach to a camping toilet.

There are more sophisticated options that bring the home toilet experience in the wild. Small additions such as a flushing mechanism and a pressure system make camping toilets more sanitary and open to use for more people. However, this system requires bigger holding tanks.

After using the toilet, you use a flushing mechanism – either foot or hand-operated – to dispose of the waste in a separate tank. The water used comes from a different pre-filled tank. Waste tanks typically have chemicals that breakdown the waste material and reduce odour.

Benefits of Using A Camping Toilet

Sanitation

When you have to go, you have to go. Still, you want to maintain a clean camping area and have decent sanitary conditions. You need a proper camping toilet that provides effective waste disposal and after-use clean up. Poor sanitation is one of the reasons a lot of people don’t look forward to camping. Having a camping toilet is one more reason to give camping a try.

Privacy

You can choose to go the dig-a-hole route. However, you’ll be airing your private bits out there especially if its camping season and you have no idea who is out there. A camping toilet is a private facility that gives you the peace and quiet you need when you are going about your business.

Convenience

A night out in the wilderness is great. The barbeque you have with the family is even better. You don’t need to ruin that experience feeling uncomfortable when you have to look for somewhere to help yourself at night. Camping toilets are all about accessing a clean hygienic toilet when nature calls.

Safety

A well-lit, protected toilet area is a lot safer than taking your chances in the bush. Nature comes calling any time. You need to stay within your camping area every time. If you are out as a family, your kids’ safety is non-negotiable as well.

Comfort

Camping toilets are designed to mimic the comfort of a home toilet. They have a comfortable sitting area and flushing mechanism to provide you a few minutes of calm. Additions such as water, dressing mirrors, and additional disposal bins are also built for comfort.

What Do You Do With Toilet Paper When Camping?

When you’ve been out camping for a few days, you’ve probably used a substantial amount of tissue paper. You may have dumped it into the camping toilet and flushed it. However, if you have used toilet paper, the one thing you should NOT do, is leave it behind.

Campsites have a strict “pack it in pack it out” policy as well as a “leave nothing behind” rule. The most common and perhaps recommended method of disposal for tissue paper is cat holes.

Find a spot that is directly hit by sunlight, 200 feet from a water body, and 200 feet from the campsite. Dig a 6-8 inch hole and bury your tissue in the hole. The area should have dark color-rich soil. This is to make sure that the soil has micro-organisms and that the sun can aid in decomposition. It also helps if the site is elevated and not near possible foot traffic areas. Make sure it is not close to a water body as well.

The next best thing you can do with your tissue paper is to pack it in bags and vacate the camping site with it. Burning the tissue paper is ill-advised as it may lead to forest fires. However, in controlled fires, it might be a viable option.

How Do You dispose off human waste when camping?

Some areas have regulations against dumping human waste on campsites. This is especially visible in areas close to water sources and in dry areas with no organic soil. However, if you are in organic soil, a cat hole 6 to 8 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches wide will do.

If you are dealing with a large volume of human waste, most toilets have chemicals that will turn your waste into solids. This can be carried away with the toilet or buried since it will already be treated. The disposal should not be near water. Dig a hole until you expose the organic bit You’ll know when you get there when the soil gets darker and richer in color. Cover the hole to look like the area has not been tampered with.

If your camping toilet can turn human waste into solids, use a disposal bag to carry your waste out of the site. You can dispose of it where it will not affect animals or water bodies.

What are the best camping toilets?

This is our top pick for camping toilets. It is a super compact unit that is easy to store and carry. It has a sleek design that features rounded-off curves making it easier to clean. The large sitting area is designed for maximum comfort.

This electric unit comes with an integrated toilet paper holder. The 5.5 gallon waste water tank is complemented by a mess-free rotating disposal spout.

There’s an air tight valve that prevents leakages if you have to move while it’s filled. The battery-powered flush system and 4 gallon fresh water tank will give you about 50 flushes.

pros
  • Anti-leakage valve
  • Battery operated flush mechanism
  • Integrated toilet paper holder
  • Water level indicators
cons
  • There’s a pressure build up in the waste tank that might leave a mess when you open
  • No replacement parts for the flush mechanism

This toilet leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to size.

It is bulky. However, the size is due to its 4.8 gallon waste tank. It comes with a fresh water tank that provides the water for its piston pump flush system. The bi-directional flushing leaves you with a clean toilet after use.

It also features a deep seat that provides more cushion and comfort. The water level and waste indicators are a classy touch to a well-built system.

pros
  • 2-direction flush mechanism
  • Detachable waste disposal spout
  • Anti-vibration snap action lid
  • Made from durable thermoplastic
cons
  • Bulky size
  • Flusher might have quality issues

This is a small toilet that takes up little travel space. It is well-designed with a 2.5 gallon freshwater tank and 5.5 gallon waste tank.

The Camco 41541 uses a bellow type pump to keep the unit clean after every use.

It comes with side latches that keep its structural integrity and it can support up to 330-pounds.

Each toilet comes with scented drop-in samples.

pros
  • Polyethylene construction
  • Complimentary orange drop-in samples
  • Ergonomic handles to effortlessly carry the unit
  • Gate valves that hold odour in
cons
  • Small size
  • The waste tank builds pressure that might leave a mess when you open
  • The bellow flush mechanism doesn’t have as much pressure

This toilet comes with a carrying case. This model features a 3.2 gallon freshwater tank and a 5.3 gallon waste disposal tank.

The waste disposal comes with a rotating splash pouring spout for mess-free drainage.

The SereneLife toilet is made up of durable polyethylene material. It features an easy to operate piston pump 3-way flush mechanism.

Additionally, it can handle up to 50 flushes on a full tank making it ideal for family use.

pros
  • Leak-free odour protection
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Wastewater level indicator
  • Carrying case
  • Button style flusher
cons
  • It has a small seat that might not fit a big person
  • It might be difficult to clean

This toilet is built super tough with marine-grade material. The matte finish gives it a premium look. It is scratch-resistant and features adult-sized seats.

The box-style toilet provides enough stability and also comes with a Push-button flush system that empties waste into the 5 gallon waste disposal.

Also inclusive is an easy-view waste level indicator.

pros
  • Hardy construction
  • Easy to clean
  • Waste level indicator
  • Effortless pump action
cons
  • The pump action is disruptively loud
  • There might be some leakage issues

What to Look for in A Quality Camping Toilet

Size

The size of your camping toilet depends on your camping needs. If you want to travel light and you are camping out, you need to keep your camping toilet small. Small units comprise of a sitting apparatus and a storage option. Bigger options might be better if there is a bigger group or your disposal options are limited.

You also need to consider where the camping toilet will be situated. If you are setting up in a limited space, it helps to get a smaller camping toilet.

Weight Capacity

Camping toilets have a weight limit. A 300-pound person could leave a huge mess if they try using a toilet with a 200-pound weight limit. It is one of the most important factors to check when you’re hunting for a camping toilet. The weight limitation also affects the build of the toilet. A toilet meant for a bigger person would have a larger sitting area.

Comfort

Just because you are outside doesn’t mean you have to compromise on comfort. Bigger sitting platforms, privacy, and efficient waste management are some of the factors that provide comfort in a camping toilet. The toilet can have a different lid for different weight classes.

Tanks

If your camping toilet comes with a water supply tank and a disposal tank, the size and efficiency of the tanks will play a big role in the usability of the toilet. A large water supply tank means you can store more clean water for flushing. Bigger disposal tanks make the toilet a great option for long term use.

You can measure the effectiveness of your storage tank by how it disinfects waste matter before disposal. Some tanks have the ability to turn liquids into solids for easier disposal. Other toilets have self-feeding chemical distributors that break down waste into harmless disposable content.

Flushing Options

Does your toilet have a flushing system? Most toilets come with a bellows pump mechanism. This is a system that allows you to pump water from a freshwater tank – usually located higher than the waste tank – to dispose of the waste to a waste containment area. This is possible in lightweight compact units.

Some tanks use a push-button flush system. This system is simple, using a button to pump water from a freshwater source and run the water through pipes to clean the toilet. It directs the wastewater to a lower waste containment unit.

The piston pump flusher is yet another flushing option. After going number two, the user pulls the pump upwards. This creates a vacuum that sucks water out of the clean water compartment. Pushing down the pump releases water through pipes. This cleans the bowl and empties all the contents into a waste collection tank.

If money is no object, go high tech with a battery-operated flushing system. This is a powerful method that evenly distributes powerful jets of water to the bowl and cleans the toilet. Still, it needs both a freshwater tank and waste tank.

Portability

Portability is a crucial factor when you are looking for a quality camping toilet. Small efficient units weigh less. They can fit in close compartments especially if you’re traveling. High portability means you don’t have to factor in additional carriage costs.

However, if you have a bigger traveling option, you can consider getting a toilet that resembles a complete toilet unit. This would be a great option if you are camping in a traffic-heavy location and you need some privacy.

Convenience

 Convenience could be in the form of attachments where you can hang bags or an in-facility sink for clean up. However, the best convenience add-on for a camping toilet would be a waste storage tank that allows you to check the capacity level of waste.

Some toilets have a handle that pulls out and you just look over the seat to see if the waste tank is full. However, a camping toilet that can save you this look-down option and instead have an outer waste level indicator would be a superb buy.

Maintenance

The best toilet has a maintenance standard that is easy to uphold. This comes down to the design of the toilet. Most camping toilets have simple designs that need minimal effort to clean, install, and transport. Campers prefer designs that are faster to clean and safer to store

Most toilets make it easy to maintain by adopting smooth curves and using safe plastics that don’t react with cleaning materials.

Disposal Mechanisms and Hygiene Standards

There are a lot of disposal mechanisms in camping toilets. Some toilets use disposable bags that turn liquid waste into solid. It becomes easier to dispose waste especially if you are on the road. It also plays a crucial role in maintaining a clean standard around your camping area.

Hygiene standards can get compromised fast when you are dealing with a large group of people. Bad hygiene standards can bring about diseases. You may not be in the best place to handle such complex matters if you’re out in the wild. Look for a camping toilet that promotes the highest hygiene standards.

Factors such as double valves that keep waste tanks closed to prevent odor and spillage should be top on your checklist. Chemicals that quickly kill bacteria and germs are important in the selection process of quality camping toilets.

Lasting Capacity

If you are going to invest in camping equipment, your own camping toilet is a great accessory to add to your list. However, no matter the price, you are looking for a product that you don’t have to replace every time you want to hit the outdoors. The building material and the durability of your camping toilet are vital in determining how long you will keep the toilet.

Conclusion

Camping toilets will improve your camping experience. It is important that you carry the best family-sized toilet to make your experience more comfortable. After careful consideration, the Thetford Porta Potti 565E Electric Toilet is a camping toilet worth investing in. If you are pressed for cash, there are other more cost-effective models waiting for you.