Portable Toilet for Campervan 101: Van Conversion Explained

We quickly explain the portable toilet for campervan options, including compostable toilets, porta potty and other toilet options for van conversions.
Portable Toilet for Campervan 101: Van Conversion Explained

There are a few different portable toilet options for campervans, including:

  • Porta Potty Chemical Toilets
  • Compostable Toilets
  • Flushable Chemical Toilets
  • Incinerating Toilets
  • Dryflush Toilets

In this quick blog, we’re going to explain how a campervan toilet is different from a regular house toilet, the different options, and how they work.

How are campervan portable toilets different from household toilets?

In a campervan, everything is contained within the van.

Regular household flushing toilets connect to a sewer system and use a lot of water.

There is no sewer system in a campervan, and water is a precious resource.

Therefore, toilets for campervans work a little differently than normal household toilets.

  1. They are portable. This means they are able to be moved around, taken out and emptied/cleaned.
  2. They operate differently. Chemical and compostable toilets work differently than flushing toilets in a house.
  3. Waste management. Because everything is self-contained, there is usually a tank/compartment/container which needs to be disposed of containing the waste. Because of this, eliminating smells is a priority for these portable toilets.

Types of portable toilets for campervans

As mentioned, there are five main types of toilets for campervans. Which one is best for you depends on your needs, the space available, and what you feel comfortable with.

Porta-Potty Chemical Toilets

Porta-potty toilets are as simple as they come.

A toilet with a tank below. You put a special chemical to prevent smells into the tank, fill it up, and then empty it at special dump stations.

Composting Toilets

Instead of using a chemical to prevent smells, composting toilets use a compost medium (like sawdust, peat moss, or even cat litter) to absorb smells.

Generally, these toilets split #1’s and #2’s.

Number 1’s go into a tank and can be emptied when full.

Number 2’s go into a container with the compost medium and are often mixed. When this container is full, you change out the medium and compost the waste.

These are quite expensive to buy. That is why, for our campervan conversion, we chose to build one ourselves.

Flushable Chemical Toilets

Flushable chemical toilets are similar to the standard porta-potty toilets but are fixed in place. This means they often have larger waste tanks (more suited for families) and have a water line connected so they can ‘flush’.

Insinnerating Toilets

I feel like this is an American invention…

It incinerates the waste into ash, which you then dispose of.

They are also very expensive to buy new, and their usefulness is questionable.

Dryflush Toilets

Sometimes called spaceman toilets, they wrap your waste up in a bag after you’re done and seal it.

You then throw away these small bags of waste, sort of how you would a diaper.

Which portable toilet is best for a campervan?

This question is best left up to personal choice.

We have shared our experience with a composting toilet for some perspective, along with how we built the toilet.

We even created a composting toilet PDF so you can follow us and build your own composting toilet for your campervan if this is the toilet you choose.


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November 29, 2023

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