Answering the “call of nature” while in nature isn’t always the most convenient or pleasant thing. Finding a sanitary and convenient way to “do your business” is necessary if you’re camping where there are only “facilitrees,” not facilities. Finding the best portable toilet for camping will ensure you never find yourself scratching a hole in the dirt with a stick or leaning against a log with your arm going numb again.
Portable Toilet Basics
There are many options for portable toilets for camping, from heavy versions that mimic your home toilet to seats you set over a hole. In fact, portable toilets are a lucrative industry with all sorts of options.
The goal of this article is to help you understand what is out there and the pros and cons of each, so you never have to squat over a cathole again. So whether you’re car, R.V. or van camping, backcountry rafting, or horseback camping, there are options for everyone.
The best portable toilet will be one that suits your specific purposes. We know you hear this a lot in the outdoor industry, but it’s true. There are many different ways to recreate outside, and the factors dictating your ultimate decision will vary greatly.
Here are some things to consider when choosing the best portable toilet for camping:
- Duration of the camping trip
- How many people there will be
- The weight of the heaviest person
- How far off the beaten path you will be
- Ease of cleanup/waste disposal
Camping Duration – How Many Days
The amount of time you’ll be camping is an essential consideration because the length you will be out will affect the type of toilet you choose. Obviously, the longer the length of your camping trip, the more waste will accumulate. The amount of doody produced will impact which option you choose and how many disposable waste bags you should bring along.
Number of People At Your Campsite
The number of people on your camping trip will also affect which toilet you choose. Again, it’s a matter of simple math. The more people there are, the more peeing and pooping there will be. Combine this with your length of stay, and it can add up quickly. Carefully review the best camping toilets in this article and match it to your campsite and campers needs.
Weight Of Campers
We know it’s considered rude to talk about someone’s weight, and this doesn’t mean you need to ask everyone on your trip what the scale says. However, you’ll want to make sure that the toilet you choose states the weight it can hold, so it doesn’t result in an embarrassing and potentially messy collapse for anyone on your trip.
Campground Distance from Vehicle
If you’re car, R.V., or van camping, this isn’t as big of a deal since you won’t have to carry your toilet very far and may even keep it in your rig. However, this is a consideration if you’ll be doing something like a backcountry raft trip or horseback camping. There are good options for both of those, but you’ll likely have to go for a lighter toilet option to be able to carry all your gear safely.
Ease of Cleanup and Waste Disposal
Dumping human poo at the end of a trip is never fun, no matter how easy and convenient toilet manufactures make it. Especially if you’re dumping more than just your own. You will need to consider how you’ll dispose of it, such as in the regular garbage (if legal), down the toilet, buried in the ground, compost pile, or at a disposal facility (good idea). So, keep this in mind when considering your options.
Types of Portable Toilets
There are several different portable toilet styles to consider, each with its own merits and downsides. Again, which you choose will depend on the factors mentioned above.
Portable Toilet with Holding Tank
Some portable toilets have a holding tank, freshwater tank, and flush similar to regular flush toilets. However, having both of these tanks make the toilet heavier to carry and requires a water source. They are also much bulkier, so they are best suited to R.V., car, or van camping, and you will likely not remove them from the vehicle until it’s time to dispose of the solid waste and liquid waste. Some portable camp toilets with a holding tank also have an easy to read tank level indicator. This helps to identify when its time to empty the tanks.
Camco Portable Toilets
In the R.V. industry, Camco is a household. They make lots of quality camping products at a reasonable price, and the Camco Portable Travel Toilet is no exception.
What We Like
- This toilet is reasonably priced and comes in two different sizes, a 5.3 gallon, and a 2.6 gallon.
- The holding tank is detachable for easy dumping and has side latches for a tight seal.
- The slide valve in the toilet bowl is designed to have an airtight seal to prevent odors, which reviewers claim works exceptionally well.
- It also supports up to 330 pounds, so it will likely accommodate everyone in your party.
- The 5.3-gallon size is big enough to serve a small family of 2-4 people for a camping weekend.
Things To Consider
- This toilet weighs in at 10 pounds empty, meaning it will weigh a lot more once full of water and waste. You’ll need to consider how you’ll carry it to dump it.
- It is best to use a biodegradable chemical tablet to help with smells and break down waste, which may be a downside for those that want something more eco-friendly.
- While these toilets shouldn’t leak, it is best to check before use to make sure. Add water and swish it around before first use, so you don’t learn the hard way.
- It should be dumped into an R.V. disposal site and may splash. Dumping into a home toilet is not recommended as the amount of waste in the storage tank could plug up your home system.
Thetford Porta Potti
In addition to the Camco, consider the Thetford Porta Potti 365 Portable Toilet. Perfect for the car road trip, RV, camp site, beach, ice fishing house, and even construction sites. This portable toilet features a holding tank and a pour out spout which will come in handy when emptying out the fresh water tank or waste water tank. The Thetford Porta Potti comes with easy to read freshwater level indicator as well as waste water indicators. A very important factor.
Camp Chemical Toilets Bio-Pak
When using portable camping toilets with holding tanks you can also add in chemicals to help deodorize and break down the waste. For these chemical toilets, using a bio-pak like the Walex Bio-Pak is recommended. The Walex Bio-Pak comes in alpine and fresh scent packs.
Dry Flush Portable Toilet
A dry flush toilet is a unique concept, and few options are on the market. These toilets don’t require water but have a film cartridge and a flush mechanism. You sit on the toilet like normal, and rather than go into a bowl of water, you go directly into the film, which forms a bag. Then, you flush the toilet, which twists the bag and seals it. You then throw away the bag containing the waste.
S.E Technologies Portable Toilets
The S.E. Technologies Ltd. USA Wrappon Green Portable Toilet is an excellent dry flush choice for all kinds of camping scenarios.
What We Like
- No water is necessary.
- Each flush uses 5-layer film to seal your waste, prevent odors, and keep things sanitary.
- The film is coated with a special powder designed to deodorize and decontaminate the waste.
- It works for tent camping, RVing, or cabins without indoor facilities with a battery. The battery is good for 50 flushes before recharging and includes a counter to know precisely how many more flushes you have.
- You can transport this toilet with the film installed, which means you can set it up before your trip.
- It’s also an excellent emergency use option if you have a charged battery. You can buy spare batteries made specifically for this toilet, or some people even fashion their own battery systems.
Things to Consider
- It weighs in at almost 26.5 pounds, so it is less portable than some lightweight options.
- You must dispose of your waste bags, which may be as simple as throwing in the garbage if laws allow, but can be more complicated if they don’t.
- It requires electricity but can be operated off a 10V A.C. outlet, 12V D.C. socket of a vehicle, Lithium-ion battery, or a solar-powered option.
- It’s one of the most expensive portable toilet options.
Tankless Portable Toilet
These toilets are usually the lightest portable toilets because there is no bucket or tank. They’re great for camping trips where you are packing in, either via river or horseback. They certainly are a nice option for car camping as well. They consist of a toilet seat on a frame. Depending on your type of camping, they can go over a hole dug in the ground, a bucket, or large ammo can, as is often is convenient in float camping. If you’re looking for a compact portable toilet, these are an excellent option.
Blika Portable Toilets
The BLIKA Portable Toilet for Camping is a lightweight, portable option that we like and gets excellent reviews. A great option regarding portable toilets for kids and road trips
What We Like
- This portable toilet has a weight capacity of a whopping 400 pounds, so it will hold even the heaviest people in your party!
- Weighs around 5 pounds and is incredibly lightweight and easy to carry when pack weight matters.
- It is pretty packable since it folds up to take up little space.
- Plastic ring to hold a disposable toilet bag in place. Alternatively, you can set it over a hole dug in the ground, a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a disposable or plastic bag, or an ammo can with a bag in it.
- It’s on the less expensive end of portable toilets at less than $100.
Things To Consider
- The seat is small but can be unscrewed and replaced with a larger one.
- Previous models did not have the plastic ring, but the company has added one.
Green Elephant Portable Toilets
Another tankless portable toilet is the Green Elephant Portable Toilet. This toilet is lightweight weighing 3.5 pounds. The Green Elephant is stainless steel construction, is easy to use, is foldable and therefore portable, and is sturdy enough for adults and children.
Portable Bucket Toilet
Bucket toilets are a simple design concept, lightweight, and don’t cost much. They are a great portable camp toilet option. They consist of a toilet seat (which surprisingly is a comfortable seat) and a 5-gallon bucket. A toilet waste bag lines the inside. Once full, you tie up the bag and dispose of it.
Reliance Portable Toilets
We love the Reliance Products Hassock Portable Lightweight Self-Contained Toilet, and it’s an excellent option for camping and boating or just traveling with kids!
What We Love
- At 5 pounds, this is another lightweight toilet.
- It has a tank (bucket) with a lid that closes and seals shut, so you can carry it in your vehicle wherever you go.
- The sealing lid helps keep odors at bay.
- You can use a heavy-duty garbage bag filled with kitty litter to line the bucket or a specially designed toilet liner bag.
- It is an excellent waterless portable toilet and doesn’t require batteries or anything besides a bag.
- The lid has a spot for toilet paper holder for holding your toilet paper roll.
Things to Consider
- It’s a bit short for some people, but remedy this by setting it on something like a small step stool or the right size, strategically placed logs as long as they’re stable.
- It keeps the odors at bay while the lid is shut. There may be some odor when you open it up to dispose of the waste.
- It may not hold as much weight as others, although reviews state it’s pretty sturdy for all sizes.
- No true flush tank
Reliance Luggable Loo
Reliance also offers the Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet. Its simply a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat (not quite a full-size seat on a regular toilet) that conveniently fits right over the top of the 5 gallon bucket. The Reliance Luggable Loo is almost as comfortable as sitting down at home. It really is a quite versatile portable toilet option that easily transports in a car, RV or van. A popular portable camp toilet given its ease of use.
Fully Foldable Camping Portable Toilets
The Reliance FOLD-to-GO Folding Portable Camping Toilet will support a 300 pound individual. Very durable and cost effective. This toilet folds up, packs down, is lightweight, and can be tucked under a car seat or in your car trunk.
Check out the TRIPTIPS Portable Folding Toilet. This toilet unit packs down to 2.4 inches high and folds up very quickly. This also comes with a waterproof carrying bag.
Portable Toilet Liner Bags
Should you choose many of the options we’ve mentioned, you may need to use a portable toilet liner bag of some sort. There are many options on the market, and we like the Reliance Double Doodie Bags.
Reliance Double Doodie Bio-Gel Bags
These bags work on most portable toilets on the market. They have a durable construction to prevent leaks. These bio-gel toilet waste bags also help gelatinize liquids, which keeps them from sloshing around, keeps the smell down, and makes it easier to dispose of when done. They are suitable for about 4-8 uses and are some of the most economical bags available. In between uses, use a little peat moss or TP to cover your business. If this doesn’t gross you out, adding a little peat moss will extend the life of the disposable plastic bags. These Reliance Double Doodie Bags however are not biodegradable. For your consideration when selecting biodegradable toilet bags for camping
Green Elephant Portable Toilet Bags
Another toilet bags that is highly rated is the Green Elephant Portable Toilet Bags. These are 8 gallon bags so they should have no problem fitting your portable toilet. Naturally, The Green Elephant potty bags will also fit the Green Elephant Portable Toilet Chair.
Made with Plant Starches, No Polyethylene
The Green Elephant bags are made using plant starches. These bags contain no high-density polyethylene. Therefore, these bags should be safe for the environment.
Either one of these bags or camping toilet gel bags are a must-have if you want to prevent leaks, tears, and accidents.
Pop Up Camp Toilet Privacy Tent
When nature calls you may also want a little privacy when you are at your campsite. A pop up tent is light-weight, easy to setup, foldable, and is easy to travel with. The GigaTent Pop up Pod Privacy Tent will provide you a moments peace and privacy. A pop-up portable privacy tent could even double as a shower room, or changing room.
A second portable pop-up camping privacy tent is the Wolf Wise Tent. This tent fabric is 190T polyester which is durable and should last you a long time.
Final Thoughts On Portable Toilets For Camping
There are so many excellent portable toilets on the market, and we know you’ll be able to find an option that suits your needs. The best portable toilet for backpack camping will largely depend on how you’ll be using it, how many people will be using it, and whether or not you will need to pack it very far. However, we believe we’ve given you some of the best options to choose from and make an educated purchase. The best option for you may be different than your neighbors at the campsite.
Portable Toilets for Kids and Road Trips
Our absolute favorite option for about any situation you might find yourself in is the Reliance Products Hassock Portable Lightweight Self-Contained Toilet. It’s lightweight, packable, and when used with disposable toilet bags, easy to get rid of your human waste quickly and sanitarily. It’s an all-around option that won’t break the bank and can be easily adapted to suit your needs.
These portable toilets are not only great for camping, but they’re also an excellent option for long road trips with kids or even when traveling in the COVID-era due to many public restrooms being closed. And with #vanlife being so popular, this is an excellent option for that type of road trip too.
Next time you go camping with your new portable camping toilet, whichever you choose, you’ll wonder why you’d never thought of it before! You’ll be glad you brought along one of the best portable camping toilets.