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Best Portable Toilet for Van Life (Top Options & Models)

Finding the right portable toilet for your van is about balancing space, comfort, and convenience to ensure you can focus on the adventure ahead. Which is best from our experience?

Van lifers know that a dependable portable toilet is a game-changer for life on the road, providing peace of mind and the ultimate convenience. 

We tried one or two – quite literally – so here’s some helpful pointers to help you find the perfect portable potty for your home on wheels.

Top Picks for the Best Portable Toilet for Van

Choosing the right portable toilet for your van life is crucial. Whether you’re cruising in your Sprinter van or parked at a remote campsite, having a dependable toilet can make all the difference.

From composting to chemical, and from luxurious to compact designs, there’s an option to fit every need and space.

Let’s dive into some top picks that cater to a variety of preferences and requirements, ensuring you can select the best fit for your van and lifestyle.

1. Nature’s Head Composting Toilet: Most Reliable for Long-Term Use

The Nature’s Head Composting Toilet is a standout in the van life community. This self-contained unit is designed for long-term use, making it an ideal fit for your van build. 

It’s relatively lightweight at 28 lbs and measures 21 x 19 inches with a 2-gallon urine jug, which is perfect for those with limited space.

It operates without water, turning human waste into compost through a natural decomposition process, which is great for the environment. 

One of the biggest advantages of Nature’s Head Composting Toilet is its odorless operation and the fact that it significantly reduces the frequency of waste disposal.

It’s built for durability and is incredibly easy to clean, making it a worthy investment for van lifers planning to be on the road for extended periods. 

Pros

  • Odorless functionality
  • Eco-friendly operation
  • Lightweight
  • Fits in tight space

Cons

  • The initial setup cost is a little high

2. Thetford Porta Potti Curve: Luxury of a Home Toilet

The Thetford Porta Potti Curve brings the comfort of your home toilet to the confines of your van. This luxurious model weighs 10 lbs and boasts dimensions of 18 x 18 x 16 inches, with a total capacity of 5 gallons. 

Its sleek design and robust build make it a popular choice for those seeking a more permanent toilet feel without the need for a full-blown bathroom installation.

This toilet offers an impressive level of comfort with features similar to those of residential toilets, such as a comfortable seat height and a battery-operated flush. 

Its large waste capacity means fewer trips to empty it, and it also features a sealed valve to lock in odors. The Porta Potti Curve is an excellent option for van lifers looking for a touch of luxury on the road.

Pros

  • Comfortable like a home toilet
  • Battery operated flush
  • Friendly seat height
  • Large waste capacity

Cons

  • Not the best for small spaces

3. Dometic 2 Gallon Portable Toilet: Best Toilet Compact Design for Small Spaces

For van lifers with space at a premium, the Dometic Portable Toilet offers a compact solution. It’s a favorite among van lifers for its small footprint, measuring just 13 x 15 x 16 inches with options for a 2 or 5-gallon capacity. 

The Dometic’s ease of use and touch-button flush system make it a practical and convenient choice for those who don’t want to sacrifice comfort for size. This portable toilet is easy to carry and fits seamlessly into tight spaces. 

With its simple flush mechanism, you won’t need to worry about manual pumps or batteries. The Dometic Portable Toilet is also built to be rugged and leak-proof, providing peace of mind when you’re on the move. The smaller 2-gallon version is perfect for solo travelers or those who prefer to empty their waste more frequently.

Pros

  • Easy to carry
  • Fits seamlessly into tight spaces
  • Simple flush mechanism, 
  • Rugged and leak-proof

Cons

  • Not ideal for non-solo van lifers

4. TRIPTIPS Upgrade Retractable Portable Toilet

The TRIPTIPS Upgrade Retractable Portable Toilet is a clever solution for van dwellers who value space and convenience. This model boasts a unique retractable design that shrinks down for easy storage, making it an excellent choice for vans where space is at a premium. 

Its lightweight build and ease of setup are significant advantages for those who are on the move frequently and need a quick-access toilet solution.

Pros

  • Height adjustable
  • Movable and lightweight
  • Versatile – used as a toilet, trash can, or stool
  • functional covering lid design

Cons

  • The retractable mechanism doesn’t feel stable

5. VINGLI Portable Camper Van Toilet

For those looking for a balance between functionality and comfort, the VINGLI Portable Toilet is a top contender. It’s robust enough to handle the rigors of van life, with a design that considers both user comfort and practicality. 

The waste tank is sizable, reducing the frequency of disposal trips, and its ease of maintenance makes it a convenient choice for travelers who prefer a no-fuss solution.

Pros

  • Large detachable tank
  • Easy to set up
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Ideal for couples and large families

Cons

  • Feels bulky

6. Ann Katy Upgrade XL Portable Toilet

The Ann Katy Upgrade XL Portable Toilet is designed for those who desire extra space and comfort. It features a larger seat and a higher weight capacity, accommodating a broader range of users.

The increased tank size means more time between emptying, and its sturdy construction instills confidence in durability over time. This model’s focus on comfort makes it a standout option for extended van adventures.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Comfortable design
  • Sturdy build
  • Large seat and weight capacity

Cons

  • Large footprints may not fit in smaller van layouts

7. Camco Portable Toilet Bucket

The Camco Portable Toilet Bucket is a straightforward and budget-friendly option for van life. It’s lightweight and can be easily stored or moved around, making it an excellent choice for those who prioritize portability.

Compatible with wag bags or other waste bags, it offers a simple solution for waste management without the need for water or chemicals.

Pros

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Compatible with standard wag bags
  • The bucket design allows for easy floor mounting and added stability
  • Very affordable 

Cons

  • May be uncomfortable for the luxury seekers

8. SereneLife Portable Toilet

When you’re living the van life, having a reliable toilet like the SereneLife Portable Toilet is a game-changer.

It’s designed with a sturdy build and a flush system that mimics the comforts of home, making it an excellent choice for those long days on the road.

With a weight of just 7 lbs and packed dimensions of 19 x 15 x 4 inches, this portable toilet is compact enough to store easily in your van without taking up too much space. 

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Simple setup and use
  • Built-in flush system
  • Sealed waste tank to contain odors effectively

Cons

  • The small waste tank requires frequent emptying

9. PLAYBERG Portable Travel Toilet

The PLAYBERG Portable Travel Toilet is a solid choice for van lifers seeking a balance of functionality and portability. With its sturdy construction, it can withstand the rigors of life on the road.

This toilet includes a seat and lid for comfort, as well as a waste compartment that is easy to remove and clean.

Its lightweight form, at only 7 lbs, means it won’t add significant weight to your van, and the compact dimensions ensure it fits snugly in your living space. 

Pros

  • User-friendly design
  • The full-sized seat offers a level of comfort 
  • Compatible with most wag liners
  • Sleek and luxurious appeal

Cons

  • The lack of a flush system requires manual waste covering with sawdust or cat litter

Buying Guide: Choosing a Toilet in Your Campervan

When living in a van, selecting the right portable toilet is not just about convenience; it’s about hygiene and comfort.

While van lifers might occasionally rely on public restrooms, having your setup means you’re prepared for any situation with toilet paper, toilet seats, and wag bags at the ready.

It’s also about respecting the environment by using designated dump stations and not leaving waste behind. And for those middle-of-the-night needs, nothing beats the ease of having a toilet within arm’s reach, without the need to pee in the wag bag or venture outside.

Diverse Types of Portable Toilet Options for Van Dwellers

Vans offer limited space, but that doesn’t mean van lifers must compromise on sanitation. From simple bucket styles to high-tech dry flush toilets, there’s a type of portable toilet for your van to match every need and budget.

Whether you prioritize ease of emptying the toilet, minimizing odors, or having a toilet that feels like a regular toilet, toilets for van life have evolved to offer comfort and convenience for every van dweller’s personal preference.

Bucket Toilets: Simplicity and Affordability

Bucket toilets are the epitome of simplicity for van lifers seeking an affordable and straightforward solution. These basic units are easy to use and maintain, making them ideal for those new to van life or for emergencies.

Pros of Bucket Toilets

  • Simplicity and affordability
  • Incredibly user-friendly—just line the bucket with a trash bag, add some absorbent material for solid waste, and you’re set
  • The lightweight and compact design makes them easy to store and transport

Cons of Bucket Toilets

  • Without a secure seal, odors can quickly become an issue
  • The lack of a traditional toilet seat may compromise comfort
  • Require frequent emptying of the waste
  • Their simplicity may not suit people looking for a more permanent and aesthetically pleasing option.

Composting Toilets for Van Life: An Eco-Friendly Solution

For the environmentally-conscious van lifer, composting toilets offer a sustainable way to manage waste.

These toilets separate liquids and solids, using natural processes to break down waste with the help of peat moss or similar materials, making them a favorite choice among those dedicated to preserving the great outdoors.

Pros of Composting Toilets

  • Foster eco-friendly living and environmentally friendly waste disposal
  • Designed with separate compartments for liquids and solids
  • Reduced odors and the need for frequent dumping
  • They use peat moss or other composting mediums to break down waste
  • Many models have a wooden lid and measure about 13 x 15 x 14 inches, merging functionality with a home-like aesthetic

Cons of Composting Toilets

  • Can be expensive
  • Require a dedicated installation space within the van
  • Some models need 12-volt power and proper venting to the outside

Cassette Toilets: A Home-Like Feel

Cassette toilets are a popular choice for van lifers who prefer the familiarity of a regular toilet without the need for permanent installation.

These portable units offer a balance between portability and comfort, making them a versatile addition to any van setup.

Pros of Cassette Toilets

  • Provide a level of comfort close to a regular toilet – with a familiar seat and flushing mechanism
  • More compact than composting toilets
  • Do not require venting or fixed installation
  • Flexible to move and store
  • Simplified waste management

Cons of Cassette Toilets

  • They require frequent dumping at RV dump stations
  • The combination of pee and poop in a single container requires strong deodorizers to manage odors
  • Not very environmentally friendly

Chemical Toilets: Effective Waste Management

When you’re living the van life, having a convenient and reliable way to manage waste is critical. Chemical toilets offer an effective solution, with a holding tank that uses chemicals to neutralize odors and break down waste. 

While they’re not permanent toilets, they do provide the functionality and convenience you need for those long stretches on the road or when you can’t access other facilities.

Pros of Chemical Toilets

  • Easy to use
  • Effectiveness in odor control
  • Portability
  • Don’t require a connection to a sewer line
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cons of Chemical Toilets

  • The chemicals used can be harsh on the environment\
  • Finding appropriate disposal locations for the waste can be a challenge
  • The ongoing cost of chemicals can add up over time
  •  Improper management produces unpleasant smells
  • Requires regular emptying

Dry Flush Toilets: Waterless Wonders – Laveo Dry Flush Toilet as an Example

Dry Flush toilets, like the Laveo Dry Flush, are waterless toilets that are perfect for van living. This innovative design means you can say goodbye to the need for water or plumbing. It operates at the push of a button, wrapping waste in an airtight material and storing it in a cartridge for easy disposal.

For van lifers looking for a simple, odor-free solution, the Laveo Dry Flush offers a convenient alternative to traditional RV toilets.

Pros of Dry Flush Toilets

  • Simplicity and sanitation
  • No need for water – a game-changer for conserving resources while on the road
  • The waste is sealed immediately, which means you won’t have to deal with odors
  • The waste cartridge can be easily removed and thrown away- no contact with the contents

Cons of Dry Flush Toilets

  • Costly to maintain
  • Refill cartridges can add up in price, particularly if you’re using the toilet frequently
  • Each cartridge only supports a limited number of flushes
  • The disposal of cartridges means generating more waste

Practical Considerations for Van Toilet Selection

Selecting the right portable toilet for your van isn’t just about convenience; it’s about matching your lifestyle to the right product. Considerations like space, waste disposal, budget, and frequency of use will guide your decision.

Don’t overlook the importance of privacy and comfort either, as these will greatly impact your overall satisfaction with the portable toilet you choose for your van life adventures.

Space and Storage: Finding the Right Fit

In the cozy quarters of a van, every inch counts. You need a toilet that not only fits your space but can be stored without hassle.

For those with very limited space, compact models like the Cleanwaste Foldable GO Anywhere Toilet, which can be tucked under a bed or shelf, are ideal. 

Remember, the right toilet should be one that you’ll use regularly without it becoming a burden to your living area.

Waste Disposal: Keeping it Clean and Legal

Dealing with waste disposal is a critical aspect of van life sanitation. A portable toilet should come with a waste tank that’s easy to remove and transport to a disposal site.

Ensuring that you can legally and hygienically dispose of waste is paramount, as it not only affects your living environment but also the natural surroundings you’ve come to enjoy.

Budget: Cost-Effectiveness vs. Comfort

Your budget plays a significant role in the type of portable toilet you can afford for your van life. While you may find cheaper options on the market, consider the long-term costs of required chemicals or the inconvenience of frequent emptying. 

Balancing cost-effectiveness with comfort is key to finding the portable toilet that best fits your needs and travel style.

Usage Frequency: Matching Toilet to Travel Style

If your travels often lead you to remote areas without public facilities, having a reliable portable toilet is essential. Consider how often you’ll need to use it. For occasional use, a simple model with wag bags may suffice. 

However, for frequent use, investing in a more robust system with a larger waste tank might be more practical and less disruptive to your adventures.

Privacy Concerns: Ensuring Your Comfort

Privacy is a personal matter, especially when it comes to van life. If the idea of using a portable toilet within earshot of your travel companion makes you uneasy, consider solutions like a portable shower tent for added privacy. 

Always communicate with your partner about privacy needs to ensure both of you are comfortable with the setup.

Accessories and Maintenance for Your Portable Toilet

Maintaining a portable toilet is essential for a sanitary and pleasant van life experience. There are must-have accessories and maintenance routines that will keep your toilet in top condition, ensuring it’s ready for use at any moment.

Staying on top of cleaning and upkeep will make all the difference in enjoying your travels without unnecessary disruptions.

Must-Have Accessories for Sanitary Van Life

For clean and hygienic van life, certain accessories are indispensable. Stock up on wag bags for easy waste management, as well as biodegradable toilet paper to minimize your environmental impact. Cleaning supplies designed for portable toilets will help maintain a fresh environment.

With these accessories on hand, you’ll be well-equipped for a comfortable and responsible journey on the road.

Keeping Your Portable Toilet Clean: Tips and Tricks

Maintaining a hygienic portable toilet in your van is crucial for a comfortable journey. To start, always have a stash of trash bags on hand for easy disposal of human waste.

Adding a specialized RV toilet treatment, like Camco TST Ultra-Concentrate with a pleasant orange scent, can help break down waste faster and keep odors at bay.

A small amount typically lasts a couple of months, but if odors persist, feel free to add an extra dose. Before use, pour a little water into the bowl to ensure everything goes down smoothly, keeping your van life sanitary and stress-free.

Regular Maintenance to Prevent Odors and Leaks

Regular maintenance of your portable toilet is essential to avoid unpleasant odors and potential leaks. Create a schedule for cleaning and stick to it, using mild detergents to scrub the interior. Always check for seals and gaskets that might need replacing to prevent leaks.

After each use, ensure the waste tank is sealed properly. For a deeper clean, fill the tank with water and a small amount of bleach, then shake it vigorously before rinsing. These simple steps can keep your portable toilet in top condition, ensuring a more enjoyable van life experience.

The Great Outdoors: Natural Alternatives

For those embracing the full wilderness experience, a portable camping toilet serves as a great backup in various scenarios, not just van life. Whether you’re dealing with a power outage or natural disaster, these toilets are handy to have around.

When using natural alternatives, always be mindful of the environment, burying human waste when appropriate, and never near water sources. Packing out used toilet paper in a sealed bag is also a responsible practice to minimize your impact on the natural surroundings.

Public Facilities and Hygiene Considerations

When utilizing public facilities, prioritize hygiene to protect yourself and others. Carry hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces before and after use. Be respectful of shared spaces by leaving them clean, and always flush after use.

If you’re using a nature’s head composting toilet in your van, remember to keep it well-maintained by adding peat moss or coconut coir to aid in composting and using plastic bags designed for composting toilets to manage waste disposal cleanly and effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What If I Don’t Have a Portable Toilet in My Van?

If you decide against having a toilet in your van, don’t worry, there are plenty of alternatives. Just like on a road trip, you can make use of free bathrooms at gas stations, libraries, and coffee shops. 

For a more organized approach, apps like Flush can locate free restrooms nearby. Keep a travel-size hygiene kit in your van for these stops to stay clean and refreshed. 

What is the Best Portable Van Toilet for Reducing My Carbon Footprint?

Composting toilets are an excellent option as they reduce water usage and convert waste into harmless compost.

Chemical toilets, when used with eco-friendly additives, can also be a responsible choice. Choosing the right toilet for your van can significantly minimize your ecological footprint. 

How Do I Ensure I Practise Proper Portable Van Toilet Waste Management?

Responsible waste disposal is critical in preserving the environment while living in your van. Emptying the waste tank of your portable toilet should always be done at authorized locations, such as campsite facilities or public restrooms equipped for such purposes.

Never dispose of human waste in the wild as it can contaminate water sources and harm local ecosystems. Being mindful of where and how you dispose of waste speaks volumes about your commitment to protecting the natural world around you.

Concluding Thoughts: The Best Portable Toilet for Van Life Freedom

Choosing the best portable toilet for your van boils down to personal preference and the specific needs of your lifestyle on the road. Whether it’s a composting toilet that aligns with your eco-conscious values, or a cassette toilet for its similarity to a normal toilet, the key is finding a balance between comfort and practicality.

Remember, van lifers, you’re not just picking a toilet; you’re choosing a companion for your adventures that should cater to the precious space and flexibility of van life.