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We’ve had a composting (dry) toilet in our Class B RV, Lance, for over a year now. Folks have been asking us for a review on it since practically day one. Finally. FINALLY… we got serious about it and made this video. Well, we got as serious as we could and tried really hard not to laugh our way through it. We failed miserably at that, but we did cover everything we could think of in this epic video. Have a look:
What’s our real opinion? Well, our experience with the composting toilet has included fewer unicorns and rainbows than almost every other review or video about them that we’ve seen. So just be prepared for that. After more than a year, we’re confident that there are no usage issues (we know how to poop, thanks). We’re also confident that we’ve tried about everything possible to make it work well. And our conclusion after all this time is that it honestly does what we got it for – but it’s far from a perfect solution.
You’ll need to watch the video for the complete explanation of these, but really quickly, the main advantages we were seeking from the composting toilet were:
- Smarter water usage to extend our time afield
- Improved winter camping ability
The good news is that our composting toilet has really delivered on those points. But it’s not without some challenges in use – particularly in a camper van. In no particular order, those are:
- Venting peculiarities
- Insect invasions
- Moisture Management issues
- Cleaning challenges
- Liquid capacity limitations
- Solid capacity limitations
- Dumping awkwardness
Like I said, you’ll need to watch the video for all the details on those. But after a year, that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.
So – go ahead and sound off in the comments below. I’m sure some of you will tell us we’re pooping wrong. I’m sure some of you will tell us we’re eating wrong. And I’m sure some of you will tell us we’re nuts for having tried this in the first place. Maybe you’re all right? Perhaps. But in the final analysis – we’re keeping the toilet.
Hey guys! Great way to explain why compost toilets are perfect for rv and van travelers! If you ever want to try out a compost toilet that has a removable solids bin, liquid level sensor, power agitator, and small profile, reach out. We would love to hear from you. You can reach us at [email protected] or call -removed-. Best wishes and safe travels.
Absolute best review I’ve seen on the pluses and minuses of owning a composter. Thank you for the thoughtful and humorous takes!
Thanks, Nathan. Glad you appreciated the honesty! (And the humor…)
I just watched your video on the toilet – on you tube. Thanks for such an honest and humorous review….much appreciated.
I have considered putting one on my boat…but now am not so sure it is a better plan than what I have now.
Glad you liked it!
Enjoyed this. Don’t know when I have laughed this hard watching an RV video.
thinking I will stick with my black tank for now. Thank you!
Glad you liked it!
We started RV’ing in a small van conversion, with kids, using a Thetford Porta-Potti 50 years ago/ Lugging the lower part to a camp outhouse or gas station to dump was fairly easy.. It had a water flush tank on top and deodorizer in the lower waste tank and required no special usage technique. Now we have a Class C with typical flush toilet and holding tanks which is fairly easy to use and maintain.
Frankly I don’t see any great advantage to using a composting toilet other than compactness and water saving required by a small van-type RV. Enjoyed your frank and humorous video and had my curiosity satisfied.
Great video. Apologies if this question was already asked: why not add black tank disinfectant to the urine tank? Would that help with the smell?
We tried adding a number of things to the urine tank. There’s no problem with doing so… just finding something that you like.
We are contemplating changing one of the heads in our boat over to composting (leaning towards a C-Head) and stumbled across this video from you guys in our search – and you had us laughing out loud!
Great work – and a great honest look at the positives and negatives.
Did you build that pedestal extension to make it easier to sit up on the throne?
Ha! Hi Chris!
Winnebago actually built that pedestal and installed the toilet for us as an experiment.
Still going strong (the good and the bad) today.
If you thought the “run and dump” was funny, I had this whole scene in mind for the part of the instructions where they tell you to “simply dump the liquids tank overboard”. Getting that on film proved to be a logistical problem, but you can just imagine the scene I had in mind!
This is great, and a true representation! We have the same composting toilet in our sailboat. experiencing many of the same issues.We have double containers, so we can switch them out when full (if we can’t dump). We use a silicone pot lid over the #2 hole to try to keep liquids from leaking into it. Works fine unless someone opens the hole and forgets to remove it. Have a canvas carry bag to carry #1 bucket. Also have added cups of coir if things look too wet in there. We’ve had to sail around with black trash bags until they can be deposited in a trash bin. Considering the alternative (holding tanks, chemicals, pump-out stations that sometimes leak or have ill-fitting attachments) we think we’ll put a compost toilet into our tiny RV (researching for an RV now). Lesser of two evils! Visitors don’t get it and are restricted!
Thank you for the great review. We are putting a Grand Design travel trailer in our back yard (2 acres in the country) to live in, so our adult children can live in the house to care for their handicapped siblings. We are getting old. LOL! We thought about a tiny home but you can’t pull that around to vacation in the winter.
We were were contemplating 1: the expense of putting in a small septic tank and filter bed, 2: a composting toilet or 3: a cassette toilet. You have helped me rule out the composting toilet. That was a great review! Probably put in a septic tank. Our county isn’t too picky about what you do for a trailer. It’s a lot of expense but probably worth it in the end. Have fun on the road.
Great video thankyou I was wondering if your moisture problem when using shower was the fan pulling moist air into the toilet????
Well, if the toilet was only moist after a shower, you might be on to something.
But it’s not. It’s moist all the time, whether we shower in the rig or not.
Huh. Well, that is a buzz kill. I had done a lot or reading on composting toilets some years ago. Mostly residential ones. I remember reading about a 2 story one, which I think is the one they have at Yosemite. And, supposedly, everything goes down together, and there is a heated fan that desiccates EVERYTHING. You toss in coffee grounds, or some other bulking agent, and some enzymes, your churn the whole mess now and then, and you get compost months later. Here you separate liquids from solids. Either my memory is going, or something has changed. At this rate, you’d be better off with a cassette toilet. I guess that’s why the B RV’s are going to that, and not to the composting.
A heated fan that desiccates things would be cool… but using that kind of energy in a small RV really isn’t going to work well for those who boondock. I suppose it might work for the RVs who spend all their days hooked to shore power though.
Wow, with almost 300 comments, looks like something hit the fan. Must be the compost, right.
I think you have an airhead? I was looking at the sizing on it (for example, https://airheadtoilet.com/the-air-head/details-dimensions/) and it doesn’t make sense, it seems the height is correct at 20″ but why is the width so wide (19″, almost the same as the height? It doesn’t look that wide.
I was looking at the pictures; is the compost mixer not square? If it’s on an angle, that could explain the extra width. If so, could the toilet be fitted at an angle to square the handle rotation (against a wall), and thus use less space?
The reason I am worrying about this is we have not much space left in the van and I have already ruled out the NaturesHead because of its functional width (with the 2″ sliding to get the top off) steals too much space.
One last Q, have you ever seen a spider crank for the airhead?
*And Keep Safe, I think we need another acronym. LOL.
I think maybe what you’re thinking is width is really the front-of-the-jug to back-of-the-lid measurement. Just a guess. The compost mixing tub is not square, it’s round-ish.
I’ve never seen a spider crank for the air head.
No, I think I wasn’t clear. I meant is the mixing handle that comes out the side square (perpendicular) to the centerline from the front of the toilet to the back of the toilet, or is it at a slight angle forward. From some of the pictures I’ve seen it looks like it comes off at an angle slightly forward of square.
OK. In that case, yes.
The agitator And its handle handle rotate about an axis that IS perpendicular to the centerline, front to back, of the toilet.
Your video was really excellent and honest. There are too many hyped composting toilet videos, seemingly because people don’t want to admit that their expensive toilet has issues. And claims that they don’t smell at all, it’s unreal and dishonest. Even residential toilets smell somewhat. So thanks again and you are helping the RV world enormously. As for me, we boondock exclusively, so we are using a 2.5 gallon portapotti for #1 (no TP going in, sprinkle on the plants), and a portable bucket toilet for #2 (again no TP going in) with kitchen trash bags as liners that require no cleaning out of the bucket. Leaf matter/sawdust goes in the bucket after each use. But our system is a hassle if you suddenly need to use the bucket and it’s packed away somewhere (usually it’s outside behind a bush).
Though we’ve made our peace with it and we’re sticking with the composting toilet, we’ve come to realize there is no one “perfect” system for dealing with waste in the RV.
Great job guys!
You answered all of the questions that know one else wanted to in a thorough, thoughtful and sometimes funny manner.
Great review on these toilets which has helped us with the pros and cons in a balanced way. But I guess you still come down on the side, it’s better to have and not. One thought when you explained the venting issue with the MaxiFan, would it be possible to vent the air intake to the outside or is the back draft coming from the pan itself?
Yes, one could relocate the air intake from the back side of the toilet itself to the outside someplace.
But the only thing you’d really be doing is allowing yourself to run an exhaust fan without any windows open… which doesn’t really do much anyway. So I never pursued this because I saw little benefit.
love those ideas james n stef thanks a bunch
I am looking to buy a new RV – the research has been mind boggling
my main concern is the toilet systems
is there such a thing as an incinerating toilet where there no processing or handling of stool is involved – stool turning into instant ash !!
it they can do that w dead bodies im surprised thee s not one for portable toilets.
First – if you’re feeling overwhelmed, I’d suggest looking at our 8 Step Plan for Choosing Your First RV.
But to answer your direct question. Yes, there are incinerating toilets. I’ve never seen one successfully installed in an RV. I suspect this is because most of them use a lot of propane for the burner. Also, there would be some pretty serious venting/combustion air/exhaust issues to deal with.
Well, Thanks so much for the warts and all presentation! I’m a DIYer looking for ideas and you’ve given me some great hints. I now definitely plan on lining my solids container with a trash bag (maybe bio-degradable) and experimenting with a check valve on the air exhaust to prevent reverse air flow. I’ll probably make something with a 3-D printer.
I’m not an RV-er at the moment, but once I hit the sack in my backpacking hammock, I don’t get like to get out, so I use a P-jar and it used to stink to high heaven when I opened it. Once it started to stink, washing was no help. The only thing that would get rid of the smell was bleach. Now, I rinse it every morning and it never stinks, but rinsing every day isn’t practical for a big urine tank. I’m wondering if maybe a tablespoon or two of bleach in the container before reinstalling it in the toilet after emptying would help.
Mixing bleach and urine is not a great idea. We haven’t tried that.
What we do is drop little bit of Thymol into the liquids tank every time we empty it.
This is the stuff we use and this is where we order it from.
Thanks for doing this video! Wow, this was a sh—-y job to do, but someone had to do it! You two are well thought out, articulate and funny! I loved the mashed potatoes and run with a jug! ~and all the gory details and plugged ears…but most important was the info, great info, thanks!
Funny thing is… we’re STILL using it!
Thanks for the video, definitely showed me this toilet isn’t for me. I figured all of the no con reviews were sugar coating it.
Sugar-coated poo. Now THERE’S a mental image… 😉
gp-Whats ya’ll’s thoughts / info. on doing a compost toilet in a 2020 Travato 59GL, combining both gray/black tanks as one large gray tank? What problem, if any, would the macerator cause. I have seen videos on using a gate valve for dumping. Just wanted to get ya’ll’s take while living here in Southeast Texas.
Your attention to this request is appreciate.
Well, that’s basically what we’ve done. But we don’t combine the two tanks as others suggest with a gate valve. We just routed the shower drain to the former black tank.
I never liked the idea of the add-on gate valve and leaving water in the piping system all the time. Too many extra places for leaks. Too much extra piping to keep from freezing all the time. And you have to run the macerator pump manually and guess at the tank levels. I also don’t know what the output pressure of the macerator pump is and how far “up” it could “push” water into the black tank… and I never wanted to bother figuring it out.
Thanks for the video from Germany. Very well done!
Thank you for being genuine, honest, unbiased, offering a true rendition…
…and why I subscribed to your channel.
I have watched countless videos to educate myself up-front about compost toilets.
So many claim they are giving an honest report, yet they are either paid liars
or willing monkeys who sit on a bias from the getGO.
Your video is the first one to report the truth to me!…the usual hype perpetrated by
the majority of people who are simply dishonest, knocked flat out, especially the
seller’s lie. Your presentation exposes the lying manufacturers.
The difference between a monthly cycle and less than a week(as you report) is huge, 1/6 ratio.
That compost toilet is EXPENSIVE. To be sold with such a lie is irreproachable.
I would return it just for this lie, with the load still in it.
Nearly everything we are sold is under multiple hype lies. Our society should stop
allowing such dishonesty. Our children should not be made to learn and deal with this
disingenuous false craft. The sale hype should be replaced by true testing of everything
at the consumer level.
Only true in-usage reports should be allowed in the thorough description of anything
put on the market. Your report fulfills this though one is made a guinea pig.
Putting my RV together… have planned all along for a compost toilet.
Saving water is crucial. Lugging massive tanks is costly on mileage and dangerous
on handling. On any rig, placing tanks in a strategic location is not always accomplished.
Have you tested your black/gray tanks to see if they have baffles?
I will keep you on my list and show you a system that gets around the problems you expose
and more… for less money.
I should be on the road mid 2020 or before.
This may have been your best video yet for entertainment value . I love the run and dump sequence with the folks having a picnic in the foreground, and I will never look at mashed potatoes the same way ever. Thanks.
P.S.I did learn something, I won’t be purchasing a composting toilet.
Lol. Glad you liked it!
I curious if you were able to repurpose the black tank space for a second fresh water tank. Also do you know what is under the fiberglass under the old ceramic bowl? Wondering if you can make it a flat space. I live on a boat and swapped out my system for the Air Head and had very similar issues. Nice to hear it’s not just me! I also found that bug dust for dirt added to the mix works for flying pests. My screen was fine. I am looking to get the GL soon.
The black tank is in use, but as a second grey tank. I’d never consider storing fresh water down there.
In an standard Travato, there would be a large pipe down below leading down to the black tank. (Lance was built without one.). Besides that, just a few plumbing connections and empty space under that white step-like area. Several folks, ourselves included, have repurposed that area for storage.
Wonderful presentation. Both of you should go into acting. Thanks.
Watched your great video. As for cleaning have you thought of using rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. The alcohol will evaporate. Personally I use vodka in a spray bottle all other places especially in the kitchen .
Never tried that. We seem to do OK with vinegar typically, but I’m always game to try a better way.
Regarding carrying the containers around: Consider using a sturdy luggage type bag (exclusively for toilet waste) or maybe stitch up a covering with a slot for the handle to camouflage the container until you get where you need to be to process it. Granted, if you are in the same place for many days, people will still probably know what you are up to. It’s all a part of life.
Thanks for your candid and comprehensive review. The plumbing at my rarely visited family of origin farm is diminished. I’ve wondered how a composting toilet might provide a way to go away from the bugs in nature.
We’ve tried a couple bags. But eventually, they always get gross…
Lately, we just count on the fact that most people don’t know what the bucket is.
(That’s what we’re hoping anyway…)
Thanks for the video. It provided some interesting thoughts. It seems that, like everything else, use of a compost v. traditional plumbed toilet ‘depends’. If you’re older or not as active, you probably wont’ fill it up as much because you don’t eat as much. We prefer to boondock more so composting makes sense versus always looking for a dump tank. We drove around AK for a couple of weeks in an RV and the toilet stunk. I’m not sure you can ever get around smells in a confined space regardless of your choice. Plus, I was always anxious about filling up the tanks. In the end you just need to choose what’s right for you and your video did bring up some good points I hadn’t considered. Thanks for the info
Hey Mark! Glad you liked the video!
Thank you for not shying away from the realities of a composting toilet! All the other reviews are so squimish they don’t mention the main concerns.
I’m retired, unable to do much but enjoy watching videos about Alaska & offgrid living. You two are so entertaining & friendly, the kind of folks anyone would like to meet on the road. I will be following your videos, not so much about RVing but because you’re the kind of people we want to see succeed (like my wife’s favorite fellow Texans-The Gaines of HGTV.)
SO, Thanx for the xcellent video-be safe & well. We’ll be watching your adventure vicariously,
Roady & Sharon Fanelli
That’s so kind of you! We’re humbled.
Glad you like our videos!
So FUNNY! And extremely informative and honest. Thank you for making this video.
Glad you liked it!
Interesting to hear of your troubles with the composting toilets, especially around moisture of the moss. We are a family of 5 living full time aboard our sailing boat. I replaced the two flushing marine heads with air heads 3 years ago and have never looked back. The only issues we have had is a gnat infestation and on a handful of occasions we have failed to empty the pee containers in the kids head and they didn’t think to inform us of the lack of “tinkling” sound causing an overflow. No big deal really.
Moisture content has never been an issue. We just hydrate the peat moss, put it in and don’t think about it until a fortnight later when it’s time to do the change.
Odour has never been a problem, not once.
We are very happy users and highly recommend them to anyone interested in listening.
Glad your composting toilets are working for you. But a fortnight? My British may be a bit vague, but I think that’s two weeks.
Absolutely no way, under any circumstances short of a hunger strike could I use our composting toilet exclusively for two weeks. Even if moisture wasn’t a problem, it would fill well before then.
I’m wondering, James… do you think that’s because of the brand? Is Air Head’s capacity less than Nature’s Head?
Not really. The sizes aren’t that different.
Wow toilet well camping there not really best ideal one out there they all there nasty points & better points I find a Legacy Elite 18′ 5″ Single Axle Small Travel Trailer it comes with a Nature’s Head Composting Toilet is a add on from the factory
This is by far the best review of a composting toilet I’ve seen! THANK-YOU for your honesty and for keeping it real. You’ve answered so many of my questions and now I have to re-think my plan of replacing the RV toilet with a composting one. We’re fulltime RVers and don’t always have a second option (like truck stops, etc.). The “dump & run” method totally cracked me up…. reminded me of something Mr. Bean would do!!! LOL
Just saw your video on youtube, wanted to thank you for answering so many questions. So many youtubers are rail thin small people. I can relate more to yourself being into health and fitness and eating 3000+ calories a day.
Thanks again! for going into detail and giving a what seemed more accurate account of the pleasant and unpleasant!
It was a little bit uncomfortable to make it, but people really seem to like this video.
Thank you for a well thought out video. Appreciated the honesty and candor (and humor). Having watched your toilet paper comparison, I know that you like to conduct tests. I’m not sure how important the water holding capacity of the coconut coir (or similar) is, but if a higher water capacity is helpful for smells or longevity, maybe there are other fibers out there that are better. I worked in the food industry and I know that psyllium husk is good (e.g. used in Meta Mucil). I don’t know how the cost/performance would work out for composting either. Just a thought. Anyway, great video.
It has taken me a while (6 years) to come up with the perfect medium. Full disclosure, I manufacture a competing brand. I don’t know if this will work with a Nature’s Head or Airhead, but I don’t know why it wouldn’t. I hate handing them my hard earned research but I actually use my toilet everyday and have for years so I am always making it better and not concentrating all my efforts on marketing. Call me a fool but I am fascinated by the technology. That being said, use Aspen Bedding by Alfapet. You can find it at Walmart in the pet section. Cheap and easy, odorless and dust free and sold in compressed blocks that are easily crumbled apart. Add a cup of diatomaceous earth to the mix and empty the toilet at least every two weeks. You can get rid of the ventilation system completely and you won’t be bothered by flies. At least it works like a champ in my toilet. There is a science to using a compact “composting” toilet (which incidentally are not all alike – boiling water? I don’t think so) and when mastered they are simply the best overall toilet for many applications. Some of them (mine in particular) are much more versatile and easy to use than is the Nature’s Head so lumping them all together is unfortunate.
OK. We’re heading on a trip, so we’ll try this out.
What competing brand do you use – it sounds good!
Problem 1: Eliminate extra moisture on heavy use days.
Have a secondary fan inline with existing fan. The secondary should have greater volume and can turn itself off after an hour or two letting the existing fan finish the job.
Problem 2: High moisture during showers.
Would it be possible to have an air hose attached to the air inlet port going to another room or temporarily outside?
Actually, I’ve already replaced the fan with a higher volume fan that the manufacturer suggested. This has helped somewhat, but only when out west. Simply put, the humidity in the air must be less than the humidity in the toilet or no amount of air is going to help.
Also, yes you could redirect the inlet hose elsewhere. But that would require drilling and sealing more large holes somewhere in the RV, and there are limits to how far we’ll go to modify the RV to accommodate the toilet.
would a small dehumidifier work for humidity from taking a shower, if there is such a thing for an RV bathroom?
Perhaps – but we tried a small RV dehumidifier once and it didn’t do much at all (I have the data).
I’m planning on a composting toilet in my RV and to spend time in the northeast during the summer, so humidity is on the table. Which humidifier did you use and where was it installed? I’m considering the Eva-Dry E-500 which is solid state so it uses almost no energy. Maybe have 2 of them mounted in brackets right next to the air intake for the toilet so they only have to dehumidify about 1 cubic foot of space right in front of the intake. Did your humidifier make a dent in the humidity at all?
The humidifier we used was a small, solid-state device. I believe it was an Eva-Dry.
It made absolutely no difference at all in the humidity levels in the RV. I found that strange, as I did have to empty the cup frequently.
I wouldn’t count on one of those devices (any brand) to make a composting toilet work where nature doesn’t want it to.
There is a composting toilet made for RV’s and small boats. And YES they actually compost as well. On land they use a French Drain for excess liquid. I forgot how they handled that in the RV version. In a dwelling the one to use is all self contained for the solids and an overflow for liquids. RV’s could easily use a separate tank or in with the grey water. Made in Canada and have an outlet in Upstate New York in the south towns of Buffalo. They are rated on how many people use them over time. When I find the literature I’ll try to get it posted. Enjoy,
Our Airhead toilet was originally made for boats. And it also separates the liquids and solids.
We could plumb the liquids into the grey or black tank, but that would take away some of our flexibility.
Nobody in an RV situation is going to tote around extra human waste waiting for it to make safe compost – so I’m calling foul on ANY claim from ANY manufacturer that an RV toilet makes actual compost.
A precursor to compost perhaps, but actual compost… absolutely not.
Edit……I forgot to mention another magic thing about Tanktechs RV tank treatment, or Unique RV digest it tank treatment, is that they make everything liquid VERY quickly and thoroughly. They use probiotics and enzymes and bacteria to accomplish this magic. I have personal experience with Unique RV Digest-it tank treatment but from what I gather on YouTube Etc the Tanktechs RV tank treatment is very similar. That little bit of magic along with no smells and no need for ventilation or keeping things separate or remembering to turn a crank,Etc. makes a regular 5 gallon or so porta potty the best option in my opinion. A quart of either of those products will last you a long time.
My two cents… I don’t know why people default to composting toilets when you still have to worry about carrying/acquiring peat moss or other stuff with you to make it work. And then you have to be careful about where you dump it because it’s a substantial mass of solids. Why not just use a porta potty with Tanktechs RV, or Unique RV Digest-It Holding Tank treatment? Both of those tank treatments are like MAGIC for getting rid of smells almost instantly and digesting toilet paper as well. Just a tiny bit per porta potty tank is all it takes. Then you can use any vault toilet at any campsite to dump. You don’t have to carry peat moss, Etc. And you don’t have to keep your pee and poo separated or remember to turn a crank or make sure you’re kids do when they use the toilet. Oh yeah and you don’t have to worry about installing the little fan vent tube that some of them have. There’s several things about composting toilets that just add to your list of worries or concerns while trying your best to have a carefree RV lifestyle. No thanks.
Well, there is the “uses absolutely no water” thing…
Well if you switch to a composting toilet you can wander over a couple of aisles at Walmart from the RV section to the pet section and buy pet bedding for your C-Head. Four or five bucks buys a months worth of medium. And if you like boondocking, you don’t have to pull up camp and find a dump station every three days. That can be big medicine.
Your video was an absolute hoot! Thank you for your honest review. Although I do agree that the toilet has its purpose (like for boon-docking) I think I shall stick to my black tank for now. Thanks so much for making the video. You answered every one of my questions. Regards, Joe
Glad you liked the video!
When we were researching composting toilets, all the videos we could find made us believe we would start pooping rainbows.
Clearly… that’s not the case. 🙂 Hence, our video!
You *don’t* poop rainbows? You must be doing something wrong! Seriously, yours is the best YT video on composting toilets I have seen, so far. I am considering one for a 48′ wooden boat—all the problems RVs have with plumbing some kind of flushing toilet are amplified on a vessel (through-hull fittings, rolling movements, salt or fresh water flush, space, and on, and on). So, sincere thanks from Australia.
I Just finished waiting your composting toilet video, GREAT video. Very thorough. I was seriously looking at a rig that had one already installed. This video is SO GOOD, that it totally convinced me NOT to go with a composting toilet. I will deal with the black tank instead. SO much for trying to be Green and having a sustainable rig. LOL
Well, don’t give up on having a smaller footprint. It’s still worth it to try… even if the “bucket o’ compost” isn’t quite your thing. 🙂
For odor management, have you tried charcoal?
We’ve tried a few things, but not charcoal. Best thing we’ve found for the liquid tank was a suggestion from a reader for Thymol.
As far as the solids tank, NOTHING will help it if it gets too moist. So we just try not to head east. 😉
Have you tried Sweet PDZ? I use it and coconut coir in my chicken coop and it keeps the smells down brilliantly. I also add diatomaceous earth for insect control in my chicken coop.
Gotta say, we’ve never tried it. Might be worth a shot if we’re looking for a change in the future.
I meant for adding to your composting toilet. It helps keep everything dry.
As in… in addition to the coconut coir?
yes, we had a week when our house sewer was being replaced and then another when the replacement needed tweaking and we used a two bucket plus seat system for an inexpensive system (we kept it as an emergency backup as part of our earthquake preparedness). We used coconut coir and a couple of handfuls of PDZ in the solid bucket and it worked well. PDZ can compost and go on your garden if you end up composting.
Hello! I just watched your compost head review. You can try adding some Dr Bronners Liquid Soap. It helps control the odor of my guy’s pee jar (2 story house, downstairs toilet, bedroom upstairs.) He uses a 2 gallon pickle jar that he carries down in a reusable black grocery bag. When he rinses it, he leaves some soapy water in it & swears by his method. Cheers, lol!
Have you ever had an issue where the handle will not turn in the solids bin? If so, how did you solve it?
Nope. We’ve had our share of problems with the composting toilet, but that one is something we’ve never had.
Yes, we had that initially. We were filling the toilet with too much coconut, as it will expand as it absorbs moisture. When we started using less coconut, we didn’t have any more problems.
I think I like the idea of using a really thick, good quality garbage bag secured right under the regular RV toilet seat, dumping in a little clumping, smell-nice kitty litter, doing my business, adding a little more kitty littter and throwing the sealed bag in a nearby dumpster and driving away. Works with the “Luggable Loo” and this just converts the idea for use in the regular RV toilet. Only equipment needed is
-good quality garbage bags
Just not interested in a compost toilet anymore. I’ll have to research the most environmentally friendly kitty litter next.
Thank you for the information. You guys are awesome!
Have you ever tested the unit without the fan by simply sealing up both ports. I have searched everywhere and only found one related video on YouTube and the lady said there was no smell. I feel it would be so much more appealing if it was a fully self contained unit.
Uh… no. Ewww…
With several years of composting toilet experience under our belts now, I can tell you that would be a terrible idea.
But if you don’t believe me, it would be super easy to test yourself. Here’s the test procedure:
Go to Home Depot.
Get a 5 gallon bucket and lid.
Poop in it.
Seal it up.
Come back later and let us know how it smells when you open it again.
(I crack myself up sometimes…)
Hello, I was wondering how often you have to purchase coconut coir. I’m trying to figure out the monthly/yearly cost of that particular part of having a composting toilet. How much do you buy at once and how long does it last? Thank you!
Well, in the east, we have to recharge the toilet every three days. So one brick (or two blocks) every two days.
Out west, we can go a couple weeks. For us, it all depends on the humidity.
Moist and overactive bowels are not friends with the composting toilet.
YMMV. Some people say they go a month. I think they must eat sawdust and sand.
I typically buy this one: COCONUT COIR and use two blocks.
We use about a pound every three weeks (Nature’s Head).
There a definite East/West of the Mississippi River heuristic required here. Normally, any suggestion by you is a safe bet; but I wonder if living in the East would be better served by those cute sanitary Dry Foil (expensive) Poop Wrappers?
It sounds like you can barely stand your composting toilet in the East or South East Humidity esp. So I may save money with your method going West (if I build up the nerve.)
Maybe the expensive sanitary poop wrappers are worth the money: especially considering broken learning curves and not being an expert using the composting toilet. Microbiology flashbacks may prevent me from ever being a composting toilet expert. Thanks for the straight poop!
There’s the “Biffy Bag” type system, and there’s that dry-flush foil toilet. I think either of those might be a better bet in a high-humidity environment.
As always, Thank You for your expert leads. I’ve noticed lately that Fast Foods have pulled their parking lot trash cans. Maybe they are getting too many black bags of (Reliance) Double Doodle in them, lol.
Thanks! I have a Nature’s Head toilet and use it full time and don’t need to empty the solids anywhere as near as often as you suggest. Using it 1-2 times a day, I can get 5-6 weeks of use before I have to empty it. I hose a translucent pee jug so I can see when it’s full. Several times i couldn’t tell, and it overflowed into the solids tank, which was horrible. I do get the gnats, and will check my screens. Adding diatomaceous earth, which was recommended to kill bugs, didn’t do it at all. Also, the urine smell is greatly reduced by adding raw sugar to the urine jug.
I eventually settled on Thymol crystals – recommended by another reader here – to add to the urine jug. They seem to take care of the smell pretty well. Which reminds me, I need to order some more…
Use Gnatrol to control the bugs — I used about a tablespoon per compost change every three weeks. You can buy Gnatrol from the company or on eBay in reasonably small quantities (Amazon only has it in very large containers).
I own a class A bus right now and my wife and I have discussed replacing the existing toilet with a composting. Obviously the hole in the floor would be sealed. I’m wondering if I could “plumb” the renting into the vent stack of the black tank already.
On that note. I am installing “venturi” caps on top of my “stink stacks” as I’ve heard they are a huge help in drawing the odors out the stack and not into your RV as you point out about windows open and highway speeds. Maybe you could benefit from those as well. It is an easy swap out.
I personally would *not* recommend plumbing the vent into an existing plumbing vent. You don’t want anything to interfere with the exhaust.
We actually do have 360 Siphon plumbing vents on the top of all our vent stacks. They provide the Venturi effect without any moving parts.
James, how big is the bag of compost starter and how long time does it last? I’m planning a months long trip through Latin America and I wonder if this solution is viable. I’m in the planning process for the conversion of a Sprinter in a camper van and the toilet issue gives me headaches. Thanks!
What an interesting and relevant question!
This would certainly be an easy way to dispose of waste in a foreign country – compared to trying to find a compatible dump station.
The “compost starter” is really nothing more than a coconut coir brick. They look something like this, and are quite small. One of them is enough to “preload” your toilet.
How long that will last you depends on a number of things, not the least of which are ambient humidity and your personal… um… stool profile?
As a point of reference, using the composting toilet exclusively, I can say that the “James in the jungles of Central America” use case would probably only run 3 days, 5 days at the most, before I would have to toss the contents of the toilet and restart it. But I have been told I’m unusual.
A 1141/1156 12 volt light bulb in an air intake extension stuck outside the non-seeum screen might help things dry faster and provide a romantic night light ❓❓
You know – I’ve thought about heating the tank. But I was thinking more of one of those aquarium heating pads that people get for iguanas or something to provide some gentle heat on the bottom…
Great video on the practical use of the composting toilet. I came to this issue from investigating buying one here in Australia. You may already be aware of this model (or similar).
The rv manufacturer in the video below doesn’t mention the brand but it seems more like the first model you considered.
The big plus is it is heated and has fan options that seem to eliminate moisture issues.
I’d be interested to know your thoughts.
Thanks again for a great job!
Interesting developments on that toilet.
The two fans is a good idea and would help, but I think I would still get it too wet.
The heater was described to just keep it from freezing. I don’t know how much help it would be in dessication. I also wonder how much energy it uses.
We’re on a trip now and in the west (dry) we were able to get almost 10 days out of our toilet. That’s the best we’ve ever done!
As soon as we traveled East (humid beyond words) that dropped to 5 days, then 3 days. In 98% humidity, it just never dried out.
Sadly, I had to quit using the toilet.
We will be back in the west tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to NOT using truck stops and rest areas – at least a couple of times – until I get home.
I have been toying with a 12v window defroster, engineering it to mount on the intake side with a hose so you can use it in case of the trots or just to help it dry things when the system needs help. If things are working ok just remove hose.
Hi James. Regarding a heat mat, seedling warming mats can be found at the end of the garden season on sale. The ones I purchased (to put under pet beds and plants) run on 13 watts & provide an increase (according to the package ) of 10 degrees above the air temp. Mine were around $10 each but that was about 6 years ago, in Oregon. My warming mats are about 16 or 18 inches long by about 6 inches wide & are encased in black, durable, flexible rubbery plastic, continously on. I’ve used one to keep my feet warm under my desk, since a heating pad for humans turns off after 4 hours.
Thank you for this review! You guys are very cute…..Oh, and I “won’t get the stomach flu”……:)
Composting toilet or not, we *never* recommend the stomach flu… 😉
James and Stephanie,
Thank you for putting humor into such a delicate subject and with such finesse.
I would like to buy a small travel trailer and definitely having one with a toilet is a priority.
How could I change out the current toilet for a dry (compost) toilet?
Manufacturers or dealers would not be likely to help with this issue.
The manufacturers of the dry toilets will each have their own instructions for how they want it installed.
It’s an advanced DIY project. But it can definitely be done DIY.
I’m curious about the vehicle you shot the 1 year review in. Looks like a bus by the yellow paint, but I’m unfamiliar with a bus with dual back doors. What is it?
Lol. No, it’s not a bus. It’s our Winnebago Travato, Lance!
Lance is built on a ProMaster chassis. Ours is the only yellow one Winnebago has ever made.
The best review of a product I have ever seen. You answered all question which really matter. Just wondering if you considered an incinerating toilet? (presume that would not work in a camper?). Thanks.
Excellent video. Thank you for the excellent presentation and frank discussion on a sensitive – but ubiquitous – thing we all do.
Thanks! It was tough to do with the right levels of humor and seriousness!
Thanks for the informative videos. I currently live on a large sailboat and had changed a vacuflush to a natures head composting toilet in one head and used a c-head in the other in a true head to head competition. After two weeks I’d replaced the natures head with a second c head. Capacity is a bit smaller but the ease of solids and liquid change far outweighs the hassle of higher frequency changes. The solids can be easily dumped from the 5 gallon pail into a tall kitchen trash bag in the small space of the head. No need to remove the toilet into a larger space. Another benefit is a larger solids opening for easier and cleaner “targeting”
I’m also an avid road cyclist planning to take next summer off in semi retirement in an RV cycling across the country.. After watching hours of videos , I think the travago seems to suit my needs as well. My concern is that the standard height of the murphy bed will make bike storage beneath difficult. As I understand, you’ve raised the height of your bed. Is that an easy conversion? Thanks again for all the insights. Best , Mike
Winnebago actually did that as a test for us. I don’t believe they decided to move forward with that option.
It would be a fair amount of work. You’d have to remove the rear cabinets and rebuild them taller. You need about a meter under the bed to store most bikes.
I love this video! Extremely entertaining and certainly informative.
And extremely uncomfortable to make! :-p
I watched your youtube video about your composting toilet…
Thanks for this video….
I’ll NEVER have a composting toilet…EVER….what a pain, issue after issue after issue….
Then I watched your “We Try a Cassette Toilet in our RV” video…
No place for comments on that video? You must be pushing composting toilets……
Everything about the cassette toilet outperformed the composting toilet hands down, a MUCH better solution….
Then you went to empty the toilet and ran into a smell…
That tank would be exactly like the black holding tank in an rv, and should be cared for the same way…
The only time my rv black tank smells is when I haven’t taken care of it correctly…
Just ask any rv boon-docker what chemicals to use and how much to use…Your smell problem will be resolved…
We actually don’t have any relationship with a composting toilet manufacturer. We have no agenda there.
The contents may be similar, but when you empty a black tank the waste is contained within a hose that leads straight into the sewer. You never see it or smell it.
With a cassette toilet, you have to be near the exposed waste – potentially splashing all over your bathroom. No thanks.
Was curious about composting toilets and found your vid on youtube. Had to come here to comment!
You 2 crack me up, you’re hilarious! Loved watching! James, Lance must have a mouse in her pocket, when she’d say “We”!
I believe if I ever do get to do some rv’ing, I probably won’t go with a composting toilet!
Thanks for a great video and your honesty! You’ve answered my questions!
OOPS! My bad, didn’t catch Stephanie’s name until watching the one about the cassette toilet. I went by the “about us”! Thought the name Lance was strange for a woman!
Lol. I think BOTH Stef and Lance would object to the mixup! 🙂
I absolutely love my airhead composting toilet, I have been using it full time for 6 years and my only complaint is having to clean the bowl often, otherwize it stains. I have zero issues with smell, I wish the urine container was a bit bigger. I have no problems with smell. I have had portapottys and holding tanks and there is always lots of issues with them
Glad you’re happy with yours. We don’t really have smell issues either, unless something goes wrong or we “over-use” it.
Hello….my wife and I are in the market for a B Type rv, found your blog and enjoy it very much. Thanks for your informative topics. Re: composting heads. We have used an Airhead in our sailboat for the last three years with much success. No smell, easy emptying of the solids tank every three weeks, liquid tank every couple of days. We are able to empty and recharge the solids tank easily inside the boats head using a 2 mil bag track bag following a procedure described in a previous comment. A few additional comments: TP is used sparingly and depositing in the solids tank ( no separate trash bag req.d), it’s important to saturate with water prior to mixing with the crank. We keep a spray bottle handy for that use. Satuating the TP helps maintain proper moisture content. In addition we keep a spray bottle of 50:50 white vinegar to mist the urine area after each used. As a result there is no smell and keeps the toilet bowl clean. The urine container has no smell accept when emptying, adding a table spoon of sugar can help…
Thanks for chiming in!
We would never dream of adding water to our solids tank. We have the opposite problem. We’ve installed a more powerful fan we got from Airhead to combat moisture. But if we could add moisture, I think it would help break down the TP.
And we can only be envious of your capacity. We could never get three weeks of continuous use.
James, I should have included in my comments that we use an entire brick of coconut coir when recharging. We prepare the coir in a 2 gallon zip lock bag, adding sufficient water in order to break apart the coir and create two gallons of lightly moistened material. To your point moisting the TP does help it break down and not wind around the crank. That’s all the water we ever add to the solids tank.
Yeah, I can see how moistening the TP might keep it from winding around the crank. But I still can’t bring myself to add ANY moisture to the tank. We’re all about removing moisture!
It’s cool for outdoor trip like rv trip or boat trip. But I don’t like it at my home. Thanks for pointing all the positiveness about composting toilets but I don’t like it yet for my home. I never smell bad from my toilet. Its depend on how you clean your bathroom. I clean it on a regular basis and keep a air fresher always into my bathroom….
This has got to be the most informative, entertaining video video by two of the most likable people on YouTube.
I now have a lot more thinking to do before swapping out my RV pooper.
WOW! I’m flattered AND flabbergasted, LOL! Thanks for the kind words, George! But now I’m wondering…is our one minute of fame going to be from our graphic toilet talk?!?! Lordy don’t let us become “that poop couple”…. 😉 xoxo
Speaking of “that poop couple” I was thinking about your carrying the pee bottle around the rv park and how disconcerting it is. You could consider putting it into a cute cloth bag just for the trips around the park. A specially made quilted bag could be designed to camouflage the pee bucket and it could have a shoulder strap which might make it easier to carry. Gee if you were crafty and had the ability and time …a pee bucket camouflage bag cottage/rv business could grow out of this concept. Bet there are other people who feel self conscious about carrying the pee bucket too. Lol
LOL! Oh yes, we’re already on this. Just yesterday we had to dump the liquids tank at a gas station, which means carrying through the store. I have a tote bag I use to disguise it, but it’s heavy enough that I know I carry it weird and if anyone was paying attention I probably look pretty sketchy, lol!
When I saw the topic, I hesitated. 🙂 But I ended up watching it to the end because it was done extremely well. Who knew poop and pee could be so interesting…a story well told. I know at 79, I’m never going to have one of these in the van I’m thinking about getting, but I so appreciate how smart, and funny this was. What a great couple/family…your son’s adorable. Thanks for caring about the environment this much. I find you a really lovely, remarkable couple.
I agree. It is a good video.
Good Lord, I’m not wanting one of these. Especially in a case where more than one person is living in the steel box. I can see the idea having merit as an emergency setup for van dwellers.
I’m still wondering what happens with the bag o’ magic generated at the casino parking lot. Is it left as a kind of organic WMD for the trash guy?
Usually people double or triple bag them and put them in a dumpster.
Thank you for this immensely enjoyable video! I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard.
Perhaps you may wish to consider the genius invention called the PETT [Portable Environmental Toilet] as a supplemental unit.
When closed, it is the size of a briefcase. It is lightweight, yet it can bear the weight of a 500 lb person.
It uses no water and produces no smell. When used with WAG bags & poo powder, you can go days without replacing the bag.
When the bag is full, it looks like a kitchen garbage bag and can be placed in any trash receptacle with no awkward stares or biohazard.
You can get it on Amazon. It will change your life. It will unchain you from your waste receptacle and simplify your life.
I’ve already got some of the poo powder… 😉
Hey guys, thank you so much for the personal, and insightful take on the composting toilet. I’ve watched other reviews but was not really satisfied with the down and dirty. Pardon my pun. I think you did a very good job with a very touchy subject for Americans. And I think it’s just great, that you would do that. You had me in tears when you showed yourself pouring out the supposed urine behind a picnicking couple and their children. That was funny. I think I’d still like to get one but, I’m going to shop around and see if I can find something a little different. Or maybe not. Thank you so much you guys are great.
Well presented guys. I have never been inclined to switch to a composting toilet but then I have 65 gal tanks for all three. I have found that liquid management is the key. I keep a clear 2 /12 sprayer in the bathroom which serves as a bidet and also cleans smears both functions can be done with about a cup of water. Those sprayers also work well for showers when you are in strict conservation mode. I can go for 3 or more weeks without ever having to dump the tanks. Yes most often it is only me and yes I do try to try to collect pee and dump it separately. But mostly I am avoiding the frequent hands on process necessitated by a composting toilet. I also make sure I get enough liquid in the black tank to assure a good flush during dumps. Thanks again for the info. You did point out several things I had yet to deduce about composting toilets.
Glad you liked the video, Brad!
So many of the composting toilet videos gloss over some of this stuff – so we thought we’d go “all in”!
Drop an Altoid or three in the liquid tank for smell *help*.
Another reader suggested trying Thymol, which you can get from Amazon.
We tried it and it totally works! About 1/4 teaspoon per tank makes things much less putrid.
Wonderful video-so funny…I own two Air Heads!! I related to it all!! 🙂 I have a BIG suggestion for your Air Head!! I, too, had very troublesome wet solids tank issues and I fixed it!! Just change out the caulk seal under the seat! Remove the small short bead of caulk and re-caulk that piece like you mean it!! Our solids tank is much better now and two people, full time, can “go” at least two weeks before emptying (not the 30 days as advertised). It was a subtle leak through the caulk and we would have a wet tank only a few days after changing out. Did it to both toilets and they both stay dryer. Keep having fun!
That seal is one of the first things Airhead had us check. Right now, we’ve actually sent the upper part of the toilet back to Airhead for inspection. There may have been an issue with it. I sort of hope there is. It would be wonderful to fix something mechanical and have the toilet work that much better!
(I’m with you though, I doubt we’ll ever get 30 days. 2 weeks is a dream right now, so I’d be happy with that.)
I tested the seal by placing paper towels in the solids tank (a clean solids tank :-)), poured water in and voila – wet towels! By inspection the seal looked fine! But, wow…the towels were plenty wet! My beefy caulk job has been doing the trick so far.
I’m new to your site and like it a lot…my son raced as a junior and in collage…those were the days! I can’t tell you how many trips to bike races we made. I’m sure you relate! Would have been real nice to have an RV and personal toilet!!!
Now, my husband and I are living off grid and have only our Airhead toilets. We keep one clean-ready for when company comes and the other does it “all” for just the two of us. We chose Airhead so we could easily divert the urine directly into our grey water. Works wonderfully!
James, I assume you got it back from Airhead by now. What was the verdict? Do you guys produce 5x more material than it’s designed for, or was it defective somehow?
I was considering building my next RV without a black tank, but now I’m not so sure. The Incinolet is another option, but 1.5kWh every 2-4 uses is a bit much for boondocking.
Airhead did make some repairs to our toilet. It seems to be working better since then.
Though, I still try to use other toilets when available, and it still seems to get wet and fill up quicker than it would if we produced rabbit pellets.
You could also look at the “Cinderella” brand of incinerating toilets. They have one that runs on propane!
Hiyah. I’ve got an airhead as well. I’m really curious as to where this caulked area is. I just cleaned out my toilet (gag!) & I, too, have a wet/swampy solids tank. I tried the paper towel test with water & yes, the towel was very wet. The chaulked area … is it the area surrounding the flap door on the under surface of the bowl? Wow, this is really difficult to explain. LOL
Yes, that’s where the caulked area is, precisely.
My advice would be to call the Airhead folks (they’re on east coast time). If you can send them a quick video of your test, they should be more than happy to help fix you up.
They were super cool about it when I dealt with them.
This is great. Thanks so much!
Great video. You answer the questions that are glossed over on the various manufacturer’s sites.
Have you considered connecting the inlet air vent to the outside? It seems that would be a source of moisture ingress when using the shower. It would also eliminate the problem with the ceiling fan sucking air back through the “composting” tank.
Thanks for the informative video.
We’ve considered moving the vent – but in the end, it’s just more work, more parts, and more holes in the RV.
We just decided it was easier to deal with it.
I may be one of the only dissenters here but after living with our Nature’s Head composting toilet for 2 1/2 years we still love it. Now, we do have two urine buckets because, hey, we are 2 over 60 year olds and that means we need t change it every 2 days. We dump one and fill it with a very weak clorox solution (1:50) and let that sit in the basement while using the other. (Since January of 2017 we have been traveling with our 21 year old son who drinks gallons of water a day and change it every day-no biggie.) As for the other stuff-when it was just the 2 of us we were changing every 4-6 weeks. I use it pretty exclusively as I can’t stand the idea of flushing gallons of water to flush. My husband uses it unless we are (1) in a campground and (2) the bathroom is near.
Changing? Has to be the easiest thing i the world. I put a white plastic garbage bag over the top (fits perfectly and turn the bucket over, bang the bottom a few times to make sure all the stuff is out and then take the bag off. If we are at a friend’s or family and they have a place in the woods or scruff we dump it openly there. There is NO smell. If there is you are doing something wrong.The first few times we used it I cleaned out the bucket and then realized what a waste of time that is (I mean what will we doing but adding more?) With gloves on and using one paper towel I swipe the blades to get off anything that is big and stuck and then dump the new coco coir in and we’re good to go. It’s a 10 minute routine.
My brother has a solar powered house in WV and is so impressed he’s getting his own.
And the big secondary benefit? When we have been dry camping for over a week and our 43 gal grey tank is full, we turn the diverter valve to the (former) black tank and double our storage capacity. Frankly, I’d far rather change the composting toilet than deal with one of those blue boys.
Well, we’re certainly glad you’re happy with your toilet. But for us, 4-6 weeks is somewhere in fantasy-land.
If you’re traveling with three people, I’m guessing you’ve got more space in your rig than we do. We absolutely don’t have room to change out or empty the toilet in our rig; and believe me, emptying your composting toilet at a campground will certainly get you some odd looks and (if you’re really unlucky) a visit from the campground host.
Though we do use the toilet regularly for liquids, for solids, we’re now basically down to only using it when there are no other options available.
I wouldn’t even think of changing it out inside even though we are in a 33′ class A. In our 2+ years fulltiming I have changed it in campgrounds all over the country and have never had a single stare or remark. We don’t use private CG most of the time but since I have seen people in all of them throwing out stinking trash, including diapers, I don’t think twice about the fact that what I am throwing in will break down woth far less danger to the environment.
I am personally more shocked by the amount of recyclables and waste going into the containers.
Hands down, funniest video ever, also very informative! The couple from the Gone With the Wynn’s site did 2 videos on Nature’s Head. They made it look oh so easy, once everything was installed. In fact, they love it so much, that they added 2 to their Catamaran, since they’ve traded rving for sailing. I think that this was a little more realistic. I have thought of putting one in my house, in case of more water problems in California. I still think that I’d rather dump the Airhead than a black tank.
2 Composting Toilets? That might actually work if we had two. Then we’d only be using each one every other day!
I always thought the idea of emptying a black water tank was truly disgusting — until today. And you say there is only ONE toilet on the market for wet-baths?!? It sure sounds like a money maker for a clever engineer — especially with the popularity of tiny houses on the rise. Maybe it could be part of a KickFarter campaign?? =]
Thank you for creating this “One Year In” (Urine?) video! I’ve been considering this type of toilet since we have a permanently placed RV that we use on the weekends. We have to drain the septic tank into a portable “honey wagon” that we then take into town and empty into the campground dump site. Unloading waste from a giant tupperware container with wheels can also be socially awkward and there have been mishaps that, suffice to say, made us the least popular people at the dump station that day. Much to think about.
Hands down the best video on this subject bar none!! Another RV blogging couple did one that was totally useless. Unless we go totally off-grid on s homestead in the future we will skip getting a composting toilet.
We will happily (well he will) use our black water tank while remembering your great review. You answered so many questions. Thank you!!
I was thinking a vinyl toilet cozy with weighted bottom to help with the shower moisture problem. The run and dump video was a hoot! Thanks.
Hello I was wondering where you found your toilet ? Thanks Tami
Usually, we find it in the bathroom. Sometimes, it tries to run away, but it never gets very far. :-p
Seriously, we got it directly from the manufacturer. Just google “Airhead Toilet”.
I don’t know if you’ve thought of this to help with the smelly pee pour. Why not add a little of the port-a-potti liquid to the container prior to using it. We use a porta potti at our cabin, which is used only for peeing in at night. I use the liquid additive and am the one who has to dump it in the outhouse when it’s full. It makes a huge difference. Just a suggestion! Love your videos!! Learnt lots about composting toilets and am still contemplating the idea of switching over.
Thanks for the video. I was going to put 6 of them in some glamping tents I’ll build a bath house instead. Can’t imagine guest trying to use a composting toilet after watching your video. THANK YOU
Probably a good idea. You wouldn’t think there’s a learning curve on how to go to the bathroom… but with a composting toilet, there is!
We have the C head bucket model which uses a gallon water jug to hold the urine. We have only had it a month and have come across all the same issues you have described (except no flow for me (thank goodness). The best feature of ours is the crank handle fits into the lid on top which makes it easier to mix. We have not started traveling yet so we have not had that awkward public humiliation. We do have a class A and have plenty of room inside to dump our bucket into a garbage bag but have not tried that yet. I loved your video because it was honest and truthful, thank you. Maybe after our first year I will post a video on the C Head. Take care, happy travels. Pam and Terry
I realise it was not your intention to put people off composting toilets however – you put me off composting toilets !!! It’s ok though, whatever method you look at is something I’d rather not talk about and certainly one that I don’t ever want to handle, but the situation needs handling.
How about this ? I will have amtoilet installed in my Rv however I won’t use it ! What I intend doing (?) is using Double Doodie Toilet Waste Bags ? These are not cheap $13.95 – $16.95 depending on you need for large or small – utmthat proce is only for $6.00 ! * Box of six portable toilet waste bags for easy clean-
* Inner waste bag and leak-proof outer carry bag
* Double zip locking for a secure seal
* Designed for easy no mess waste disposal
* Can be used with most Reliance and other portable
Then, I’ve seen heaps of people use ordinary garbage bags, you know, two plastic bags on a bucket. I’m not doing that !
Surely if I used these in my camper I can close them up and throw into a rubbish bin ? Maybe ?
See I could do that ok, toilet pap, numbers one and two — finish up – store in toilet/bathroom and dispose of at next stop ? Plus, it will keep my toilet in pristine condition if I plan to sell ! It’s only myself and dog, who doesn’t usually use a toilet, so I reckon it should be fine. The h, I’d have lots of air freshener too ?
I trust you advice, you have been more honest than most, I am from Australia and I can use Amazon for this, as they will deliver to Queensland, where I live !
Good luck guys, you are a terrific couple, somehow how I pictured my husband and I before he passed away years ago – but I’m only 54 – he would have been 64 but he was a fit fellow. Safe travels, catch you on the roundabout, happy trails, Alison xoxox
It’s an interesting world we live in.
Funny to think that what happens in our little camper has an impact on the toilet habits of someone literally on the other side of the world!
We’re glad you found our video valuable. Your toilet solution would certainly work, and if you’re comfortable with it – that’s all that matters.
Do give us a shout if you make it over to the States!
I totally loved that you, James, turned into an 8 year old boy at moments in your video and that Steph was Director of Operations as is normal in most relationships. What would you guys do without the women right?
I was previously sold on the composting toilet before and perhaps I am still but with a few more reservations. But since you are still sticking with it I may still be there. However on a video I saw at some time the inventor (?) of the Natures Head toilet said that he vents his CT in his RV through the black tank and I wondered if that would take care of some of the problem. What are your feelings on this? Also how about a nice bland bag to carry the urine receptacle in on the trips to dump it? Also if you are boon docking without facilities around where do you dump the daily load?
I don’t think that venting through the black tank would really solve any problem except perhaps an installation issue. If anything, venting through the black tank (instead of straight outside) would give you increased back pressure on the vent fan and I don’t think it would work as well.
Someone else recommended a “Urine Cozy” or something less industrial looking to carry the jug in. My worry with something like that would be spilling onto it, or having to put it on the floor in a pit toilet or something. Then, being fabric, it would get icky quickly.
As far as what to do with the urine while camping in the woods alone? Well, we just disperse it onto the ground.
Would it be frowned on to do that anyway just out in the forest or so? Obviously not in the same spot for days at a time. Why do you need to make the trip to the public loos? I am not sure of the health regulations but it doesn’t seem to stop many men ducking behind a nearby tree when nature calls so not a lot of difference? Or am I missing something? There is even a “Go Girl” for ladies available to be able to do the same thing.
After watching the video it seems like this is not a composting toilet but a dump container that needs disposal every day . I think I have the answer for you , what you need is a “PROPANE TOILET” . They are very sanitary and it disposes of the waste material by “INCINERATION” .
OMG, I love the idea! It sounds fun and terrifying at the same time!
I wonder if we’d start disposing of regular trash in the toilet??
I’ve had a Nature’s Head composting toilet for 5 years and don’t have the problems you have with your toilet. I can’t compare it size-wise with your toilet because I’d never heard of your brand and thus have seen it only in your video, but mine must be larger because I need to empty the solids tank only once every two months and I’m definitely not constipated. It really does become compost and NEVER smells. I place ALL toilet paper into a plastic bag, so that’s partly why I needn’t dump often. I throw the toilet paper bag into a trash can whenever one is available. I boondock, so when it’s time to empty the tank, I put the solid waste into a plastic bag and dump it out under a bush or tree, knowing that it will do the plant life some good and won’t attract varmints. Every four days I need to dump the liquid, and dispose of that under a tree or bush also.
However, your solids tank looks like it’s easier to empty than mine. I’ve found an easier way to do it than the one suggested in the Nature’s Head manual, but it’s still a hassle. I’ve concluded that a composting toilet is very handy if you boondock, but a regular toilet would probably be better if you stay in campgrounds.
Sounds like you’ve got a balanced view of things.
All I can say on your capacity is: We envy you (and you should probably drink more water). 🙂
There is no way we could use the liquids tank for four days. For us, it really is every day, sadly.
As for the solids – like we said in the video: know your poo. The plate of potatoes in the video is pretty representative of a day’s use for us. But clearly – not for you.
Anyway, thanks for commenting!
Thanks or such an informative (and thorough) video! My wife and I do not have our RV yet, but we’re researching all aspects of RV living and as confirmed “greenies” we were convinced that a composting head was the way to go. But you covered a number of real world (practical) issues that we had not thought of. AND from both a male and female perspective! Huzzah! We’ve now swung the other direction and think a black tank is a better choice for our projected usage. Subscribed and looking forward to more reviews and good research data.
Glad you liked the video.
You’re right – it all comes down to your projected usage.
If a composting toilet works for you, then go for it. If not, you’ve got lots of company there too!
There’s no one right way to RV.
Thanks for finally doing the toilet video, I see why it has taken so long.
We are in the process of having a van fitted out for us and chose the churnless BoonJon from C-Head fitted with a EUD to pipe the urine into an 18 gallon black tank. I hope to post our own update once we’ve had experience with it.
One suggestion: Sandy at C-Head did a video on the various media for separating toilets https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUJRJxf_uMk&feature=youtu.be. At 3:48 he talks about equine pine pellets for absorbing excess moisture and how, generally, wood shavings absorb better that coconut and peat moss.
Again, great video. Thanks for all the information.
Thanks. I’ll have a look.
Though honestly, since we now know it doesn’t make compost, my current thinking is, “why try?”
There are inorganic compounds (silica gel, for example) that absorb moisture even better. Thinking about trying those as a (gross) experiment.
Right, “composting” is not accurate. They really are UDDT or Urine Diverting/Dehydrating Toilets.
Or, in our case, UDBOS. (Urine Diverting Bucket O’ Sludge)
Oh wow thanks for being so honest. Most of the other videos are painting the picture very different. I will think and investigate much more before jumping into this option!
Yeah. After trying it out for a year, we just couldn’t join hands and sing Kumbaya with the rest of the composting toilet fanboys. 😉
Hi James- Very informative and helpful. I will be purchasing either a Travato or an Aktiv. Is it possible to install a cassette toilet in the Travato? Stef’s comments were especially helpful.
Well, anything’s *possible* when it comes to RV mods…
If you want to install a cassette toilet afterwards, you’ll want to make sure you can get one with the cassette accessible from inside, and not through a trap door. (Unless you want to cut big holes in the side of your RV!)
It should be possible though, without too much difficulty.
Thanks for being so candid! You answered some questions that others have glossed over. I’ve mostly seen videos about Nature’s Head in past. Now I’m not sure if the glowing reviews of composting toilets (by Nature’s Head owners) are because that brand somehow functions better or because the reviewers aren’t as candid. If I were to install one, I would select Air Head for the same reasons you outlined.
This is by far the most informative and entertaining video I have seen on composting toilets. I just stumbled upon you guys and now am a subscriber! Alas based on your review, I’m sticking to a normal toilet (but we have a class A with a bath and a half -2 black tanks) so capacity for the 2 of us hasn’t been any issue yet. Thanks!
Hi Mike – Welcome aboard!
If you’ve got something that’s working for you, I see no reason to change it just for the sake of change.
See you on the road!
TMI. DIG A LATRINE!
LOL guys, good stuff! I “know” my poo enough to take a pass on this one. Look forward to your review of a Squatty Potty coupled with the airhead.
Have you seen the Squatty Potty video with the prince and the ice cream? One of my favorite absurd videos!
Not sure if you know or not, watched the vid but have not read all the comments left here but
There are health benefits for guys who sit rather than stand. It is a long time ago since I studied this so there may be additional information out there now. Google is your friend here lol
Well, I guess we’d put that one in the “plus” column for the toilet… lol!
Dump and run! too funny!! I was seriously considering buying one of these for our class C. Have you watched the “gone with the wynns “video? They claim they only have to dump the solids every 60 to 80 uses. 20 days? with the 2 of them twice a day. Thank you for the honest and entertaining video. I guess it back to the dump station for us!
Thanks for your candid real-talk on the challenges you’ve experienced. As always, very informative video!
Thanks. You saved me a lot of money.
May as well just continue using a garbage/grocery bag draped over the 5 gallon bucket.
That was an awesome video. Really funny…thanks. I look forward to all your videos.
I was wondering about the moisture problem with the wet bath…is it sucking moisture from the intake on the side of the toilet (the screen that allowed the bugs to take up residence)?
Hey Andre – thanks for watching!
It would have been a really peculiar shot for water to get in the vent hole. The way the toilet sits, that hole is at 90 degrees to the shower head. One would have to take the shower head over there to get water into it.
I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but I don’t think it’s too likely. We’ve never figured it out. Maybe next time I clean the toilet out, I can try some tests.
One of the best videos ever! Very funny and informative!
Thanks guys for telling us The Good The Bad and The Ugly of composting toilets.
Even though they’re more expensive I think I’m going to go with the dry flush toilet they sound a whole lot simpler even though the bags are expensive you should be able to use a little cat litter to extend their use!
Thanks again for making this video.
Thanks, Kevin! Glad you liked it.
My wheels are actually turning on the cat litter idea in ours. Expect a (slightly gross) experiment soon.
I mean, since it doesn’t really make compost, why are we trying, right?
Maybe I could even find those “DO NOT EAT” silica gel packets in bulk and cut them open to go in the toilet…
Am going to add to what that beautiful little child said, “That Was So Perfect” Thank You James and Stefany for that enlightening and very humorous look at the Composting Toilet. Your Thoughts on the Bio-Let or as it is called in The Great White North the MullToa?, I know there are electrical considerations but have you heard from any RVers that have used that style of CT? And did you consider it? Sounds like the Moisture situation could be rectified? Thanks once again for a good laugh, nice way to start the day, sorry gotta go!
Hey Paul – I’ve actually thought about putting a heater under our composting toilet, but ultimately concluded that it would draw too much electricity to really work as I intended. Also, it seems kind of big for a class B wet bath, and I don’t know if it could handle getting wet. But I like the idea in general. Don’t know of anyone who has used one in an RV though (but that doesn’t mean nobody has).
Glad you found our video entertaining – in the end, humor was the best way we could deal with an uncomfortable topic.
At 6:00 in the morning, I have never laughed so much. I cried laughing. Yet…it was very informative…done so well. But what a great start to a day.This was the first time I have seen any of your posts and look forward to more. In the 6 yrs. we had a Winnebago View….never dealt with any of thing like this….I’ll take the ”old” style toilet. Thank you for such a funny (but educational) video!! 🙂 🙂
We’re glad that people are able to see past the humor and get the useful information out of it. It was a tough subject!
Okay so where is the comment button?? Well anyway this was an eye opening video, but all this talk about #1 and #2 and the trials and tribulations was a little unsettling but funny through your ability to make it so. I did learn one thing though, I will never switch to a composting toilet, ever. One suggestion, could you make some type of circular vinyl cover that you could put over the toilet when you shower?? Love your videos, keep up the good work, btw, did either of you work in radio, you both have radio voices. One more question, why are comments disabled on youtube?
There actually is a shower curtain that Winnebago provided that can seal off the toilet area. We’ve never used it because we don’t want one more “wet” thing to deal with after taking a shower – but we may have to go there. We can either use that, or I can take the material and sew up a cover of our own from it.
As far as the YouTube comments – we’ve never enabled them. In our experience, they tend to attract a lot of trolls. Yes, I know you can always ban them, but since we both have day jobs, and this is just a hobby for us, chasing down comments and keeping everyone polite in more than one place would be more work than we’re willing to commit to. So we try to guide folks to our web site (besides that, there’s a lot more content here than just the videos).
Anyway – thanks for watching!
(And no, neither of us has ever worked in radio. Though I do think it would be fun to do voiceover work.)
Thank you guys for covering this subject! I have years of experience with RV toilets, but non with composting toilets. Thanks to you I understand them, and now know that I would rather go back to using outhouses. My wife and I laughed our heads off over your video. I find it funny that you first got an RV so that you would have a bathroom with you instead of using the port-o-potties at bicycle races. And now you have to give your toilet some days off at times, so you probably have to go back to public! Keep up the good work! I’m still laughing.
Trust me, you’re not the only one who’s noticed that irony…
(Although, for cycling events, I make sure it’s an “on” day for the toilet!)
I’ve waited for this to see how “very” physically active RVers on the road handle disposing the waste in making jet fuel. James being an aerospace engineer knows that it’s serious business at the launch pad (Lance) on the day of the event. For us, my wife has appreciated that I go to a facility that is more suitable in handling the waste fuel processing (service building).
I only wish I could get some forward propulsion out of it all… :-/
Great video. I think a porta potti might be a better solution.
LOL! Nah, it really isn’t all that bad! Although on “rest” days, those porta potti’s do become quite useful!
Ok. I’m convinced. No composting toilet for me.
I wonder if a cassette toilet (porta potti) might be a better choice.
Well done. Bathroom humor is always hilarious, plus this video was packed with practical advice I’ve never heard anywhere else. Thank you. I’m planning a van build and had convinced myself I wanted a composting toilet…but now, I’m thinking of saving the $1000 and using a 5 gallon bucket, plastic bags and kitty litter and/or coconut coir/sawdust. The bucket method would eliminate a lot of the negatives you mentioned. If you could do it over again, (a composting toilet) would you?
Gosh, it wasn’t our intent to turn anyone off to composting toilets! Like anything, the negatives are easier to talk about, lol. Honestly Dave we have no intention of getting rid of ours and we DO recommend them especially for campervan people looking to extend their boondocking and winter capabilities. We can work with the idiosyncracies, monitoring the moisture content, backing off when the compost needs time to dry, things like that. But, ya know, you brought up an interesting topic…kitty litter. Since we know we aren’t making compost, why do we continue to try? Wonder how the Airhead would do if we replaced the coconut coir with kitty litter! (Perhaps a future experiment, James???)
I love it! Except I would have to get over the feeling that we’re using a litter box…
Or maybe somehow this helps if we want to bring Mel along?
I mean, I could do it in the name of science – but I don’t know if I’d want to live with it in the RV…
Oh my, I didn’t think of that! With the kitty litter, we could train Mel to use it, too!
Very well done. Hard to talk about but absolutely essential to know about. Glad to hear the good and the bad from someone who isn’t commercially involved with one type. I think this was very balanced and great information. You even made it funny. Too often advocates of one type of toilet or another proselytize and ignore any negatives.
Well, it’s tough to ignore the negatives in a 21 foot van!
It’s just kind of a weird subject – we did our best. Glad you liked it!
Dumb question: Why not a cassette toilet and use RV anti-freeze in the reservoir?
On edit, I saw your reasons. The video was a hoot! I spent part of my working life as a facilities engineer at a sewage treatment plant. Therefore, Bill knows poop! LOL!
That one’s easy! The biggest cassette toilet we’ve seen holds 5 gallons. Remember, we produce 2 gallons of LIQUID waste a day with NO FLUSH WATER!!! The cassette also requires water. We’d be emptying the cassette every day. And by “we” I mean James.
As you know, here in Europe practically all M/Hs use a cassette and we can empty them as you do the liquid one in any public convenience. Mine is fed from the mains water tank (on board) and has never frozen. When laid up its always empty anyway. I use bio laundry sachets as an anti odour medium. It certainly does not seem as much hassle as the compost toilet. Most now have a cassette with an extendable handle and wheels. So you look like your off to board a train or plane… We perhaps don’t get such severe minus temps as you do.
I’d totally agree cassette toilets are less hassle than composting toilets, since you don’t have to worry about monitoring moisture content. But it’s just trading one hassle for another. With cassettes, you’re wheeling an entire tank through Starbucks to dump, instead of carrying a little jug of pee. And for us, we’d be doing that every day. With all these toilet options, I guess it just comes down to which annoyances can you most live with? They all have their pros and cons! With cassettes finally finding their way over here to the US, it’ll be interesting to see how they are received. 🙂
All good points – but there’s still the capacity issue. We produce about 2 gallons (over 7 liters) of liquid waste per day – and that’s without any flush water in it.
With a 5 gallon tank, and flush water, we’d likely need to empty the cassette every single day.
That would mean we could never stay off in the forest or desert for more than one evening without “checking in” to civilization each day.
I know we move around a lot, but that just doesn’t sound appealing.
haaaaaaa…fantastic stuff here guys. I will say you did a real good job on this topic and you showed the good and the bad and even gave an ending comment with was positive as it did fit your needs.
I have a friend who is going to Vegas for a show and if I write this up and give it to him I am sure the bit will be a total hit even a smash hit! When you get the both of you doing the presentation you make the topic enjoyable to the point of being crazy funny.
My dad was a plumber all of his adult life after his return from wwII and if he was to hear your topic the way you explained it he would be busting a gut but with out any moisture. He has passed away now but if I ever went to his site at the cemetery and played this and with his love of humorous life storied I bet we could hear his laughing below ground. Thanks for the education and the humor that goes with it and James when you remember not to stand just mention my name and I can assure you you will get a good seat!! Thanks guys and have a nice Thanks Giving Holiday just remember with the composter take it easy on the turkey!! < FISH <
Howdy Fish! We’re so glad everyone appreciates the “toilet humor”, and we appreciate your kind words.
You have a great Thanksgiving holiday yourself – and I hope you can have as much turkey as you want. Me? Well there’s this toilet issue I haven’t quite got figured out yet…
PS – Your dad sounds like a hoot!
he sure was but that seems like a lifetime ago…enjoy the holidays folks!
LMFAO. THIS IS ONE OF THE FUNNIEST VIDEOS I HAVE EVER WATCHED. Gnats flying up between your legs OMG. I agree, the best part was the couple on the grass. Great job you guys. Thanks.
LOL, Janice! Yeah, the couple on the grass were my son Tyler and daughter-in-law Anna and the grandkids…that scene still cracks me up!!!
Great, great video!!!!
I think you have added a valuable perspective to all the “put in a composting toilet and never need to go to a dump station again” comments. I now look at our porta-potti with new appreciation!
Maybe a quick pros/cons summary to the article/video?
Hi Bob! Yeah, we tried to cover everything we could think of in the video…hence the reason it’s SOOOO long! Pros are a short list and I can give them to you now. 1. Saves water. 2. No fear of any freezing problems so we can winter camp to our heart’s content. For us, those are the only pros, but we see those as huge reasons to consider composting toilets. Those are the two reasons we’ll continue to keep it!
We have to laugh about this too because we have an Airhead in our custom Promaster…we are so paranoid now about all we have heard from you and others… after we insisted on having it – that neither one of us wants to be the first one to use it as a solid waste management system. We were traveling for a month and I had to train myself to use a public restroom which I would never ever do before….and that kind of ruins one of my loves of having an RV…which is – you don’t have to use a public toilet when traveling!
Oh my, Rande!!! If you’ve gone a month with public restrooms, you’ll have NO PROBLEM with a composting toilet, lol! Seriously, though…don’t be afraid to use it! It can work, just monitor the moisture and you’ll be golden.
I haven’t watched the video but I’m reading all the comments and “just monitor the moisture and you’ll be golden” really strikes me funny.
OMG… I was laughing so hard during the “dump and run” reenactment that I scared my dog. Hilarious! Thanks so much. I think I’ve determined I’ll not be using a compost toilet 🙂
You should have seen us filming it!!
Is it legal to put a bag of poo in a dumpster? That seems like the kind of thing municipalities frown on.
Though on the internet, everyone is a legal expert. (Which pretty much means they’re all wrong.)
There was one site from some folks who had a composting toilet where the writer had actually tried to get to the bottom of that. They did a pretty balanced and thorough job.
If I find that article again, I’ll post it back here.
OK. I found it: https://boldandadventurous.com/Life-with-a-composting-toilet/
LOL! This post reminds me of the old prank about a bag of said substance, a lit match and a doorbell.
(I really need to watch this video but we’re watching TV and I don’t think my husband is going to go for an “we interrupt The Voice” to tune into an RV Poo Story” 🙂 )
Oh trust me – our video is WAY BETTER than “The Voice”! 😉
I’ve always thought the “glowing” reviews of composting toilets (such as this one http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/composting-toilet) were a bunch of … wait for it … crap. You’ve confirmed that with an extremely well done, honest video. During the video I was wondering about how to deal with the big D. You addressed that at the end – you don’t.
The fact that you don’t regret your decision tells me you have a very specialized RV style. Thanks for an honest, objective review.
Yeah. I guess we’re kind of realistic about the whole thing.
I’ve more or less resigned myself to using other facilities whenever I can. It’s kind of a pain – particularly in the mornings when I’d rather just sit and sip coffee…
But everything in RV life is a trade-off of one kind or another.
Had to laugh, great video.
I’m having Advanced RV install my composting toilet. The reason is the toilet I’ve chosen.
It’s the Swedish made toilet called Separett Villa 9210
I’m hoping too eliminate one of the problems of the urine bucket.
Check out this toilet maybe its something to consider.
Yah – others have recommended the Separett.
What I really like about them is they don’t try to kid you into thinking you’re making compost in your toilet. Also – there’s no worry about refilling it. It’s just a bag.
If we do this again… maybe.
Thanks for watching!
Thanks. We’ll stick with the marine head and black tank. Athletes aren’t the only ones who drink an inordinate amount of water. Singers’ rule: sing wet and pee pale.
Ah yes! The liquid capacity thing should be a red flag for all hyper-hydrated individuals.
Hysterical! Thanks for going the extra mile and taking on this topic. Well done. I didn’t know any of this information. I love the suggestion to get your mom to make a cover for the “units.” You could put Eddie Bower’s name on the covers and make them a designer item. Thanks again for an informative and very funny video!
Well, I’ve learned to sew myself.
Now, I finally know how we can make money with this web site: Designer Urine Tank Covers!
Okay well I can give you a little word of the wise being a retired truck driver with 100 inch sleeper with a composting toilet if you put a little bit of Fabuloso in your urine collecting tank you would be amazed at the fact that the smell is really not bad or intense intense ..the green or the red colored one was the best whatever you do do not use the lavender LOL I did this for several years and I actually got this advice from from people who use porta potties in their trucks try it you’re going to actually be surprised it has disinfecting qualities awesome
That, and the urinal cakes are two helpful suggestions I’ve gotten.
The Fabuloso is probably cheaper…
couldn’t you guys just pipe the pee into your black tank? Or if you didn’t get a black tank couldn’t you pipe it into your grey tank instead of using the tank on the toilet?
We could. But then it would be subject to freezing. And with only a 13 gallon black tank (which also takes our shower water), we would have a maximum of 6 days (with no showers) before we would have to dump.
It would require some kind of an adapter. Not sure if that’s a readily available part, or if I would have to fabricate it.
Also would have to drill extra holes in the floor. etc. etc. etc.
Since you have the toilet on a raised platform, you can route the pipe to the original toilet drain with an adapted (probably home made) fitting. No new holes to drill. It will need to be adapted to use the removable tank in winter. Doesn’t the shower go to the grey tank, or was that one of your modifications?
Shower goes to black – by way of a macerator pump. I am absolutely NOT running pee through a macerator pump.
And since we never had a toilet in the first place, there’s no hole to the below the toilet.
I’m sure anything could be done if I was determined enough. But I don’t know that I am.
I bow to the master video makers. Even your most vocal critics can not fail to be entertained by your funny rendering of our more basic bodily functions. And while Amelia was adorable, Mel stole my heart in the role of the cuddly cat.
I took the plunge today and ordered ours. Since you seem to have had all the bugs, I expect my install will be smooth sailing (yeah…sure…LOL). I ordered the Nature’s Head, mostly because of strong support from the Canadian distributor, but also because I like a design that has the fan directly mounted on the toilet and pushing the air in the output tube. But either one would probably have been OK.
I plan to pipe the liquids directly to the black tank, so the urine tanks will not be used, so no need to lift the toilet to remove it. We will need to regularly dumps grey water, so dumping the black tank at the same will not be an issue. But I do expect time between dumpings to be compatible with extended boondocking (I hope, fingers crossed).This might be a solution to your daily urine dumps.
Also, have you though of adding a passive outside vent to the input side, to pull in outside air directly in the toilet, so the Fantastic fan would not create a depression? This is an occasional practice on fireplaces to avoid smoking with the kitchen fan running.
Yes, I thought about an air intake for the toilet. (I have a similar situation with the dust collector in my shop – I need to exhaust the air back inside to avoid creating a vacuum.) But I really didn’t want any more holes in my van! Plus, where that toilet sits, I didn’t want to mess with creating any kind of weird suction that would pull automotive exhaust into the vehicle.
Best of luck with yours. Hey, at least you’re informed!
James, go buy a Separett toilet and all your troubles are solved. We live full time in our Promaster conversion and love our Separett. I had used a Nature’s Head before so I knew of the issues.
We have the Privy kit built into a box.
@gratefulpursuit on Instagram for photos.
Yeah. In retrospect, a Separett might have been better. But while we wouldn’t have had to deal with the urine tank, we would have had to route it somewhere (probably to the former black tank). And then we have to worry about it freezing, I suppose. But I really do like the built-in bag, and the idea that they don’t try to kid you that you’re making compost.
I asked the question today to my Nature’s Head dealer if it could be used in the same “mode” as the Separett (he sells both) by removing the agitator and inserting a fitted bucket with a bag. He has not tried it but thinks it could work. Maybe you can try that. At least it would be simple to empty. I was leaning towards the Separett, but the footprint was too big for my bathroom, even the smaller model. And apparently, it is less robust than either the Nature’s Head or the Airhead for RV application. The regular Separett also has a bigger and more powerful fan, which would have been nice.
But if our toilet turns foul with additional dry bulking matter, wouldn’t it get REALLY foul without it?
I’d need a much bigger fan. And probably a 2 speed fan so it could be quiet for sleeping.
And I’d need holes in the bag to let air in and out.
But maybe we’ll try it as an experiment next time we empty it…
Our Separett toilet is just the Privy 501 kit on top of a custom box. Inside the box is another small box where we put the bag. The urine is diverted to our grey tank. You could also divert it to a bottle like the Airhead/Nature’s Head I presume. The coconut coir/peat moss makes no sense. It’s the exhaust fan that removes the odors. We tried three different computer fans and settled on a fairly high powered one. It is audible but not loud. We have no odors unless we turn the Fantastic Vent on high in exhaust mode. I have seen the Separett Villa and it is slick. If we had the space I would have chosen it.
I used a composting toilet in a closet in my airbnb loft. It was just the 5 gallon bucket with double trash bags (with a regular toilet seat). I had a mixture of peat moss and sawdust for people to cover their deposits. Solids and liquids mix. Not one customer complained about it. When I emptied after they left, there was no smell. If you are going to dump the waste in a trash receptacle or dumpster anyway, I would do this instead in a heartbeat. Very simple, no smell. If it fills up before you can dump it somewhere, you could seal it with a lid and store somewhere else until you came to a dumpster, while using another for the toilet. We carried human waste for 12-18 days for 20 people on the Colorado River while running commercial river trips. It was stored in 20 ml ammo cans (lined with trash bags) on our boats and dumped at the local garbage dump at the end of the trip. Look up the Humanure videos! There’s a much easier way!
Oh yes – I’m familiar with the “groover”. I guess the big difference with those, is that you’re not keeping them with you in your RV, but on the edge of your camp, outside.
Thank you for your open and honest review. Some people skirt around things that you guys, even if it was uncomfortable, talked openly about. This review is really going to to help is make our decision.
Awesome. Glad we could help!
Great video but I think I’ll stick with the black tank, there’s just something about carrying bags of poop and bottles filled with urine that doesn’t appeal to me
Lol. Probably doesn’t really appeal to anyone!
Ha, ha, Somewhere in the future I see a request for Stef’s mom to sew an attractive (but not “too attractive”) “Urine Cozy” to make it look like you’re carrying a dish for a church Potluck dinner.
I wonder if you can experiment with adding some of Mel’s cat litter for moisture control. A small amount of the stuff works pretty well for drying up and solidifying cans of paint.
Have you tried covering the toilet with a garbage bag to keep the shower water out?
I’ll have to think about the litter. That may not be a bad idea – if I can get over the idea that I’m using a litter box…
As far as a garbage bag over the toilet for showering. We thought of that, but decided to just remove the toilet. Reason being – when we were done, we’d have a wet garbage bag to deal with instead of a dry toilet. Just seemed less messy, and as long as the toilet is working properly, taking it out of the bathroom for a little while isn’t a big issue.
Did ya’ll catch the best part of the whole video (hidden AFTER the credits) when “Baby” sums it all up, “that was so gross…” HA!
Oh yes, she got it right and did it in such a cute way!
I don’t own a RV, but have watched a few of your videos and think they’re great – thank you! I even watched this one through to the…end…curious about composting toilets and how well they work (or don’t). Thanks for a interesting, informative and entertaining video!
You may not be aware of your extreme service to the online RV community, especially with respect to using the toilet (that’s the best way I could put it) with your “scientific” tests and observations. I always give you a thumbs up for the knowledge (and humor!). The composting toilet video is extremely helpful in knowing that it would not be for us, but I had previously wondered about it. Greatly interesting, however, and we admire your dedication to minimizing water usage which we understand completely with our Pleasure-Way. The child was the star of the show, BTW. Keep up your good work.
I didn’t want to come off as either rabidly for or against the composting toilet. But I did want everyone to know exactly what they might be getting into.
Like everything, it has its sweet spot, and it has its limitations. I want people to know them both, and choose what’s best for them.
And I actually read that whole book to the grand baby. It was hilarious. 🙂
+1 Some of the negative videos on composting toilets were done by folks who clearly did not follow instructions. You guys clearly DID do everything by the book, so your observations and advice are much more valuable to me.
You end this article by stating that you’re keeping the toilet, but what will you do if/when you move to a different RV?
If we got a new RV, what we did would probably depend on the RV.
If it had one of those ginormous black tanks like on those Class A rigs… I’d see no reason whatsoever to go with anything else.
If it somehow had heated holding tanks – that didn’t require draining your batteries – I might look at a Separett system.
In the same situation we are now, I don’t think I’d do anything different – though the Separett is tempting.
My favorite part about this vid is how uncomfortable James was. Hey, James, heavy flow day!
LA! LA! LA! LA! LA! LA! LA! LA! LA!
Finally, “High Tech Pit Toilet: The Movie”! We give it 5 “OMG’s”!!!!
RVing is always a series of trade offs, and this seems to have accomplished what you wanted. Just wondering, if a Euro style cassette toilet would do about the same with less “dirty job” maintenance?
The run through the park episode was absolutely priceless!
Andy & Kim
You guys are awesome! We got some funny looks filming that one… 🙂
About the cassette toilet though: The largest capacity I’ve seen on a cassette is about 5 gallons. Since we produce about 2 gallons of liquid waste every day – without even adding any flush water – we’ve kind of given up on the cassette idea. We figure we’d be dumping a cassette every day. Or every other day at best.
Plus 5 gallons weighs more than 40 pounds – not an easy haul.
Yep! (I remembered that when I started looking for cassette toilets with large capacity… you’d get quite a workout!)
I could see running into a marine store to buy a small cassette toilet if someone had the stomach flu though! =D
Or just heading out into the woods…