The Best Portable Toilets For Camping Tested & Reviewed
The most suitable portable camping toilet will be one that combines comfort, durability and ease of use and maintenance all in one portable package. With a little bit of creative research, you could have a toilet that functions the same on the go as the one you have at home. That is the ultimate goal, even if it seems like a high achievement. With all of the choices on the list, the price won’t be the only thing that holds an interest for potential buyers.
10 Best Portable Toilets
With a bello-type flush, the actual build quality holds up well over time. A spring loaded release valve would have really added to the overall construction quality, but it’s fine as is. There is no doubt that this is the best on the list, even if the lack of a deep bowl can cause some issues. The most important thing is that it is easy to clean, dump, and set up for any occasion.
The system is built with a sliding valve that seals nicely to stop leaks, and keep odors of the content contained where they belong
Unfortunately the distance from the seat to the bowl’s bottom isn’t very deep
Camco 41545 Travel Toilet
When emptying the toilet, the spring-loaded latch takes out some of the frustration of putting it back together. This little latch also lasts longer than regular latches and won’t break after extended use. Think of the 41545 as an alternative to the other Camco products on the list for buyers that want a strong ABS resin built toilet. It’s the most durable Camco on the list and should last for years without any problems.
The 5.3 gallon holding tank is detachable
There is also a premium version of this model available, which offer more features and functions
The seat is really small for most adults
Thetford Aqua-Magic V Toilet
Durability is good, but not great due to the built in water module. The price of its convenience comes at lower durability if the water has debris that the toilet can’t handle. Having a camping toilet that flushes is great, yet sometimes better than it sounds. Provided the water system is maintained properly, this could end up being the best camping toilet you ever purchased.
A really convenient feature, is the fact that this is available in two diefferent models, short and tall
Another thing that seems to go over well, is that this has the look and feel of a household toilet, although much lighter weight
Though the water module works exceptionally well most of the time, it can be problematic at times as well
Excelvan 5 Gallon 20L
One of the few times you’ll hear a camping toilet is built like a tank is when people describe this model. The phrase fits, and whether intentional or not, this is one of the toughest toilets on the list. With the many brand names on the list it’s nice to have an option for a lower key brand with similar features. The price will bring in the customers and the build quality will make them a fan forever.
You can flush up to 50 times before the tank needs to be emptied
The tank is secured well by two side clamps
The entire toilet bowl isn’t quite covered with every flush
Thetford Aqua Magic Style II
At a whopping 34.4 pounds, even the largest user will find this hard to break. The only questionable part is the peddle, which is prone to breakage over the years. Thetford comes through again with a great camping toilet with few cons. Buyers will get a high end option that is built to handle people of all sizes.
The flushing system works really well, giving full coverage of the bowl
The unit is available in two colors, bone or white
The flush peddle could be a bit more sturdy
Thetford Porta Potti 320P
Despite the very plastic feel, the parts are very durable, particularly the removable seat and cover. All of the pieces on the toilet meet the standards that customers would expect from Thetford. A lot of the big parts of the toilet perform up to standard, even if they can be a bit uncomfortable in long sit downs. This still ranks as a very good camping toilet to purchase with a lot of backing from a popular company.
There is a level indicator, which allows you to see when it is full
The pour out spout rotates to minimize the chance of having a mess when it is time to empty
The piston flush system can seem a bit cumbersome
Even with the low weight there are no durability issues with the toilet. This is surprising, but more so a quality compliment with Thetford and how they build their equipment. With enough time to measure up this model against the others in their lineup, customers may come up with a different decision. The light weight is a benefit for some, and more of a con for others.
The single handle flushing system makes flushing easier and more like home
This model is built quite tough, standing up well over time
The fact that this unit is so lightweight, can often be as much of a hindrance as it can be a benefit
With a tight build and integrated handles, things won’t break on this model anytime soon. It can take a lot of punishment and keep on going without worry of wearing down. No matter which size you choose, this is a bargain wrapped into one of the bestselling camping toilets of all time. Buyers that have never owned a Camco toilet will find a lot of loyalty after this purchase.
The fact that there is a choice of different sizes is nice, depending on where you are going with it
The unit is also built with pretty durable material, which seems to stand up to repeated use over time
The 2.6 gallon model is really quite small, possibly too small for many adults
Palm Springs Outdoor
For the most part, the exterior is good at protecting against scratches and general damage. The smaller moving parts like latches seem to be a little less durable, but still good anyway. Palm Springs Outdoor could be that alternate option that people are looking for when it comes to camping toilets. The price is right, and the seat is the most comfortable on the list.
This compact unit does have a full size seat, which is one of those things you wouldn’t realize you’d miss until you do
The price is also set at a reasonable amount
The flushing action is a bit lacking. Put simply, everything might not always get caught by the water
Leopard Outdoor Lightweight Toilet
Both the bag and the toilet are built tough, with the former being made of waterproof polyester. Few moving parts in the toilet make it a very sturdy solution for getting rid of waste. The included bag was a nice touch, and coupled with the size makes this the most portable option on the list. There is nowhere that it can’t go, and it does a good job of accommodating small to medium sized adults.
The portability is improved with the addition of a durable storage/transport bag
This model is a bit too small for bigger people
Here Are Some Things To Think About Before Making Your Purchase
There are several factors which you should take a look at before deciding on which brand and model to buy. Here are some points to pay attention too, some are even those that are often over looked.
There are a lot of notable brands on the list, starting with Camco. Build quality is what sets the big brands apart from the smaller brands, which is important since you have to manually empty the contents of portable camping toilets. Poor design can lead to frustration with unhooking the tank, and in worse case scenarios lead to bad odor containment. Top brands on the list have their own in-house system in place to keep things simple, and above all else, make sure that the parts are built for multiple uses. There is no point to purchasing one of these portable toilets if it will break down after only a few uses on a trip.
Should You Shop By Price Alone?
Now this is a debate that can get heated among customers when it comes to camping toilets. Price doesn’t necessarily equate quality with any product, but in the case of portable camping toilets, it usually means better coverage. Coverage as in how much maintenance you have to put into the unit to keep it clean, which can lead to some very interesting circumstances if the toilet will be shared. Prices on the list seem to reflect that small detail, so look at the lower priced toilets as higher maintenance than the more expensive ones. However, coverage doesn’t automatically make one toilet better than the other-just less time consuming to keep clean.
How Comfortable Are They?
Most of the options on the list use regular hard seats, which are nothing special but come in varying degrees of comfort. The comfort level will depend heavily on how big the toilet is and how much it weighs. Balance comes into play when using these toilets, so pay close attention to the dimensions and weight when making a buying decision. And if you know someone that’s good with their hands, there are plenty of minor modifications that can be done to the toilet seat without voiding the warranty. Make sure your model is compatible (and that someone with a little know how is doing it) and you can put a soft seat on your camping toilet. The options are limited based on size and the type of toilet, yet it still provides an incentive to make your portable toilet as comfortable as possible.
Does Height Make A Difference?
With some of the camping toilets on the list touting that their height is bigger than competitors, how big of a difference does it make? Well imagine being over 6’ tall and sitting in a kids chair for 20 minutes. Also imagine someone with a bad back sitting for long periods of time on a smaller toilet that strains their back. Then of course there are the situations where even people under 6’ tall have issues with short toilets for various problems like knee issues, foot issues, and just being a long legged human being. Although sitting on a shorter toilet doesn’t affect everyone, it affects enough people that companies have made it a point to mention whether their camping toilets are above the normal height or not. Make it a point to find out if you’re in the group of people that can’t take sitting on a smaller toilet, and that way you can only look at the taller options on the list. There is nothing more uncomfortable than sitting down for long periods of time in a position that does damage to your body.
What Is The Max Supported Weight Of Most Models?
This varies based on the toilet, and can maybe have an average of 300 pounds universal if you want to get a specific number. Lighter toilets don’t necessarily mean it takes less weight, but that more weight will be concentrated in one area and there will be slight balance issues. Some companies are shy about listed their max weight for many reasons, the biggest being that there is no universal answer. Some people put their full weight on a toilet when sitting, while others ‘hover’. There are also some people who lean forward while sitting on the toilet, which in some cases could be worse than going over a weight limit. If possible, securing a camping toilet in one location while you’re out can make a big difference in how well it supports weight. Weight isn’t always going to be spread evenly in one area, so securing it can help that balance out a bit and make it easier for people with unconventional sitting positions to use the toilet.
Can Multiple People Use One Toilet?
Yes, but this is where maintenance and comes into play. Not only do you have to be aware of how to maintain the toilet, but so does everyone else that will be using it. If multiple people will be using the toilet, consider getting a more expensive model on the list with good coverage. Leaving a mess behind for others to clean up is never pleasant, but can be unavoidable if users don’t realize that the toilet needs to be maintained. Portable camping toilets can accommodate a lot of people, and some even go over 50 flushes before they need to be dumped. Never go over the tank limit, and if you don’t have a camping toilet with good coverage, always make sure that easy to reach cleaning supplies is available right where the toilet will be placed. Think of it as a pay it forward moment for anyone using your camping toilet that day.
How Often Should They Be Cleaned?
Beyond the quick wipe downs of the seat after each use, every time you empty the tank you should do a full cleaning. Nothing too in-depth, and it should take no long than 2 minutes. You want to keep bacteria from having a reason to grow, and you also want to keep the smell down to a minimum. There is nothing more unpleasant than using a strange toilet with an odor that can’t be identified. Camping toilets can be as vile as a construction site Porta Potty if they aren’t kept in check regularly. The materials to keep it clean aren’t that expensive, and in many cases can be found in your own household bathroom. With the high capacity tanks in most models, you probably will only have to clean it a couple of times per trip. And if it tends to be in a hot area, wiping the seat of condensation that builds up gets rid of that icky feeling.
Are There Any Health Dangers To Using Camping Toilets?
The only danger to using a camping toilet is if you don’t clean it regularly. Bacteria from feces can become a danger if it gets into an open wound which is why the locks and seals on the tanks are so secure. Even the lowest priced camping toilet on the list has a secure tank that keeps it from spilling. Negligence by not cleaning up the area in and around the toilet can lead to getting sick, just like any house bound toilet. Educate everyone that will be using your portable toilet about keeping the area clean, and there will be no dangers with bacterial infection while using it.
Where Are The Best Places To Put The Toilets?
Always account for leg space, overheard and breathing room. Just because a camping toilet is small and portable doesn’t mean it needs to go into the smallest space possible. An area that has vents or a window is perfect, since you don’t want it in a place where there is no air flow. Lack of air flow will allow smells to amplify and become worse than what they are. You’ll notice this the most when you go into the area where the toilet is and open the door- the smell hits you right in the face. Buyers that plan to put the toilet in a semi-open area will get the best air flow, and possibly the best experience. As long as the location you plan on putting it in has a way for odors to escape and ample leg room, then you can consider it a good spot.
There is enough variety in the list to make it easy to find the best portable camping toilet for your needs. Consumers that need more than one toilet on a budget can purchase two lower priced toilets rather than a single expensive one. Keep your product clean, and make sure that anyone that uses it knows how to empty the tank. Cleaning products should be located near the toilet for all users, so that everyone can chip in to keep your camping toilet in top shape.