What are Portable Camping Toilets? How do They Function?

When you are camping, you are away from the luxury of your home and all the amenities. But, innovations in camping gear have made camping more convenient nowadays.

Searching for a toilet while camping has always been a challenging task. While there are natural ways to go to the toilet, most people do not feel comfortable going into the wilderness.

So, you can take a portable camping toilet on your next trip as there are many options available in the market. Portable toilets have become increasingly popular amongst campers and van dwellers because they are compact, easy to use, portable, and even budget-friendly.

What is a portable camping toilet?

The functionality of a portable toilet is similar to that of a standard toilet that you see in most bathrooms. A portable toilet comprises a waste tank, a toilet seat, and a bowl.  These toilets are commonly used in small RVs, road trips, camper vans, and tents.

How do portable camping toilets work?

There are various models of portable toilets, and some work manually, whereas some newer models work electronically.

Before you use the toilet, you must read up on the instructions and buy the chemicals for cleaning as mentioned in the booklet by the manufacturer. Using proper and effective chemicals will help remove odour and reduce the chance of waste buildup inside the wastage tank. In addition, using appropriate chemicals will ensure that you can dump the wastage easily and clean the tank.

How to use a portable toilet

While the basic functionality of a portable toilet is similar to the regular toilet, the use-case is different. Firstly, add some water to the bowl of the toilet. You must only use the toilet once you have added in freshwater as it will help flush down the waste more efficiently.

After using the toilet, you need to flush the toilet, but unlike a regular flush mechanism, herein, a valve will open and drop all the waste in the waste tank. It would be best if you carried special eco-friendly toilet rolls as well so that they can get easily dissolved in water, or you can properly dispose of them off near the campsite.

How to dump the waste

These portable toilets are designed in a way that they are effortless to disassemble. In most toilets, the bottom part is always a detachable waste tank. Depending on the brand and the model, the size of the waste tank ranges from two to five gallons. You need to remove the waste tank from the toilet enclosure. But before doing this, you should move the entire toilet outside the camp area to prevent any spillage inside.

Different models have different dumping methods, and some might have non-spilling spouts to help you with the dump, while others may not.

After dumping the waste tank, pour some water through the tank again to ensure proper cleaning. You can also use chemical cleaning products to prevent any buildup and odour.

The pros of carrying a portable toilet for camping

  1. Low cost – A portable camping toilet is very affordable, making it an excellent option for people who want the convenience of a bathroom while camping.
  2. All-in-one – Since they are portable, all the necessary components, such as the bowl and the tanks, are easy to assemble.
  3. Small in size – Most of the toilets are pretty small, which makes them highly portable. For reference, some portable toilets may only be as big as two stacked shoe boxes. If you are in a small RV, you can place them under the cabinets or the bed.


  1. Sewage – With a portable toilet, all your wastage goes into a single tank which means that you have to carry all the raw sewage with you wherever you go.
  2. Dumping – You can not just dump the sewage anywhere, but you need to dump it in proper dump stations. If dump stations are not available, you might have to dump the sewage in the toilet, which is rather unpleasant.
  3. Regular cleaning A portable toilet might be helpful, but it has limited storage capacity. So, you might have to make a trip to the dumping station every other day to eliminate the waste. Dumping is necessary to make the toilet easy to carry and to prevent spillage.

If you are an avid traveller and a seasoned camper, or you live in an RV, a portable toilet will give you the freedom to access a toilet whenever you want. They are easy to use, easy to clean, affordable, and highly portable, making them an excellent accessory for your camping trips. Just keep in mind that you follow all the rules of the campsite while enjoying your trip.

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