How Does Portable Toilets Work?

One of the problems you encounter when you go camping is the lack of toilets at the camping sites. Walking is very difficult and is far from ideal for most people to use the toilet often on a complete night. If you have no idea how does portable camping toilet works? this article is now become very beneficial for you.

That’s why having a portable camping toilet is so important. Portable Porta-Potties help when you are road tripping or hunting and you do not have a camping van with you. Therefore, the function of a portable camping toilet depends largely on the type of camping toilet you are referring to. For this, we first look at the types of toilets and then look at their function.

Basically, there are four main types of camping toilets These include:

  • Flushable camping toilets
  • Portable composting toilets
  • Bucket camping toilets
  • Collapsible camping toilets

How Does Portable Flushing Camping Toilet Work?

Flushable camping toilets are built on such a mechanism so that you feel like a residential toilet. This type of camping toilet is one of the most sophisticated camping toilets. Usually, there are three main parts of these toilets  these are:

  • Toilet Bowl.
  • Water-Tank
  • Waste holding tank

The holding tank is located at the bottom of the toilet to allow the waste to flow down the bowl by gravity. Some of the camping toilets have round toilets and other has elongated toilet seats. The bowls of these toilets also come with a seat and a lid. Remember that the elongated toilet seats are more comfortable than the round ones.

Camco Standard Portable Travel Toilet

These toilets also try to ensure that the height of the seat is in line with the standard height of the toilet. So you don’t have to bend your knees too much. One of the amazing features of this toilet is that it has decreased the snapping sound of the toilet lid as compared to old toilets, especially during transportation.

There is a sliding valve that has two functions other than separating the toilet bowl and tank. The first one is to contain the unpleasant gasses inside the holding tank and the other one is to prevent the tank from leakage.

A little chemical mainly blue in colour is also added to the holding tank. The purpose of this chemical is to break down the waste in the holding tank into a slurry and also take care of bad odours. The freshwater tank has a removable cap at the top that allows you to add more water when the level of water in the tank decreases. However, the size of this tank is smaller than the holding tank.

The best flush-able camping toilets have a level indicator to show you the level of the waste and also water in the water holding tank. This helps you to accurately know when to dump the waste and also when to fill the water. Best toilets also have another function which is the detach-ability of the waste holding tank. Usually, in these toilets, the holding tank is mounted by two easily removable side latches. 

Flush-able camping toilets are easy to carry with as their holding tanks can be easily emptied in any flushing toilet. Decent camping toilets have a pour-out-spout at the top of tanks to avoid the waste splashing at you.

If you want to check the best portable flushing toilets. check out this post of the Top 10 best portable camping toilets.

How Collapsible Portable Camping Toilets Work?

A collapsible camping toilet is one whose legs can easily be fold-able or collapsible. They are very compact and can easily fit in a very tight spot which helps you, especially during transportation. If you are on such a camping site where running water is not available such as high in the mountains or deep in the forest then this toilet will give you full comfort and proves helpful. This is the same as bucket type portable camping toilets.

These portable toilets are more stylish and collapsible as their name is suggesting which is the main difference between bucket-type portable camping toilets and collapsible camping toilets. Always, before using the collapsible camping toilets unfold the legs but it is important to make sure that all the legs are fully unfolded to avoid its breakdown or even falling off. Often, a click sound listens as a confirmation that the leg has fully extended.

How Does Portable Folding Camping Toilet works?

Most collapsible camping toilets are very short as compared to our residential toilets these toilets are therefore very ideal for people with bad knees. Before putting the garbage bag inside the bowl, add poo powder and then do your business.

One amazing thing about these collapsible camping toilets is that they are very sturdy. You will also notice that the legs spread outward to increase the overall sturdiness of this toilet. Therefore falling off from them is very rare.

To use this toilet seat you need to add some poo to the garbage bag of this toilet seat. Some garbage bags for this portable camping toilet seat is also available which have a gel at the bottom that helps in the reduction of bad odours and also break down the waste.

How does a Bucket Portable Camping Toilet Works?

As their name implies, bucket portable camping toilets are simple 5-gallon toilets that have a snap lid that is used as a seat. They are cheap and the simplest camping toilets. One amazing advantage of bucket type camping toilets is that you can make them at home or buy them from the market. Just like other camping toilets they also come with a metal handle to help you to carry them around easily.

To use these toilets you must have some compostable garbage bags along with some poo powder. Compostable bags with gel at the bottom are also present in the market that helps to break down the waste and also prevents bad odours.

How does portable camping toilet works?

If you don’t want to buy any of these garbage bags then you can also try ordinary bags and kitty litter that works just fine. However, you should double on the garbage bags to prevent any type of leakage. Always make sure that you don’t come in contact with the waste any time and for that make sure that the garbage bags go under the toilet seat. 

Before using the toilet, remove the seat, put the bag, and make sure that the edges of the bag are hanging outside the rim of the bucket and then put the seat and lid back. By doing so, there is no chance to touch the waste while grabbing the bag for its elimination in the waste disposal area.

One of the facts due to which these oilers are more preferable is that the seat lid is designed in such a way that they snap tightly on the rim of the bucket. Therefore, the waste is restricted within the bucket and will not fly off even during transportation.

One main pro of having these toilets while camping is that they are cheap and also don’t require water for their functioning. Another thing which is also its advantage is that they are lightweight, which makes them easy to carry around anywhere.

Since these toilets have no option of separating the number 1 and 2, therefore these toilets need to be emptied frequently as they start smelling. The seat opening of these toilets is also very small than most people require. These are the two main disadvantages of these toilets.

How a Composting Portable Toilet Works?

A composting toilet is a non-flushable/dry toilet. Composting toilets breaks down the human waste into dry compost matter that can be used as a garden fertilizer after some time. Some composting toilets are made to install permanently like regular toilets but some are easily portable and lightweight.

Like flushable portable camping toilets, these toilets also have three main parts. The first one is the bowl which is present at the top of the toilet, the second one is the liquids/urine bin at the front and the third one is the solid bin under the bowl. Composting toilets are designed in such a way that the liquid waste is separated from the solid waste. The solid waste must have a little moisture as possible in it for effective decomposition.

Urine is also responsible for many kinds of bad odours, hence separating it from solid waste is also very important to prevent our toilet from the potential of awful gasses. For this, you will need to empty your toilet’s bin every day in the morning. Some composting toilet looks slightly different from what I have explained. But basically, all the composting toilets have this type of structure.

cleanwaste portable camping toilet

However, cheap composting toilets have no function of separating liquid waste from solid waste and tends to smell a lot. The solid bins can be used for a long time. But the solid waste also requires some time to decompose and this is another big reason for separating the liquid urine from solid waste.
This is how to use the composting portable camping toilets:

Before using the toilet there are a few things, that needs to be done. Firstly you should add a carbon-based substances inside the solids bin. These substances are peat moss, saw-dust and coconut coir.

These substances will help you to create air pockets inside the solid bin which speed up the process of decomposition and also prevent bad odours. Composting toilet also has an agitator on the side that helps you to mix the waste with the carbon-based substances. A valve is also present at the bottom of the bowl that keeps the solid bin airtight unless it is being used.

However, these toilets leave streaks of waste on the bowl, and to remove those streaks from the bowl you should have a spray bottle with you on the side. Wet the bowl using some spray and then proceed to use the toilet.

One more thing you must have while taking these toilets is the toilet brush to clean the bowl in case some waste embeds on the bowl. Use a spray bottle and a brush to clean the bowl. By using this way you can also prevent odours.

To increase more speed of the decomposition process this toilet also have a fan that can easily run on both AC and DC. apart from just increasing the speed this fan also helps you to prevent bad odours of your toilet.

Final Verdict

Portable camping toilets are cheap and easy to use. One of the most important things to keep in mind when camping are the camping toilet, especially when camping in an area without a restroom. These toilets are especially helpful when camping at night as most people do not prefer to walk alone in public toilets. Depending upon your choice and need you can opt to buy one of these four best portable camping toilets types.

Composting and flush-able camping toilets are quite expensive while the other two are the best foldable camping toilet and occupy less space which is a great benefit while going camping. Most of the portable camping toilets are also used as RV Toilets. As some of them come with a hold-down kit which is sold separately to fix them on the floor.

Having portable toilets are also helpful when you are at home especially for emergencies when your toilet is clogged or there is no running water in your toilet or your restroom could be remodelling.

How do you empty a portable toilet?

A portable flushing camping toilet has a holding tank that is attached to the bowl and the fresh water tank using side latches. Unlatch the holding tank and try to empty its contents in your residential toilet. Holding tanks have a pour-out-spout with a cap at the top. Remove the cap of it and rotate the pour-out-spout and make sure that the spout is away from your face. 

The portable bucket type toilet is very easy to empty as you only need to fold the garbage bags and throw the garbage in the proper garbage disposal place. Don’t throw rubbish anywhere as it pollutes the camping sites and destroys the beauty of nature. Disposing of waste anywhere can also lead to waterborne diseases.

Can you put toilet paper in a portable toilet?

Yes, you can. But you should use a small amount of it as a greater amount causes clogs in the holding tank of your toilet. One solution to avoid this problem is the usage of those toilet paper that breaks down faster. Toilet papers made for RV toilets or septic systems are best to use as they disintegrate faster without clogging your toilet.

Can you poop in a portable toilet?

Portable camping toilets are designed to help you to do both solid and liquid. Therefore you can and you should do that.

If you are using a flushable portable camping toilet, you will need to empty the holding tank when it is full, and if you are using a dry portable toilet, you will need to dispose of the waste in the appropriate waste disposal area.

Why do portable toilets stink?

Unlike other regular residential toilets that use vents, portable toilets do not use these vents hence sewage gasses accumulate inside. Regular cleaning, observing proper hygiene and opening the holding tank valve for a few minutes helps to expel the trapped awful gasses and also reduce them.

How often do you need to empty a portable toilet?

Most flushable portable toilets have a level indicator that shows the level of waste in the holding tank. You are then able to know when to empty the holding tank. Bucket portable toilets need to empty as often as possible.

How do I stop my portable toilet from smelling?

Dropping a cleaning tablet inside the holding tank once a month will help to reduce these awful gasses. Pull out the sliding valve and place your portable toilet in an area with a natural flow of air to expel out the bad odours. This is how these portable toilets are vented. Choose a time when your toilet is less likely to use and give it a few minutes or hours to breathe.

What chemicals do you put in a portable toilet?

The chemical usually adds to a portable toilet are dyes, biocides, surfactants and fragrances. The presence of the biocides helps to inhibit the growth of bacteria while dye normally blue in colour helps to conceal the waste in the holding tank.

Fragrances are very much effective in preventing bad odours while surfactants lower the surface tension between the waste and chemical liquid increasing the effectiveness of biocides.

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