Camping toilets aren’t just for camping trips and outdoor adventures. They can be helpful during long road trips or family get-togethers. Especially if you have younger kids who can’t ‘hold it in’ until the next rest stop. These portable toilets range from basic stools to electricals.
Choosing the best camping toilet for your needs depends on your budget. But you also need to consider available features. Sometimes, local regulations can play a role too. For example, plastic liners are illegal in some states. Either way, below are our top contenders.
Nobody likes relieving themselves outdoors. That’s not entirely true – many men are fine using trees or alleys. But even they get iffy about doing their Number 2s in the wild. This is why Clean Waste Go-Anywhere is beneficial. In addition to a good portable toilet, it has its own tent.
This comprehensive toilet system also includes a bag with a PVC bottom. So when you’re done using it, everything tucks into a convenient backpack. The tent is tall enough for someone that’s 6’6 to stand inside. Its floor is 4 x 4 and the tent easily zips shut for privacy.
The tent can be set up and dismantled in minutes, even if you’re doing it alone. And it keeps the draft out during midnight toilet trips. You can also set it up on the side of the road when your kids are screaming and whining that ‘they need to go RIGHT NOOOOOW!!’
The tent has no actual floor, so it’s easy to pitch. And the toilet itself is a foldable stool with a comfortable toilet seat on top. You don’t have to dig a hole though – the toilet has 15 plastic bags included. Attach these to the toilet seat. They hold the waste and keep the smell hidden.
These bags are well-sealed, so you can throw them into regular trash cans. They’re pre-loaded with absorbent fillers that partially soak up your waste. This makes disposal safer and more hygienic. Don’t flush them though, as the plastic could clog your sewers.
You can also use the toilet seat on its own. You can place it over a hole or latrine for extra comfort. But you should only do this if your site allows you to bury raw human waste. Otherwise, just stick with their disposable waste bags. The seat is strong enough for someone +200 pounds.
When it folds, the toilet seat collapses to the size of a pizza box and tucks neatly into the backpack. You can clean the toilet itself, plus the tent and backpack by wiping with a damp cloth. Be careful to remove any residue. Otherwise, it could stink up the whole bag!
If you’re shy about exposing yourself outdoors, this is a good toilet for you. It has its own tent that can go up and down in minutes. Don’t hang anything on the tent hook though. It’ll fall.
It comes with a tent, disposable bags, and a backpack.
The toilet is sturdy to sit on and folds into a convenient, compact size.
It’s a dry toilet that needs no water or electricity.
It can be frustrating trying to set up a tent when you (or your loud, frantic kids) urgently need to pee.
You might be traveling with kids – and all their luggage. Or maybe you have a car full of camping gear. You don’t have the extra room for a backpacking tent. In such cases, opt for the Fold-to-Go Reliance toilet. When it’s folded, it stands 5 inches high and weighs 5 pounds.
Other camping toilets are heavier after use. This one isn’t, because it tucks into a cute self-contained unit, almost like a curvy briefcase. It has its own carry-case, but its shape helps it rest flat on the ground, whether it’s open or closed. The toilet itself has a seat, a lid, and three legs.
The legs easily lock into place when it’s open (and when it’s closed), so you won’t fall over. And the seat can support a maximum of 250 pounds. Once you fold the toilet shut, you can carry it around using its firm, comfortable handle. And it comes with double doodie bags.
Slip the plastic bag under the toilet seat. When you’re done, the first bag fits easily into the second bag. This adds extra sealing protection. You can then toss both bags into the trash, toilet paper inclusive. Wipe the toilet with damp, disinfected soap to keep it clean.
Like other toilet stools, you can place your Reliance Fold-to-Go above a latrine or hole. But only if you must. The bags are so convenient and hygienic that you don’t need to. The toilet has a 5-year guarantee, so you can trust that it’s better than other toilet stools.
If you want a toilet that works anywhere, needs no extra accessories, and occupies minimal space, buy the Fold-and-Go. Just be sure to pack enough doodie bags.
It’s compact and barely takes up storage space.
Its plastic case keeps it clean and dust-free so it needs less cleaning.
Its leg-lock means its legs won’t collapse in use or break open in storage.
The cost of those double doodie bags can pile up over time. And you still have to find discreet trash cans to dump them in.
Some users are uneasy with the idea of a bare toilet stool. They want something solid beneath their bottoms. The Hassock Portable toilet fits this function. And when it’s empty, it’s about 6 pounds, so it’s only a little heavier than the Fold-and-Go. It needs more space though.
This squat cylindrical toilet measures roughly 15 x 15 x 15, so it’s only slightly shorter than a regular toilet. It’s safe for both adults and kids and has been safely tested up to 250 pounds. It has a round toilet seat, which can be an issue if you prefer elongated ones.
The toilet is made of sturdy polyethylene, and you can use it with or without plastic bags. This is because it has a secondary bucket inside to hold waste. But if you forego the plastic bag, the waste smell may eventually cling to the plastic, and that’s hard to get out.
Plus, if you don’t line the toilet with plastic bags, the toilet might leak. And besides, the plastic double doodie bags are dirt cheap, so just buy them in bulk. You can toss them in the trash after use. The lid of the inner bucket is splash-proof, so you can safely carry a (used) toilet around.
The inner bucket also has a plastic handle, which makes it easy to lift and empty. Its outer cover has a toilet paper holder for added convenience. When you first by your Hassock toilet, an eco-gel pack is included. This gel reduces toilet smells and launches emergency waste treatment.
You don’t have to use eco-gel, but it’s hygienic and affordable, so it’s worth the purchase. It makes the waste more solid and is safe for the environment. Each pack has 10 gel sticks. But if you have cats, you can put cat litter at the bottom to soak some of the moisture and smell.
On the downside, it’s a small toilet, so you’ll have to empty it every day. And because it’s a low toilet, it might be difficult for older users to squat onto. Still, it’s compact and affordable.
It has a clean, simple, unobtrusive design. You wouldn’t even know it’s a toilet.
It’s a lightweight unit, between 5 and 6 pounds while empty.
You can use it with or without plastic bags.
It’s a bit cumbersome to lug around because it’s not leak-proof and has no handles.
Now that we’re in the territory of contained toilets, the Porta Potti is a huge improvement on the Hassock. It fixes all the Hassock’s flaws and adds benefits on top. For example, unlike the Hassock, the Porta Potti is taller, doesn’t leak, and has an ergonomic handle.
Unlike the Hassock though, the Porta Potti is a wet toilet. It uses battery power to flush, and users are advised to pre-wet the bowl before Number 2s. This makes it less likely for waste to cling to the sides, which makes for quicker clean-up. The waste chamber keeps smells safely in.
The toilet is nearly 18 inches tall, which is the recommended height for older consumers. This can make it a helpful addition to grandma and grandpa’s bedroom. It’s more dignified than a bedpan or kiddie potty. And it saves the trouble of struggling to reach the bathroom at night.
The Thetford Porta Potti works for other non-elderly invalids. It even works for kids afraid of the dark. And if you’re worried they’ll tip it over, don’t be. It has an optional floor lock to secure it to the ground. That way, they can’t trip over the toilet as they stumble towards the light switch.
The Porta Potti holds 4 gallons of flush water, which allows almost sixty flushes. It uses 6AA batteries to flush and holds 5.5 gallons of waste. It also has a waste level indicator, so you know when it’s time to empty the toilet. To do this, separate the lower half of the toilet and pour it out.
The toilet doesn’t use plastic bags, so you have to rinse it after emptying. And it does need toilet cleaning products for waste management. It’s a good choice for both outdoor and indoor use.
It has a wide base and a floor lock, so it won’t fall over.
It’s a pretty toilet, so it fits your bathroom aesthetics if you buy it for the house.
It has a convenient handle when you need to carry it to campsites.
It uses water and toilet chemicals, so it’s not the best model for environmentally conscious buyers.
When you’re tempted to just ‘dunk in a bucket’, buy a Luggable Loo instead. This model has a camouflage design, so it’s nicknamed the Hunter’s Loo. It’s basically a heavy-duty plastic bucket with a toilet seat snapped onto the top. And yes, you can buy the toilet seat separately.
But if you go that route, you’ll lose the toilet’s 5-year warranty. Also, you can’t be sure the Hunter’s Loo seat will fit on non-branded buckets. The loose fit may pinch your bottom, leak, or get crushed under your weight. Besides, Hunter’s Loo is cheap, so just buy a proper one.
This camping toilet stands a little over 15 inches high. Its toilet seat is sturdy and hinged. The toilet works best if you line it with double doodie bags, though you can do without them. It’s a lightweight toilet – 2.65 pounds while empty. And it has a comfortable plastic handle.
This toilet has no waste separation, so your liquid and solid wastes all sit in a 5-gallon compartment. You can add kittie litter or toilet gels to absorb some of the smell. Generally though, if you use a double doodie bag, no smell will escape. And doodie bags are cheap.
Because there’s no waste separation, it may be smarter to restrict your Hunter’s Loo to Number 2s. If you keep opening it to pee, you keep releasing toilet smells into your space. Also, remember to secure your doodie bag below the toilet seat. It holds better that way.
When you’re in a rush and you need a quick-fix toilet, grab the Hunter’s Loo. It will barely pinch your pocket. But always empty it before you travel, as it has no guarantee against spills.
It’s affordable and needs no installation.
If you use double doodie bags, it’s easy to clean and empty.
You can get a plastic handle or a metal one, depending on the color you choose.
If you don’t empty it at the campsite, there’s a risk it will pour waste inside your car. And if you skip the doodie bags, it’s almost impossible to get that smell out of your plastic.
If you’d like a camping toilet with additional visual appeal, go for the Camco. Unlike ordinary round toilets, the Camco has a more cubic design, but with rounded edges. It splits into two halves for easy emptying. Just undo the side latches pry off the top.
Although these two halves are easy to divide, the side latches are secure. Meaning the toilet won’t come apart as you’re seated on the throne. The latch at the back creates convenient hand-holds when you need to move the toilet. Don’t use the side latches to lift. They may break.
If you choose this toilet for long car rides, you don’t have to empty it in the middle of the highway. It has a firm valve and a tube of sealant, so all smells are safely locked inside the 5-gallon waste chamber. The Camco also has a 2.5-gallon flush tank, and the whole toilet is plastic.
This toilet is heavier than the previous ones. It weighs 10.8 pounds while it’s empty, and it needs a lot of storage space. It’s also bulky, so while it’s portable, it may be too much of a hassle for camping. It’s great for a holiday cabin or off-grid living though.
The toilet can be emptied directly into a regular toilet. Because it has no liner bags, the smell can get absorbed by the polyethylene tank. After rinsing, you may have to add bleach or toilet cleaners to catch those last bits of particulate waste. Empty it in a well-ventilated space.
This toilet is designed for mess-free waste disposal. But with all that waste trapped in a sealed tank, gases are likely to build up. Be careful when you dump it out, because the splash-back protection isn’t absolute. Face the spout away from your face and body, just in case.
If you don’t mind the extra space needed to stash this toilet, it makes a good choice. But consider swapping out the battery flusher for a manual alternative.
It doesn’t release any odor, even when it’s full.
It comes with toilet chemicals included.
It only uses a few ounces of water per flush.
Even though it’s easy to carry, it’s too heavy to move it around frequently. Separate the two halves and only carry the lower half to your disposal spot.
BasicWise provides a simple, no-frills toilet, just like its name suggests. It’s a lightweight dry toilet, just 5.5 pounds while empty. But it can hold 8 gallons of waste, which is more than many travel toilets. The extra capacity comes from plastic waste bags that line the waste bucket.
The BasicWise has an outer bucket with a toilet lid and seat. Inside this, a second lidded bucket sits. This second bucket is then pre-loaded with a bin liner. When you want to use the toilet, you have to raise the seat and lift off the inner lid. Otherwise, you’ll spill your waste onto the floor.
Sitting on the toilet is comfortable though because it has the size and shape of a regular elongated toilet. Unfortunately, that inner lid releases a stench each time you lift it. So you have to put your BasicWise in an airy spot. It has a toilet paper holder for added convenience.
Its inner waste bucket has its own lid, so you can easily lift it out for emptying. Some users use it without a plastic liner, but the liner bags are better for portable use. Especially if you’re out camping. You don’t want to have to load smelly plastic back into your car.
The BasicWise can support weights of up to 300 pounds, so some people use it as a chair. This is fine, as long as you don’t lift the inner lid. Other users get creative. Instead of using doodie bags, they dig a hole, press the BasicWise into the hole, and bury their waste when they finish.
This can work if you remove the inner bucket first. And of course, you should only do this if your campsite allows human waste burial. On flat floors, the toilet might slip, because it doesn’t its lower surface is hollow. Its lightweight makes it easier for the toilet to slip on smooth floors.
BasicWise is a good toilet model when you need something cheap and low-fuss. But it’s best for outdoor use on unpaved ground or textured floors. Otherwise, it may side across your tiles.
Its lightweight design makes it fully portable.
The design looks and feels like a standard water closet.
It has a larger waste capacity than most camping toilets.
It doesn’t keep your liquid and solid waste separate, which can enhance the toilet smell.
The mistake many consumers make is shopping without a plan. You know the item you want. You’ve decided how much you want to spend. But those two factors aren’t enough to get you a good deal. So here are some additional suggestions on how to buy the best portable toilet.
Wet or Dry
Some portable toilets mimic regular water closets. Meaning they have some kind of flushing system. They use far less water than household toilets, but they still need some. If you want a wet toilet, consider how much water you’d like to use. Typical tanks carry 2 to 5 gallons.
The size of the flushing tank affects the weight of the toilet. You’ll have to consider the weight of the water itself, in addition to the waste weight. That’s not forgetting the weight of the toilet itself. On the other hand, you may prefer a dry toilet. They sometimes have plastic liner bags.
Because you can’t flush the toilet, the plastic bag keeps the smell from wafting outside the toilet. Dry toilets might also have a hermetic valve to contain nasty smells. Or they might have absorbent composting materials like peat or sawdust. These reduce the smell as well.
Raw Waste or Compost
Composting toilets often cost $1,000 or more. This may be too high-end for a long drive or a brief camping trip. But sometimes, you’re buying the portable toilet for your vacation cabin. Or maybe you’re transitioning into off-grid living, so you want a more long-term solution.
In such cases, a composting toilet provides field manure in addition to toileting needs. This dual function makes it easier to justify the expense. On the other hand, you’re might be using the toilet as a stop-gap for kids with small bladders. So you don’t want to spend more than $50.
You could buy a basic toilet stool. This sits over a hole in the ground or a simple latrine. These seats are comfier than squatting on your haunches. But even ‘bucket’ toilets can release raw sewage that needs to be buried or treated. Check that local laws allow human waste burial.
This isn’t just a matter of manners. Burying your waste is risky – whether it’s your own land or a campsite. Untreated human waste has germs and bacteria that can cause diseases. Pets, pests, and even small kids can dig up that waste and release contagious diseases. So be careful.
If you’ve settled on a wet toilet, test their flushing techniques. There are three main types of flushers. Bellow pumps have an accordion design. You have to press them down harder, meaning they wear out faster. Piston flushers are raised and lowered once. They’re easier to use.
Push-button flushers have both a pump and a button. You have to press the pump 15 to 20 times. This builds up pressure inside your water tank. Once the pressure is high enough, you can finally press the flush button. It’s more cumbersome than the other two flush systems.
Think about how much water the toilet uses as well. When you press a flusher, a few ounces of water will squirt into the bowl. For some toilets, that’s enough to get it clean. Or maybe you just need a squirt from a spray bottle. Other toilets need a quarter gallon plus a toilet brush.
Beyond the potential for pathogens, camping toilets create two other issues. One is toilet treatment products. Another is waste disposal bags. Toilet cleaners can be toxic when released into the soil, so check the product label. Or use a toilet that doesn’t need extra products.
Or ensure you have a safe sewer to empty your camping toilet into. That way, the potentially toxic products will be sanitized at the sewer treatment plan. As for doodie bags, some are biodegradable while others are compostable. Both can take years to disintegrate.
So if you’re anti-plastic, find toilets that don’t need bin liners. The downside of skipping plastic bags is a smellier toilet. So you’ll have to weigh your nasal discomfort against your conservation principles. Because however much you scrub the unlined toilet, smells do linger.
Some of the best camping toilets have fans built-in. They help to control nasty smells. If your toilet is a composting model, the fans catalyze decomposition. These fans can run on batteries or be connected to electrical outlets. Confirm which power source you prefer.
Batteries are more convenient, but you’ll buy a new set every month. These costs can pile up. You might decide to buy rechargeable batteries, but these still need electricity to charge them. Also, if you’re far from an urban center, you may not have easy access to those batteries.
In some portable toilet models, the current isn’t just for the fan. The flusher might run on electricity or batteries as well. So if your power situation is iffy, you may want to replace your electrical flusher with a manual one. Better yet, don’t buy a toilet that needs electricity.
After considering all these factors and assessing seven toilets, we recommend the Camco Portable Toilet. Its bellow flushing system is not ideal, and will eventually need replacement. But its other benefits outweigh this one flaw. It helps that its leak-proof valve is guaranteed.
The toilet is easy to clean and uses minimal water, so it’s great for conserving resources. The side latches are secure, lowering the chances of waste spills. It’s an easy unit to move around, thanks to its lightweight construction and convenient handles. Its price is reasonable too, so go for it!
(By Sunrise Specialty)
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