Best Portable Toilets for Camping, Boating, and RV Use

Portable toilets are all used for the same purpose, but styles and functions range widely. Here’s a go-to guide.

If you’re in nature when nature calls, you can dig a hole and squat. Of course, that’s only possible if you are in a place where you can dig a hole. If you’re on a boat or camping with several people and there’s no easy place to go, the situation can range from difficult to mutinous.

That’s when the modern portable toilet shines like a beacon on a moonless night.

Humans have been coming up with ways to make it easier and more comfortable to go when on the go for many years, and styles vary. Today’s portable toilets range from a lightweight seat on a foldable stand, which somewhat resembles a strange and stunted TV tray, to master-bathroom-like commodes capable of accommodating several people for a week or more. Weight, features, intended place of use, comfort needs, odor management requirements, and your personal acceptability level will determine which portable toilet is best for you. Here’s a guide.

1. Folding Portable Toilets

Fold And Go

This simple, dependable design weighs just four pounds and will support up to 250 pounds. Green Elephant

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These folding toilet seats require you to place a bag beneath the seat and hold it in place by sitting on it, or by placing a bag in a container that fits beneath it. You can add some kitty litter or a liquid-absorbing chemical to the bag so liquids don’t slosh around. They are rudimentary, but many users like them because the seat size and its height above the ground resemble those of a home toilet. These are good for short-term camping trips.

2. Hassock Style Portable Toilets

Weighs Five Pounds

This portable measures 14.7 by 14.7 by 14 inches and is compatible with Reliance’s standard ‘Double Doodie Bags.’ Reliance Products

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Hassock-style toilets are popular with boaters, and families on road-trips with young kids who need to go more often than adults, because you can set up the bag inside of one beforehand so it’s ready for use. Hassock toilets are also easy to stow. The lid means you can deal with what’s inside once you’re back on shore or parked where you can dispose of the bag. And they’re lightweight and sturdy. Because the waste goes into a bag, you’ll need to add kitty litter or a liquid-absorbing chemical to the bag.

3. Water Operated Portable Toilets

Side Latches Secure The Tank

This travel-friendly flushing option 10 pounds (empty). Camco

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Water-operated portables are good for indoor use, because odor can be controlled. That’s especially important if several people will be using one. Fortunately, the tanks are large enough for several people to use for several days. They have lids and are flushable. The waste and flush water goes into a receptacle that you empty at a sanitary dumping station, though some can be emptied into a home toilet if the flow rate can be controlled. Make sure the one you choose has a seat opening wide enough to accommodate men (yes, that can be an issue), and that it’s high enough for tall people to sit on comfortably. Those with drain pipes make emptying easier and less unpleasant, and manual instead of electric flush systems mean you won’t be stuck with an unflushed toilet if your batteries run out. You’ll need to bring or access water to operate these, and must be kept out of below-freezing temperatures.