Toilet facilities may be available when you’re away from home, but that doesn’t mean you want to—or even can—use them. Highway rest areas can be creepy, scarce, or simply closed. Outhouses can be frigid or infested with rodents or insects. Portable toilet sheds set out at big sporting events often become overwhelmed. Many is the person who said “Yeah, I think I’m going to hold it,” when walking up to a hot, crooked, stinking toilet shed just as some burly guy was stepping out of it, still pulling up his pants.

Often, there are places where you want to go that don’t have toilets of any kind—a boat, for instance.

The best portable toilet to get depends on several factors, like where do you want to put the toilet, or take it? How many people will be using it, and for how long? How will you be getting rid of the waste? Use this guide to help you choose the best portable toilet for you.


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Portable toilets with a reservoir that allows for flushing operate and feel very much like the ones found in any home in the U.S. These have a large capacity and a comfortable seat. Before use, pour a chemical in the holding tank that dissolves solid waste, so when you return home you can easily empty the tank into a home toilet bowl. These are ideal if you’ll be camping for more than a few days and if several people will be using the toilet.


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You can get a small flushing portable toilet for less than $100. While these don’t have the capacity of larger versions, they’re lightweight and don’t take up a lot of space. You can keep one in a car trunk for emergencies at a tailgater, on a long road trip, or to use as a backup or nighttime toilet when on camping trips.

Nature’s Head

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Some portable toilets are also composting toilets. Also called dry toilets, these act as their own processing facility, in which solids (including toilet paper) are deposited into a tank that also contains peat moss or coconut coir, a fiber from the outer husk of coconuts. Together, those substances break down into a compost that can then be used to feed any plants that aren’t grown for human consumption. Urine is collected into a separate reservoir, which is accessed by turning a wheel on the tank (users urinate before a bowel movement, so urine doesn’t enter the composting tank). Because no liquid is involved, these are ideal for use in dwellings that don’t have heat. Because there’s no septic system or reliance on a sewage treatment plant, they’re also the most Earth friendly.