Can You Put A Composting Toilet In An RV/Camper/Van?

Can You Put A Composting Toilet In An RV/Van?

Yes, you can put a composting toilet in an RV, motorhome, trailer, or van, as long as there is enough room in your bathroom to install it. They’re also popular in cabins and tiny houses.

The most popular composting toilet (possibly the best) to put in an RV and campers is Nature’s Head Self Contained composting toilet.

Nature's Head Self Contained Composting Toilet with Close Quarters Spider Handle Design

Check Price at Amazon

Composting toilets can be larger than most RV toilets, so you’re going to want to make sure it’s going to fit before you buy one. Nature’s Head toilet measures 19 inches at its widest part. It’s 20 inches tall, and 17 3/4 inches from front to back. You should measure your current RV toilet and the space around it to make sure a composting toilet will fit before purchasing it. This will be less of an issue in a tiny house or a school bus conversion.

In addition to installing the composting toilet itself, you might also need to drill a hole or two so the vent hose that comes with the toilet can take care of any smells. Most composting toilets come with built-in fans to take care of the smell. Since the fan needs power, you’re also going to need a 12V power source. Not all composting toilets require any electricity though, and I will link to some of the other brands on the market down below that don’t.

How To Install A Composting Toilet System

Gone With The Wynns have made a video about how a composting toilet was installed in their motorhome.

Watch this video on YouTube.


Why Should You Put A Composting Toilet System In Your RV/Camper/Van

A downside with RVing is that you have to carry your waste around in waste holding tanks. If you do a lot of boondocking, also known as dry camping, and don’t spend a lot of time in paid campgrounds with hookups, you’re going to constantly be looking for a place to empty your tanks. If you could use your black tank for grey water as well, you would be able to stay out for longer.

Having a composting toilet does not mean that you’ll never have to empty tanks again if you still have a grey tank. If you’re in a van, however, and you have a small draining hose that takes care of any greywater, you’ll only have to worry about finding fresh water, and where to throw away your garbage. I know some people dump their grey water in the wild, but I don’t think you should.

How Often Do You Have To Empty A Composting Toilet?

It depends on how big the tank is, with the Nature’s Head Self Contained composting toilet, you only have to empty it every 4-6 weeks if two people are using it fulltime.

What Are Some Alternatives To Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet?

Here are a couple more on the market right now that you might want to consider:

Not all of these require electricity.

Can You Throw Toilet Paper In A Composting Toilet?

Yes, toilet paper can go in the bin as well. Any toilet paper can be used, but I recommend using RV toilet paper or single-ply toilet paper to speed up the composting time.

How Do You Combine The Black And Grey Tank?

If you use a Valterra Twist-On Waste Valve, you can move water from your grey tank to your black tank.

Simply attach the twist-on valve, and make sure that it’s completely closed. Open the black tank valve, then open the grey, and the water will flow into the black from the grey and “level” between the tanks. Then you can close both valves, and leave the twist-on valve until you go to the dump station to empty your tanks. When you get to the dump station, attach your sewer hose to the twist-on valve, open it, then empty your tanks as usual.

Which Peat Moss Should I Put In The Composting Toilet Bin?

You should use peat moss that doesn’t contain any fertilizer. Like Hoffman 15503 Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss.

Can You Use The Toilet In Freezing Temperatures?

Most models can and will work in freezing temperatures, but you should make sure that the urine bottle is empty since it can freeze.

The waste won’t compost very well if it stays cold (under 55 degrees) for long, though.

My Toilet Has A Built-In Fan, Should It Run All The Time?

Running the fan all the time, or often, when using the toilet daily will decrease the time it takes for the waste to compost. If you’re not going to be using the toilet there is no need to run the fan, and it might actually make dry out the compost and make it harder to deal with and clean.

My Truck Camper/Van Has A Wet Bath, Can I Still Use A Composting Toilet?

As long as no water gets into the main bin, and you’ve sealed the holes from the brackets when you installed the toilet, it will be OK. You might want to cover the urine bottle though so it doesn’t fill up.

How Long Does It Take To Empty The Bin?

After you’ve done it once and know how it’s done, not long. I would say the advertising is accurate in that it takes about 5 minutes. You just have to remove the top of the toilet, put a bag over the bin, and turn it upside down to empty the waste into the bag. Then just put new peat moss/coco coir in. If the peat moss is dry you should add a little bit of water but it shouldn’t be more than damp. You don’t even have to clean out the bin.

Note that every composting toilet has its own instructions that you should follow.

Where Do You Dispose Of The Urine/Pee?

The pee in the separate pee container should be flushed down a toilet, but a lot of people dump it on the ground where they would usually go pee in nature. Please don’t empty it where people are going to be camping or walking.

What About “The Other Waste”?

The solids that have gone into the peat moss is emptied into a garbage bag and thrown away with the regular garbage. There are even compostable garbage bags that I recommend using. Just make sure you don’t wait too long with throwing the bag away though, as they degrade quickly.

Can You Put RV Toilet Chemicals In A Composting Toilet To Limit Smells?

No, don’t put any chemicals in it.

Can You Use Sawdust In A Composting Toilet Instead Of Peat Moss?

Yes. Some use sawdust, some peat moss, or coco coir. Just make sure there is no fertilizer in either.

Please leave a comment down below if you have any questions about composting toilets.

by Jesse
Jesse has always had an interest in camping, technology, and the outdoors. Who knew that growing up in a small town in Sweden with endless forests and lakes would do that to you?

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