How Do RV Portable Waste Tanks Work?
Did you know you can empty your black or grey tank without moving your RV or travel trailer? RV portable waste tanks are basically a black/grey tank on wheels that you can fill up, transport to a sewer dump, and empty like you would an RV or trailer. They are easy to use, clean, store and come in handy when dry camping or staying at a campground that offers water but no sewer hook up.
RV portable waste tanks come in lots of different sizes and you want to make sure you get one that is right for you. In this article, I’m going to be reviewing the largest each company has to offer because if you are going to be making a trip to the dump station you may as well have the ability to empty the entire black or grey tank.
Here is my list and reviews of the best RV portable waste tanks available today.
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RV Portable Waste Tank Reviews & Info
The Camco Rhino is the most heavy-duty option available when it comes to RV portable waste tanks for black or grey water. There are 4 size options available: 15, 21, 28, and 36 gallons. Every size has wheels and is easy to transport. I’m going to be reviewing the 36 gallon version because many RV and trailer holding tanks are around 35 gallons. You will most likely be able to fit an entire black or grey tank in the 36 gallon Camco Rhino.
The first thing about this heavy-duty RV waste tank is it’s made with blow-molded UV stabilized high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that will not deteriorate in the sun or leak over time. There is an integrated ladder hook so you can easily store it on your RV or trailers ladder when it’s empty and there are molded grooves for straps making it easy to get a tight secure fit.
The wheels on RV portable storage tanks are the biggest issue and is what separates a quality tank from a cheap one. The Camco Rhino has the biggest, highest quality wheels you will find on any portable waste tank. There are two located on the back of the tank so you can tow it like a suitcase. They are made with durable rubber and use bearings for a smooth tow that doesn’t break easily.
There is a large plastic handle located on the other end so you can pick it up and start dragging the tank easily. There is also a tow bracket included to either lengthen the handle when you are dragging the tank or you can use it to connect the tank to a ball hitch and tow the RV waste tank with your vehicle. Note that you should never tow the tank faster than walking speed and going fast may damage the wheels or the tank.
One of the best parts about the Camco waste tank are the sewer outlet options and the rinse valves. There is a standard sewer connection on the top of the tank by the wheels. You can use this connection to fill the tank and also empty it by standing it up.
There is also a gated sewer connection on the bottom side of the tank as well so you can empty it without having to stand up the entire tank. This is feature is only found on 1 other RV portable waste tank and it comes in handy when emptying it. It’s especially nice because you can hook up and dump the tank without having to stare into an open hole filled with sewer water.
Perhaps the fanciest feature on this waste tank is the spray rinse connection. Every RV waste tank has a valve to release air when filling and emptying but Camco has also included a female hose connection you can secure a hose to. Once secured you turn on the water and there is a sprayer inside of the tank which will rinse it out. It’s like a black water rinse which you can find on high-end RVs and trailers. This is a unique feature only found on the Camco Rhino and it’s what pushes it ahead of the other RV waste tanks.
The only downside is the tank is very tall which can be an issue if your sewer outlet sits very low to the ground. The waste from your black or grey tank should be able to dump into the tank even if it’s a little taller because of the force of gravity but some people don’t like the portable waste tank to be higher up.
The 36 gallon tank weighs 34 lbs when empty and measures 46 inches long, 25 inches wide, and 15.5 inches tall. Included with the purchase of the tank is a 15″ water hose rinse adapter, a clear elbow with a 4 in 1 adapter, a clear double bayonet elbow, caps, a steel tow adaptor, and last but not least a heavy-duty 3 foot Rhino sewer hose with bayonet and lug fittings for filling and emptying.
The Camco Rhino Heavy Duty Portable Waste Tank in unmatched when it comes to accessories, features, and a heavy-duty design and build. This is one of the best RV portable waste tanks on the market today.
- Gated Side Sewer Valve
- Spray Rinse With Hose Connection
- Large Heavy Duty Rubber Wheels With Bearings
- Lots Of Included Accessories
- Integrated Ladder Mount
The Barker RV portable waste tank is a close second to the Camco Rhino because of its excellent build and features. It’s also got the bigger size option of 42 gallons. If you have huge holding tanks on your RV, travel trailer, or 5th-wheel the larger options may work better for you. If you like the style but don’t need 42 gallons there is also a 32 and a 25 gallon option available.
I’m going to talk about the 42 gallon option because more space is better when it comes to RV waste tanks.
The tank is made with blow-molded polyethylene with zinc plated steel parts and an aluminum tow handle. There are 4 wheels which means you don’t have to lift the tank to drag or tow it around. The wheels are filled with air (50 psi on the back 10″ wheels and 30 psi on the 6″ front wheels). The wheels have axle bearings and grease fittings for easy maintenance.
The front-mounted wheels are on a center swivel that is connected to a long removable aluminum handle you can drag by hand or connect to a ball hitch and tow with your vehicle. Much like the other waste tanks, the Barker should never be towed faster than walking speed as this can damage the wheels or the plastic tank.
Because the waste tank is on 4 wheels there is a gated sewer hose connection on the side so you can dump the entire tank without having to lift it. The is also a sewer hose connection on the top which can be used when filling the tank. You can also use this opening to rinse out the tank when it’s empty. On the top front, there is a bobber gauge which will indicate when the tank is full. This is also where the air vent is located.
The 42 gallon RV waste tank weighs 47 lbs when empty and measures 45 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 14 inches tall.
Included with the tank is a 5 foot standard sewer hose, 2 bayonet sewer hose adapters, sewer hose caps, 2 stainless steel sewer hose clamps, and the bobble tank level indicator.
The Barker 4-Wheeler Tote Tank is a fantastic option if you need a larger RV portable waste tank that also sits a little lower to the ground than the Camco Rhino. It’s great for pulling around on the paved ground but the 4-wheel option can be difficult to use on rough dirt roads and trails. All-in-all this is another awesome waste tank and has the highest capacity of any other tank available.
- Don’t Have To Lift Entire Tank To Transport
- Aluminum Handle/Tow Bracket
- Gated Side Sewer Valve
- Bobble Indicator
The Tote-N-Store 2 wheel 32 gallon tank is the simple more affordable option for a large RV portable waste tank. It’s nothing fancy but it will get the job of transporting grey or black water from your RV or trailer to a dump station. There are also 6, 11, 15, and 25 gallon options available. I’m going to review the 32 gallon option because it has the most features and is the most useful when it comes to RV and trailer applications.
One unique thing about this RV portable waste tank is it has a built-in storage compartment for all the necessary included items. The tank is made with heavy-duty plastic with two rubber wheels for easy transport.
When I call this a simple portable RV holding tank I mean it. There is only one sewer hose opening and a small vent air hole. To dump you connect the sewer hose first then lift the tank to let all the black or grey water drain out. To rinse it out you have to disconnect the sewer hose first, then spray it out through the same opening.
There is a large built-in plastic handle on the top lifting and dragging the tank by hand. There is a tow bracket included which connects to the plastic handle and then to a ball hitch. Never tow the tank faster than walking speed.
Included with the tank is a standard 36 inch sewer hose, a bayonet fitting with the stainless steel clamp included, a sewer cap with a hose inlet for rinsing, and a 15 inch garden hose adapter. All of these included parts fit in the compartment located on the tank.
The empty 32 gallon RV waste tank is 27 lbs and measures 45.75 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 11.6 inches tall. This is a fantastic option if the sewer outlet on your trailer or RV is lower than average.
The Tote-N-Stor Portable Waste Transport is a fantastic budget option because it’s still large enough to fit most of an average black and grey tank without all the frills. It’s heavy-duty enough to last and the only downside are the flimsy wheels.
- Large & Affordable
- Storage Compartment For Necessities
Thetford is a common name found in the camping world and their RV portable waste tank is built with the RVer in mind. With their easy to tow 4 wheel system, built-in storage compartment and large 35 gallon capacity the SmartTote2 LX is a fantastic option for RV owners. There is also an 18 gallon 4-wheel model available as well as a 35 gallon 2 wheel model if you prefer that style.
I’m going to review the 35 gallon 4-wheel model because it’s the easiest to use and the most useful for RV and travel trailer owners.
The tank sits on 4 wheels and looks a lot like a wagon with a long telescopic handle that is used to tow it around by hand or with a vehicle. The wheels are small and made of plastic but the front wheels are set on a wide axle base that fully rotates on a single center swivel. having wide front wheels is better than the kind with 2 close together because it’s more stable when turning and also rolls over uneven ground easier.
The set up on this RV portable waste tank is easier than most because the main sewer hose is permanently attached to the bottom of the tank. It is stored in a built-in compartment. To fill just open the bottom compartment and attached the bayonet end of the sewer hose to your trailer.
When you need to dump the tank you use the same hose, just attach the included plastic 90-degree elbow or use your own. On the top, there is a tab that lifts to reveal a bobber that pops up when the tank is full. There is also a cap that lifts to reveal a small open hole wide enough to easily fit a garden hose through to rinse out the tank. This is also an air vent to allow airflow when emptying the tank.
The 35 gallon tank weighs 25 lbs when empty and measures 51.4 inches long, 21.7 inches wide, and 15.4 tall.
The Thetford SmartTote2 LX RV Portable Waste Tank is easy to use and doesn’t require a lot of extra parts. It’s not as easy to pack down as other models but this is an excellent option if you spend lots of time in campgrounds with water hooks ups but no sewer. The other downside is the sewer hose doesn’t have a gate valve so if it’s full you may have black or grey water sloshing in and out of the hose.
- Only 1 Non-Attached Part Needed
- Can Be Towed With Vehicle
- Opening For Rinsing With Hose
We’ve seen Tote-N-Store budget RV portable waste tank, this is the version with all the bells and whistles. And that’s no exageration.
The Tote-N-Store 38 gallon 4-wheeler RV waste tank has two large rubber back wheels and two smaller metal rubber-coated wheels on the front. Each front wheel sits on its own swivel so it can move in any direction easily but it also has a wide wheelbase for stability.
There’s a small built-in plastic handle for dragging it around on 2 wheels if you want but also a long metal handle for towing it behind a vehicle or dragging it on all 4 wheels.
There’s a sewer connection on the top for easy filling with the necessary vents. The bottom has a clear plastic tube that can fold up or down. This is the part you empty the RV waste holding tank from. Just connect the sewer hose while the tube is facing up, secure it to the sewer opening then lower the tube to start the flow of grey or black water. You can use the opening on the top to rinse out the tank while it is still connected to the sewer.
This style of sewer connection is easy to use and doesn’t require you to stand the tank up on one end to dump it.
There is a built-in storage compartment that houses all of the included accessories which include a 36 inch standard sewer hose with the proper bayonet connections included and a 15 inch garden hose adapter.
The 38 gallon tank weighs 45.5 lbs when empty and measures 54.5 inches long, 27.7 inches wide, and 15.4 inches tall.
The Tote-N-Store 4-Wheeler Portable Waste Tank has a fantastic design and is one of the more stable 4 wheel RV waste tanks out there. You can tow it on 4 or 2 wheels depending on your preference and the ground which is a great idea. The only downside is it’s a little heavy and it may be more difficult to find a storage spot for it.
- Can Be Towed On 2 Or 4 Wheels
- Built-In Storage Compartment
- Drain Tube Can Be Opened While Connected To Sewer Hose
- Large Opening To Rinse Out With Hose
My Choice For Best RV Portable Waste Tank
There are a lot of great RV portable waste tanks on this list and each one is a little different and some options are better than others depending on how big your RV or trailers holding tanks are and even how high up off the ground the sewer outlet is. But taking all the features and design into account the Camco Rhino has my vote for the best RV portable waste tank.
The first reason is the integrated ladder mount. I would say at least 80% of people with an RV waste tank store it on their ladder and having a built-in ladder mount makes it easy to just hook it onto your ladder, put a strap around it and go.
The gated valve and ability to empty it while laying down is a bonus.
You may be wondering why I didn’t choose a 4 wheeled option because it seems like it would be easier to move that kind around. My answer to that is while the 4 wheeled versions are nice on a smooth paved surface they do not work at all when being dragged over rocks or uneven ground. And for the most part, your sewer outlet is going to be located over rough terrain. That’s why I think the 2 wheeled version is better than the 4 wheeled kinds.
Taking everything into account you can’t go wrong with the Camco Rhino Heavy Duty Portable Waste Tank.
Frequently Asked Questions About RV Portable Waste Tanks
Where do I store my RV portable waste tank?
You can store your RV waste tank in several places but the most common place people store theirs is on the ladder of the RV or trailer, or a cargo rack. You can also keep them in a truck bed. Just make sure you put them somewhere with good ventilation because they can be smelly.
Do RV portable waste tanks work with black water?
Yes, they do. Many people use their RV waste tanks for grey water because that’s normally what fills up first but you can also use them for black water. If you are a boondocker like me the ultimate set up is to have a compostable toilet and a large portable waste tank. You can use it to store grey water and dry camp comfortably for weeks.
Is it hard to empty an RV portable waste tank?
The most difficult part about RV portable waste tanks is they are very heavy when full especially if you have one over 25 gallons. Remember that a full 30 gallon waste tank will weigh more than 250 lbs. If you are planning on transporting it in the bed of a truck to a distant dump station you will need a good way to lift it or a ramp to drag it up on.
Once you get the waste tank to the dump station the process for dumping is easy and almost exactly like dumping a trailer or RV. A lot of RV waste tanks even have an extra opening so you can spray it out with a hose while connected to the sewer.
How do you find the nearest dump station?
For detailed information on finding a nearby dump station check out this post here.
How to transport a full portable RV waste tank in an RV.
If you boondock or don’t camp in a campground with your RV and you want to use a portable RV waste tank to extend the life of your holding tanks then the big issue is figuring out how to get the full waste tank to a dump.
The best and perhaps the only way to transport a full black water tank is with a heavy-duty cargo rack that can take at least 500 lbs and is wide enough to fit the tank on. Most hitch mount cargo racks are only 24″ wide and you need at least 25 for most of the RV holding tanks on this list.
I think the very best option you can go with is a heavy-duty wheelchair rack. They can hold up to 500 lbs and they have a ramp. That means you can drag the tank onto the carrier easily and don’t need to try and lift 300 lbs. The wheelchair racks are also very wide the only thing you have to make sure of is that the waste tank isn’t too long.
The Silver Spring Ramp Carrier is a really good one just make sure your hitch receiver is rated to take the weight of the ramp and the RV portable waste tank.
Have any more questions about RV portable tanks? Leave a comment below.