“Going” on the go isn’t always the most comfortable experience, but over a long overland expedition, you’re going to have to use the restroom at some point. If you’re going to a remote location without public restrooms or aren’t too keen on squatting over a hole, why not bring the bathroom with you in your rig!?
Portable camp toilets are a great alternative to public restrooms or cat holes. Simply fold up your toilet, pack it in your rig, and pull it out whenever nature calls. It’s an easy, convenient way to use the bathroom while overlanding.
Table of Contents
- Our Favorite Portable Toilets for Overlanding
- Camco Premium Portable Travel Toilet
- Dometic Portable Toilet
- Luggable Loo
- Stansport Portable Camping Toilet
- Green Elephant Folding Cammode
- Thetford Camping Porta Potti
- SereneLife Outdoor Portable Toilet
- Zimmer Portable Camping Toilet
- cleanwaste Go Anywhere Total Camping Toilet System
- Camco Portable Toilet Bucket
- Rhino Folding Shovel – Not a Toilet, But It will Work
- What Is a Portable Toilet?
- Types of Portable Toilets for Camping
- Why Use a Portable Toilet?
- Things to Consider When Buying a Portable Toilet
- Common Issues with Portable Toilets
- Portable Toilet FAQ
- Take Your Pooper on the Move-er
Our Favorite Portable Toilets for Overlanding
As with most overland gear, there are tons of portable toilet options to choose from. Here’s our list of the best portable toilets for camping if you want to turn your rig into the ultimate “go” anywhere adventure vehicle.
Camco Premium Portable Travel Toilet
For overlanders who want their bathroom experiences to be as close to their home toilet as possible, the Camco Premium Portable Travel Toilet gets as close as you can without running water or a heavy ceramic bowl.
This portable camping toilet comes with a 2.6-gallon detachable holding tank with a sliding gate valve to prevent leaks or smells from ruining your overland trip. It also features a 3.75 freshwater flush tank to clean out the bowl after each use.
Its sturdy design is great for adventurers of all sizes, and its compact size fits in most overland rigs without taking up too much precious space.
Dometic Portable Toilet
The Dometic Portable Toilet is one of the most popular portable camp toilets on the market. It features a full-size seat, so it’ll feel just as comfortable as using your bathroom at home.
The 5-gallon tank capacity works well for even the longest overland expeditions, and the push-button flush cleans the bowl to prevent odors from filling your rig during storage.
One of the best features of the Dometic is the capacity indicator. It’ll tell you when the tank is getting full, so you don’t have to worry about any nasty surprises out on the trail. You’ll know exactly when you need to find a dump station.
The Dometic is a little more expensive than the Camco, but it offers a few extra features and a larger tank capacity without taking up more space in your rig.
For overlanders on a budget, the Luggable Loo is hard to beat. The concept is simple: take a 5-gallon bucket and add a toilet seat and a locking lid. It’s light, compact, easy to use, has a high capacity, and inexpensive.
The downside is you’re pooping in a bucket. There’s no flushing mechanism or seals to separate you from the mess below.
Many campers and overlanders put liners into the Luggable Loo to prevent leaks and smells from getting out. Plus, it makes cleanup a breeze. You can dispose of waste without having to look for a sanitary dump station. If you don’t want to use a liner, you can add sawdust or other absorbent materials to the bottom to soak up the mess and keep odors to a minimum.
Stansport Portable Camping Toilet
The Stansport Portable Camp Toilet is very similar to the Luggable Loo but features a bucket that’s specifically designed as a camp toilet—not just a run-of-the-mill 5-gallon bucket.
This portable camp toilet has a full-size seat to make your on-the-go bathroom experience as comfortable as possible. The holding tank is made to fit disposable sanitary bags inside to make cleanup simple. It also has handles on the sides of the tank, so you don’t have to worry about the flimsy handle on generic 5-gallon buckets (nobody wants to deal with the mess if the handle breaks…).
Green Elephant Folding Cammode
Every inch of storage space is precious in an overland rig. The Green Elephant Folding Commode folds completely flat to take up as little space as possible.
The design is pretty simple. It’s essentially a toilet seat on a folding frame. When you have to go, simply unfold the toilet, put a bag under the seat, and do your business. When you’re finished, tie up the bag, fold up your toilet, and continue with your adventure.
Thetford Camping Porta Potti
For overlanders who want a bit more luxury in their outdoor bathroom experience, it doesn’t get much better than the Thetford Porta Potti. It has all the features you could want from a portable camping toilet and maybe a few more:
- Large holding tank
- Rotating pour-out spout to empty tank without backsplash
- Comfortable, ergonomic seat
- Battery-powered flush
- Carrying handle
- Built-in toilet paper holder
- Tank level indicator
- Sealed valve to prevent smells and leaks
You can also get an optional hold-down kit to lock the toilet in place, so it doesn’t move around in your rig—even on the roughest of trails. This is also ideal for larger rigs if you want to create a permanent built-in bathroom.
Of course, all these features will cost you. The Thetford is one of the most expensive portable toilet options on the list, but it’s hard to find a more complete on-the-go bathroom solution.
SereneLife Outdoor Portable Toilet
The SereneLife Outdoor Portable Toilet works similarly to the Thetford but at a more affordable price point. The large 5.3-gallon holding tank means you can keep going longer without having to empty the tank, and the sealed valve ensures you won’t have to endure rough smells inside your rig.
When it’s time to dump, SereneLife makes life serene. It has a rotating pour spout to prevent splash back (which you definitely don’t want) and make it easy to empty the tank quickly and discreetly wherever you end up. As an added bonus, the SereneLife comes with a carrying case for easy transportation.
Zimmer Portable Camping Toilet
The Zimmer Portable Toilet is a lightweight, inexpensive camping toilet option for overlanders who don’t want to poop in a bucket. It’s a fully contained camping toilet with a removable 5-gallon holding tank, a 3-gallon freshwater flush tank, and sealed valves to eliminate odors.
It gives you everything you need in a portable camping toilet without the high price tag.
cleanwaste Go Anywhere Total Camping Toilet System
When they say “total,” they mean it. The Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Total System is for overlanders who value their privacy. This portable toilet isn’t just a toilet; it comes with a privacy shelter too!
The entire shelter can be set up and torn down by one person in about a minute, and it comes with a 64” zippered privacy door to give you the space you need to do your business comfortably. The toilet itself features a comfortable seat and fits disposable bags for easy cleanup and disposal.
When you’re finished, the entire system folds up into a convenient backpack carrying case that fits into just about any overland rig.
Camco Portable Toilet Bucket
For overlanders on a budget, it’s hard to beat the Camco Portable Bucket Toilet. For under $30, you can get a portable bathroom solution with a comfortable seat, locking lid to reduce odors, and a 5-gallon holding capacity. This portable toilet also comes with three bag liners to make cleanup and disposal a breeze.
Rhino Folding Shovel – Not a Toilet, But It will Work
Okay, so this might not be a portable camping toilet, but it’ll let you make a toilet just about anywhere on the trail.
The Rhino Folding Shovel weighs only about three pounds and can fold up small enough to fit under your car seat. How’s that for portable!? When nature calls, the rugged shovel can easily dig cat holes to create a bathroom no matter where you are. Just be sure to read up on how to use the bathroom while overlanding, so you don’t hurt the environment.
What Is a Portable Toilet?
Portable camping toilets are basically just toilets you can carry with you in your car, van, RV, or overland rig. They don’t take up much space and most can be used the same as a regular toilet. When the holding tank is full, simply empty it into a regular toilet or a dump station like you’d find in a campground.
They’re much more comfortable than squatting over a hole in the ground and are very easy to use and clean, which makes them ideal for off-grid travelers like overlanders.
Types of Portable Toilets for Camping
There are a couple different types of portable camping toilets. There are pros and cons to each, so choose the one that best fits your overlanding style:
- Bucket toilets – Simple and inexpensive, bucket toilets are exactly as they sound. They’re a bucket with a toilet seat on top. You can either line the bucket with a plastic bag for easy cleaning and disposal or simply wash it out after it’s full.
- Dry flush – Dry flush portable toilets work just like a Diaper Genie. The bowl is lined with a plastic sheet, and when you press the flush button, the bag collapses into the holding tank. No water, and no mess.
- Folding toilets – These portable toilets fold up to fit in even the most compact spots in your rig. Most folding toilets are just a collapsible frame with a toilet seat on top. Once the frame is assembled, you can attach a plastic bag under the seat for easy cleanup and removal of waste.
- Composting toilets – If you’re not a fan of dumping waste, a composting toilet might be for you. A composting toilet evaporates liquid waste and breaks down solid waste quickly, so you don’t have to dump as frequently. Depending on your setup, you won’t have to dump your toilet for months at a time! There is a decent amount of maintenance involved, but this is a great option for long-term campers and overlanders.
- Shovel (not a toilet but works) – If you don’t want to sacrifice the storage space or deal with the maintenance of a portable toilet, a shovel is a handy tool for digging cat holes in the woods. That way, you can go to the bathroom whenever and wherever nature calls.
Why Use a Portable Toilet?
Well, because it’s more comfortable and convenient than squatting under a tree. It’s not always easy to bring home luxuries along with you on the trail. A portable toilet gives you a nice, comfortable place to sit and do your business.
Plus, “going” in the woods isn’t always environmentally friendly. You either need to learn how to dig a proper cat hole or carry your waste out with you. A portable toilet makes it easy to go to the bathroom anywhere without having to worry about damaging the environment. All your waste is stored easily inside the toilet or disposable bags, and the odor is well-contained so it doesn’t stink up your rig.
Things to Consider When Buying a Portable Toilet
A portable toilet might not be a major investment like a rooftop tent, but you still want to choose the one that works best for your overlanding style and needs. Here are a few things to consider to help you find the best portable toilet for camping.
As with most overlanding gear, price is going to be a big factor when choosing the best portable toilet for overlanding. If you don’t have the budget, or only go overlanding occasionally, it might be a better idea to stick to the inexpensive side. If you love overlanding and frequently take extended, multi-day trips, a better toilet might be worth the money.
Portable camping toilets range anywhere from $20 for a simple bucket toilet to over $200 for a complete travel toilet system.
Size and Weight (of the toilet)
Before you choose a portable toilet, make sure it’ll fit in your rig! Space is one of the most valuable commodities in an overland rig. Make sure you have enough storage to fit the dimensions of the toilet before you buy.
Also, make sure the space is located in a place that’s suitable for a camping toilet. You don’t want your toilet sitting on top of your food cooler (for example). That could lead to some sanitation issues if there was ever a leak. It’s best to put your portable toilet in a place where it’ll make the least mess if something goes wrong—and someplace you can easily clean.
Portable camping toilets are also supposed to be just that: portable. Many toilets range from 3-13 pounds empty, which might not sound like a lot, but some can reach up to 40 or 50 pounds when full. Make sure you can carry the weight of the full toilet. Nothing messes up an overland trip more than a hurt back—except perhaps a spilled portable toilet…
Buying a portable toilet is a lot like buying a car. You want to make sure you get the features that suit your needs. There are tons of portable toilet models out there, ranging from barebones bucket toilets to full-fledge toilet systems with myriads of features. Here are some of the most popular portable toilet features you can find:
- Full-sized seats (the same size as your toilet at home)
- Freshwater flush tanks
- Tank level indicator
- Easy-pour spout for emptying
- Detachable holding tanks
- Foldable frame
- And many more
Going to the bathroom is a necessity of life, so why not make it as comfortable as possible? Make sure the portable toilet you choose is comfortable to you. Many portable camping toilets feature full-size, ergonomic seats to make you feel like you’re going to the bathroom in the comfort of your own home.
Besides the comfort of the seat, it’s also a good idea to consider the comfort of the base. Some bucket toilets are on the skinny side, which doesn’t offer great stability. If your balance isn’t the greatest, it might be more comfortable for you to choose a toilet with a wider, more stable base.
Pro tip: If you really want to go the extra mile for comfort on your next camping trip, try adding a camping shower to your gear too.
Accessories and Spare Parts
Accessories are a great way to help you modify your portable camping toilet to fit your unique overlanding style. For example, if you go off-grid for long periods at a time, a toilet with removable holding tanks might give you the extra usage you need to make it through the duration of the trip. You might also be able to swap your tank out for a larger tank.
Some high-end portable toilets have a lot of moving parts. As overlanders are well aware, things can break over time. Make sure the toilet you choose offers/comes with spare parts for repairs. You don’t want to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere with a broken toilet and no way to repair it!
How long do your overlanding trips usually last? If you only go for a day or two, a small 3-gallon portable toilet might suffice. If you tend to go on longer trips, you might need something with a larger holding tank.
It’s also a good idea to consider where you’re going. If you stay near cities and designated campgrounds, it’s not hard to find places to dump your portable toilet. You probably could give up some of your tank capacity to keep the size and weight down. If you like to boondock it where there’s nowhere to dump, you’ll need the extra tank capacity to get you through the trip.
Common Issues with Portable Toilets
Portable toilets are pretty simple devices, but there are always a few issues that can creep up over time. These are some of the most common issues you’ll have to watch out for:
- Bad smells – It shouldn’t come as a surprise that portable toilets can smell after some usage. Even the best portable toilets might let out some rather nasty smells from time to time, especially when emptying the tank.
- Sticking – Solid waste doesn’t always like to play nice. Sometimes, it can stick to the inside of the bowl, which causes unsightly stains and makes your rig stink. Having a flush tank helps, but it might take some scraping (use a stick) to get it down into the holding tank.
- Cracks – If you’ve ever used a typical 5-gallon bucket, you know they’re not invincible. Inexpensive bucket toilets can crack, causing a big ol’ mess. It never hurts to use disposable liners, just in case.
- Pressure buildup – Since many portable toilet tanks are sealed (to help with odors), pressure can build up because of temperature or altitude. When you push in the flush button, you might get a pressurized surprise from the tank. Luckily, this is an easy fix. Just crack the flush before you open the lid to make sure nothing can pop up and get you.
Portable Toilet FAQ
Still on the fence about getting your very own portable toilet for overlanding? Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about portable camping toilets to help you make the right decision for your needs:
Can You Poop in a Portable Camping Toilet?
You sure can! You can even throw toilet paper into most portable toilets. If you use a portable toilet with a dump tank, just make sure you use single-ply, RV-grade toilet paper. It’ll dissolve faster than regular toilet paper, which will prevent the toilet from getting clogged up. If you use disposable bags in your portable toilet, you can use whatever you want to wipe, since it all stays in the bag anyway.
Do Portable Camping Toilets Smell?
Typically no, but It depends on the style of toilet you choose and how you use it. Most portable toilets are designed to prevent smells, but they’re not all great at it. For example, a bucket toilet has a locking lid, but once you open it up (or if you forget to close it completely), there’s nothing stopping the smells from spreading throughout your rig.
More hardy portable toilets like the Camco Premium, Dometic, and Thetford have sealed valves to prevent smells from getting out of the holding tank, even when the lid is open.
How Do You Empty a Portable Camping Toilet?
Emptying a portable camping toilet isn’t as bad as you might think. If you use a toilet with a holding tank, just dump it into either a regular toilet or a waste dump station that you might find at an RV campground.
If you use a portable toilet with disposable bags, it’s even easier. Find the nearest trash receptacle and throw the bag in. Disposing of human waste in the trash is perfectly legal and safe. Just think of all the diapers people throw away every day!
Where Can I Empty My Portable Toilet?
For portable toilets with holding tanks, you can dump the tank into any regular, running-water toilet or a waste dump station like you’d find at a campground.
Luckily, these places aren’t hard to find. If you can hold out long enough, you can dump the tank into your toilet at home after the trip. If not, there’s always public restrooms around. Just make sure you don’t overflow the toilet if you have a large holding tank… It might take more than one flush.
You can also find dump stations at just about every campground. Some campgrounds have a fee for dumping, so make sure you know the rules before you head in.
If you use a portable toilet with disposable bags, just find a trash receptacle and throw it in. Out of politeness, don’t use small trash cans or cans inside of public buildings. Find a bigger dumpster or somewhere away from where people congregate.
How Do You Clean a Porta Potty for Camping?
For the outsides and the bowl of a portable camping toilet, a simple antibacterial wipe will do. It’ll help lift some of the stains from the bowl and kill bacteria (and smells).
The best way to clean the holding tank is to visit a campground dump station. Most campground dump stations provide fresh water to rinse out your holding tank. Simply hold the tank over the opening and rinse it out with the water.
It’s also not a bad idea to throw some deodorizer and waste digestant into your holding tank every now and then. It’ll help remove the smells and decompose any waste left behind.
Can You Store a Portable Toilet in an SUV?
Of course! You can store a portable toilet anywhere it’ll fit—which is just about anywhere. Just make sure it’s in a place that’s easy to clean and away from any food items (just in case).
Take Your Pooper on the Move-er
Portable camping toilets are a great addition to any overland rig. They’ll help you bring some of the comforts of home on the road and relieve yourself without worrying about digging holes or hurting the environment. Take your time and enjoy the trail without worrying about finding a place to “go.”