School me on the topic of toilets ;)

wandererr

Adventurer
So I did some searching and I found plethora of posts throughout the years and they all seem to contradict each other. Partially I think it's because each persons needs are different both due to usage as well as terrain. It seems that some toilets need to be vented (due to low usage and altitude changes), while others have other issues....

So here's my needs..... Me? I don't need one :D But the trailer is going to be used by two groups (one includes me) - not at the same time. The first group (my group) is my wife, our 2 year (ok, she'll be 2.5 by the time we start using it) daughter and myself. I figure occasional usage in a middle of the night type of emergencies and we'll use it for our daughter mostly as we'll use whatever campground/nature allows :D

The other group will be my folks. Both in late 70's which means they might have more nightly needs or early morning - daytime it'll be campground facilities when available.

Trailer? small 6x10, sleeps 3, stand up room in part of it (the one with the toilet). No plans to have huge grey, or black water tanks. This kinda led me to http://www.thetford.com/product/porta-potti-curve/ but it seems that folks either love it or hate it... there is no in between.

So what are the current opinions? It's good? it's bad? alternatives?
 

Joe917

Explorer
We have been using a Natures head full time for over a year now. 2 adults full time use gets 4-5 weeks between compost dumps, if we can use campground toilets we can extend that quite a bit. Urine tank must be dumped every 2 days. A cassette is good for 3-4 days (2 adults) extra cassette or 2 extends time. The Natures head is vented, powered by a small computer fan.
Recommended.
 

simple

Adventurer
Porta potties are good for emergency's and so is a cheap bucket. I like a flusher with black tank for regular use. Figure out where the dump stations are and make a deposit at the end of the weekend or week depending on tank size. Pretty easy. Composting toilets are great but I've only used them in cabins. Not sure how I feel about it in an RV.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
I had a Thetford Porta Potti for several years, loved it. I've now got a Dometic that's very similar (bigger tank), and I'm happy with it as well.

We use it every time we camp, and it makes things much easier on my ladies. Never have any issues with smell, and emptying the tank into any standard toilet is a breeze.
 

Iain_U1250

Explorer
We used out Nature's Head composting toilet for the last 6 week trip. Works great, no smell at all escapes the toilet. We both prefer using it over any long drop toilet. The only bad thing is having to empty the pee bottle, best done daily if possible, as it is a bit stinky when pouring it out if left longer. I would recommend it over the other cassette type systems, much less smell, you can empty the pee bottle in any toilet as there are no chemicals and it is just pee. (We have a carrier bag for it so it is not too obvious what we are carrying in ) and the poop side we did not have to empty until we go home, and that was pretty easy to do, just double bagged it and into the garbage bin, it had a woody smell more from the coconut fibre than anything else, looked just like compost.
 

javajoe79

Fabricator
It seems counterproductive to throw the composted waste in the garbage. I plan on dumping it in the woods somewhere and spreading it around. Seems like the best approach. Harmless and not burdening landfills.
 

grizzlyj

Adventurer
Hiya
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The wife and I lived with a black tank for about three years, emptied via 2.5m of 4" hose. Occasionally there were no facilities to empty it so the easiest was to use the gate valve on the tank to decant bit by bit into the hose, holding both ends up and walking gingerly!
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Recently we've had a caravan with a cassette and don't like it. Too small but still 20kg to carry too often. Even if we had two spare cassettes that still doesn't give you many days. But it is what 99% of Euro campervans and campsites are set up for.
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So for us next time will be a composting toilet.
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The Separett Villa 9010 for instance comes with a kiddy seat (important if you want the right stuff going in the right hole!) and two extra containers. That way you can keep hold of it until it may actually be compost. One container with last nights addition most certainly will not be compost yet!!
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:)
 

Neil

Observer
I am a great believer in that there are different ways to do things and that all of them are right of it suits you.

However, I think I am missing something with "Composting Toilets " I am struggling to see the advantages and would love to hear it from someone who has been using one in a vehicle for years.

I have just been reading the Natures head web site and several other sites on compositing toilet manufacturers in Europe.

All of them clearly state that "Composting" doesn't start to occur until after several months . I cannot see that having to empty it every few weeks actually achieves the composting stage . It would surely be the same as crapping in a bag and throwing it in a bin.

I read the UK regs on disposal and I would imagine that most civilised countries have similar policies

Extract


"In brief, for ‘domestic’ installations, you are permitted to use a compost toilet and to compost human ‘waste’ and use the compost on YOUR land. You are also permitted to run urine into a soakaway pit, provided that it is located at least 10 metres from a water course and at least 50 metres from any well or borehole."


These are obviously designed to make composting toilets as environmental as possible . How does placing a large bag of two week old crap in a roadside bin achieve this.

In addition to this , having to pee in a separate container then putting down the kerb side surely doesn't do more than just peeing in the kerbside .

I know I am missing something here as I cant see why anyone would go down this route .

I have an 80 litre black tank that is fed by gravity from a Thetford Bravura toilet that sits directly on top of the tank . A blade is operated by a foot pedal to allow all the waste to fall into the tank below. The tank has an extractor fan on it that is activated by a small PIR as I enter the room. By the time I push the pedal there is always negative pressure in the tank so no odour ever escapes back into to the room . The tank gasses are extracted via carbon filter so I have never smelt odours outside either. We are totally chemical free, which I like .

I do not use any pipes or hoses to empty the tank I simply have a a small down pipe with a slide valve . Below the valve is a Thetford cassette shoe which I slide a normal cassette onto and empty the tank . If the tank was full I would have to decant about 5-6 cassettes off . This would only occur after about 25 days . We usually empty every other day.

Chemical free, natural waste, no odour and powered by gravity. It works for me .

Please dont read this thread thinking I am anti Composting toilets. As said at the start if it works for you then it has to be right.

I just think that maybe I am missing the point somewhere and cannot see that throwing 2-3 week old crap in a bin could ever be deemed as composting or even environmentally sound.

Love to hear from someone who has been using one for years

Neil

http://cloud9isborn.blogspot.com
 

javajoe79

Fabricator
There is quite a lively discussion of this elsewhere at Expo,
But the bottom line is to be truly 'composted', The material has had to do its composting thing for several months before its truly degraded to be compost.
A couple weeks of expo-tripping then dumping, equals dumping old turds, its not yet compost.
I agree with that but I also believe that for most environments, it's not a problem. Especially in moist areas, it decomposes fast.

I am a great believer in that there are different ways to do things and that all of them are right of it suits you.

However, I think I am missing something with "Composting Toilets " I am struggling to see the advantages and would love to hear it from someone who has been using one in a vehicle for years.

I have just been reading the Natures head web site and several other sites on compositing toilet manufacturers in Europe.

All of them clearly state that "Composting" doesn't start to occur until after several months . I cannot see that having to empty it every few weeks actually achieves the composting stage . It would surely be the same as crapping in a bag and throwing it in a bin.

I read the UK regs on disposal and I would imagine that most civilised countries have similar policies

Extract


"In brief, for ‘domestic' installations, you are permitted to use a compost toilet and to compost human ‘waste' and use the compost on YOUR land. You are also permitted to run urine into a soakaway pit, provided that it is located at least 10 metres from a water course and at least 50 metres from any well or borehole."


These are obviously designed to make composting toilets as environmental as possible . How does placing a large bag of two week old crap in a roadside bin achieve this.

In addition to this , having to pee in a separate container then putting down the kerb side surely doesn't do more than just peeing in the kerbside .

I know I am missing something here as I cant see why anyone would go down this route .

I have an 80 litre black tank that is fed by gravity from a Thetford Bravura toilet that sits directly on top of the tank . A blade is operated by a foot pedal to allow all the waste to fall into the tank below. The tank has an extractor fan on it that is activated by a small PIR as I enter the room. By the time I push the pedal there is always negative pressure in the tank so no odour ever escapes back into to the room . The tank gasses are extracted via carbon filter so I have never smelt odours outside either. We are totally chemical free, which I like .

I do not use any pipes or hoses to empty the tank I simply have a a small down pipe with a slide valve . Below the valve is a Thetford cassette shoe which I slide a normal cassette onto and empty the tank . If the tank was full I would have to decant about 5-6 cassettes off . This would only occur after about 25 days . We usually empty every other day.

Chemical free, natural waste, no odour and powered by gravity. It works for me .

Please dont read this thread thinking I am anti Composting toilets. As said at the start if it works for you then it has to be right.

I just think that maybe I am missing the point somewhere and cannot see that throwing 2-3 week old crap in a bin could ever be deemed as composting or even environmentally sound.

Love to hear from someone who has been using one for years

Neil

http://cloud9isborn.blogspot.com
I agree with you too. I don't see the point of throwing away the composted or semi composted waste.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
I'll say it again: My favorite aspect of my Thetford and Dometic porta-pottis is that they are quick and easy to dump in any standard toilet. There's no concerns about timeline of dumping, separating liquid waste, etc.

Use it like a toilet. Separate the cassette when you get to a place with plumbing, then dump it, add a little water and swish, dump it, done.
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
I'll Play!

People get hung up on the word "composting" and demand that the toilet fully compost the waste. Actually, it will, but it will take several months. Which, of course, is much faster than a cassette or black tank but a bit too long to be practical. (Although, to be fair, dump enough chemicals in them and they, too, will start to break down the waste matter.)

So, if you level the playing field and simply look for an alternative to going behind a tree (a challenge in the Sahara, and I speak from experience), then the typical overland wants a toilet system that:

-- Is odorless and comfortable to use.
-- Goes as long as possible between dumps.
-- Is easy to dump.

Based on two years of long term use, the Nature's Head meets all of these requirements for us. Our normal usage pattern is two adults. We no not use campground facilities unless there is no option.

The Nature's Head is completely odorless. We use the built in electric fan and 360 Siphon roof vent.(https://360productsnorthamerica.com/site/) Our toilet is in a wet bath and the only thing that can make it misbehave is water from the shower. You have to keep the seal clean and tight.

We typically get ten to fourteen days between dumps with daily use. Between short trips, it lasts for months. Because the material does, in fact, decompose, you do not dump after a trip, but rather before setting out. Thus you could go a full season of weekend trips without ever dumping.

We have a compost heap at home and use that before setting out. On the road you have many options. You can use an RV dump station, as long as it has water. There is too much absorbent material to simply dump it in a pipe. A long drop/camp ground toilet is really easy. Of course, you can bury in the back country or, with permission, dump in any livestock field. You can also use a dumpster. The volume of material is comparable to that of a cat box and much less malodorous than disposable diapers. About the only thing you can't use is a conventional flush toilet.

The urine is even easier - all of the above or a toilet.

There are many different media that you can use - peat moss, coconut coir, wood shavings (readily available as pet or horse bedding), etc.

The mojo is the separation of feces and urine; without the ammonia in urine, feces dry out quickly and don't smell bad. So call it a "Urine Separating, Desiccating Toilet" and forget the word "composting."

A the last Tiger Owner's Rally there was so much interest that I did a timed dump. Came out to under 30 wall clock minutes from the time I started until the toilet was back in place, including the time required to wet and mix the peat moss. And that including the group the full show/tell/sniff. One nice feature is that you don't have to clean a composting toilet. If you have it in a wet bath, you do have to be sure that the seal is tight - in a dry bath it doesn't matter. And, unlike a black tank or a cassette, there is no/no chance of spillage or blowback. :Wow1:

I give a study of overland/RV toilet systems at Overland EXPO. You can download the slides here: https://cookfb.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/goongo.pdf

As always, YMMV, but we would not change.
 

javajoe79

Fabricator
Good stuff. Yeah I read another thread where some people are really hung up on calling it a composting toilet because it's not totally composted usually. I don't think the name implies that it totally composts, just that it is composting.
 

grizzlyj

Adventurer
Hi

Today I got hands on with a Separett Villa 9010.
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I'm told the "bucket", listed in the blurb as 23 litres, will last 8-10 weeks, just because its bigger than other manufacturers.
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The Natureshead brochure doesn't say how big their container is. Anyone know?
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It comes with three buckets (with good lids) in total, giving 30 total weeks before dumping if you wanted to leave it that long.
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I believe after 26 weeks in the UK it is then "non-hazardous" waste, which is why you get 3 buckets to get you past that point.
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Our previous experience of a 72l black tank and two people full time via a marine (so water hungry) toilet meant it was full in less than a week if we weren't near any alternative loos. A Thetford toilet may use less water but not by enough to make enough of a difference IMHO. Even eight weeks with one empty is a huge leap :) Until Neil's comments earlier in this thread I hadn't heard anyone claim a Thetford cassette could go more than a few days for two people unless making use of facilities elsewhere?
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Although this model is supposed to be widely used in public places so open to abuse, and on riverboats in the UK, I have to say it does not seem designed to withstand bouncing in the back of a truck on a bad road. There is nothing vital that can break, and at the end of the day it is just a seat and lid over a bucket (with extractor fan, the important bit), so we'll see how we get on as I now have one on order :)
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(Cocoa shell is this suppliers fibre of choice, via Cadbury near Birmingham where they're based, so it will smell of chocolate so they say :))
 
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