One thing most users often wonder about is: how do campervan toilets work?
Having a toilet in your campervan would surely be easier than having to search one out constantly.
Well, there are various campervan toilet options available, and they all have specific features that you should know about before deciding which one you want to go with.
Ultimately the type of campervan toilet you choose will depend on what you view as the best option for you.
Here is a Way to Better Understand Campervan Toilets:
There are four types of campervan toilets that involve different functions, such as flushing, recirculating, chemical waste removal, and composting. Most campervans will have one of these toilets available upon purchase.
Here Are The Main Types Of Campervan Toilets & How They Work:
There are predominantly four categories of campervan toilets. Each type works differently.
There are flushing, recirculating, chemical, and composting campervan toilets.
On average most modern campervans will come with one of these types of toilets.
4 Types Of Campervan Toilets Explained:
When looking to purchase a new campervan, we should consider what type of toilet it comes with and how it works.
Additionally, if you want to upgrade your existing toilet system, it would be best to see the options available before deciding.
Let’s now look at the four main types; flushing, recirculating, chemical and composting, and how they work.
1. Flushing Toilet Systems
You might not know that you can have a flushing toilet system in your campervan.
When it comes to flushing toilets, there are three variants.
These variants include a gravity, macerating, and vacuum flush.
Gravity Flushing Toilets:
If you are looking for a toilet system for your campervan that will work similarly to a toilet found in houses, then the gravity flush is ideal.
When you flush the toilet, the waste will deposit into a holding tank. Conveniently this holding tank will be situated directly under the toilet.
When choosing a gravity flush toilet, you will be able to choose between an electric flush or a manual pedal flush.
Macerating Flushing Toilets:
With a macerator flushing toilet, electric-powered blades will turn waste into a slurry before depositing it into the holding tank.
With this system, the holding tank is placed away from the toilet unit.
Also, you will find that disposing of the slurried waste will be easier.
Vacuum Flushing Toilets:
A vacuum flushing toilet system uses less water.
When you engage the flush, a vacuum will activate and move the waste to the holding tank.
Additionally, this toilet system is versatile as you can place the toilet and the holding tank in a separate position.
You can also add a macerating vacuum pump if you want to reduce the waste to a slurry.
2. Recirculating Toilet Systems
Should you want a very different toilet from most campervan toilet systems, then a recirculating system should be considered.
A recirculating toilet system primarily works in two ways. These systems use a combination of water and chemicals to liquefy solid waste.
The combination of water and chemicals will then be used for future flushes until the toilet system is full.
When it comes time for you to dispose of the waste, you will have to take the toilet outside and dispose of it. This is not as convenient as some of the other toilet options available to you.
However, if you would prefer a somewhat portable toilet, then a recirculating toilet could work.
3. Chemical Toilet Systems
Chemical toilet systems are the most common type of toilet used in campervans since the 1960s.
These toilet systems work very well as you can use them in small or big campervans.
Chemical toilets are often portable, and they do require emptying. Most often, chemicals will be used in portable toilets or cassette style toilets.
With a portable toilet, you will have a lightweight, small plastic bowl and a small waste holding tank. You will have to place the chemicals inside of the portable toilet.
This will help with the smell and with disintegrating the waste. Once full, you will have to empty and repeat the process by re-adding the chemicals.
When it comes to cassette toilets, the process is similar, and you will also have to add chemicals to the system. You will have a permanent toilet bowl fixture with a cassette toilet, but there will be a bowl that you will have to remove and empty.
The chemicals will work the same as a portable toilet and help mask odors and break down waste.
4. Composting Toilet Systems
Composting toilets are the most eco-friendly toilet systems available for campervans.
These systems use no chemicals and very little water.
Making these toilets ideal if you are traveling and don’t have a ready water supply.
Many composting toilet systems work by separating the urine from the solid waste and diverting the two materials to different holding locations in the system.
Your solid waste will go to a holding tank that will already be holding some natural material such as coconut fiber, sawdust, or peat moss.
What this does is make your toilet virtually odorless. After using the facilities, you will have to scoop a handful of natural composting material and throw it into the system after using it.
The composting material will help break down the waste and nullify foul odors.
Composting toilets do not need to be plumbed into your campervan, nor do they require chemicals to function.
Composting toilets do not need to be emptied as often as other toilet system options.
However, they are often more pricey than other toilet system types.
Can You Install A Toilet Yourself In A Campervan?
We have looked at the different types of toilet systems that we can have in our campervans, but can we install a toilet in a campervan ourselves?
In short, the answer is yes. In most cases, depending on the toilet that you want, the installation process is not that hard.
As more and more people turn to campervans to travel and live in, many people want the added convenience of having a toilet in their campervan.
If you are using a chemical-based portable or cassette type toilet, you typically wouldn’t need a professional to install the toilet for you as you will be able to do it yourself.
Flushing toilet systems may be harder to install as they usually require some plumbing. However, don’t despair as you can often learn how to install one from youtube videos or blog posts.
Composting toilets could be your best bet when it comes to installing a toilet in your campervan.
These toilet systems require minimal maintenance, and the actual process of installing one isn’t difficult. You can also make a composting toilet from scratch.
Additionally, there are other DIY options where you can make your own toilet and install it in your campervan. You often don’t need expensive systems.
However, it will depend on whichever is easiest for you.
Some people prefer a bought campervan toilet while others are more open to DIY alternatives.
How To Make & Install Your Own Composting Toilet System In A Few Simple Steps:
Do you have time on your hands?
Are you looking for an eco-friendly low maintenance campervan toilet system?
The good news is that you can make your own composting toilet, and depending on the materials you use, it isn’t going to be that expensive to make.
The Materials You Will Need:
- 18mm/20mm Plywood ( length and width will depend on the size you want your toilet)
- Two buckets (size will depend on how big you build your toilet box)
- Urine separator
- Sawdust/coconut fiber/peat moss
- Toilet seat
- Plastic bottle
The Tools You Will Need:
- Tape Measure
- Electric circular saw/ Hand saw
- Wood clamp holders
- Hand drill
First, you will want to take your wood and measure out how big you want the box using a tape measure and pencil.
Once you have done this, you must use your electric or hand saw and cut out the pieces but use your wood clamps to hold the pieces steady while cutting.
Afterward, sand the pieces until they are smooth.
Once you have your neatly cut and sanded pieces of plywood, you will want to varnish them.
Varnishing them will make sure the wood lasts longer. Next, take your drill and drill holes to place your screws to assemble the box.
Lastly, screw all the pieces together and make sure it is sturdy.
Take your toilet lid and remove the plastic pieces underneath it.
With the top portion of wood for your box, place your toilet seat, and measure out the whole.
Now drill two holes at each end of the circle to cut out the hole easier.
Once you cut the hole, glue the urine separator to the bottom and the toilet seat to the top.
Next, you will need to find a container or bottle that will glue onto your urine separator.
Place the bucket in the box and add some composting material.
Finally, you must place the toilet seat piece onto the top of the box, and your composting toilet is complete and ready to be placed in your campervan.
How Much Do Toilets Cost For Campervans?
Depending on the type of campervan toilet that you want, the price will vary.
Let’s have a look at some estimated figures:
- Flushing toilets: The standard pricing is around $600.
- Recirculating toilets: You’re looking at a price point of $800.
- Chemical toilets: Portable and cassette chemical use toilets start at a low $80.
- Composting toilets: These toilet systems are more expensive, with a starting price of around $900.
Remember that you can always make your own campervan toilet.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.