What is the best portable toilet on the market? There’s a lot of debate over that and it’s a popular topic of discussion. Since everybody goes, we all have some thoughts on this. Recently we had a chance to look into the Laveo™ toilet by Dry Flush and came away with an interesting take on that device. I mentioned this toilet a few months ago when I reviewed the Imperial Outdoors XploreRV XR22, which has no black tank since it has the Laveo.
What is the Laveo?
The Laveo is a toilet that uses a semi-metallic liner that seals off each use of that liner when you press the flush button. It does not use or require any water and you can put just about anything into the toilet that you can think of.
Well, maybe not things like an elephant, but things within reason.
Unlike a traditional RV toilet that flows into the black tank, the Laveo is completely self-contained so you can flush all sorts of human-generated “content.” But you can also put any kind of toilet paper you choose, “flushable” wipes, feminine products and just about anything else in it.
Even things you’re not supposed to put into the toilet that some folks still do, until they’ve paid the plumbing bill. But that won’t happen with this.
Further, it does not feed a tank at all but rather creates individual bags of waste each time you flush the toilet, albeit out of one long, continuous, semi-metallic sleeve. Since it doesn’t feed a tank and doesn’t use any water whatsoever, this could be a great resource for a van or cargo trailer build, or just to replace an RV toilet.
Good for camping in cold places
It also makes a lot of sense for those who camp in very cold places. The only limitation is that the battery in this is rated to -20°F. But if you’re using this toilet at that temperature, you truly are freezing your buns off.
In fact, I know of one couple who has replaced their traditional RV toilet so that they no longer ever have to deal with the black tank in their RV. To that end, they then joined their gray and black tanks and effectively doubled their capacity by doing so. This is a couple who seriously loves boondocking.
How the Laveo works
Essentially there is a “pail” of sorts in the main body of the toilet into which you put a plastic bag that’s much like a garbage bag. From there you put in an insert that has the foil “sleeve.” That’s it, you’re done.
Every time you flush the toilet, the Laveo essentially twists the metallic “sleeve” which pinches off what you’ve created and seals the whole thing so that odors don’t permeate and share what you did with whomever you’re camping with. It then uses a vacuum motor to suck the sleeve against the walls of the toilet so that it’s ready to accept whatever political promises you’re going to create next.
Where does the stuff go?
The interesting thing about this toilet is how easy it is to process the things you’ve made so carefully with your own self. Essentially, when the bucket is full or you’ve gone through an entire sleeve of the inserts, you simply remove the seat, close the bag that first goes in the bucket and dispose of the contents.
They’re already encapsulated in the semi-metallic material and then that is enclosed in the garbage bag. You can legitimately throw one of these completed packages into the trash just as you would baby diapers or anything else of the sort.
Unless you’ve made some big mistake in this process, you’re not coming into contact with any of the contents of the toilet—it’s a very, very clean and easy process.
Of course, as with any mechanical device on this planet, there are limitations, the first of which is the ability for the “bucket” inside the toilet to accept additional “product.” Dry Flush claims that each of the sleeve inserts has 15-17 flushes in it and that the bucket can accommodate this much content.
But if you’re particularly prolific about creating said content, your mileage may vary, so to speak.
Essentially, the only way to empty the bucket is to dump the entire insert. So if you’ve filled the whole thing but still have flushes left on the insert, that’s just the way the poop flows.
Having done as much research into this as possible by talking to folks who have these, it seems that creating more content than a package of sleeves can hold isn’t really something that happens—unless, as written, your ability to create content is greater or you’re just flushing more stuff than the average bear.
One of the chief competitors to something like this would be a composting toilet, only because it, too, doesn’t need a black tank, per se.
However, a composting toilet has two “wells” of sorts: one that’s full of a composting material like peat moss and the other just a container. The peat moss/composting portion is for the big job. In that you can put number two and specific types of toilet paper, although some users of composting toilets choose not to put any toilet paper in them at all.
There’s also a container for number one—so you effectively have to pee and poo in two separate containers. Further, the urine tank has to be emptied somewhere. While you can just water the neighbor’s lawn, it’s probably better to be a good human and dump the urine in a place that others might have less objection to. If you’re at a campground, for example, the obvious choice would be the camp bathroom.
A composting toilet is environmentally friendly
However, what’s good about a composting toilet is it essentially only creates compost. So it’s very, very environmentally friendly. I’ve known people who have removed the urine tank on their composting toilet altogether and simply plumbed the urine provision into their gray tanks. This is not really a bad thing, either.
Further, once you have your composting toilet, the ongoing cost is relatively minimal. So you’re doing good for the environment and also minimizing your expenses. Like the Laveo, a composting toilet doesn’t use any water. So, again, it’s great for boondocking.
But a composting toilet does have to be vented to the outside world, which also means it needs a power source. So, there are two things you have to accommodate if you choose to have a composting toilet in your RV.
Disadvantages of the Laveo toilet
There is one significant disadvantage to the Laveo toilet: the inserts. Since the toilet uses proprietary inserts to get its job done, you have to have these on hand if you plan to use the toilet. Without one of these inserts installed, the toilet is just a crappy chair. Well, that’s what it is anyway—but it loses its principal advantage.
Further, they’re not especially cheap. The metallic sleeve inserts are about $22 each and sold in packages of three so you’re spending $65 to get a three-pack of the inserts. Each insert is good for about 15-17 flushes, so you’re talking about $1.45 per flush. The toilet itself is currently $785 on the Dry Flush website.
Now there are ways to minimize this. You can use this toilet only for the big jobs and then use other resources, such as an open window at 70 miles per hour, as a solution for the less solid of the bodily functions. Although, probably, that’s a bad idea.
Though, yes, I know someone who has done this. It proved to be a very bad idea.
I also know someone who used a Snapple bottle for number one. He also happened to have a piercing that actually caused this operation to become complicated and the bottle had to be forcibly removed after he was done with the process. This was not good. But we all did get one heck of a laugh…and cringe. [Note from editor: TMI, Tony. 😆 ]
Multiple steps in the Laveo process
Further, most toilets are rather simple affairs. But this one has multiple steps that it goes through to make the process less messy, so there are multiple potential failure points. I don’t know of anyone who has one of these who has experienced a failure, but I’m someone who appreciates things being as simple as possible, especially in this department.
There is a legitimate concern that the semi-metallic bags and the plastic that you’re throwing away aren’t biodegradable. You have to do what you feel is best in this end, but it is good to know.
Also, it has been recommended to me that men use this sitting down. Women, too, for that matter.
Does it stink?
First, I have to admit I do not own one of these—I just know folks who do. I already have a toilet in my RV, but I have been looking at these if I move forward on my cargo trailer build. I may also replace the toilet in my vintage trailer with one of these.
From everyone I know who has one, there is essentially no evidence of odor or discomfort in the entire process of using this toilet. You don’t touch waste, you don’t see waste—it just works and does so effectively.
If this matters to you, the toilet was developed by two friends who are both veterans of our military. Dry Flush has been in business for about 10 years. Further, these toilets are made right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. The toilets weigh about 27 pounds (empty) and are battery operated, although there’s an AC-powered version or a provision to tie the toilet into an available 12-volt DC power system if you choose. The rechargeable battery is $45, and the battery charger is $54.95 on the Dry Flush website.
The toilet itself retails for around $785, which makes it less expensive than some of the more popular composting toilets. There are also optional mounting bases and even covers and such. The company even sells a tent so you can go in the woods, like Bigfoot.
The toilet has also been tested to 500 pounds.
If I do replace the toilet in my vintage trailer, which I have not been able to find parts for, then this is the way I’m going. This also makes sense if you happen to go where it’s very cold as this unit isn’t affected by any degree of cold where you’re willing to bare your backside. It’s also a good choice if you have visions of repurposing your black tank or simply don’t have one.
And as I stated in a previous post you have created a biohazard of human waste going to the dump, raw sewerage is not supposed to go into a dump. That’s why sewerage treatment plants have all the necessary processes for treating sewerage. Septic tanks are designed to biologically treat sewerage before the waste is released into the ground. I’m surprised the government allows this, or maybe they don’t know about it, well they do now.
It is perfectly legal, and they do know about it.
Septic tanks break down the solids and into the liquids. The liquids, still a biological health hazard, then flow into drain field and into the ground. The bad biology is then digested in the earth to become non-harmful. The septic tank does not get rid of the hazardous biology, the earth does. If put into the garbage which ends in a landfill the same will take place. No different than digging a hole or using an outhouse / pit toilet. It all works that way. Just keep your well and outhouse / drain-field the appropriate distance away to insure there is no ground water infiltration. Animal poop and pee on the ground has been filtered that way forever. In that case the sun helped a little too. Which made us realize that UV light can be used to sanitize water. If we follow Mother Nature’s rules we will be good. Food in, garbage out, neutralize, start over. However do not put man-made chemicals and medicine down the toilet as Mother Nature did not set up to filter out those foreign things.
Angie Wright: It’s a lot like the Litter Locker I have for my cat’s dirty litter which operates manually. I got a BucketLoo and some liners for cold weather camping. It’s less of a hassle than this one, that is if it’s anything like changing out the Litter Locker. It’s a good concept but needs to be tweaked for economy.
Is there a smell with the the BucketLoo? Lingering type? Thanks…
Why doesn’t someone invent a manually operated cheaper version of this. This one is WAY too expensive. Crazy expensive. So expensive that it isn’t practical. If you could make a cheaper housing and offer lower cost, recyclable liners, and make it operate by turning a crank on the side, I’d be a buyer!!
Really want this but bags have to come down in price. Although Jeff makes it sound like they go further than expected.
Originally the company said that the “bag cartridges” would be available at WalMart, I’m not sure how that ended up? I made mine last longer because I use other choices first, I will walk to the campground bathroom or outhouse before using my toilet, but then I do have the convenience to use it if it is raining or middle of the night pee when it is cold outside!!! I will also be hiking/driving to places to do some photography so I use facilities that I pass along the way also.
For those concerned about the environmental impacts of a toilet like this, there is the Incinolet, a frightening electricly operated incinerator which burns up solid and liquid waste. I had to use one once and swore, “never again!”. It really sounds like a jet warming up for takeoff. But, hey, your mileage may vary!
My wife has always been VERY interested in an Incinolet for the RV. However, I find the power requirements to be… untenable for an RV. Even with solar and 400ah of juice. (Some days I barely feel I’m getting by on power w/o running the generator. Two laptops, a server, etc. etc. etc. for power consumption.)
I am a real user of this toilet!! Summary = toilet is awesome!! I have a cargo conversion trailer and I didn’t want gray, black or fresh tanks. I have used my trailer on 4 trips and had access to either full bathrooms (state park, national park and private campground) or nothing (boondocking site). At the boondocking site I had access to full bathrooms while out exploring during the day. I actually purchased the toilet in 2020 and 3 additional packages of cartridges before I even had a trailer. I have the toilet in my cargo conversion trailer “bathroom” area. One of my main reasons for getting this was to have a “nice” place for my young grandkids to use instead of digging a hole and having them balance awkwardly and fall backwards:)!!! It does not smell at all!!!! I left the bag in the toilet for 3 months and it was half full – no smell!! And yes…human waste is allowed in the landfill (kids diapers, adult diapers). Camped for 25 nights and disposed of one bag. Ask me anything!
One potential problem I see with this is that some campgrounds, like one that I stayed at in N. CA, say not to put “wagbags” in the trash containers. I believe they’ve had problems with the bags becoming punctured by other things piled on top of them. This makes it very unsanitary and possibly dangerous for the person who will be emptying the trash. Something to think about?
I have to admit, I giggled throughout this entire article. LOL! Great writing.
We used the Cleanwaste PETT folding toilet in our small popups. It uses bags, with a gel in them, similar to what is in disposable diapers, and it is OK to dispose of them in a landfill, i.e. dumpster. We bought a jar of extra Poo Powder, to add if we needed more, or to use in any plastic bag if we could not find the kits. We use them in the travel trailer if we take it out winterized and don’t want to use the waste tank. (We have done a hybrid trip, no fresh water, but using the waste tanks, if it isn’t too cold.) Also useful when I miscalculated black tank usage (once in 7 years), and we use them in places where Wag Bags and the like are required for back country hiking and backpacking.
I think this is a terrible product. How much more environmentally irresponsible could you be when disposing of human waste. People need to think about what happens to their waste after they throw it away. It doesn’t mysteriously disappear just because it is thrown into the trash along with a huge solid plastic piece, a heavy plastic bag, a huge aluminum bag, and a base piece. What a lot of excessive waste produced just for the convenience of not having to deal with your own body byproducts. This is one of the worst inventions I’ve seen in a long time. Please think about the environmental effects before buying this irresponsible product.
If you don’t like it, you DON’T have to buy or use it. Considering the many RVers (often “Newbies”) who haven’t learned to camp / RV efficiently and responsibly and, just toss their waste wherever they please, this is certainly a better solution. Right now, I expect that this is a niche product that will not see widespread use in RVs.
North Korean Fertilizer System.
Also South Korean fertilizer system when I was over there.
What about odor?
It was said multiple times that the system is “odorless”. What they didn’t say clearly was that BEFORE the waste bag is sealed, whatever odors are “created” DON’T get pulled into the bag. If you consumed something that gives you “lethal” gas, while you’re “offloading” that pungent meal, some of said gas will “escape” into whatever area this toilet is located. That will happen with just about any toilet.
Ok, let’s make sure you get this. Not one, bag, metal container, plastic bag, etc., has a shelf life of 50-70 years. Why so long, unless you throw copious amounts of lime into that “bag” the waste will not decompose. Throwing human waste into any garbage can is illegal in almost every locality in this land, (for pet owners, this also includes dog poop, yes, dog poop has lots of bad germs), So, typhoid has “sort of been eliminated in our conscience life. Guess what, millions of illegals, crossing the border, no vaccinations on typhoid, they can spread it, to anyone, even you. Now you use this toilet, and throw contaminated wasted into garbage can, exactly how long do you think it will be before we have typhoid outbreak. Sewage needs to be treated, either by septic tank bacteria, or waste treatment plant. Be serious this is just an accident awaiting happening.
Yet disposable diapers for people of all ages and conditions are put in the garbage, so how can it be “illegal in every locality in this land”?
“Don’t tell me the obvious, the merely obvious will do”
Hawkeye Pierce M.A.S.H. 4077
A solution to an unasked need! Oh YUCK!!!
We switched out the toilet for a Separette Tiny and plumbed the urine tube into the waste tanks, effectively doubling our gray capacity. Six months later, we’ve had no issues with odor. This is a ‘bucket’ system for the solids which we dispose of like you would diapers. We use bags that will biodegrade. There is no sawdust or other medium to deal with. While you do ‘see’ the waste when changing the bags in the ‘bucket’, the gross factor is minimal. No regrets.
So throwing human waste in the trash is ok? Along with the flushable wipe that are proven to take years to break down. Seems like another worthless – poorly thought out way to suck money from campers.
Very entertaining read, especially regarding political promises. Funny potty humor!
I own a Nature’s Head composting toilet. It’s a dangerous, persistent myth that the waste becomes compost that can be dumped anywhere. It takes about a year. Solids should be emptied into a trash bag and disposed of in the trash, just like baby diapers. Urine should go in a toilet.
We got turned away from some beachfront campgrounds on the west coast because previous campers had emptied their composting toilets on the beach.
Composting toilets are NOT Environmentally friendly.. The actually are just poop disposal devices, and compost nothing, just mix the poop with dessicant essentially which gets thrown away just like this gizmo. Poop mixed with sawdust or other coarse material is still poop, not compost unless you process it for several months and then put it in your flower garden, but not your produce garden, since that is illegal.
Another alternative is the cassette toilet. You can pretty much put anything in there and dumping options are plentiful (Toilets, outhouses, vault toilets, pit toilets, dump stations). Easy to rinse out. Install a SOG vent system and they are odorless as well. Carry an extra cassette and a couple should be good for a week or more. You do need to have an opening to the exterior to remove the cassette, so not a particularly easy modification.