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Pros and cons of an RV composting toilet

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By Cheri Sicard
If you are considering an RV composting toilet, the video below from Stef and James from The Fit RV is a great one to watch before making that leap.

It comes with a lot of built-in credibility as the couple is speaking from personal experience after installing and using a composting toilet in their camper van over the course of a year.

The video begins on a high note by sharing some truly compelling reasons to choose a composting toilet, especially if you live in a van or a very small RV. It’s also advantageous for cold weather RVers because composting toilets use no water. Likewise, there’s no plumbing to freeze.

After listening to these reasons, I found myself thinking, “Hey, I need one of those composting toilets in my RV!”

By the end of the video after learning about the good, the bad, and the ugly about composting toilets for RVs, I was not nearly as enthused.

The pros and cons of composting toilets from folks who have been there

After the reasons for wanting a composting toilet, Stef and James go over the basics of composting toilets for those not up to speed on the technology. This includes:

  • How composting toilets work
  • Odor management
  • Venting
  • Emptying while on the road
  • Cleaning without water
  • Capacities and how long you can expect to go before emptying

And much more.

They then cover the problems and issues they encountered over a year of actually using the composting toilet in their camper van.

Some of these issues are things you would never even have thought about, UNLESS you have actually been using a composting toilet for an extended period of time.

More than just problems, the video also offers suggestions and solutions for how to solve the issues.

RV composting toilet surprises

The video also addresses common questions people have about composting toilets in RVs. These include:

  • Where to put toilet paper
  • Cleaning and disinfecting
  • Moisture management
  • Avoiding odor issues
  • How, how often, and where to dispose of composting toilet waste.

And much more.

Knowing where you may run into issues with a composting toilet can go a long way towards helping you evaluate whether or not this particular piece of expensive RV equipment is right for you and your particular RV lifestyle.

There are definitely trade-offs to consider.

Some things you’ll learn are surprising. Starting with the fact that for practical purposes, composting toilets do not really make usable compost. How disappointing.

You may also be surprised that you will have to relearn how to use the bathroom!

That’s right. The way you pee and poop in a composting toilet is different than in a regular home or RV toilet!

The video shares all, including special considerations for “that time of the month” for ladies, and the inevitable cleaning of poop that happens with all composting toilets.

##RVDT1918

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Sue
4 months ago

They didn’t really explain how to empty the solids, what they do with it or even how it works. I sure would be upset if I was the one emptying the trash cans.

Scott
4 months ago

yuck…I am not this dedicated to use the primeval device. Give me a black tank anyday

Becky
4 months ago
Reply to  Scott

I don’t understand how a composting toilet is yuckier than a black tank floating under your trailer. Put in a composting toilet 3 years ago. Spend 75% less time cleaning it than the black tank took.

Drew
4 months ago

This will force you to ask the question “Is there intelligent life here?”

LugNet
4 months ago

I mostly boondock and have had a Nature’s Head composting toilet for 3 years with no issues. Until two weeks ago when sewer flies invaded. Killed them off, added some better screens, and still absolutely prefer the composting toilet over cassette or black tank.
If I spent all my time in RV parks with full hookups, I could see why a black tank would be more convenient. But for boondocking, composting toilet is my first choice.

Cheri Sicard
4 months ago
Reply to  LugNet

I boondock A LOT, and a composting toilet would still be a hard no from me. Especially after watching this.

Lee Cattaneo
4 months ago

All the manufacturers who put in composting, or cassette, toilets should be required to provide a link to this video on their website. Having had at one time a cassette toilet, I can sympathize with the “socially awkward” issue. We also have a composting toilet in a guest apartment above our garage and any usage more than 3 or 4 days a month results in unpleasant odors.

Tom Hosack
4 months ago

NO WAY!