I am not going to only do reviews of toilets moving forward (I recently also wrote about the Go Anywhere toilet and the Laveo™ toilet by Dry Flush), but today I am looking at another portable toilet, the Camco Travel Toilet. I brought one of these on a recent trip testing out the Four Wheel Campers Hawk model pop-up camper and ended up liking it quite a bit. But there are some issues.
Lest I be known as the toilet review guy, this will be my final review of a toilet. For a while. But I do want to give you the straight poop on this as I want you to remain flushed with information.
I bought Camco’s Travel Toilet to use on a trip, but it’s also going to take up residence in our 1970 Aristocrat travel trailer restoration. I had originally planned on rebuilding the toilet that came with that trailer, but this thing was just too convenient.
Essentially, this is two tanks and a seat. The top tank contains water and a manual pump. By pumping the water you shoot a jet through three openings that does a good job of wetting the toilet bowl.
The seat itself is 17” off the ground, so it’s a pretty comfortable height for any seated operations. While it’s not the largest seat in the toilet world, it’s certainly sufficient in size to get anything accomplished you plan to do. It’s also a solid feel—there’s no squawking and squeaking like in some plastic RV toilets.
This is also tall enough that, for those who choose to stand and aim, you can do an effective job at doing so.
How the Camco Travel Toilet works
Once you do what you came to do, there’s a gate valve operated by a handle on the side that transfers the stuff you made into the lower holding tank. You can put anything you’re able to make yourself along with septic-safe toilet paper into this. However, like most RV toilets, you really don’t want to put feminine products or “flushable” wipes (they’re not) down the thing.
What’s not to like
We used this for the full range of functions and got not a hint of a smell while using it in a relatively small space, which is probably the first question lots of folks ask.
However, absolutely make sure the seat and lid are closed and snapped shut when you pull the gate valve on this. It essentially builds up pressure in travel and the very last thing you want is to run screaming to the closest shower because you got a face full of yesterday’s taco surprise.
I will say that I wish there were a way to diminish this pressure. But then that would involve venting—and that would mean it was venting into the cabin of wherever it was.
Ew. Remember the no-smell part?
My biggest issue is with dumping the Camco Travel Toilet, which is mostly easy enough. Essentially, you separate the top portion from the bottom with a latch and carry the bottom to any regular toilet or even a sewer outlet such as you’d find in a developed campground.
There’s a dump tube that you swing around and aim at the place the contents are going. You then unscrew the cap and—bombs away!
The part I think could have been done better is to integrate a handle on the front of this thing. You have to five gallons of processed meals and beverages that you’re working to not share with others—but the handle’s at the bottom.
Yeah, yeah. There’s a little handle at the top. But this would be a great place for a better handle, and the competing Thetford Curve toilet has one.
I dumped the full house into both a regular toilet and also into the sewer drain at a campground. Neither really presented any issues other than making sure I didn’t lose control of 30-odd pounds of toilet with contents.
Dumping into the sewer opening was actually much, much easier than dumping into a slippery toilet. Actually, I didn’t notice a smell at all using the sewer dump.
The question I think I hear, read and see the most is about smells.
When you’re actually using the toilet, I couldn’t notice any, nor could my wife, who does have a keen sense of smell. I don’t. And yes, we did all the things you’d need to do in a toilet.
The first time we used this we dropped in one of the three included packs of tank treatment, and there was a pretty strong smell of number one. Not number two, number one. This was the time I dumped this into a toilet in a bath house at a campground, and I only noticed it this first time. We got more diligent about not letting the contents, uh, stew after this.
For this first dump, I considered it some sort of weird challenge to see just how many days I could go without dumping. I was experimenting with how long I could be off the grid and still get away with the full use of this.
On further use, when I dumped it into the sewer, I noticed no smell whatsoever. So this would likely be my preference moving forward.
We are planning to continue to use this in the vintage trailer as it’s both easy to use and fairly easy to dump. Other than wishing for a handle on the front of the thing, it’s well designed and the construction is solid. I also like that this features a manual fresh water pump as opposed to an electric one. You know the batteries on the electric one are going to poop out (see what I did there?) at the least appropriate time.
Overall, for a lot of reasons, the Camco Travel Toilet has been a good choice.