Home & Garden Portable Toilets

The Best Portable Composting Toilet

Last Updated on December 6, 2020

A composting toilet maybe a great option as a portable toilet in the right situations.  Composting toilets are rather large to be considered a portable toilet, however, they can be used in a variety of situations where you need to have a toilet and regular plumbing is not an option.  What makes the Nature’s Head toilet an option as a portable toilet is both the waterless operation and the unique two part storage of liquid and solid waste.  When they are separated, they tend not to smell as bad.  It is the mixing of the two that usually causing terrible toilet smells.  If you are considering a composting camping toilet, the best option is the Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet.

Top Pick: Nature's Head Self Contained Composting Toilet
Top Pick: Nature's Head Self Contained Composting Toilet
Hand crank agitator in base for fast composting; User friendly; Easy installation; Features a molded design

Last update on 2022-08-18 / Source: Amazon Associates

Top Pick:  Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet

The first situation for a portable composting toilet would be obviously if you camp in an RV or boat.  If you’re looking to move away from a typical black water waste water tank, the portable composting toilet has been proven to work extremely well in an RV or a boat.  The toilet can be mounted to the floor, the vent fan can be connected to batteries in the RV or boat, and then the toilet can be vented to outside rather easily.  If you are an RV or boat owner looking for an alternative to the typical toilet available in those situations, the Nature’s Head composting toilet could be a great toilet option.  Nature’s Head also offers a Close Quarters Spider Handle design to make turning the handle easier in tight spaces.  The Nature’s Head composting toilet meets all “No Discharge” regulations and is a U.S Coast Guard Approved type III marine head.

The next situation a portable composting toilet is perfect for is for use within a camping trailer, tramper, or other camper type of towed trailers.  What many tramper owners are finding out is that Nature’s Head has stated that as long as the toilet is vented, you don’t necessarily need to run the fan all the time.  So if you are looking for a toilet to be used in a camper without having to run electricity to the toilet, this could be a great option.  Just follow the instructions carefully and you will avoid having issues with smell and other issues.

The last situation this portable composting toilet can be used for are extended tent camping trips. The toilet is large so you wouldn’t want to necessarily take on a short car or family camping outing.  However, if you’re tent camping for longer than a weekend in a large tent like a canvas tent, the composting toilet could be an option.

This composting toilet is self-contained, urine diverting and the waterless operation allows for ease of use for many applications. Also called a dry toilet, the Nature’s Head is lightweight, odorless and compact making it a perfect fit for camping. This eco friendly toilet with its stainless steel hardware, robust construction and user friendliness has been designed to withstand the harshest of conditions.  It is also manufactured in the United States.

Because this toilet is higher than usual, you may want a step stool.  Our favorite option is the Camco 43676 Adjustable Height Aluminum Platform StepThis stool is not only foldable, but has adjustable legs that allows you to adjust to the height needed.  We also recommend using Nature’s Footprint Coconut Coir as the key ingredient to the composting toilet to keep it composting without bad odors.  If you follow the instructions, you shouldn’t have any issues operating this toilet. Read All Customer Reviews on Amazon

Sun-Mar GTG Composting Toilet

The Sun-Mar GTG Composting toilet is an electric waterless toilet.  It is designed to be portable and go-anywhere so it doesn’t come with huge storage tanks that need to be installed. Rather it uses two chambers that separate solid and liquid waste.  As a category leader in composting and separating toilets, Sun-Mar has designed a nice size portable composting toilet that can be installed anywhere a conventional toilet is not possible.

We really recommend this toilet for people looking for a composting toilet that is easy to use and maintain.  In order to empty, the urine collection container does have to be removed.  However, for the solids, you use a compostable bag which simply lifts out.  There’s no mess and you do not need to take apart the entire toilet to empty.

Important Features:

  • Full Size with elongated seat for comfort.  The size is not much different than a standard toilet.
  • Tilted Design.  This portable composting toilet uses a tilted design to separate solids from liquids which is important for eliminating bad smells.
  • Can be mounted.  There are optional mounting brackets that can be used to make a permanent toilet.
  • Sets up in minutes.  As well as cleaned in minutes
  • Totally Portable.  This toilet really can be used anywhere you can fit it.
  • 12V Fan.  If you can use it, it works really well to keep the toilet dry and odor free.

Recommended Accessories:

  • Compostable Bags.  The solids container holds about 6 gallons.  We recommend lining the container with an extra thick compostable bag between 6-8 gallons.  The UNNI Heavy Duty Compostable Trash Bags in 6-8 gallon size are our 1st recommendation.  If buying in bulk, the Ecosafe-6400 comes in a 600 count pack.
  • Compost Material.  Use it often!  Keep your solids dry at all times to prevent odors.  Sun-Mar sells their own branded Compost Magic material.  We also highly recommend Nature’s Footprint Coconut Coir.

Read All Customer Reviews on Amazon

Budget Portable Composting Toilets

If you add compostable bags to some of the simpler camping style portable toilets, you can have yourself a very inexpensive, very simple composting toilet.  2 options are below.

Reliance Luggable Loo

If you are looking simplicity in a camping toilet, the Reliance Luggable Loo is a great option.

This camping toilet is exactly what it looks like; a sturdy bucket with a snap on toilet seat.  However, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. This is one of the best selling camping toilets for sale and the main reasons are price, simplicity and reliability.

If you don’t mind emptying the bags often, this is a great alternative to the expensive composting toilet options we reviewed above.

Upgrade:  Reliance also manufactures an upgraded model with contour seat and toilet paper holder. Reliance Products Hassock Portable Lightweight Self-Contained Toilet

There’s not much that can go wrong with a bucket with snap on toilet seat if you follow some simple instructions:

  1. Use good bags inside the bucket and dispose of as often as you fell necessary.  If composting isn’t that important to you, we recommend Reliance Product’s own Double Doodie Waste Bags.   These bags are sturdy, don’t break and include a Bio-Gel inside the bag that solidifies waste and deodorizes.  However, if you are looking to truly make this a composting toilet, we recommend using Green Elephant Portable Toilet Replacement Bags.  These are cheaper bags that come in rolls of 15.  They are biodegradable which make them great for composting.  If you use the Green Elephant Bags, make sure to use Reliance Bio-Gel.  This is a gel additive that deodorizes and solidifies waste in the bag, it’s a must-have!
  2. We recommend using a milk crate to help prevent the bucket from ever tipping over.  The milk crate also can hold additional supplies such as toilet paper, extra bags, and extra chemicals.  We recommend the Delight Milk Crate because it is wide enough to fit the bucket and accessories.  If you do not buy this crate, make sure you check the measurements so the bucket can fit.

If you are looking for a reliable, durable camping toilet, the simple bucket style design and traditional snap-on lid of the Luggable Loo make it a great option. Read All Customer Reviews on Amazon

Stansport Portable Camp Toilet

The Stansport Portable Camp Toilet is another great option for a non-flushing portable camping toilet.

This toilet offers the following: Full size seat for comfort. Lid features sturdy thick wall construction. Built-in handles let you carry the unit with ease. Supports a maximum weight of up to 350 lbs. Comes with one disposable sanitary bag.

We recommend using according to the following simple instructions:

  1. The bowl for this toilet is much more shallow then the Reliance Luggable Loo. Because of that, you’re going to need to empty more often.  If you will empty less frequently because there is a lower number of people using it, we recommend Reliance Product’s own Double Doodie Waste Bags.   These bags are sturdy, don’t break and include a Bio-Gel inside the bag that solidifies waste and deodorizes.

If there are going to be more people using it and the bags will need to be emptied more frequently, we recommend using Green Elephant Portable Toilet Replacement Bags.  These are cheaper bags that come in rolls of 15.  In addition, they are biodegradable which make them great for camping and makes this toilet more of an acceptable option for composting.  If you use the Green Elephant Bags, make sure to use Reliance Bio-Gel.  This is a gel additive that deodorizes and solidifies waste in the bag, it’s a must-have!

If you are looking for a reliable, durable camping toilet, the size and design of the Stansport Eazy-Go portable toilet make it a great option. Read All Customer Reviews on Amazon

Additional Information About a Portable Composting Toilet

In this section we will give some other important information.  Much of the information is regarding the Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet, however, the information can be applied to any of the composting toilets we have reviewed.

The Best Composting Toilet Paper

Thetford is a leader in portable toilets and they manufacture a rapid-dissolving portable toilet paper that can be used for composting toilets.

If you’ve come to this website looking strictly for a travel-type of camping toilet paper, we have a recommendation for you as well.  Coleman’s Camper’s Toilet Paper is a great solution if you’re looking for a solution specifically for camping or backpacking.

How Frequently Do You Need to Empty a Composting Toilet

Nature’s Head website states:

The time frame to empty the solids bin varies with number of people and the time period. The toilet is designed for 1 to 4 people full-time. Generally, two people full-time people’s usage will require emptying approximately every 3 weeks; additional people will shorten the time. If using just on weekends with 2 people, that can extend time to 2 months or more. Just a couple of days of non-use extends the period of time. Usually, the level of the compost will not increase; if it does it will be minimal.

The urine bottle holds 2.2 gallons and will require more frequent emptying; two people might need to empty after 3-4 days.

What Compost Material Should You Use in a Composting Toilet

We recommend using Nature’s Footprint Coconut Coir as the key ingredient to the composting toilet to keep it composting without bad odors.  When traveling you can store it in Ziploc Slider Gallon size bags.

Nature’s Head website states:

Before use, it is necessary to add compost material to the base of the unit. Gallon size “ZIPLOC” type bags are an inexpensive manner for storing the medium. To fill your toilet or refill it after emptying, pour two one-gallon bags of pre-moistened sphagnum peat moss or coconut fiber into the base of the toilet. The sphagnum peat moss should rise to the level of, or cover, the agitator bar in a horizontal position.

The sphagnum peat moss should be damp and crumbly, never wet or soupy. If your sphagnum peat moss or coconut fiber is dry, add a small amount of water. When not in use, the lid of the toilet should be in the closed position, preventing the entry of insects and allowing proper ventilation. The peat moss must be regular/organic sphagnum peat moss, no additives. DO NOT use MIRACLEGRO peat moss.

Do not add additional medium after solids usage. Doing this will result in too much sphagnum peat moss or coconut coir in the unit and will limit your time of usage before emptying.

Keeping a Composting Toilet Clean and Operating Well

Nature’s Head website states:

Diapers, wipes and tampons should not be placed in the solids bin. Many brands of these items are made from a mix of rayon and non-organic cotton, and are commonly chlorine-bleached. These will not decompose.

Most users keep a small spray bottle (included) filled with a mixture of water and 2 oz of white vinegar nearby to spray off the bowl in the event that some solid waste adheres to the bowl. Spritzing of the bowl also assists in cleansing the urine passages.

All urine has an odor. It will not be noticed with normal use. It will be present when the storage container is open to the air for emptying. For persistent urine odors in the container, add a few ounces of white vinegar, and/or a few drops of Dawn dishwashing soap to reduce this odor.

After solid waste addition, the sphagnum peat moss or Nature’s Footprint Coconut Coir must be agitated 2-3 revolutions slowly in order to mix the waste into the compost and promote the composting process. Contents of the solid waste container must be kept moist, not wet, and remain separated from the liquid waste.

When the toilet is functioning correctly, the composted matter will have a musty or soil-like odor and the visual appearance will be very similar to that of the original sphagnum peat moss. It is not normal for the compost to be wet or for there to be odor problems

If the compost is staying wet and you have odor problems, the solids tank is becoming contaminated with urine and steps must be taken to prevent this. If this persists, and you are unable to determine how it is becoming contaminated, please contact us for help.

Vomiting and diarrhea, if not persistent, are unlikely to affect the head function. If increased wetness of the compost results, the situation may be corrected with the addition of a small amount of dry compost medium.