Recently, one of my neighbors asked my opinion on second-hand camper vans she had bookmarked to be considered for purchase at an online car sales service. She had just retired and had always wanted to tour Europe. The most important feature for her was that everything had to be at the same level. No beds upstairs. From my own experience, I thought what would be the second most important feature for her, and told her that she really, really wanted to have a toilet in the van.
A smart solution that saves space: toilet placed under bed. Photo by Cargovanconversion.com.
A small portable toilet doesn’t occupy much space in a van (or on a boat – many campervan owners use the same toilet models as people have on sailing boats), but it is often the first item to be left out when difficult choices have to be made what fits in to the vehicle.
I would go as far as to argument that I would drop a stove or a fridge instead of a toilet. It adds so much convenience to road trips and overnight stays that it has changed the way I think about camping. During the last road trip we made – in early May – along the Mediterranean coast we stayed every night at a camp site. Off-season prices and freedom to choose your place at a camper park made it an easy decision. It was the last evening when we happened to park relatively near the service building where the showers and toilets were located. In the morning, I realized that hardly anyone from tens of fellow campervan and motorhome travelers had used the facilities in the service building. Having your own toilet is that convenient.
Assuming you don’t have a campervan, but need something to make camping in the great outdoors more convenient, other types of portable toilets should be considered as well.
Heavy reviewed portable toilets for camping and resulted in a list of different types of products they were happy with. The products are:
Luggable Loo by Reliance Products
A simple, yet working product concept. It is essentially a bucket with a seat. Best for short trips and temporary use.
Thetford Porta Potti Curve
This is the type of toilet used in motorhomes and on boats. Correctly used, this type of product doesn’t produce any unpleasant odors into the vehicle. If it does, it is time to add toilet fluid, empty the tank, or see if something is wrong with the tank.
Playberg Folding Portable Toilet Seat
Another very simple, but working product for the great outdoors. A tiny seat under which you attach a plastic bag.
Drive Medical Steel Folding Bedside Commode
A solid chair with handles and adjustable height, specifically designed for travelers who have problems of getting up from low positions.
In case you are wondering which type of portable toilet we have in our campervan, it is the model that is used in sailing boats as well. It is similar to the Thetford Porta Potti listed as the best in the Heavy article.