Portable camping toilets have become a must-have for every outdoor camping trip. Many camping grounds in public areas offer restroom facilities, but most are horribly constructed and rarely (if ever) clean or sanitary. While there is no question that a portable camping toilet is a perfect solution for such problems, there is still one problem to be observed: finding the best camping toilet for you and your family.
The modern-day portable camping toilet has improved significantly over the years, offering quite a variety of sanitary, hassle-free, and affordable portable toilet options for the tent camper, van or RV camping, the nature and outdoor enthusiast, the road-tripper, the sports buff, or even for the home disaster preparedness kit.
With so many camping toilet choices available for so many applications, finding the right product and model for your specific needs could be a grueling task. Fortunately, we are here to make it as simple as 1 – 2 – 3.
- Choose the portable camping toilet style.
- Choose the price range that fits your budget.
- Browse available models and read the unbiased camping toilet reviews left by real users to finalize your choice.
Portable Camping Toilet Styles
Portable camping toilets come in 3 basic styles. The first step is deciding on which style best fits your needs. The 3 camping toilet styles are:
- Bucket Toilet
- Collapsible Toilet (Also known as a Folding Toilet)
- Portable Flush Toilet
The Bucket Toilet is the basic “no-frills” camping toilet style. There’s nothing glamorous about a bucket toilet; they typically consist of a toilet seat, a lid, and a 5 gallon-type bucket with a handle. They are the king at “hassle-free” and generally the most affordable portable camping toilet. They are bulkier than folding camping toilets and therefore are not the best choice for backpacking or hiking.
The bucket toilet is very simple, with no moving parts to potentially fail, and it gets the job done.
Most bucket toilet models can also be used with disposable camping toilet bags (plastic liners), which virtually eliminate the need for any cleaning.
- Simple, durable design (important considering the rigors of travel)
- Nearly maintenance-free
- Lighter weight than a Portable flush toilet
- No cleaning is required when used with disposable liners
- Camping toilet bags optional
- Good for the campsite
- Doubles well as a backup emergency toilet for the home
- Lowest price portable toilet
- Bulkier than a folding toilet
- Not as stable as other styles, particularly on uneven ground
- Limited height (depending on model) could be an issue for users with bad knees
- Not a good choice for hiking
The collapsible toilet is also known as a folding camping toilet. As their name suggests, they fold down (or collapse) when not in use which makes them ideal for backpacking and hiking or any activity where space and transportability are an issue.
The collapsible toilet comes in various shapes and sizes, ranging from very simple “folding-camp-chair” styles, but with a hole in them, of course, to more sophisticated models like the top-of-the-line PETT portable camping toilet that folds into a convenient and easy to store briefcase.
Collapsible toilet models are usually intended to be used with disposable liners or camping toilet bags, which makes them a nearly hassle-free and sanitary solution that requires no cleanup after use. When finished, simply seal the bag and discard it. Could it be any simpler?
- Most compact and lightweight portable camping toilet
- Available in taller heights (good for bad knees)
- No cleaning required between uses
- Storage friendly (even under a bed or behind a truck seat)
- Preferred design for hiking and backpacking
- Reasonably priced
- Has moving parts that could potentially fail (not as durable as bucket toilet)
- Camping toilet bags mandatory (compared to bucket toilet)
- Cheaper models suffer in quality
Portable Flush Toilet
The portable flush toilet is the luxury option in portable toilets. They offer the camper the nearest convenience of a traditional home toilet with the ability to flush waste into a waste holding tank that is sealed and chemically treated to minimize odors.
A portable flush toilet is usually thought of as a camping trailer or RV toilet solution, but there are many portable flush camping toilet models available today that work equally as well for the tent or car camper. They typically consist of a freshwater holding tank and a lower holding tank for waste.
The size of the holding tank determines the frequency in which they need to be emptied. Unlike the hassle-free functionality of using camping toilet bags with the other portable toilet styles, the portable flush toilet does require cleaning and periodic maintenance.
If you are considering a portable flush toilet for your camping needs, you will want to determine the right size for your intent. The 5-gallon portable flush toilet is the standard size; if your outdoor adventures include larger groups or lengthier stays, you may want to think about a larger portable flush camping toilet like a 10 gallon to minimize the frequency in which it will need to be emptied.
- Convenience of the flush
- Available in comfortable heights and sizes
- Individual users can do their business without worrying about immediately disposing of their waste
- Good option for family campers, particularly with small children
- Good option for sheer comfort – Flush it, and forget it (for a little while anyway)
- Price has come down significantly on many models
- Requires emptying the waste holding tank
- Requires cleaning and possibly period maintenance
- Contains moving parts, hose fittings, and seals to potentially go bad over time
- Not as compact as other camping toilet styles.
- Requires fresh water to fill the holding tank
- Generally higher price than other options
The Best Portable Camping Toilet
We have done all the hard work for you and spent hours researching, reviewing and trying out all of these products to make sure you get the best camping toilet available. These are the best camping toilets on the market in 2022.
Thetford Porta Potti 565E
Thetford Porta Potti 565E is an actual portable toilet that can be taken anywhere in a van and RV. If you want a portable toilet for your outdoor activities but don’t have a lot of storage space either in your camping setup or at home, this unit is perfect. It’s smaller than the other Thetford units but still carries all its features. It’s robust, ergonomically designed, easy to clean, empty, and transport; it’s the perfect camping toilet.
Camco Premium Portable Travel Toilet
Camco offers portable camping toilets very similar to Thetford. If you want an ultimately simple but comfortable solution for a camping toilet, the Camco Premium Portable Camping Toilet is your best option. Using it is quite easy. There are a couple of items that need to be slipped together when taken out of the box, but this is simple, and the manual is well written and laid out. As long as you follow it, there shouldn’t be any issues, and there are no tools required.
Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet
If you want a solid portable camping toilet with excellent functionality and unique features, this is the one for you. The Luggable Loo is technically a bucket toilet, a portable toilet that looks less like a toilet and more like a bucket. You line the bucket with a garbage bag, some cat litter, and voila. That’s it! The simplicity of the Luggable Loo and its dependability, snapping lid, handles, and easy-to-use liner system have made this a favorite for cheap camping toilets.
Portable Camping Toilet Buying Guide
One of the biggest issues to consider with a portable camping toilet is just how “portable” the product is and how best it will fit the application it is intended for. For example, the size and weight requirements of a portable camping toilet for Van and RV could be less stringent than that for a group of hiking buddies or the solitary car camper. As well, the holding tank capacity requirements for a tent camping family of 5 would be much more than that required for 2 guys on a weekend fishing or hunting trip.
Purchasing a unit that fits the size, weight, and compactness requirements for its intended use will ensure that you end up with the appropriate portable camping toilet to suit your needs.
Size should be one of the first considerations evaluated when choosing a portable camping toilet. Size affects several things; the first is portability – size will affect just how portable the camping toilet is and how easily it can be transported from home to the RV campsite.
Obviously, choosing a portable camping toilet requires that you consider where you intend to take the portable toilet and which means will be used to transport it (car, truck, SUV, RV, hiking, biking, or boat). Noting these factors will help determine how much space is allotting for it during transportation.
Secondly, you should consider home storage. Will this toilet be stored in a garage or storage facility, or will you be finding it a storage home inside your house? A portable camping toilet should be small enough (if planning to be stored in your home) to fit in a closet or collapsible to store nicely under the bed, perhaps with other camping supplies.
Once the size considerations have been made, the next step is to determine the portable camping toilet functionality requirements for your needs. For example, a portable flush toilet which is arguably the most advanced of all camping toilets, can be used both indoors as well as outdoors. They include their own freshwater holding tank as well as a waste holding tank that can be easily removed for emptying and seamless cleanup.
The portable flush toilet is the portable camping toilet most closely resembling the functionality of a standard home toilet. Some downsides to the flushing functionality of these camp toilets are that they are usually bulkier than other portable camping toilets to travel with and do require periodic cleaning, unlike the bucket camping toilet or folding camping toilets.
Another consideration to keep in mind is home storage. Because this toilet does not collapse and reduce much in size, it is less likely to fit under a bed.
For those interested more in budget-friendly and hassle-free options, the bucket toilet is the cheapest portable camping toilet on the market. Don’t let the word cheap scare you off; it refers strictly to the price and how inexpensive this camping toilet solution can be. This simple design features a toilet seat that makes you feel like you are using a standard toilet.
The basic construction includes the toilet seat and a bucket (similar to a standard five-gallon bucket). This solution is one of the most durable and budget-friendly portable camping toilet solutions and has a simple, easy-to-clean design.
Reading camping toilet reviews by customers that have actually used a specific product or model in question is probably the most effective way to determine the pros and cons between different camping toilet models.
Let’s face it; most products have their pros and cons, and rarely do the manufacturers tell you about the latter (the cons). We’ve pulled together a list of the most popular camping toilets reviewed by real, actual users and their unedited and unbiased camping toilet reviews that can be seen here.
Regardless of the outdoor adventure, the trip, or family size, there is a portable camping toilet available that will suit your needs and your budget. Whether transporting it by way of van, RV, or backpack, taking the time to research the best portable camping toilet for your situation will make your outdoor and camping trip activities for you, your group, and your family that much more enjoyable.