Top Portable Toilets For Your Next Camping Trip

Let’s get this out of the way… everybody poops. Even when they are camping.

Ok, now that we have that cleared up the big question is where do you do it. Some campgrounds have beautiful restrooms with hot showers and flush toilets. Some campers travel in large RVs with their own bathroom. If this is you, you might be in the wrong place.

If you camp in more remote locations using a tent or a small trailer, you’ve certainly encountered the bathroom problem. There are none.

Of course, the simplest way to solve the problem is to pack a small shovel and dig a hole for your business. While this is a valid option. It’s kind of a pain, and if not done correctly (dig those holes deep campers!) it can ruin a campsite in all the worst ways possible.

Why Use A Portable Toilet When Camping?

So if you can just dig a hole a go in, why would anyone lug a small porta-potty to their campsite in the woods?

First off, sustainable camping is the way to go. This means packing out what you brought with you, including your waste.

Next, imagine you visit a reasonably busy campsite and decide to go looking for firewood just outside the camping area. Now imagine that some careless camper didn’t dig his hole deep enough, or didn’t think to dig a hole at all. Now you’ve stepped in some mess, or worse. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.

Finally, a portable toilet is just more comfortable for some than going to the bathroom in the woods. Popping a squat takes some serious flexibility and balance. Contrast that with a nice rest on your portable toilet.

Most Popular Types Of Portable Travel Toilets

There are a few basic types of portable camping toilets you can choose from depending on your needs (and squeamishness).

Bucket & Bag Style Portable Toilets

The name pretty much says it all here. This category mostly involves lining a bucket with a bag and doing your business in the bucket. When you’re done, simply tie up the bag and pack it out when you leave.

Portable Cassett Toilets

For a slightly more familiar bathroom experience, many campers opt for a portable cassette toilet.

The basic idea here is an upper component that has a toilet bowl style design and a lower tank that stores your waste. A flushing lever that opens up the seal between the two when you’re done to move the waste from the upper bowl to the storage tank.

Many Cassette toilets include a freshwater reservoir that allows you to flush your toilet.

One huge benefit to a cassette toilet is the lack of smell. The seal between the upper and lower parts of the toilet means that once you’re done, the waste tank is sealed keeping the stink in.

The capacity of storage tanks varies, but most cassette toilets will allow you a few days’ worth of use before they need to be emptied. When the time comes you just detach the lower storage tank, take it to a bathroom and empty it into the toilet.

Composting Toilets

Depending on your definition of portable you may argue against the inclusion of composting toilets on this list, but we feel they are worth including because they get so much hype in the van life world.

The composting toilet is most often found in camper vans and trailers. They are a bit to heavy for use when tent & car camping. 

The benefit of a compost toilet is capacity. Many styles divert liquid waste into a small tank that needs to be frequently emptied, but solids go into a closed tank, are mixed with a drying medium like coconut husks then composted into dirt basically. 

This composting process and the separation of liquids and solids means that some campers can go months without emptying their solids.

Some Of Our Favorite Portable Camping Toilets

There are hundreds of portable toilets on the market. Here are a few of our favorites.

Thetford Porta Potti Curve

This is our all-time favorite toilet for its value, reliability, size, and price. It’s not the fanciest, but it gets the job done, which is exactly what you’re looking for in a toilet in my humble opinion. 

It has a manual flush as opposed to the electric flush on some models. I personally like manual so I don’t have to worry about my toilet running out of battery. 

Note that this model does have a smaller holding tank than some other models. Check out Thetford’s full lineup if you think you need something with more capacity.

Quick Facts

Waste Tank Capacity2.6 Gallons
Fresh Water Tank Capacity2.6 Gallons
Empty Weight8 lbs
Dimensions13.54 x 12.13 x 15.12 inches

Reliance Luggable Loo Portable Bucket Toilet

The bucket toilet is just about as simple as you can get. Its pretty much just a bucket with a seat and a lid. This simple option gets the job done, is much cheaper than any other option (short of digging a hole), and is very lightweight. 

One word to the wise, be sure to use a bag. If you don’t want to spring for the purpose-designed bucket toilet liner bags just use heavy-duty garbage bags.

Quick Facts

Waste Tank Capacity

5 gallons

Fresh Water Tank Capacity


Empty Weight

1.3 lbs


14.8 x 11.8 x 9 inches

Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Complete Toilet System

If you’re looking for a bit more privacy this tent toilet combo might be the answer for you. The toilet is a simple collapsible frame with an attached bag to catch the waste. The included tent is quite easy to set up. 

The beauty of this setup (aside from keeping your business private) is the fact that it all packs down into a nice backpack, making it easy to load in the car on the way out the door for a camping weekend.

Quick Facts

Waste Tank Capacity


Fresh Water Tank Capacity


Empty Weight

7.4 lbs

Packed Dimensions

20 x 14 x 5 inches

Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet

If you’re looking for the best in portable toilets for a camper van, RV, or off-grid cabin, look no further than Natures Head. While it’s a bit pricey the ease of use, length of time between solid tank empties and environmentally friendly waste product (composted waste) make it a real winner.

Quick Facts

 Tank Capacity


Fresh Water Tank Capacity


Empty Weight

28 lbs

Packed Dimensions

22 x 20.5 x 21.7 inches

We’re Anne & Matt, the outdoor adventurers behind DCS Outdoor. We love backpacking, camper van travels, long hikes, and all things nature. 

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