Pros and cons caravan toilets

Submitted: Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 14:56
ThreadID: 143379 Views:8679 Replies:7 FollowUps:16
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Hi all I’m looking at updating our van, one area of contention is the toilet. We have a van with a cassette style where some are using drop toilets with 88 ltr tanks. If you are in a park for awhile it seems pointless having to hook the van up to go to the parks dump point . Would like some views on the pros cons of each.
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Reply By: Rob A1 (SA) - Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 17:52

Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 17:52
No idea what a "drop toilet" is I am afraid but assume it's just a black tank and flushing loo with NO chemicals. If it's a chemical flush that's a different matter indeed. You don't say what the contentious issue is with a cassette style toilet. There's hundreds of thousands of them in caravans and so caravan parks across the country and each and every owner takes the cassette for a short walk through the caravan park to the dump point on a regular basis. Seems pretty normal practice in that sense

Our experience is limited to our AOR campers which use a marine macerator toilet system flushed into a fully sealed 140l black tank. That gives us huge capacity to stay off grid for extended periods as well as being able to pump the contents of the black tank directly into a septic system without killing it. Reason being no chemicals are used in the black tank. Whereas if you drop a porta-potti in to a septic there's a good chance that's the end of the good bugs in it.

Others use composting toilets which are popular with KK owners and others. These require some changes to personal toileting habits which may or may not prove too onerous for some. As such a very personal choice of system but another one that is chemical free

Rob

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Follow Up By: Ron & Carol - Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 19:40

Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 19:40
Just goes straight to the black water tank. I thought you would need some sort of additive to kill the smell. How do you go when you get home. I would need a hose about 40m long to get to the sewage pipe. Plus the large amount of water to clean out the tank ?
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Follow Up By: mepvic - Sunday, Mar 13, 2022 at 11:17

Sunday, Mar 13, 2022 at 11:17
We also have an AOR with a large black tank. The tank is vented at the front behind the stone guard but have never had an issue with smell.

We also spend most of our time off the grid and the 140L black tank is great for us. There are always dump points in towns that can be accessed when needed and they all have water for back flushing.

On one occasion in the last 6 years we overstayed outback and had to dig a hole and dump. Easy enough to do. Only problem was we couldn't back flush but wasn't a great concern.

Never have an issue when we get home as we simply stop at a dump point on the last day of out travel. Empty, back flush and all good till the next time we head off.
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Follow Up By: Rod N - Sunday, Mar 13, 2022 at 12:17

Sunday, Mar 13, 2022 at 12:17
mepvic wrote "There are always dump points in towns that can be accessed when needed and they all have water for back flushing."
In towns, yes, but there are quite a few dump points away from towns that do not have water. I use the water from my waste water tank to rinse my cassette and the dump point.
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 18:01

Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 18:01
I have a few thoughts.

We have always just had porta potti's & they have served us well. We travel mainly in the bush, & digging a hole to dispose of the contents is generally fairly easy.

We came close to buying a vehicle with a vacuum toilet & realised that what seemed like a nice idea in practice was not quite as good as first thought. Still a cassette, but more than one needed. Warnings about being full when they were full, not beforehand. Vacuum leaks. Cassettes fill quicker as more water used.

Composting toilets are becoming more popular, in particular the Natures Head offering. Big advantage is extended periods between emptying & urine separation. This means less smell, & contents can be easily disposed of by burying or in rubbish.

Enter Crohn's Disease - bugger! There has been one period , pre-medication, where a composting toilet would not have coped well. Think serial diarrhoea non stop for 3 weeks. Hopefully never again , but no guarantees. A porta potti/cassette toilet would have coped far better.

Emptying a toilet is never going to be 'pleasant' but some can be worse than others. Using sodium percarbonate makes the task 'bearable ' for us. The thought of a large tank full of you know what needing to be emptied with an attached pipe, a) requires a dump point - too much to bury in a dug hole anywhere, b) something going wrong with a system like that is the stuff of nightmares & c)why would anyone want to carry 88 kilos of sh*t around with them..... and as for adding that sort of quantity into a long drop - anyone doing that should be hung drawn & quartered! d) Not always easy to get a vehicle close enough to a dump point so need to carry extra hoses. (& clean them!).

Without Crohns - I would choose a composting. With Crohns - possibly still a composting & hope that those 3 weeks are never repeated, or a cassette.

For regular caravan park use - I'd use the caravan park toilets - or if night excursions were needed - a cassette is convenient or urine separating composter is convenient.

All that said - toilets are a very personal thing & need to be acceptable to all who will use them & empty them.

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Follow Up By: Ron & Carol - Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 19:49

Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 19:49
Thanks for the reply I like the cassette system even though needs emptying once a week. But the van we are looking at has no cassette but directly to the black water tank. Was interested how others with a tank get on. Be nice if parks had a black water pipe beside the grey water pipe but would probably stink out other users.
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Reply By: Rod N - Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 19:30

Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 19:30
"having to hook the van up to go to the parks dump point ."
You don't need to do this. Remove the cassette and transport it alone to the dump point.
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Follow Up By: Ron & Carol - Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 19:35

Friday, Mar 11, 2022 at 19:35
As far as I no there is no cassette in a direct drop system with a 88ltr tank ?. Be good if there is.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 at 09:58

Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 at 09:58
Sounds to me that you need to keep looking for a van that will suit toilet-wise, or be prepared to swap toilet types in the one you have your eye on?
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 at 12:41

Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 at 12:41
Might be my fertile imagination, but it sounds scary to be towing a van with 88L(or in Rod’s case, 140L) of s..t? Bad enough with a 15-20L toilet cassette. Just imagine if one had a high speed rollover? Ugh!

Bob

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Follow Up By: Gramps - Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 at 23:27

Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 at 23:27
Bob,

Hahaha now you've planted that nightmare in a few minds.

Regards
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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Sunday, Mar 13, 2022 at 14:01

Sunday, Mar 13, 2022 at 14:01
No problem, this is all covered under the saying "S**t happens".

BTW, there's some wonderful videos on Youtube of cassette emptying at dump points for some good laughs.
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Follow Up By: Member - shane r1 - Friday, Mar 18, 2022 at 16:42

Friday, Mar 18, 2022 at 16:42
My motorhome has a Blackwater tank , I purchased one of these to cart the stuff away , so don’t have to move the rig.
https://www.outbackequipment.com.au/fiamma-roll-tank-40-litre-waste-water?gclid=Cj0KCQjwuMuRBhCJARIsAHXdnqPqbsGMZ7RaKfuLJIu5JcP-QdNpOYhCO18eHoh7yqknREpG_aF14z8aAgIvEALw_wcB
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Follow Up By: Ron & Carol - Wednesday, Apr 06, 2022 at 11:03

Wednesday, Apr 06, 2022 at 11:03
Would you believe I purchased one of these about 5 years ago and never used it even forgot I had it in the spare room. Now I’ll have a use for it. Thanks Shane
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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 at 08:16

Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 at 08:16
I usually like to empty our cassette every 3 days or everytime a dump point presents itself. Buut we like to keep moving and don't just stay for weeks in one place if we did I would use park facillities which I often do when we are staying at one.
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Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 at 12:48

Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 at 12:48
I empty ours ever second day, this way it is much easier to carry rather than waiting for it to be full.
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Reply By: Briste - Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 at 10:33

Saturday, Mar 12, 2022 at 10:33
Dear Wilcos - It probably won't surprise you to read that this is a frequently asked question. There was a fairly recent discussion here which is probably worth reading. A search will turn up many other such threads.

You can improve a traditional cassette system a little by installing a SOG system, but as I understand it, it doesn't extend the time between empties all that much.

The macerating and composting options were discussed extensively in that recent thread. My assessment is that they're both good systems with different advantages and disadvantages. I assume a "drop with 88ltr tank" is a macerator. I opted for a van with a Nature's Head composting toilet in part because I think it's easier to dispose of and my impression is that it gives you more time between emptying (the solid waste container - the liquid waste needs emptying every few days).

But that's just an impression, and the users of macerators will point to their relative advantages. Ultimately it's a case of you pays your money and makes your choices.
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Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Sunday, Mar 13, 2022 at 18:48

Sunday, Mar 13, 2022 at 18:48
Hi Wilkco's,

I have had a chemical cassette (porta-potti), vacuum toilet (20L tank) and currently have a macerator (125L tank) and have a definite preference for a macerator with its large tank.

My experience in emptying a chemical toilet and getting close-up and personal with yours and others floating waste every day is an experince I am keen to avoid. Having chemicals means you cannot dump into longdrops and as these are small tanks, you need to find a spot to empty every day.

The vaccum toilet was great, but being a ~20L tank means emtying every day. One was still very close to the "porridge" when emtying, but at least it was fine to put in a longdrop (no chemicals) or dig a small hole.

Having a macerator with large tank is bliss, perhaps only those who have yet to experince them see drawbacks? Emtying is a very clean experience, just connect the hose(s) and turn the pump on. When finished, connect the flush water and pump the hoses clean. Cleanest experience yet for emtying a toilet. But the best bit is you only need to do it every 7-10 days, not a daily task.

I have yet to experience a composting toilet but the reviews put me off. While some owners love theirs, others are less than happy.

Having to empty the liquid every day, having to sit for all tasks and separate your 1's and 2's, storing your used paper for disposal and not being able to use it when sick have put me off ever fitting one. I cannot see any advantage of it over a macerator IMHO..... but each to their own.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Briste - Sunday, Mar 13, 2022 at 22:58

Sunday, Mar 13, 2022 at 22:58
Do not need to store toilet paper separately, it goes into the solid waste container of a (Nature's Head) composting toilet.
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Follow Up By: Banjo (WA) - Monday, Mar 14, 2022 at 09:39

Monday, Mar 14, 2022 at 09:39
Your 20 litre cassettes requires emptying every day?
You must have a big appetite.
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, Mar 14, 2022 at 11:49

Monday, Mar 14, 2022 at 11:49
Family of 4 Banjo.... don't want to hit 100% full during the night :)
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Mar 14, 2022 at 18:49

Monday, Mar 14, 2022 at 18:49
I expect to fit a composting toilet to our new build. The urine will run to a 20L container under the floor.

During a trip last year, we diverted urine and minimised flushing water to our conventional cassette toilet.
We emptied it after a week instead of the normal 3 days (2 people). It was still not full and could have lasted about 2 weeks I reckon.
Smell was reduced and we used less sodium percarbonate (which is safe for septics). The urine is the main cause of smells.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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Reply By: Ron & Carol - Monday, Mar 14, 2022 at 12:59

Monday, Mar 14, 2022 at 12:59
Thanks,
The wife is the only one who uses the loo during any night excursions. Hence having to empty the cassette once a week. Looks like I do some more homework, will contact manufacturer of the van to determine what type of toilet it actually is in the brochure it only says toilet with 88ltr black water tank
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