Perhaps the perfect invention, the composting toilet might be the fulltime RVer’s new best friend. Who is it good for? Well, like most composting options, it is loved by environmentalists. It is prized by those who grow their own food on the road. Plus, it’s a lifesaver for the boondocker who is concerned about having enough water. A dry composting toilet is completely natural, organic, and (obviously) uses no water. That means there is no plumbing and no chemicals required. So, how does it work?The versatile composting RV toilet can be used nearly anywhere since it doesn’t require a septic system and works like a small ecosystem. Basically, it separates solid waste from the liquid and turns it into something useful. All liquid—even from the semi-solid waste—evaporates and is released through a venting system. The remaining matter is converted through decomposition into an odor-free fertilizing soil that can be used for planting or dumped in nature.
There are three main contenders in the composting toilet race.
Currently, there are two similar models available from the popular brand, Nature’s Head, with the main difference being in the handle design. Both options are priced slightly under $1,000 and are considered effective and long-lasting choices. Plus, the company offers add-on accessories like extra tanks and hoses, as well as replacement parts for easy maintenance and repairs if anything goes wrong.
The toilets are compact and portable, so they can be used anywhere. Although they are sold in several parts, reputedly, the instructions are easy to follow and the toilets are easy to assemble.
This Swedish company offers sleek-looking models that fit almost any space and situation. At a price point of over $1,000, the 48-pound, two-container Separett Villa 9200 and 9210 work as well as any traditional option and can be fastened to the floor or wall. Additionally, they come with a urine separating child seat for smaller campers. The simplified Weekender 7000, however, is smaller and less expensive at around $800.
The Villa 9200 is a little different than the other popular brands. Aside from being slightly more expensive and considered more attractive, the waste containment system is a bit more high-tech. Instead of going into a container, liquids are funneled outside. Solid waste is sequestered into a separate container to eliminate the possibility of unwanted odors. Replacement parts and accessories are also available.
Starting at $1,500-plus, the Sun-Mar has the highest-priced models of the three main brands and is the only other real option available. The Excel comes in electric and non-electric versions that range up to nearly $2,000 to account for their higher capacity and other extensions. The company also offers more compact models like the Spacesaver and the Sun-Mar Mobile Family for RVs and boats, which keeps the compost drum upright to avoid leakage during motion.
These higher-end models are perhaps the most robust toilets, and have even found their way into eco-conscious traditional homes. With added features, however, often come more frequent mishaps and breakdowns. Of course, accessories and replacement parts are easily obtained if that happens.
For many, living green and off the grid is one of the allures of the full-time RV lifestyle. Installing a composting toilet is an easy way to comfortably achieve that. Fortunately, when set up correctly, today’s composting toilets are hygienic and completely odorless. If you’re in the market, plan to spend nearly $1,000 or even more if you buy add-ons. On the other hand, you could manufacture your own composting toilet but that’s a subject for another day.