Composting Toillet


Nope, that's not the composting toilet.  That is what came in the truck, a slightly lesser version than I had in my sportsmobile.  As you can see in the previous post (couch build) there has been a considerable amount of water leaking here for a long time.  I was so disgusted with my previous porta potti that I cleaned it up really well and left it in a campground in Idaho for some "lucky" traveler to find.  This one, although brand new went right into the dumpster.  It was time to give the composting toilet a try.

After much research I ended up with the Natures Head toilet.  It was between that and the Airhead.  Either one would have worked, but the Natures Head fit the space better.  It is built well, but still seems way overpriced at over 900 dollars for some molded plastic and stainless steel.  I can't imagine they sell a lot so maybe it's justified. Notice in this picture the toilet overhangs onto the covered shower.

At the back of the toilet the fuel fill lines are keeping it from moving against the wall.  Arrgh, I thought this one was going to be easy.


I had to somehow move these filler lines back or out of the way.  Since I only needed a few inches I decided the best course of action would be to cut around the hoses and push them back a bit.


I cut this out of the floor.  Nice to see what the camper is made of.  Nida-core with an extra aluminum skin for the bottom.  It is some seriously tough shtuff.


Had to change the angle on the filler tubes also.  Cut here and.....


Spin it around and then re-weld.  Yeah right.  Did you know they use lead to seal the gas cap part to the rest of the tube.  I didn't, I gave this one over to my father who has been welding/brazing for 50 years.  It wasn't pretty, but held pressure when tested in the end.


After a couple of days of fighting I had this.  Not much difference, but just enough. 


To make these toilets work properly you need a vent.  I worked this up with marine parts.  A stainless vent going through the roof and a clamshell cover that keeps the rain out and probably even pulls a draft while driving.  The vent is powered by a tiny computer fan which runs constantly and uses .2 amps if memory serves.


Composting toilet roof vent.




The vent goes up the square channel in the corner.  Other than that the install is very easy.  Just screw a couple of "L" brackets to the floor and use the supplied hardware to screw it down.


This composting toilet is easily one of the best things I've done for my camper.  I am completely sold on the idea.  The best part for me is not having to do the dump station thing.  As most of you know it's a disgusting job.   Often times where I travel there weren't stations available and I'd have to go out of my way to find one.  The smell from having a black tank is annoying especially when getting full.  The composting toilet has no smell, not kidding.  Even when the toilet is in use for serious business there is no smell.  The little fan pulls the good stuff out the vent.
One of the biggest reasons for getting the composter was the water issue.  Flushing a "normal" RV toilet uses a lot of water.  The composting toilet uses none.  My 50 gallons goes so much farther than it used to.

I've had my toilet installed since May of 2014.  I have dumped it exactly twice now.  Keep in mind I use other facilities whenever available.  Over the last 10 months I've been using the camper exclusively (as in not parked where there is another toilet available) for 4 months.  In those 4 months I've had guests off and on.  The bottom line is that there can be a long time between dumping of the toilet.  Especially with a lifestyle like mine where the composter sits for long intervals.  When it got full I dumped it way out in the wilderness into a hole.  Once again, no smell, looks like compost from Home Depot. 


Here's a look at the bottom part of the toilet.  See the pee tank in the front.  One bummer about this set up is that you have to expose the number 2 area to remove the pee tank.  I was worried it would be a smelly job, but not so. 

It can't all be good news and as much as I'd like to share the virtues there are some negatives.  If the pee tank isn't dumped regularly (at least every few days) it will really stink when dumped.  No smell inside, only unpleasant to dump.  Bugs, yep you heard right.  All of a sudden I started seeing these tiny beetles flying around.  They had gotten into the compost and were thriving.  No big deal, just a little annoying when one runs across the ipad at night and you know exactly where it came from.  I just shrugged and said "faster break down of the nasties". 

Feel free to comment with questions, or email me directly.  I have no affiliation with Natures head, just think it's a great idea and wish I'd gotten one years ago. 

------Update June 2016-----
I have been using the composting toilet now for a couple of years.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars.  Last week I took the toilet out and did a total clean and inspection.  The vent fan was getting clogged with fuzz, but other than that no worries or issues.  I cleaned the intake and outlet screens for the fan and all is well.

Two improvements I'd like to see with the toilet.  The dumping of the pee tank is a pain.  We try to use the outside as much as possible for number 1, but there are always those times we use the inside.  Like I said earlier, it can be rather nasty dumping that tank if it sits for long periods.  I'm going to rig up some sort of PVC tank with a direct dump onto the ground.  The idea is to have a smaller tank for when needed (friends driveway camp) and a valve for dumping it onto the ground when in the boonies.  No more pulling a tank out, just open the valve.  We do a lot of travel camping which involves one or two nights in a spot in the boonies.  With this new set up we would just leave the valve open and it would be like peeing under the truck for two days.  No big deal.  The other improvement would be for the 'mixer' in the composter to mix the whole batch.  The way is works now is that there is a square box and a round mixer.  This leaves the corners of the compost unmolested.  I've found that you can greatly extend the life of the compost or time between dumpings if you stir that portion into the mix once or twice.  Sounds gross, but once again it just isn't bad at all.

One other thing to consider with a composting toilet.  You can't cross from Canada to the states with any extra compost.  I usually carry a couple cubic feet or so with me and found out the hard way that they will take it at the border. 

Update 2017.  The worst part of the composting toilet is dealing with the pee jug.  I removed the jug and put this piping in its place. The pipe holds almost as much as the jug.  It has a valve on the bottom that we close when not in the boonies or in one spot for several days.
Normally the valve stays open and our pee just dribbles onto the gound under the camper.  No different than if we were tent camping.  I am currently helping a friend convert her sprinter van to a camper.  We will be using this same system in hers.  It works wonderfully. 










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