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5 Best Portable Composting Toilet Systems For RVs

Published on November 26th, 2021 by Jennifer Jennings
This post was updated on November 20th, 2022

Composting toilets

5 Best Portable Composting Toilet Systems For RVs

Can you put a portable composting toilet in an RV? The answer is a resounding yes! Many traditional composting toilet systems have large tanks and parts that take up a lot of space. But composting portable toilet systems for RVs are designed to take up minimal space and be easy to use. This makes them a great option for camper van builds and other RVs. 

A composting toilet system for RV is a great way to save water and avoid emptying a black tank. But just what are they? And how do they work? Plus, we share the 5 best composting toilet systems.

What is a portable composting toilet?

Portable composting toilets are a type of “dry toilet” that works without water. Composting toilets usually have separate compartments for liquid and solid waste. They break down the solid stuff through a natural decomposition process. Many composting toilets will have heating elements, ventilation fans, and other elements to assist in the decomposition process.

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The containers for the liquid and solid waste then need to be emptied out periodically. Before being emptied out, solid waste should be allowed to decompose.

Although you might expect a portable composting toilet to smell bad, they’re actually no worse than any other toilet. In fact, with enough time to complete the decomposition process, solid waste will have little to no smell when it comes time to empty it out. (You can’t say the same for a black tank.)

Pros and Cons of Portable Composting Toilets

When it comes to composting portable toilet systems, there are a lot of pros and very few cons. It’s true they might not be right for everybody. But, if you can deal with a few downsides, you’re going to love a composting toilet system for your RV!

Pros of a Composting Toilet

They reduce water consumption

Because they don’t use any water, compostable toilets can help you cut down on your water use.

Modern toilets use about a gallon and a half of water to flush and flushes can add up over time. With composting toilets for your RV, your water will last longer because you use less of it. Using less water is especially important if you are regularly boondocking with limited freshwater reserves.

They’re good for the earth

Composting toilets are super eco-friendly! For one, reduced water usage is better for the planet. Second, composted waste can be returned to the earth to nourish plant life. Alternatively, with a traditional toilet, that waste would go through wastewater treatment, after which some of it would end up in landfills!

No need for a black tank

RV black water tanks are normally where toilet waste empties in an RV. Because composting toilet systems for RVs don’t use water, there’s no need for a black water tank. This can help free up weight in your rig.

Not having to deal with black tank maintenance is a pro in itself. No risk of a poop pyramid with a composting toilet.

They’re great for boondocking

Another bonus of not needing a black water tank: not needing to empty out a black water tank. The waste from a composting toilet can be easily disposed of in nature, with liquids poured on the ground and solids buried. So no matter how long you’re off the grid, you’ll be able to use a composting toilet without issue.

Cons of a Composting Toilet


One of the only major cons to composting toilets is that they’re generally expensive. Traditional RV toilets and port-a-potties cost around a few hundred dollars, whereas a portable composting toilet for an RV can be over $1,000.

However, it is possible to create a DIY composting toilet—more on that later.

Some maintenance required

A composting toilet isn’t maintenance-free – but to be fair, no RV wastewater system is.

With a composting toilet, you’ll occasionally have to add substances like sawdust to keep the decomposition process going. You’ll also have to use an external handle to mix the contents, adding air for the composting process.

5 Best Portable Composting Toilet Systems For RVs

Decided that a composting toilet system for your RV is the right choice? There’s a ton of great options you can find. Here are the 5 best composting portable toilet systems for RVs to make shopping a little easier!

1. Nature’s Head

Nature's Head composting toilet
Nature’s Head self-contained composting toilet. Photo by Nature’s Head.

Nature’s Head is one of the most popular brands of composting portable toilet systems for RVs. This expertly engineered and American-made composting toilet has multiple pages of glowing testimonials on its site. If you get a Nature’s Head portable composting toilet for your van or RV, you’ll be in good company!

2. Sun-Mar

Sun mar composting toilet
Photo by Sun Mar.

Sun-Mar is a brand that specializes in not just composting toilets but composting products at large. They have many different styles of composting toilets, but of particular interest is the Sun-Mar GTG. This ultra-compact composting toilet for RVs isn’t just small, it’s also much cheaper than other composting toilets.

3. Air Head

Airhead composting toilet
Photo by Air Head.

Air Head is a trusted brand of composting toilets with 20 years of history. Their waterless toilets for RVs have a unique design with higher capacity and easy cleaning.  Their toilets are available with plenty of configuration options to meet your needs.

4. C-Head

C-head composting toilet
Photo by C-Head.

The C-Head portable composting toilet for RVs is a great, affordable option that uses zero electricity. The elegant design is compact and easy to use, and it even has some great customization options. Add a teak or mahogany finish for a bit of elegance!

5. DIY Composting Toilet

Don’t want to shell out for an expensive composting toilet? Make your own!

There are several different designs for DIY composting portable toilet systems for RVs. Green Citizen goes in-depth on composting toilets in their simple design that uses a plywood frame and a 5-gallon bucket. Another design from Build It Solar is a bit more advanced, with a computer fan and rubber tubing for ventilation.

Whatever design you choose, you’ll need to do some cutting and drilling to put the design together. But, if you’re handy and creative, a DIY composting toilet is a great option. 

Bonus – OGO Toilet, A New Composting Option for RV and Marine

One of the most popular options in both the RV and marine space for a composting toilet is the OGO Compost Toilet. With its power agitation, patented urine diversion technology, built-in liquid Sensor and other available options, the OGO compost toilet is easy to use and easy to clean. No black tank is needed, has no odor, and chemical free.

Take the plunge and get a portable composting toilet for your RV!

The idea might seem a bit icky at first, but once you know more, investing in a portable composting toilet for your RV gets a lot more attractive. These handy devices save water and space and are no worse smelling than any other RV toilet. 

There’s plenty of great composting toilets to choose from at all kinds of price points. And if you’re crafty, you can even DIY your own!

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.

Read more: 5 Myths About RV Composting Toilets

About the Author:

4 thoughts on “5 Best Portable Composting Toilet Systems For RVs”

  1. Porta potties were not hundreds of dollars last I had heard. As far as composting toilets, you can make your own for less than $20, even free if you have a bucket and can make a seat. And they work just the same way as the high dollar ones.

  2. Interesting article, but you fail to mention one of the major needs of a composting toilet, and it is especially important for boondocking. How much energy is required for these units to operate? Fans for ventilation and more important elements for heating and drying would be major power consumers. And nothing in this area was mentioned.


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