Best Composting Toilets for RVs and Camper Vans (What You Need to Know)

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Today I’m really excited to talk about one of my favorite things: the composting toilet. For RV life and camper van conversions, there is no better bathroom option!

Composting toilets save water, are easy to use, have no odor, and are self-contained and off-grid friendly.

But there are so many different kinds, and they’re all kinda expensive!

I wrote this guide to help you understand how they work and take a closer look at each composting toilet for RV and van life on the market today so you can make the best choice for you. 

I’ve used multiple composting toilets in my own RVs and camper vans over the past 5 years. Here’s what you need to know. 

PS since this article is hefty, you can click through topics in the table of contents just below this sentence to jump to what you want to see. 👇👇👇

First: What Is a Composting Toilet? 

Me with my first Nature’s Head composting toilet before install, reading the manual and considering keeping it as a piece of furniture.

A composting toilet is a type of waterless toilet that composts human waste instead of turning it into sewage. Much like how animal waste can be turned into fertilizer, composting toilets turn solid human waste into an earthen material through composting.

There are many types of composting toilets, and composting toilets for RVs are much different than composting toilets for houses. 

The best type of composting toilet for RV and van applications is a self-contained separating toilet. “Separating” means that the toilet separates liquid and solid waste into their own containers. 

Separating the liquid and solid wastes prevents odor and effectively eliminates the creation of raw sewage. 

Next, we’ll look at a table of the best composting toilets for RV and van life, then I’ll answer tell you the best benefits and answer some questions before going into a deep dive on each toilet. 

7 Best Composting Toilets for RVs and Vans Overview

Toilet Dimensions
‎19.88 x 15.75 x 17.91 inches
24 x 15.75 x 19.8 inches
38.25 x 25.25 x 25 inches
22 x 20.5 x 21.7 inches
Top Features
LED light indicator, automatic trap door, sleek look, perfect for small spaces, solid bin lined with garbage bag for easy dumping
Similar to Separett Tiny but bigger, easy venting, budget price
The Ultimate RV composting toilet with automatic trap door, automatic rotating solid waste bin, solid waste bin liners, and more
Customizable handle, great for small spaces, tons of support material online
Best For
small spaces like camper van conversions
small spaces: vans, RVs, boats, on a budet
Best for RVs or Tiny Houses
RVs, camper vans, tiny houses
Price Range
$$$$
$$
$$$
$$$
Best for Camper Vans
Toilet Dimensions
‎19.88 x 15.75 x 17.91 inches
Top Features
LED light indicator, automatic trap door, sleek look, perfect for small spaces, solid bin lined with garbage bag for easy dumping
Best For
small spaces like camper van conversions
Price Range
$$$$
Check Price
Best Budget Option
Toilet Dimensions
24 x 15.75 x 19.8 inches
Top Features
Similar to Separett Tiny but bigger, easy venting, budget price
Best For
small spaces: vans, RVs, boats, on a budet
Price Range
$$
Check Price
Top RV Pick
Recommendations
Toilet Dimensions
38.25 x 25.25 x 25 inches
Top Features
The Ultimate RV composting toilet with automatic trap door, automatic rotating solid waste bin, solid waste bin liners, and more
Best For
Best for RVs or Tiny Houses
Price Range
$$$
Check Price
Great for Any Rig
Toilet Dimensions
22 x 20.5 x 21.7 inches
Top Features
Customizable handle, great for small spaces, tons of support material online
Best For
RVs, camper vans, tiny houses
Price Range
$$$
Check Price

Last update on 2022-05-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

These are the best composting toilets for RVs and camper vans available on Amazon. The other 3 options mentioned later in this article are the Air Head composting toilet, the C Head composting toilet, and DIY bucket toilet options.

The TL;DR Version (My Top Picks in Order of Most to Least Fave)

TL;DR means “too long; didn’t read” and this article is LONG.

Here are my personal faves in order of most favorite to least favorite (but still awesome).

The legit only reason I had a Nature’s Head for so long over the Separett was because the Separett options didn’t exist when I got mine. (The 9215 might have, but I never saw it)

I’d take them in a heartbeat over the Nature’s Head today! But for now, I don’t mind the Nature’s Head.

Benefits of Using a Composting Toilet in Your Camper Van Conversion or RV

There are so many benefits of using a composting toilet in a camper van conversion or RV. 

I have used a composting toilet in an RV and two camper vans and I really never want any other kind of toilet in my mobile lifestyle. Here’s why. 

No Need for Black Tank

A black tank is a waste tank on an RV that holds sewage from the toilet. 

With a composting toilet for RV and van conversions, there is no need for plumbing and no need for a black tank. Composting toilets are fully self-contained!

Increase Gray Water Storage Capacity

For camper van conversions, this means no need to install a black tank. For RVs that already have a black tank, you can convert your black tank into extra gray water storage!

Gray water is the waste water that goes down the sink and shower drains. With a small and cheap piece of equipment, you automatically have dozens of gallons of extra waste water storage.

Save Fresh Water

Composting toilets don’t require any water whatsoever, unlike traditional RV toilets and flush toilets. 

Ability to Empty Anywhere

Cassette toilets, portable camping toilets, and traditional RV toilets all hold raw sewage. 

Raw sewage is a biohazard and it can only legally be dumped in an approved RV dump station that drains to a septic tank or sewer. 

When solid human waste and urine combine, they work together to create hazardous bacteria and foul odors. 

The act of separating liquids and solids in a composting toilet prevents the creation of raw sewage. This means that you don’t have to use an RV dump station. 

Urine can be dumped into any regular toilet or spread around mature vegetation (depending on local regulations). 

The solids, or compost, can be disposed of in a biodegradable trash bag with any regular garbage. 

Totally Self Contained

Composting toilets are totally self-contained, meaning they don’t require any external parts to work properly.

Composting toilets for campers don’t require plumbing, fresh water, or a black tank. 

Portable and Eco-Friendly

These toilets are portable, meaning you can easily take them in and out of your RV or van. You can even use some of them for tent camping!

And compost is environmentally friendly, too.

Perfect for Boondocking and Off-Grid Camping

These toilets are perfect for boondocking because they don’t need to be dumped in a dump station, they don’t require fresh water for use, they’re totally self-contained and they are also portable. 

How Does A Composting Toilet Work in an RV or Van? 

Before my first Nature’s Head was installed in my RV, it was a side table for a few days. (No, I didn’t use it here)

Composting toilet for RV and camper van use have two separate collection containers built into the unit. 

One part of the toilet holds a dry composting medium, which is usually an earthen material like peat moss or coco coir (shredded coconut husks). This is the largest part of the toilet and it is where the solid waste goes for composting. 

The solid waste compost part of the toilet also has an agitator connected to a crank handle on the outside of the toilet for mixing solid waste with the composting medium after you use the toilet. 

On some composting toilets for RVs and vans, there’s also a small electric fan that vents to the outside of the vehicle to help eliminate moisture in the bin. 

The liquids container is typically a smaller jug varying in size from 1-2 gallons and holds urine. 

The toilet bowl is shaped in a way that helps divert liquids into the liquids container. The toilet bowl has a large flap door that you open for solid waste to deposit directly into the composting bin. 

Since the solid waste turns into compost, you can dispose of it in a garbage bag with the rest of your garbage. It doesn’t have a foul odor, and it’s not a biohazard, unlike sewage. 

7 Best Composting Toilet for RV and Camper Vans Deep Dive

Let’s take a closer look at each of these self-contained composting toilets for RVs and camper van conversions. 

This is a fun subject for me to write about because I know a TON about portable toilets and self-contained composting toilets. 

One of my personal biggest factors in being comfortable while camping or living on the road is having a great toilet, so I have used several, done a ton of research, and am always happy to share my knowledge with anyone who asks. 

Separett Tiny Best Composting Toilet for Camper Van Conversions

Best Composting Toilet for Camper Van Conversions: Separett Tiny
  • Great for small spaces
  • LED full light indicator
  • Automatic toilet trap door
  • Sleek look and design
  • No compost medium required
  • Solids bin liner makes emptying easy
  • Ideal for any tiny space, especially camper van conversions

  • Last update on 2022-05-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Separett is a Swedish company that specializes in the off-grid lifestyle. They’ve recently made some great composting toilets for the US market, and it’s clear that they really know what they’re doing. 

    The larger version is called the Separett Villa it’s great for RVs and we’ll go into it next. 

    The Separett Tiny is a brand-new offering that’s just like the Villa, only it’s smaller, has a liquids container, and all the other luxury features, too. 

    I bet you never thought you’d hear someone talking about a “luxury composting toilet”. 

    I’m proud to be that person for you. 

    The Separett Tiny is perfect for camper van conversions, RVs tiny houses, and more. 

    It costs a bit more than the Villa 9215, but has all the quality and luxury of a Separett self-contained composting toilet in a smaller size. 

    This toilet is small, has a small ventilation tube, and looks sleek. On top of that, it’s really comfortable to sit on and use. It honestly looks like a luxury hotel toilet if you ask me. 

    What’s different about this composting toilet is that it doesn’t actually use composting medium. The only things that go in the solids bin are solid waste and toilet paper. 

    This toilet dries out the solid waste and produces no odor, which also means you can go longer between emptying depending on how often you use it.

    Separett Tiny Pros

    • This toilet is compact and perfect for camper van conversions, RVs, and tiny houses
    • No cranking to mix solid waste
    • No composting medium
    • The solids bin is lined with a compostable garbage bag, so no looking at your waste or cleaning the bin
    • The toilet effortlessly separates liquids and solids, and the solids bin flap opens automatically when you sit on the seat. 
    • Absolutely NO ODOR. 
    • Separett provides a tablet to help prevent urine calcification build-up in the toilet to prevent odor. 
    • Opaque urine container so you can’t see your urine
    • LED Light indicator that tells you when the liquids jug is full. 

    Cons

    • This toilet is pretty small, so the solids bin is also small. But since you don’t use a composting medium in it, it doesn’t fill up as fast.
    • This is one of the more expensive self-contained composting toilets, but it’s well worth the money. 

    While it might seem weird that this “composting” toilet doesn’t use a composting medium, Separett says that this is actually for a very specific reason. 

    According to the company (and science), when you dump your composting toilet once or twice a month, your waste doesn’t actually have time to fully compost. It takes between a month and a year for human waste to turn into compost, so using a composting medium in your portable toilet can actually just be a waste of space. 

    The Separett composting toilet eliminates bacteria and odor by dehydrating your solid waste pretty cool and efficient! 

    Separett Villa 9215 Composting Toilet: Best for RVs, Skoolies, and Tiny Houses

    Best for RVs: Separett Villa 9215
    • Automatic trap door
    • Automatic rotating solids bin
    • Permanent unit
    • Residential Style
    • No compost medium required
    • Solids bin liner makes emptying easy
  • No liquids container, best for RV with gray tank or tiny houses

  • Last update on 2022-05-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Separett is a Swedish company who have been producing off-grid toilets for a long time. They’ve recently created a couple new composting toilets for the US market and they’re so nice!

    The Separett Villa 9215 is a great composting toilet option for RVs and larger camper vans that have a gray water tank.

    It would also fare well in tiny houses, school bus conversions, and boats! 

    This toilet has a fan to help keep the compost dry that can run on both AC and DC power. 

    The reason I say this toilet is best for larger camper vans is because the venting method for this toilet is a rigid pipe. 

    It’s also one of the larger toilets on this list, but it’s easily one of my favorites! This toilet feels like luxury to me and you don’t typically hear that about composting toilets. 

    Finally, there is no liquid container with this toilet. It’s meant for the liquids to drain directly into the gray or black water tank on your rig, which makes it a better option for RVs. 

    What I Love about the Separett Villa (Pros)

    • Super comfortable residential style toilet seat
    • The solids bin automatically opens when you sit down fancy! 
    • The bowl is super easy to clean and effortlessly separates liquids and solids, you don’t have to “aim”
    • The solids bin has a compostable bag liner for easy dumping, you don’t have to look at your waste.
    • You don’t have to churn the solids bin. The toilet automatically rotates the solids bin! Again, FANCY. 
    • No composting medium required. Just solid waste and toilet paper go into the solids bin. 
    • Absolutely NO ODOR. 

    Cons of the Separett Villa 9215

    • This toilet is big. It’s better suited for RVs, large vans, or tiny homes. 
    • You have to cut a bigger hole for venting than some of the other toilets on this list. 
    • There is no liquids jug, meaning you have to plumb this toilet to a gray tank or exterior filtration system.

    I really don’t have ANY bad things to say about this toilet. It’s really dreamy, in my opinion, and very competitively priced compared to alternatives. 

    Sun Mar GTG Urine Diverting Composting Toilet: Best Budget Choice

    Budget Pick: Sun Mar GTG Urine Diverting Composting Toilet
    • Similar to Separett Tiny, but bigger
    • No trap door to solids bin
    • No compost medium required
    • Fan assembly and flexible vent hose on back
    • Elongated toilet seat
    • Solids bin liner makes emptying easy


    Last update on 2022-05-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Sun Mar is a world leader in composting toilet technology, and their newest composting toilet is a great example of that. 

    Before 2019, Sun Mar composting toilets were big and bulky and better suited for larger applications. 

    However, all that changed with the introduction of the Sun Mar GTG Urine Diverting Composting toilet. 

    Surprisingly, this toilet is extremely similar to the Separett Tiny. 

    It comes in at a lower price but there are a few key differences that stand out to me. 

    Differences Between Sun Mar GTG and Separett Tiny

    First, this toilet doesn’t have the same luxury features that the Separett does. 

    There is no lid for the solids bin and no trap door that covers the solids bin, either. It’s just open all the time. This can be a problem for two reasons: 

    1: this makes it easy for urine to get in the solids bin. This can cause a lot of odor, but it’s not a problem if you aim well. 

    2: the solids bin is just open all the time, as opposed to the Separett that has a trap door that only opens when you sit down.

    The fan assembly sticks out a few inches on the back, too, instead of having a flush back. 

    Overall, though, the toilet looks almost identical to the Separett Tiny. 

    Personally, I am loving the new composting toilet technology particularly the part where the portable self contained composting toilets don’t require the use of a composting medium. It makes more sense!

    Just like the Separett toilets, the GTG by Sun Mar uses no composting medium. 

    This toilet has a solids bin that holds biodegradable garbage bags for easy disposal, and it comes with a 2-gallon liquids container for urine. 

    Like other composting toilets, this toilet requires DC power for a small 12v fan, and it will require a small hole in your application for the vent hose. 

    What I Love About the Sun Mar GTG Composting Toilet (Pros)

    • No composting medium required
    • Flexible vent hose for easy venting
    • Sleek look and small size are perfect for vans, RVs, and more
    • This toilet is one of the more budget-friendly options
    • No odor when used properly

    Cons of the Sun Mar GTG

    • No cover or trap door for the solids bin
    • Translucent liquids container
    • Fan housing on the back instead of the side

    Overall, I love this toilet. Other than the  lack of a trap door for the solids bin, the cons of this toilet are really just personal preferences and don’t affect the function of this toilet at all!

    If you are dreaming of the Separett Tiny but are on a tight budget, the Sun Mar GTG is a great second choice. 

    Nature’s Head Composting Toilet 

    Great for Any Rig: Nature's Head Self-Contained Composting Toilet
    • Top Composting Toilet on the Market
    • Uses Peat Moss or Coco Coir
    • Customizable Handle
    • Great for Wet Bath in RV, Van, or Boat
    • Easy to Use


    Last update on 2022-05-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    The Nature’s Head toilet is the composting toilet that I have the most experience with: I’ve had two of them and used them for a total of 3-4 years. 

    I installed one in an RV, and used one in a campervan. 

    This toilet works by separating liquids and solids into different bins, and the solids use a composting medium to turn human waste into compost. 

    This toilet is by far the most popular with reviewers online which is why I bought it in the first place. 

    The Nature’s Head is a great choice for RVs and camper van conversions. 

    The dimensions of the Nature’s Head toilet vary, depending on which type of handle you get. 

    This toilet is simple to install, it has a small vent hose that’s the same size as a vacuum hose. You can drill a hole to vent it, but i’ve seen people just hang it out a window. 

    Also, it has a small fan that runs on DC power to vent the toilet. You don’t have to use the fan, but I wouldn’t recommend not using it. 

    But if you don’t have the tools or resources, the fan isn’t really a deal breaker!

    Pros of the Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet

    • This toilet has a large following and plenty of instructional videos and articles online
    • You can choose your handle type and place the handle on either side of the toilet
    • This toilet fits well into tight spaces
    • It’s totally portable, you can easily take it out of your RV or van in less than a minute
    • No odor when properly maintained.

    Cons of the Nature’s Head

    • There is a learning curve to using it properly. 
    • The toilet seat is mildly uncomfortable. 
    • The liquids jug is translucent so you can clearly see that it has urine in it both a good and bad thing. 
    • This toilet can be hard to clean because of the molded plastic construction. 

    Overall, the Nature’s Head toilet is a great choice for any off-grid application. It does the job well and can be customized for use in any space. 

    The install is super easy and you don’t have to make major modifications to your rig if you don’t want to. 

    C Head Composting Toilet

    The C Head composting toilet is the most basic composting toilet on this list (other than the DIY option). It used to be the most budget-friendly, too, but it looks like they’ve significantly increased their prices recently. 

    Still, I think it’s important to include it because I want this review to be as comprehensive as possible. 

    There was a point in time where I was seriously considering the C Head composting toilet because of it’s small size and simplicity. 

    But then I thought: this toilet is so simply built. I can probably build one of these myself! 

    To be totally transparent, I did neither buy or build one of these. Here’s the lowdown on the C Head composting toilet. 

    C Head Toilet Overview

    This toilet is a small and compact shape, which makes it perfect for camper van conversions. 

    This is a bucket toilet style composting toilet. 

    It’s essentially a wooden box with a toilet seat on top. Inside the box is a 5-gallon bucket with a special agitator handle for mixing solid waste with compost medium. 

    The “bowl” of the toilet is a fabricated piece of plastic that diverts liquids or urine into a disposable gallon jug container. 

    This composting toilet does need a composting medium like peat moss or coco coir to work properly.

    The toilet comes with a removable agitator handle that goes on the top of the toilet as opposed to the side, making it a good fit for small spaces. 

    This toilet is one of the smallest on the market, but it still has a good holding capacity. 

    This toilet doesn’t come with a fan for venting, but you do have the option to vent it yourself. 

    As I said, this is a very simple, very basic composting toilet! Those who have a small space and don’t want to wire or vent the toilet will absolutely love the simplicity of this toilet. Let’s look at the pros and cons. 

    C Head Composting Toilet Pros

    • No need for electricity
    • No need to vent
    • Large 5-gallon composting bucket
    • Small compact size perfect for small spaces and vans
    • Short option for low-roof camper van conversions available, too

    Cons

    • High price for such a simple toilet
    • Ventless can be both a pro and a con, depending on how often you use the toilet

    Overall, this toilet is perfect for the simplicity of it and the small size. If you lack the tools or resources to build your own composting toilet but want something simple, the C-head is exactly what you need. 

    Air Head Composting Toilet

    The Air Head composting toilet is one of the most popular composting toilets on the market today, and there’s a good reason for that. 

    This toilet is very similar to the Nature’s Head toilet, but they have a few differences that make this toilet a better option than the Nature’s Head, in my opinion. 

    Key differences include the fact that this toilet has handles, it’s super easy to clean and carry, and you can remove the liquids without opening the toilet. And the liquids jug is opaque, so no carrying a yellow jug of pee through the campground!

    This toilet also has a rubber seal on the underside of the toilet seat, and on the toilet lid, and around the solids bin. 

    Composting toilets don’t stink, but you might notice a moss smell or sometimes a urine smell if you don’t clean the jug right. The Airhead has a rubber seal that prevents any smells from escaping, which I think is genius. 

    Airhead Composting Toilet Pros

    • Comfortable residential style toilet seat with rubber seals
    • Carrying handles for easy carrying and dumping
    • Easy to remove and opaque liquids container
    • Stronger fan more effectively dries out the compost
    • Rounded style fits better into most RVs or vans

    Airhead Cons

    • High price

    Honestly, when it comes to composting toilet pros and cons, I can’t think of a ton of cons about the Air Head. It’s expensive, but as far as functionality, I don’t see any cons. 

    DIY Bucket Composting Toilet

    This really wouldn’t be a comprehensive article if I didn’t list a DIY bucket toilet option. 

    If you’ve read this whole article, you should have a pretty good idea of how composting toilets work. 

    In a nutshell, you have a solids bin, a liquids bin, a urine diverter, and a vent fan and hose. 

    You could build a DIY composting toilet with a wooden box, bucket, urine diverter, and computer fan with a vent hose. 

    I’ve considered it myself! 

    In fact, you can buy a urine diverter on Etsy, a DIY composting toilet kit, or a low price homemade composting toilet at a fraction of the price of the name brands.  

    Composting Toilet for RV Pros and Cons

    Composting toilets for RVs and vans aren’t perfect, but neither are other toilets. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons. 

    First, the pros. 

    These toilets are totally portable and self-contained, which make them an excellent choice for boondocking. 

    They’re also perfect for camper van conversions! They don’t require water or plumbing but allow you to have your own bathroom no matter where you’re at. I think that’s a pretty big deal. 

    So what are the main cons associated with composting toilets for campers? 

    One disadvantage is that most styles of composting toilets require two things that not everyone has the knowledge to do: 12v electricity and venting. 

    I personally drilled a hole in my RV to vent my composting toilet and ran 12v wire and wired my toilet fan by myself, with zero knowledge of either thing beforehand. 

    It’s not hard to learn but it can seem scary if you don’t have experience with that kind of thing. 

    The last con I’d like the mention is the frequency of dumping the liquids container. 

    If you can easily stand to pee, you can pee outside and empty your liquids less. But for those of us who have to sit, the liquids jug fills up fast. 

    With two sit-to-pee’rs, I dump my liquids jug once a day or every two days. 

    Being able to dump it almost anywhere is great, but I hate chores. It’s not a deal breaker for me at all, but something to consider.

    Composting Toilet for Camper FAQ

    Finally, I want to answer some of the top questions I get asked about composting toilets. 

    How Do You Dump a Portable Composting Toilet? 

    A composting toilet has a liquids jug and a solids bin. The liquids jug is emptied into a toilet, a dump station, or around mature vegetation depending on local regulations. 

    Depending on the toilet, the solids bin might have a bag liner, or it might not. If it has a liner, just tie up the bag and throw it away. If it doesn’t, you just dump it into a bag and throw it away. 

    How Often Do You Have to Empty the Liquids?

    The liquids jug fills up the fastest. Depending on use and number of people, you have to empty the liquids jug between every 1 3 days. Emptying it every day helps prevent it from developing a urine odor!

    How Often Do You Have to Empty the Solids? 

    This also depends on the number of people and frequency of usage. It will also depend on what type of toilet you have. 

    In my experience, a Nature’s Head or Air Head toilet with 2 people needs to be emptied every 3 weeks to 1 month. 

    The Separett Tiny and Sun Mar GTG will need to be emptied around the same amount or more frequently if you use a lot of paper. 

    What is the Best Composting Toilet for a Van?

    In my opinion, the absolute best composting toilet for a van is the Separett Tiny. I just love this toilet so much! 

    It’s luxurious, has no odor, and is small and sleek. Check out this video review to see it in action!

    Does a Composting Toilet Smell Bad? 

    When properly used and maintained, a composting toilet in an RV or van doesn’t have much of an odor at all. 

    To be totally honest, the only odor I ever notice with mine is when the liquids jug needs cleaning or emptied. 

    Urine goes stale and becomes very foul-smelling if it sits for a long time, which is why it’s important to empty the liquids jug often, even if it’s not full. 

    I have never smelled a sewage smell, nor have a smelled a “poop” odor from my composting toilet, even when emptying it!

    The solid waste smells just like moist dirt. Sounds crazy, but it’s true!

    Is a Composting Toilet for a Camper Worth It? 

    In my opinion, yes, a composting toilet for a camper is definitely worth it. I’ll personally never go back to a regular RV toilet, and every new RV or van I get will have a composting toilet installed. 

    I love the simplicity, the ease of dumping, and the water saving features. Also, I love how environmentally friendly it is and the lack of sewer odors!

    I highly recommend trying one for yourself, even if you go the DIY route. 

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