Being on the road brings a heady combination of rush and peace with or without a certain destination in mind. The adventure that comes with living in a van can neither be easily replicated nor replaced. You’ll be traveling and seeing sights that not everyone has the chance to witness.
If you’re in a hurry, we’ve summarized our absolute favorites when it comes to the best options below.
You’re in it for the annual road trip, or you’re a camper at heart. You are familiar with both the fun times and mishaps when it comes to staying in an RV or pop-up camper. Even veteran campers have things they wish they knew as they started living the van life. It could be having a good water source and a cassette toilet. A shower area is also a great thing to have.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into what they are first. Knowing which one would suit your vehicle and lifestyle the best will bring huge changes to your camping life! Having a portable toilet from the start of living in a van will improve sanitation and comfortability. It will help you adjust to the lifestyle.
Here’s the extensive guide on the best cassette toilets and shower combos that can fit perfectly into an RV. Make sure to check out the Thetford options!
What is it?
Cassette toilets are a common fixture that you’ll see in European RVs. It’s a permanent toilet with a portable holding tank that makes camping life easier. Bear in mind not to confuse them with portable ones. The toilet is permanently attached to the RV with cassette toilets, and only the holding tank is removable or portable. On the other hand, portable toilets offer a whole system (toilet and holding/waste tank) that is removable. It is a good feature for taking a dump outside.
Nowadays, many RVs for sale have these compared to the traditional RV toilets. It has brought a surge in popularity for these products. Numerous manufacturers that were previously solely based in Europe are now venturing into more countries due to this. Check out the table below for your RV or pop-up camper’s cassette toilet shower combo and cassette toilet needs. Thetford is on that list!
Benefits of having one
Why is it the best pick?
Many campers prefer the cassette toilet over the usual options because of its portable holding tank. With traditional options, you’d have to drive to a place with a dump station before you can clean it out. It can be quite a hassle when you’re camping at a site with no nearby dump station in sight. With this option, you can camp out anywhere regardless of the presence of a dump station. It has a portable feature that makes it convenient if there are no available dump stations nearby. You can remove it and go to the nearest public restroom. Dump the tank’s contents there. This way, you no longer have to worry about prioritizing the availability of dump stations when picking a camping site.
Having the option to buy a replacement for the portable waste tank will save money in the long run. If it gets damaged, you only need to buy a new tank of the same type. You don’t have to change the toilet, too!
Furthermore, they preserve the smell of clean air inside your RV. Its chemical reservoir breaks down waste and prevents the odor from wafting out under the drain valve. There is no need to separate liquid and solid waste using chemical cassette toilets. It makes everything more convenient.
How does it work
They are very easy to use and maintain. The way it works is very similar to how a home toilet would operate. Here’s how it works: A compact bowl is installed permanently in the RV over a removable waste tank. The waste is flushed directly into the tank after flushing, and you must remove it when it’s full.
|Toilet||Pump flush||Portable tank|
In general, all models have three main components. They include the toilet, flush/water source, and portable waste tank.
- As previously mentioned, it is permanently fixed. They have a control handle that enables you to open and close the valve between the toilet and the waste tank underneath. Some have a toilet that turns 180 degrees to allow maximized space usage. Some can only rotate at a 90-degree angle.
- Pump flush
- The flush makes use of freshwater to direct the waste down into the tank. The water is usually sourced from the RV’s central reservoir for most models. Some have their own holding tank.
- Portable waste tank
- It is usually accessible from a door located outside, on the driver’s side of the RV. This makes retrieval easy when you need to dump the contents.
- It is a chemically treated reservoir; a chemical solution goes into this tank. It breaks down the waste and prevents bad smells from permeating through the RV.
To use the unit, all you need to do is make sure the water source is connected to the RV’s central water tank. If the model has its water tank, ensure it’s filled properly. Check if the chemical solution is in the wastewater reservoir. Once everything is set up, you can go ahead and use the toilet. Just make sure that the valve is open before using it so that the waste can travel to the reservoir after use. Once you’re done, flush the toilet. Close the valve and lid after you use them.
Monitor the indicator of the waste reservoir regularly. Check if it’s nearly full. It is always better to empty it before its capacity is maxed out to ensure a fresh-smelling vehicle. Always monitor freshwater availability for the flush, whether your RV’s central water tank or the water tank.
How often should you empty it?
You won’t need to empty it as often compared to bucket toilets with the help of the chemical treatment within the water reservoir. Bucket toilets usually require daily cleaning. It is recommended to empty and clean a cassette toilet every 2-3 days to retain a fresh and clean environment within your RV. The disinfectants that go together with the chemical toilet are helpful when cleaning the toilet. Mix water and a liquid bio detergent to dispose of the remaining wastes in the tank in liquid form. It makes cleaning and maintenance easier. Water and ammonia or distilled white vinegar can keep the tank and area smelling fresh.
It is very important to read and follow the user manual’s instructions carefully. Do the indicated maintenance check and cleaning on the valve blade and seal to prevent any mishap while on the road.
Features to look
|What to look for|
Size, Weight & Capacity
Ensure that the model you’re buying can easily fit without any repercussions. Consider the working area you’ll be left with when installed. If you want something that can double as extra seating, look for tall chemical toilets that will be comfortable to sit on. Suppose you’re only looking for an option that you’d only use solely during relieving yourselves. It’s better to opt for shorter models to save up space.
It’s important to take note of the weight that the whole system will be when it is full. Make sure you can handle the weight when it’s time to carry it to the dump station. If you bought a 5-gallon chemical toilet, make sure that you can carry it when it’s full. It can weigh up to 30-40 lbs.
For the capacity, consider the number of people it will accommodate and your access to dump stations. Suppose you’re traveling by yourself and camping in areas with dumping stations. A 3-gallon cassette toilet may be the perfect choice for you. Maybe you have less access to dumping stations, or you’re traveling with one or two more companions. Then opt for a toilet that has a bigger capacity.
For flushes, choose your preferred flushed type. Some have a pump flush, while some have a battery-powered flush. Both are useful, but some people prefer pump flush better because you won’t need batteries. Another thing to consider is the flush nozzle type. It’s better to pick a three-way nozzle because it keeps everything tidier after every flush than a single sprout flush.
Not all models have colored indicators that will tell you when the tank is nearly full (or already full). It’s better to opt for one that has one so that you can plan and make your way towards the nearest public restroom or dumping station. This also makes cleaning and maintenance easier because ones with no indicators can be pretty difficult to monitor. Leaks happen when you’re not paying close attention to the capacity.
Lid lock and sealed valve
Always pick one with a tight lid lock and valve between the upper and lower tanks to prevent splashes and leaks and avoid bad odors. Pressure can build up in the waste tank, and opening the valve can cause splashes. It’s better to open the valve first while the lid is tightly locked to ensure that you won’t get splashed by wastewater.
Waste tank handle, wheels, and emptying spout
Toilets with a large capacity can become very heavy when full, as mentioned earlier. Make sure to pick a brand that offers carry handles for easier maneuvering of the tank when it’s time to clear it out. Some models even have extendable handles and wheels, which is great for heavy waste tanks. You can carry them like luggage. Look for a model with an emptying spout, so you can easily pour out the liquid waste accumulated in the tank.
|Manufacturers to look for|
Thetford is one of the most renowned manufacturers of this type of product. This brand is widely known among traveler folks because they do not only make models for RVs. They also have ones for boats. Their products are available in numerous countries. Thetford offers products with capacities ranging from 2.6-gallons to 5.5-gallons. Here are some noteworthy models for sale made by Thetford:
- Thetford Porta Potti 260B
- This has a 2.6-gallon waste water tank, which is ideal for a solo camper or if you frequent a dumping site. It’s fairly easy to carry due to its capacity. It takes up less space inside the RV with its small and compact design (14” x 13.4” x 15”).
- It has an average of 27 flushes and a flush pump.
- It has a rotating wastewater/emptying pour spout and a sealed drain valve for cleaning convenience.
- Thetford C402-C
- This model is one of the most popular options due to its huge capacity of 5.1 gallons. This is a good choice for campers who travel in twos. It’s great for someone who doesn’t frequent dumping stations every day. This has a 12-volt pump and flushing system and has an average capacity of around 56 flushes.
- The tank also features a retractable handle and is fitted with wheels, which makes cleaning much easier!
- C402-C also has left-hand and right-hand entry models for easy installation.
- Thetford Porta Potti Curve 550E
- This has the biggest capacity and most unique design. It is large (18” x 18” x 16”) and sturdy and boasts a huge capacity of 5.5 gallons. It has an average of 56 flushes in between cleaning. This is the best pick for an RV housing 2 or more campers. It’s great if you’re going on a long road trip with a few dumping station stops.
- This has a battery-powered flush, and it also has a convenient paper holder.
- One of the best features of this model is its water level indicators of both its top and bottom water tanks. It makes monitoring a lot easier. Cleaning is made easy with the rotating pour spout and carry handles. It also has a sealed drain valve.
SereneLife offers innovative lifestyle products. Their products range from electronics to indoor and outdoor appliances. Their models are worth mentioning due to their large capacity and lightweight yet sturdy build. Here’s a model that’s worth checking out:
- SereneLife SLCATL320
- This has the second largest capacity, with a 5.3-gallon wastewater tank reservoir. It has an average of 50 flushes in between cleanings. It has a dimension of 16.5” x 13” x 16”.
- It is equipped with a powerful manual flush/piston pump flush. It is fed water through its own 3.5-gallon clean water reservoir.
- A notable feature is its double-sealed drain valve that closes tightly to prevent waste and odor leaks. A sturdy build enables it to double as a secondary seating for your RV.
- Cleaning and maintenance are easy with its rotating pour spout and carry handles.
Dometic is another well-known brand, with models for sale around Europe and the United States. Dometic boasts highly durable products made with ABS and high-density polyethylene. They’re typically made of stainless steel that holds down their large-capacity models. You can drive without worrying about disturbing the installation. You can even stand on these heavy-duty toilets if you need to reach for something. That’s how durable they are. However, these added benefits are reflected in the high cost of Dometic models. Still, it’s proven that the added costs are worth it. Like Thetford, Dometic offers various models with different capacities. They range from 2-gallon to 5-gallon. Here’s one that you might want to check out:
- Dometic 301097506
- It has a large capacity, featuring a 5.0-gallon wastewater tank. It’s a great choice with an average count of 50-55 flushes.
- It has stainless steel hold-down brackets for a more secure installation that won’t budge. You’re safe even when you drive around and encounter bumps on the road.
- This has a push-button pressurized flush and has a dimension of 13.5” x 15.5” x 16.5”.
- There are handles on both top and bottom tanks, which makes moving and cleaning easier. Its rotating pour spout and sealed drain valve add to the convenience of cleaning.
Other Noteworthy Tools for your RV life:
In addition to these products, we have a brief list of items proven to be useful. Are you getting ready for your next trip? Some can even be brought along on your trip to make your life easier.
- Amp Wires and Breakers
- This blog post that I made features a comprehensive chart and recommendations for extension cords and wire sizes. Make sure that you use the proper electrical equipment to avoid damaging your appliances. Having a busted appliance on the road is a recipe for disaster, so you have to be careful! Read through the blog post to choose the safest and most affordable extension cords and service wires for your camping needs.
- Waste Oil Heaters
- For a dedicated camper, the RV life does not stop even when winter starts to set in. Check these waste oil heaters and find one that can provide you with the extra warmth that you need. These heaters are also a perfect addition to your house! This type of heater makes use of waste oil. It means you’re even helping with lessening the amount of oil waste!
- Welders and plasma cutters
- Being on the road means you got to have something that you can easily take with you anywhere. One thing that camping taught me is that you should be prepared for impromptu construction projects. Sometimes things just don’t go ahead as planned. These MIG welders and engine-driven welders are great. The latter ones do not need an external power source! Plasma cutters can be useful for fixing something in your RV. You can do metalwork with ease, whenever you need to. Check out these UV light sanitizers as well.
Both are used in RVs. However, a cassette toilet has its seat/flush unit separate from the holding tank. Unlike a porta-potty, the holding tank is stored externally. It can also be dumped from the outside, and that’s why it’s preferred over porta-potties and is also more expensive.
Although they can last 3-5 days, we recommend emptying cassette toilets every one or two days to keep the smell at bay.
With the increasing use of the cassette toilet for liquid and solid excreta, the smell will worsen. If you only use your toilet for peeing, it wouldn’t be as bad. There are also ways to keep the smell at bay. For instance, you could increase the dumping frequency. Clean the toilet often and don’t allow poop unless it’s urgent.
A five-gallon cassette toilet will last about 3-5 days before you need to empty it. This could mean around 25-30 flushes.
Although it is possible to poop in a cassette toilet, it does make things smellier. Most people only use cassette toilets for peeing, but kids can’t hold themselves for that long so that they can be allowed. It’s not preferable to be poop because it gets difficult for the one in charge of emptying the dump.
Cassette toilets are better for someone looking for a portable option while camping or visiting remote areas. It has a portable tank that can be dumped in nearby bathrooms when full. It offers the advantage of being able to walk the cassette tank to the toilet instead of doing the hard work yourself.
This marks the end of our discussion on these camping additions. I hope this article helped you decide and shorten your list of which options are worth checking out. Many beginner campers regret not having the right type at their disposal. I’m happy to provide information that can lessen such mishaps. I hope this blog post will help you conquer the camper life with ease!