Are composting toilets perfect for weekend RV adventures?

Are composting toilets perfect for weekend RV adventures?

Hail to the weekend warrior! You get the best of both worlds: a home base to plan your weekend RV adventures and the ability to experience RV holidays in the comfort of your home-away-from-home.

You've probably heard talk about composting toilets, but is it really necessary to have one if you only head out for a few days at a time? Well, we wouldn't say it's actually necessary, but it's definitely the best way to deal with your poo while you're on the go!

If you're wondering what the best composting toilet is for your RV trip, we've got all the information you need to determine which one is right for you. In this article, we'll cover what to consider when selecting your RV composting toilet, from size, to ease of use, to cleaning and disposal and how they are different from a traditional toilet.

What is a composting toilet, and do you need one for weekend RV adventures?

Composting toilets work by separating human waste liquids (urine) from solids (poo) and including organic additives, like coco coir, peat moss, or sawdust, in the solids bin and mixing the two to initiate the composting process. This eliminates the need for a black tank and is more environmentally friendly than cassette toilets or a flushing toilet.

Liquids go into a liquid bottle that can be removed and emptied easily without disturbing the solid waste. Solids remain in the solids bin and are emptied when the bin is close to full. Toilet paper is put into a separate trash bag and thrown away with your regular garbage.

Some composting toilets, like the Cuddy, have an agitator to mix up the solids, and a fan and/or vent hose to help with the initial composting process. Others, like the Cuddy Lite, don't have an agitator. We'll go over the differences and why you might want one over the other shortly.

An important thing to remember about composting toilets is that the solid waste is not yet fully composted when it's time to empty the solids bin. It will smell and look like dirt, but composting human waste takes up to six months or more. You can safely add the contents of the solids bin to your home compost pile to complete the process. If you do not have a safe compost pile, you will need to dispose of your waste in an approved receptacle, much like you would with baby diapers.

Cuddy lite composting toilet being carried from Richard in a green and white raglan t-hirt with CompoCloset logo on the front

RV composting toilet system considerations for weekend RV adventures

As you are looking for the best composting toilets for weekend RV adventures, or even short vanlife trips, these are the things you should consider.

Capacity

The capacity of your composting toilet is important, and your needs will differ depending on your travel style. Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • How many days will you be out?
  • How many people will be using the composting toilet?
  • Will you have access to an appropriate garbage receptacle for disposal?

If you're a family of four going out for RV holidays, you should opt for something with a larger capacity. But if you're a solo traveler on a long weekend trip, something small will work just fine.

For perspective, our Cuddy composting toilet holds 1.7 gallons of liquid capacity, and the solids bin is 3.9 gallons. If two people use it, you'll need to empty the liquids bin about every other day, and the solids bin should last two weeks.

Overall size

The overall size of your composting toilet matters almost as much as the internal capacity. Even for short weekend RV adventures, every square inch of your RV is valuable and must be optimized. You may only have the space where a portable cassette toilet used to be (Cuddy will fit perfectly there!), or you might have a larger space where you're looking to replace your current RV toilet.

You'll also want to consider if you want to move your composting toilet out of your RV or campervan while camping. Some composting toilets are heavy or must have the base permanently inside. If you plan on moving it around often, you should opt for a more compact composting toilet that can double as a portable toilet.

Measure the space available for a compositing toilet and start there, unless you're completely remodeling and have the luxury of creating a custom space for the composting toilet system of your dreams!

Ease of use

Most composting toilets have come a long way with design, but some are still easier to use than others. Specifically, the emptying and cleaning process. And nothing makes RV holidays better than not having challenges dealing with your poo.

With Cuddy, you simply lift up the lid and toilet seat to remove or replace either the liquids bottle or solids bin. It's like the easiest Tetris game ever! This is especially handy for the liquids container since you have to empty that much more often than the solids bin unless you have plumbed your liquids directly into the grey water tank. You can easily do this yourself with the drain-away kit.

To agitate or not?

You might be wondering why someone would choose a composting toilet with an agitator instead of one that doesn't have one. Many factors come into play in this decision: number of  of uses, ease of cleaning, how many people are using it... so let's review the benefits of each and why you might choose one or the other.

Benefits of a composting toilet with an agitator

The primary benefit of a composting toilet with an agitator is that you can mix solids with organic materials, which helps speed up the initial breakdown process. This allows for more room in the solids bin, which means you don't have to empty the bin as often.

If you plan to continue the composting process and have a true compost pile or compost bin to which you will add your waste, using an agitator will help kickstart this process.

You might prefer a composting toilet with an agitator if:

  • You want to use the toilet for longer periods of time without having to empty it
  • 2+ people will be using the toilet for an extended period
  • You don't mind the process of emptying the solids bin
  • You want to add your waste to a compost pile or bin

For the longer RV trip or living vanlife full time, a composting toilet with an agitator is the best RV toilet and is the most sustainable compared to other RV toilets.

Benefits of a composting toilet without an agitator

Using an agitator-less composting toilet allows you to line your solids bin with a compostable bag that you can easily pull out, tie off, and throw into an appropriate waste receptacle without hassle.

Organic material is added to the solids bin after each use, which keeps the toilet from emitting any icky smells. Since you're not mixing the solids after each use, the bin tends to fill up faster

You'll prefer an agitator-less composting toilet if:

  • You want an incredibly easy emptying process
  • You have access to approved waste receptacles more often
  • You're traveling with no more than two people

The difference between an agitator-less composting toilet and a bucket toilet is that a composting toilet will usually have a urine diverter to ensure liquids and solids don't mix. With a typical "bucket toilet," everything goes into the bucket, usually with a bag liner and some kitty litter or sawdust in the bottom, and is disposed of more often. Much like a pit toilet, it will also start to have a sewage smell quickly since everything is mixed together.

family grouped together in a field sitting on camping chairs with an RV in the background

So why would you choose a compost toilet over a cassette toilet?

You might be thinking, "Wouldn't a cassette toilet be easier to use on a weekend away than a portable compost toilet?"

In our time making and selling portable toilets, specifically composting loos, we've heard the same problems time and time again.

  • Older cassettes can leak, causing chemical and waste spillage
  • Cassettes can be cumbersome to empty
  • They need to be emptied at Elsan points or in designated areas, which can incur costs
  • None of which is particularly convenient

So, while many RV owners start with a cassette toilet system, we are rapidly seeing these replaced by the more eco-conscious and easy-to-use composters.

Composting toilets are perfect for weekend RV adventures

Composting toilets are eco-friendly and perfect for the outdoor lovers' weekend RV adventures, or even living vanlife full-time! We truly believe they are the best composting toilet for RV travelers compared to other toilets on the market. Using a composting toilet keeps you self-contained, abides by Leave No Trace principles, and allows you to skip the dump station stops!

Whether you need a composting toilet with an agitator for a longer rv trip with the whole family or something with a smaller capacity that's easier to clean for solo trips, Cuddy and Cuddy Lite are the best solution for RV toilets.


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Sierra Eberly


Sierra Eberly is an avid trail runner, dog mom to Snow, and solopreneur who has been traveling full-time in a campervan since 2020. 

After traveling for over a year while working remotely full-time at a corporate job, she decided to shift gears and pursue her passions for writing and marketing strategy. Boondock Consulting was formed, and she now supports like-minded small businesses with their big aspirations. 

Sierra and Snow continue to travel, balancing work and play while trying their best to make a minimal impact on the planet and enjoying everything it has to offer. You can follow along with their travels via Instagram or Sierra’s personal website, Sierra’s Traverse.