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What are the best portable toilets in Australia?

Updated: Jun 22, 2023



So you’re out in the bush, getting away from all the hustle and bustle of regular life when all of a sudden you NEED TO GO.


Maybe it was that red hot curry you had for dinner last night.


Sure it was as tasty as all get out, but man oh man… that fantastic curry is causing you grief now.

For times like these, what you need is a portable camping toilet.


But which one?

In Australia today, there are so many to choose from and as you’ll soon see, not all portable toilets are created equal.


So what is the best portable camping toilet in Australia?


To help answer this, I want to start by sharing a quick story that holds very true for all things camping.

The story goes like this…

A guy rings a tradie who says he needs some tiles laid.

It’s a complex job and he needs it to be done to a very high standard by the end of the week.

“So, what’s your price?” the punter asks the tradie.

The experienced tradie looks at the guy and says the following:


“There are three factors that come into play here but you can choose two of them. I can do it fast. I can do it cheaply. Or I can do it to a high quality. What two of those three do you want?”


Now the customer has something to think about.

If he wants it fast and cheap, it won’t be high quality.


If he wants it fast and high quality it won’t be cheap.


If he wants it cheap and high-quality it won’t be fast.


Off-grid living, and in particular, choosing the best portable camping toilet, is like that.

The right portable camping toilet is critical to happy camping



Where most people go wrong with choosing camping toilets is that they underestimate the impact that poor toileting facilities will have on the overall enjoyment of the holiday for some or all of their family members.

In this article, we deep dive into the very important subject of what are the best camping toilets on the market right now, and we encourage you to think about it not only from your own viewpoint but also what it’s going to be like for your fellow travellers when one of you uses the toilet.

Further, we will press you to look beyond the metrics of a toilet like:

  • How big it is.

  • How much it weighs.

  • How many litres it can hold.

  • How much it costs.


All of those things don’t mean anything if your husband or wife ends up saying,


“I’m never going camping again because this is disgusting!”

Or,

“It’s 2 am in the morning! I’m not walking out into the bush to dig a hole or use that stinky bucket toilet!”


Saying that it only costs $25 at Anaconda at that moment isn’t going to make them any happier!


You need a toilet that doesn't ruin your entire camping experience!

Get present with the act of using the portable toilet


Before you go shopping for the perfect portable toilet, you need to really think about a bunch of very granular things like:


  • Where specifically will you be using this toilet? In a van? Outside in a portable tent?


  • Where in the country will you be? On or off-grid?


  • When will you be using it? In the middle of the night?


  • Who is going to be using it? Are any of them easily grossed out?


All of these things will have an impact on the camping toilet that’s right for you.

For example, if you choose a chemical toilet and you’re planning on being off-grid for extended periods of time, then that might not be the best choice because you can’t just dump the chemicals on the side of the road. You need access to a dumping point or normal toilet that’s plumbed into a town sewer.


Or what about this... Are you REALLY up for pouring poop down a public dumping pit or carrying your own poo (or your partner's) in a plastic bag?

Or what about this...

If you’re camping with someone who gets up several times in the night to use the toilet, does your toilet choice enable them to stay in the van or caravan and comfortably use the toilet? Or will the toilet you choose be noisy or really smelly after it's been used because it doesn't contain smell well?


Thinking about these things in advance will make sure that you choose the right camping toilet for you and your family’s needs.


A framework to start from...


There are oodles of different portable toilets on the market in Australia, so it can be tricky to know which ones to even shortlist.


Here is a few things to think about.


1) Efficiency in capturing toilet smells.


How well does the toilet take care of toileting smells? This is really important if you plan on using inside a van, caravan or other confined space. Not just when you use it, but afterwards too. Does the system hold the smell in whatever storage device it uses?


2) Ease of installation & mobility.

How easy is it to set the toilet up once you get to camp? Or how easy is it to install if you're putting it somewhere more permanent? Can it be moved once it's in or it then stuck in that one spot (like the shower of your van).

3) Ease and pleasantness of emptying, cleaning, and maintaining the toilet.


If you or your fellow campers are easily “grossed out”, you’ll want to ask: Does this toilet minimise the yuck factor? If you're not sure what I'm getting at here, go to YouTube and watch videos on how disgusting the process of emptying chemical toilet can be!



4) Convenience to use.


Is it just there when you need it, or do you have to set it up every time? Insert a paper bowl liner each time? How heavy is it to carry? Is the seat at a convenient height, and completely stable?


5) Draw on resources (water & power) if used in an off-grid situation.


How much water does it use per person per day? What power does it use, battery or mains? And how much power?


6) Cost to buy & maintain the toilet.


And then there’s the financial outlay.


We’ll cover that too, but first, did you know there are 6 main portable toilet systems?


The 6 main types of portable toilets

There are 6 main portable toilet system types:

1) The humble bucket & bag toilets (and the shovel & hole)

2) Chemical toilets

3) Flushing water toilets

4) Composting toilets

5) Incineration toilets

6) The new kid on the block in Australia - DryFlush toilets.

1) Bucket & Bag Toilets



At the bargain basement end of the pricing spectrum, there are several “interesting” toilet options.

But I’m guessing that cheapies are not what you were looking for when you came here to find the BEST portable toilet for Australians.


Nevertheless, here’s a short list…


Spinifex Folding Toilet





It’s a bare-bones fold-up bucket system that consists of a plastic toilet seat, a foldable steel frame, and a black plastic bag. Not even a lid. It’s certainly a portable toilet. And it’s cheap, at around $20.

Menace Portable Toilet Box


Actually, it’s a bucket, not a box. But the removable seat does have a hinged lid. This may very well be the Best Budget Camping Toilet. Around $25.


Wuciray Folding Toilet


Another foldable, circular in shape with a solid base. And this one has a lid. Lightweight so it’s super portable, weighing just over 1 kg. Around $40.

Weisshorn 3.8 Litre Portable Camping Toilet


Sturdy 3-legged model that includes 2 sets of wide-angle legs (child height, adult height). The legs screw into the seat frame. 3.8L water capacity, so weight is never going to be an issue. This is another contender for Best Budget Camping Toilet. Around $50.


Kunida Portable Camping Toilet Chair


Another foldable design, with just a plastic seat and a strong looking 4-legged metal frame. The description gave me a wry smile: “You can potty into a large plastic toilet bag, a plastic bucket or simply over a hole in the ground.” (Thanks, guys.) Around $70.


COMMENT: Emptying these contraptions is unpleasant. Not emptying them is even more unpleasant.


2) Chemical Toilets


NOTE: Chemical toilets are no good for you if there isn't a chemical dumping station at all your favourite campgrounds… unless you’re only away from home for a few days at a time, in which case the waste tank may not get filled up before you have to carry it back home.


Portable chemical toilets typically have 2 tanks. The top tank is for water, used for flushing. The lower tank is where the excrement is stored until the tank is emptied, which involves carrying it to a dump point. This bottom tank typically uses chemicals that break down the waste and the gas, and improve (but don't eliminate) the smell. In the lower tank, blue chemicals are not biodegradable which means they can't be flushed away or buried. Green chemicals can be. Using soft toilet paper is recommended for chemical toilets.

Flushing can be done either by 1) A bellow flush which requires you to press the button multiple times to push enough water into the toilet to flush away the doings. You keep pushing the button till the pot is clean again.


Or 2) A piston flush, which is easier and comes in a manual push model and an electric model. One press is all it needs to send the water into the bowl.


Toilets like these need a full indicator and there are several types (worth knowing).


Thetford Porta Potti 135 At around $250, you get 27 average flushes before it’s time to pick it up with its ergonomic carrying handle and find yourself someplace to empty said potty, using its exclusive rotating Pour-Out spout. Thetford has other toilets too.


Dometic 2.6 Gallon Portable Toilet It’s so strong you can stand on it (why?) and yet at 2.6 gallons (9.8 liters), it’s lighter to carry to the dump station than the 5-gallon model. Happily, this unit has an extra-long pivoting discharge spout. Made in China and it’s about $100 cheaper than the Thetford. Dometic has other toilets too.

COMMENT: If you ask me, the task of emptying the yuck tank is best done with gloves, eye protection, and a face mask as you definitely don't want any splash back. After the first round of discharging the horrid contents, shake the tank to see if there is any solid matter still sloshing around inside. If so, add more water, shake again, and empty. Repeat until the exit water is clear. Wash the tank, install it again, then wash and disinfect yourself. And plan to do it again in a few more days. Before you buy a chemical toilet, take a moment to watch this video on YouTube. It may get you thinking twice! It's 6 minutes of people throwing up emptying their chemical toilets! Your'e welcome!



3) Water Flushing Toilets

Weisshorn 20 Litre Portable Toilet


It delivers up to 50 flushes from its 12 litre water tank, although they suggest you use several flushes to clear the chamber. Weight could be an issue here, as the unit itself weighs 6 kg and the detachable waste tank has a 20 litre capacity (so when full, the tank would weigh more than 20 kg). Around $100.


COMMENT: You’d need a reliable water supply (eg, a caravan park or a river), so you don't have to transport it yourself. That makes this not ideal for remote camping and off-gridders.


Also not ideal for those who cannot lift and carry 20+ kg.

4) Incinerator Toilets


High temperature is used to burn biological waste in an enclosed incineration chamber. The sterile ash later has to be removed.


Incinolet Electric Incinerating Toilet


Made in Texas. You insert a bowl liner each time, then do your business, then step on the foot pedal to flush, then push the start button to incinerate. Could be a good option for a building where sewerage and septic tanks are not possible due to a high water table. Requires 240-volt power and an exhaust outlet. However, users have reported it’s quite noisy and takes 45-180 minutes to process the doings. And it’s smelly and if you don't use a bowl liner every time, the cleaning process is… awfully messy.  


Cinderella Travel Incineration Toilet


Made in Norway, this eco-friendly design produces no polluting emissions, only a tiny amount of sterile ash. 70 toilet visits before emptying. Using no chemicals and no water, it runs on LPG gas and 12V control power. Requires an exhaust pipe through the roof. Price: AUD $7,500.

COMMENT: Some models require mains electric power to burn the dung. Others run on propane or natural gas. With all systems, you’ll need an exhaust pipe through the roof. Some models can’t be used while they’re incinerating, and with some you can't flush if the power is out. And it can take 40 minutes (up to 4 hours) to complete an incineration cycle, depending on the brand. Makes them energy-expensive to run.

5) Composting Toilets


Composting toilets deliver several significant benefits in a fixed situation. They use no water, very little power, and they produce useful garden compost. They don't need to be hooked up to plumbing or septic tanks and they are largely odour-free. But why are they not as popular as other portable toilets?

Nature’s Head Composting Toilet

No water, no odour. Has a (transparent) urine bottle but no tanks. Requires a vent. You need to add composting material, such as coconut coir. You need to open the solids chamber to access the liquid chamber. These are a really good toilet and they retail for around $2,200 on Amazon Australia.




OGO Toilet


Press one button to operate the agitator. Empty the urine tank as needed and the solid waste tank after 35 uses. You’ll need 12V or battery power to help with drying and composting but you won't need water or chemicals.

Cuddy Portable Composting Toilet


No need for an external vent, due to an internal carbon filter. No chemicals, no smell. They say the biodegradable composted material looks and smells like a forest floor. Needs 12V power for the fan. Assembled in USA. Around $1400.

COMMENT:

Easier and less yuck factor than some chemical toilets but still there are features you might not like. Fan running all the time? And you’ll still have to empty a bottle of wee and a compost tank, although less often, depending on the model.


But there's one more portable toilet worth looking at...


The Laveo Dry Flush toilet


When you’re buying a portable toilet, it's important to really think about the practical trade-offs of all these toilets… right down to the stench, the maintenance, the weight of the thing, the visits to the dumping points… because that's the reality and that's why people buy the toilet we're about to talk about, despite the non-trivial price tag.


They are paying for hygiene, the dignity of a smell-free toilet, and massive convenience.


So let’s now take a good look at the benefits that you’ll get if you choose the Laveo Dry Flush camping toilet.


1. NO WATER IS REQUIRED


Save your onboard water supply because this is a waterless toilet. That’s right. It uses no water!


Shocking fact #1: More than 30,000 litres of water is flushed down the average Australian toilet each year!


Shocking fact #2: Zero litres of water is flushed down any Laveo toilet each year!


2. YOU CAN USE ANY TOILET PAPER


No need to risk using those super-thin toilet papers! You can stick to the plush stuff :-)


3. ULTRA LONG-LIFE RECHARGEABLE BATTERY


This battery remains charged for up to 3 months at a time which makes the toilet 100% portable. Take it anywhere.

4. EASY TO REPLACE BATTERY


You won't be stuck for parts! This power supply is an easy-to-find motor bike battery.


5. NO CHEMICALS TO BUY


There are no liquids at all in this design.


6. ACCEPTS ALMOST ANYTHING!


Feminine products. String. Solids. Anything!

7. RUNS OFF ANY KIND OF POWER


You can run it off your inverter or mains power as well.

8. AMERICAN MADE


This is a quality, American-made product! Not made in China.

9. NO CARTRIDGE TO EMPTY


Easily the worst job in caravanning or camping is emptying the toilet, whether that’s a plastic bag of poo or the doings from a chemical toilet. Never do that again. Ever!


10. NO PLUMBING ISSUES EVER


There are no pipes or plumbing in this patented system. You'll never get a blockage!

11. NO SMELL


Laveo uses a Mylar bag with a patented fan and bag twisting system that seals in the smell.

12. ONE-YEAR GUARANTEE


We absolutely guarantee all aspects of this product for a full 12 months.

The verdict on the best portable camping toilet in Australia?


If you’re like Steve Irwin and are happy with no comforts, or if price and weight are most important to you, choose one of the bucket and bag models. Or just take a shovel. Cheap as chips and tons of fun!

If you can't stand the idea of carrying poo from your camper van over to a community dumping station, you’ll prefer a chemical toilet, although emptying a tank (or bag) full of excrement won't be the highlight of your day. Wear gloves and have a jolly good wash afterward, okay? Or consider an eco-friendly composting toilet where the waste material is less unpleasant to handle.

If you’re a massive fan of comfort, convenience, and cleanliness and you don't want to see, smell or know about poo once it's out of your body, go with the Laveo.


Although it's not a budget purchase, thousands of Laveo Dry Flush systems have been sold over the last decade in the United States. Buyers appreciate their Laveo because it's waterless, it’s portable, you never have to empty a tank of poo, and it blocks 100% of the smell.

You’ll never regret buying quality.


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