No-Plumbing-Required Toileting Options for Camping/Glamping

By Rachel Puryear

No matter who we are, or what walk of life we may come from, there’s one thing all of us have in common – sometimes, we all have to go to the bathroom.

Our #1 and #2 is not the prettiest or nicest-smelling part of life, but it’s a necessity.

Therefore, whether or not to equip your camping vehicle with some kind of bathroom facilities is something to consider in embarking on van and RV life.

If you don’t have a vehicle that’s already fully outfitted with a plumbing system, don’t want to undergo the expense and difficulty of installing a traditional system, and don’t want to have to rely on public restrooms; there are some alternatives.

If you want to keep it simple, yet have the convenience to go in your own private space, here are some options to help you do that:

Young person sitting on the toilet while reading.

Portable Commode Toilet

This is going to be your most economical option, and it’s pretty simple.

This could include a medical commode – if you ever had an injury where you couldn’t fully sit down onto a toilet, you will recognize these already. Or, if you need a higher seat option (many other portable commodes do sit low), this one could work well.

See here for a medical commode available for purchase.

There’s also a cassette toilet, where you do your business into a tank that has a toilet seat on it. This one looks and functions the most like a traditional toilet, and flushes down your waste until it’s time to empty – yet, no plumbing hookups or connections are required!

See here for a cassette toilet available for purchase.

There’s even a bucket with a toilet seat attached to it – see here.

For all these portable commode toilets, you will need to empty them into regular toilets whenever you can – just watch the tank volume so you’re not overflowing. Don’t pass up an opportunity to dump the tank.

The pros to this option is that they are simple, inexpensive, easy to carry, and use minimal space.

The cons are that it’s a bit icky dumping the waste.

Dry Flush Toilet

If you’ve never heard of a dry flush toilet, have no fear – they’re easy to use, and they’re great.

If you can budget for this option, this is a great one for a stink-free, not-gross, user-friendly, easy glamping toilet. Basically, it’s like an all-ages diaper genie – and works even better.

It looks like a regular toilet from the outside. You relieve yourself into the bowl, which has a liner in it. When you’re done, you press the button, and the toilet seal the liner airtight.

See here for a recommended dry flush toilet.

So there’s no lingering stink, and after flushing, you will have a perfectly clean bowl and liner. You’ll need to change the liner cartridge about every fifteen flushes or so, and you can toss your used one into an ordinary trash can.

This option only requires a small amount of electricity, and you can charge it just once every couple months or so, and leave it unplugged the rest of the time.

Plus, you can conveniently toss all the things into this one that you can’t toss into ordinary flush toilets – including wet wipes, menstrual products, diapers, used kitty litter, and even most other trash. Yay!!

You will also need to buy and keep a supply of liners.

The pros of this one are ease of use, no stink and no handling waste, it’s very sanitary, it can double as your bathroom wastebasket, you don’t need much electricity, it’s portable and self-contained, and it’s simple.

The cons are that it costs more than the portable commode toilets, and you need to keep buying liners. It also does use a lot of plastic liners, but perhaps non-plastic materials will eventually be available.

Composting Toilet

Composting toilets utilize organic material to help break down waste. There’s a bit of a learning curve with these, but it’s doable – don’t worry, it’s not rocket science.

Contrary to what you might think, odors are generally not a problem with composting toilets.

See here for a good composting toilet.

The pros to this option are that they can be portable (the one pictured above is), they control odors well, and they’re a sanitary, low-maintenance option.

The cons to this option are that it’s more expensive than the portable commode toilets, and that you will likely have to teach any guests of yours how to properly use it.


Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to going in your own private space, and keeping it simple and hassle-free.

Got a question you want answered through this blog? Submit your question to me here – and if you don’t already, please request to subscribe to the Free Range Life newsletter while you’re there!

Check out my other blog, too – World Class Hugs, at https://worldclasshugs.com. It’s about better navigating relationships as an empathic person, and traveling and nature photos.

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