Composting Toilets on an RV benefits & drawbacks

When people find out we have a composting toilet instead of a normal RV toilet, we get a lot of mixed responses. We mostly hear things like, “A What? How do you even use that?“, “Does it smell?“, with the occasional “How cool! I’ve been wanting one, do you like it?“. We love our Nature’s Head Composting Toilet for several reasons. So today we’re going to talk a bit about why we went with a composting toilet vs. a traditional RV toilet, how we installed our Nature’s Head Toilet, the drawbacks to a compositing toilet, and answer all the questions I’m sure you’re asking yourself right now. If you’re interested in purchasing the exact composting toilet we have in this video, click here!

What is a Composting Toilet?

A Composting Toilet is completely self-contained, and can safely be used in places where there is no plumbing or sewage facilities. The toilet has two main compartments, one to store the liquids, and the other base compartment to store the solids. By keeping the two separate, you eliminate the typical sewage smell associated with at typical house or RV plumbing system, and keep your waste from becoming a bio-hazard. In addition to the two main pieces of the toilet, there is one ventilation hose to run outside and one 12volt power hook-up for a small computer type fan (this helps eliminate odor from the solids area).

The Liquids bottle is emptied as needed (when it’s close to full) and can be dumped anywhere it is permitted (at a camp sit in a dump station) or if you’re dry camping, in an busy, tree filled area (again, only if permitted).

The composting element of the toilet is actually from the solids compartment. You add rehydrated COCO COIR or Sphagnum peat moss to the base of the toilet. After you do your business, turn the handle to mix the peat moss or COCO COIR and your solid waste to turn into compost just a few hours after you’ve gone to the bathroom. Disposing of the compost (or solids) is really easy. If you have a compost pile, it’d be great to dump there, but on the road we dispose of it by flipping the base over into a composting trash bag, and throwing out in a normal dumpster.

Why We Chose Nature’s Head Composting Toilet


Even though it was a steep upfront cost ($960 on Amazon), in the long run it would give us the ability to dry camp, conserve water usage and storage, is more eco-friendly, and eliminated that nasty black tank!

  • Eliminating Black Tank: We did not want to deal with the smell, the dumping process, or really anything that had to do with the blank tank. With us dry camping quiet often (we’re working toward at least half our spots to be primitive or no hookups), we needed to keep our water usage in check. Our black tank can hold 52 gallons, which isn’t a ton of space if you’re dry camping for 5 – 10 days at a time. Because we eliminated the need for a black tank, we freed up that space for more gray water storage (grey water is from sink and shower use). By combining our grey and black tanks we went from 104 gallons of storage to 156 gallons! That’s a lot of extra space with means we can camp for loner with less of a worry about filling up (which is not good).


  • Save Water & Dry Camp Longer: If you want to dry camp water (storage for fresh water and dirty water) is a big hurtle you’ll have to address. Our Grand Design Momentum 328M has 157 gallons of fresh water storage – that is a LOT. We can store in our grey tanks (and combined blank tank) 156 gallons. If we’re smart about our water usage, that means we can go anywhere from 7 – 14 days without running out of fresh water or fill up our tanks to capacity.  Since the composting toilet doesn’t use water, we save .5 gallon every time we use the toilet. We can focus our water usage on bigger and better things than flushing a toilet.

 The Drawbacks

  • Emptying the liquids containerWe said this in the video and we’ll say it again, urine smells. There’s just no way around it. When you dump the liquids compartment there is typically a strong smell while your emptying the container and sometimes lingers shortly after. It’s a small price to pay for all of the benefits this toilet brings, and really isn’t awful.


Really though, does it smell?

No! We swear! Remember, by keeping the solids and liquids compartment separate it eliminates the typical sewage odor you are familiar with.

How often do you change the solids compartment?

We change the solids compartment every 3 – 5 weeks depending on use. If we’re out and about using other toilets in addition to our Nature Head Composting toilet, we can stretch it closer to the 4 or 5 week mark. Whenever the aggitator has trouble turning, is when you should change it.

How often do you change the liquids compartment?

About every 2 – 3 days depending on use. Don’t let it get too full, or it will be challenging to empty. We like to stick to about 3/4 of the way full.

Where can I empty my liquids and solid waste?

This varies from location to location, so if you’re ever concerned verify you are in fact allowed to dump in the location you are at. We dump our liquids down our shower if we are unable to dump outside, or in the dump station if we have one nearby. If you are allowed to dump outside, near a tree or wildnerness area secluded from other camp sites is perfect! Solids we use a compostable bag and throw away in the dumpster.

What type of toilet paper do you use?

RV or Marine toilet paper that is made to decompose quickly. Normal toilet paper will not work! We like Scott’s RV toilet paper.

What about when you’re having “severe intestinal turmoil”? (You can thank our friends for the wording on that…we prefer to say “emergencies”)

If it’s a one time thing, your are sick, or you have an upset stomach from something you ate, your composting toilet should be able to handle it. If it’s happening on a consistent basis it may cause an imbalance in the compost section. Honestly, if it is happening often enough you may have a larger issue at hand than just your composting toilet!

How do I clean my liquids container?

Overtime calcium will build up within the container of your liquids compartment. We put small aquarium rocks (cost effective too), into the container with vinegar and shake for about 2 – 3 minutes. Rinse after shaking and it should take care of the build up.


  1. Sherlene

    Thank-you for creating such an informative and easy to digest (pun intended) video. I’ve been researching toilets and found that your video answered all my questions. Good luck!

    • adventuretime

      So glad it was helpful for you! Good luck with you as well. If you venture into the composting toilet world I’m sure you’ll love it!


  1. The Real Costs AFTER Buying an RV - Eat See RV! - […] We’ll continue to add more posts in the about the other items we ended up purchasing for our RV,…
<amp-auto-ads type="adsense"<!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> data-ad-client="ca-pub-8361886835691399"><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --></amp-auto-ads>
About Us

About Us

We are Dennis and Liz! We’re two travel loving, real estate investing, foodies exploring North America full time in a Grand Design fifth wheel toy hauler. We share our lessons learned as full time RV’ers, travel tips and tricks, and the best places to eat and see in the US with you!

Top Things to Do, See, and Eat in San Cristobal de Las Casas

Top Things to Do, See, and Eat in San Cristobal de Las Casas

Top Things to Do, See, and Eat in San Cristobal de Las CasasLocated in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, San Cristobal de Las Casas is one of Mexico’s most charming, unique, and vibrant cities. This pueblo magico has a distinct character and multifaceted culture...


travel with us!

Currently Glamping