If you’ve chosen to have a toilet in your van, whether it be a plumbed, cassette, or composting toilet, you may be feeling a little unsure of how and where to safely dump your waste.
Typically, the most convenient location for emptying your campervan toilet is a dumping station which can be found near campgrounds and RV parks. If you’re on the road you might also consider using disposal sites at truck stops, public rest stops, or even RV dealerships. If you’re staying in a more remote location, you can dump the waste in toilet vaults (also known as pit toilets). For composting toilets, you can dump solid waste at dumping stations or landfills, while liquid waste can be emptied at public restrooms.
In short, there are a few options available where you can empty your campervan toilets but let’s dig into the most popular methods.
Dumping stations may be the most convenient and accessible way to dump your toilet waste.
Here’s why most full-time vanlifers prefer dumping stations:
The best way to find a dumping station near you is to search online or use an app like Allstays. However, you must ensure to comply with the rules when emptying your toilet. Many dumping stations will also charge a small fee for using this service, so you need to plan accordingly.
Cassette toilets come with a removable holding tank that you need to dump when it gets full. As there are no separate tanks for holding solid and liquid waste, you need to empty them frequently to avoid bad odors.
Emptying a cassette toilet is easy, and the process takes around 10 to 15 minutes.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to empty your cassette toilet:
If your campervan has a traditional plumbed RV toilet, your waste is probably flushed into a tank located somewhere under your van. That tank is called the Black Water Tank.
To empty a black water tank, you will want to make sure to pack your own slinky hose.
Here are the steps to emptying your black water tank:
Many gas stations and truck stops also have dumping stations that you can use for a small fee.
Here’s how they compare to other options:
Overall, truck stops are a good option to dump waste if you are willing to pay for their services.
Many RV dealerships also have dumping stations that you can avail yourself of along your journey. The major benefits of dumping stations at RV dealerships are:
Like most other services, RV stations also charge a fee to dump your toilet waste.
If you are camping in a remote area, there is a very good chance that you may not have access to a dumping station. In this case, you can use outside toilets (also known as vault or pit toilets) to dump your waste.
You may have to use your water to rinse the toilet so consider taking some extra on the trip.
Composting toilets use separate tanks (or chambers) for solid and liquid waste. The solid waste can then be turned into compost, given the right conditions. However, it takes a lot of time, and many vanlifers prefer to dump both solid and liquid waste.
Here are a few places where you can dump the solid waste:
To dump liquid waste, you can use the following places:
If you’re camping in a remote area, you may find yourself without access to a suitable dumping station. In this case, I’d suggest you try to limit the use of your campervan toilet. You may have no other choice than to dig a hole (following these guidelines).
Keep in mind:
It’s also important to know where NOT to dump your toilet waste.
You should also never empty your toilets in storm drains. These drains are either designed for rainwater or are designed for sewer lines. There can also be consequences for you if you dump in storm drains illegally.
And as mentioned earlier, don’t dump your black water waste on public lands or rinse your toilet tank in a stream or river.
Here’s a quick review of what I covered:
Did you know using a cassette toilet can eliminate the need for a larger black water tank or any RV plumbing? Read on to learn why cassette toilets are a good option for vanlife.
Are you on the hunt for the best portable toilet for your campervan? Thankfully there are many campervan toilet options for every budget.
Thinking of building a bathroom in your self-converted van? Read this first!