Caravan toilet in comparison

Caravan toilet – comparison – that´s what this article is about. We will differentiate between the standard chemical toilets and more and more frequently used composting toilets. Both have a similarly long history.

In particular, we will present the advantages and disadvantages of individual toilets.

There are the following types of caravan toilets: chemical toilets and sustainable mobile home toilets. 

The chemistry toilets are still very common. However, these are no longer up-to-date for they use chemical additives, which pollute the treatment plant. In contrast to this, lasting camping toilets have become ever more popular. 

They work without chemicals and without water. If you are looking for detailed information about how a composting toilet works, then have a look here: How a composting toilet works.

  1. History of the camper van/ caravan toilet
  2. Advantages and disadvantages of the individual caravan toilet
  3. Summary of advantages and disadvantages of the caravan toilet
  4. Conclusion

The caravan toilet is usually permanently installed. It should be ready for use at any time and offer a similar comfort to the toilet at home. This includes simple handling and maintenance of the toilet.

1. History of the caravan toilet

If one thinks of a caravan toilet, most think of the classical cassette toilet, which is a common standard in almost all caravans. 

The toilets from Thetford, Dometic, or Enders are probably the most common among chemical toilets.

In 1960 the American Frank Sargent invented the camping toilet. It was similar to the Porta Potti. 

In 1963 Sargent founded the Thetford company, which spread worldwide. In 1988, the classic cassette toilets came onto the market and moved into all motor homes.¹

At this point, we would like to express our gratitude to the Thetford company for equipping the motorhomes with toilets and thus making motorhome travel more independent and free.

Cassette toilets became generally accepted as mobile toilets.

The permanently installed cassette toilets are gaining ground compared to mobile chemical toilets because they are easier to handle. 

Only the cassette must be changed by an outside compartment in the mobile home. The rest of the toilet remains firmly installed in the motor home.

Composting toilet – alternative living mobile toilet

The composting toilet also has a long history. The development of the dry toilet began in Sweden at the end of 1930. 

In 1970 the dry toilet was also used in the USA, in national parks. Nevertheless, water toilets have gained acceptance. The composting toilet is hygienic, odorless, waterless, and environmentally friendly.

A simple dry toilet does not necessarily separate the solid and liquid components. A composting toilet separates the residues from each other so that the rotting processes do not take place at all. 

The urine can be used diluted in the garden as fertilizer. Of course, it can also be disposed in drains.

In the composting toilet, the solids are covered with spreading material, such as sawdust or bark mulch, which aerates and dries them out. 

This way, they can be collected for a longer period of time and are finally either put into the garbage can or onto the compost. Some also bury the solids when no other option is available. 

In this way, no animals can get at it and nature transforms the organic mass into the soil. The solids have a peaty structure, so it is not unpleasant to dispose of them. 

Because the excrement dries out, odors do not have a chance in the separating toilet.

Gradually, the demand for alternative toilet concepts for mobile use, such as for motor homes, boats, or camping, is increasing. 

The decisive difference is the created independence from supply and disposal stations. Separate toilets offer the possibility to stand freely for longer periods.

2. Advantages and disadvantages of the individual caravan toilet

1. Classic Cassette Toilet

A caravan toilet must be practical and therefore the cassette toilets developed in the ’80s became generally accepted. 

Instead of going into the sewerage system, everything is put into the cassette and collected there. The store is flushed down with water. The handling is similar to the toilet at home. 

Sit on it, flush – finished (for now). The big difference lies in the regular disposal of the collected feces in the cassette.

Advantages:

  • Cassette toilets are usually already built into the motor home. Thus also all connections are already present.
  • Nothing else has to be done during the toilet visits, except flushing.
  • Usual toilet use with flushing
  • Lower purchase price ~ 600,- €

Disadvantages:

  • The cassettes have a filling capacity between 17 l and 20 l. With 2 persons one cassette is full after about 2-3 days and must be emptied.
  • Due to the mixing of the excrements, odors are created which are covered with chemical additives.
  • Disposal and cleaning need to be carried out at special supply and disposal stations.
  • More harmful to the environment, since chemicals are used
  • Full – weight = over 20 kg
  • Water consumption
  • Follow-up costs for chemical additives and disposal
  • unpleasant disposal

2. NaturesHead Composting Toilet

The NaturesHead comes with a granite look and originates from the USA. The toilet is built very narrowly and is suitable optimally for campers, boats, and caravans. It weighs 14.5 kg. The NaturesHead is suitable for fixed installations and wet rooms. An 8.3 l urine tank is built-in and the solids container is sufficient for about 60-80 sessions. The NaturesHead also has a crank and a fan.

Advantages:

  • Flap for sight protection installed.
  • Integrated urine hose can be used for external drainage of the urine.
  • Solids container must be emptied approximately every 5-6 weeks when used by 2 persons.
  • can be used in wet rooms
  • due to the special shape installation on boats possible
  • no odors because of crank handle and fan
  • robust and light
  • Due to the fixed installation also suitable for adverse conditions, such as expedition vehicles or boats.
  • No scattering after each use, as the coconut brick is only inserted once at the beginning. Mixing and drying are taken care of by the crank handle. Only after emptying a new coconut tile is inserted.
  • Immediately ready for use.

Disadvantages:

  • High acquisition costs with about 999,- €
  • Optics are rather usage-optimized
  • coconut brick must be soaked for about 10 hours before use
  • no possibility to use compostable bags

3. Trennto – the designer toilet from the carpenter

The Trennto is ideally suited for motorhomes. It has a noble appearance and is, therefore, more like a beautiful toilet at home. Nevertheless, the designer toilet is a modern dry separation toilet, with a special feature: it is handmade by a carpenter. 

It is made of veneered MDF boards and has a Soft-Close plastic toilet seat. The Carpenter Designer Toilet is noble and luxurious.

7 l solids container and 10 l urine canister are installed in this separating toilet. The Trennto also has a fan for better ventilation.

Advantages:

  • It can be installed in narrow spaces and is designed for fixed installations
  • The separating toilet from the carpenter has a noble appearance and stands out clearly from many separating toilets
  • Compostable bags can be use
  • The integrated fan ensures improved ventilation and thus faster drying. The spreading material can be reduced or completely avoided
  • No water consumptio
  • No odor
  • Immediately ready for use

Disadvantages:

  • It is not suitable for wet rooms, because it is made of wood
  • High acquisition costs with 999, – €
  • Comparatively small solid container
  • Comparatively high weight with 16 kg
  • Additional costs for compostable bags

4. Trelino L 

The new Trelino L is a very compact waterless toilet, which fits even in cramped installation situations. 

This caravan toilet has also only been available since the winter of 2020, and its dimensions mean that it does not require more space than many narrow cassette toilets. 

An advantage is a lid that can be opened upwards, as this means that no additional space is required at the back.

It has an integrated 10 l urine and 15 l solids container. It also has a fan to optimize drying. 

The Trelino L consists of plastic housing that is robust and hard-wearing. The waterless toilet is finished with a wooden lid. The highlight of the Trelino L: it can stand freely and thus remain movable or it can be permanently mounted. 

Both options are possible. The Trelino L is currently available in two color variants: white and anthracite.

Advantages:

  • very compact separating toilet
  • suitable for mobile and stationary use
  • resistant plastic housing
  • Integrated fan
  • Litter can be reduced or completely omitted when using the fan.
  • Use of compostable bags possible with 10 kg a rather light separating toilet

Disadvantages:

  • Not 100% waterproof due to the wooden lid
  • The lid must be removed and put to the side when using

3. Summary advantages and disadvantages of the caravan toilet

Classic cassette toilet
Advantages:
Already installed in the motorhome as standard
Handling almost like at home
Waterproof and suitable for wet rooms
Disadvantages:
Disposal stations must be visited every 2-3 days
Chemical smells in the camper
Full cassette weighing over 20 kg
Unpleasant disposal procedure
NaturesHead Composting Toilet
Advantages:
Disposal interval solids every 5-6 weeks
No water, no chemicals
Light and very robust – suitable for boats and expedition vehicles
Suitable for wet rooms
Fast-drying by fan and crank
Disadvantages:
High acquisition costs of 974,- €
Coconut brick must soak for about 10 hours before use
Cranking after going to the toilet
No possibility to use compostable bags
Trennto – Designer toilet from the carpenter
Advantages:
The luxurious design
Ready for immediate use
The integrated fan ensures fast drying
Suitable for narrow rooms
Disadvantages
High acquisition costs of 999,- €
Comparatively small solids container
Not suitable for wet rooms
With 16 kg rather heavy
Trelino L
Advantages:
Modern and chic design
Durable plastic
Ready for immediate use
The integrated fan ensures fast drying
Suitable for very narrow and tight installation situations, thanks to the removable cover
Disadvantages:
Not 100 % waterproof due to wooden cover
The lid must be put down during use

View all Composting Toilets

Are you rather looking for small compact composting toilets for your camper van? Check out this article: Camping toilets in comparison

4. Conclusion

There is not one perfect caravan toilet, but a multitude of different demands and requirements. Everyone has to weigh up the pros and cons for him – or herself. We have tried to put together all the important features of the most common Caravan toilets.

The time of classical chemistry toilets as the only option for caravans is passed. A multiplicity of alternative toilet systems is meanwhile on the market. 

It is worthwhile itself the alternatives times to look at, in particular eco toilets it offers numerous advantages and brings the greatest possible independence into traveling. You are no longer dependent on waste disposal stations, you need no water to flush and no chemical additives to bind odors.

Which toilet is your favorite for the caravan? Is there one missing that you think should be mentioned?

We are looking forward to your comments!


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