Composting Toilets - any hands-on experience?

JRhetts

Adventurer
I wonder if anyone here has actually had experience using a composting toilet in either an overland vehicle or a sailboat?

We've used Thetford cassettes for several years, but the composters seem to offer longer intervals between dumps.

The Natureshead unit is the one I am most interested to get any user reviews of.

There are a number of other manufacturers, including:
Envirolet
Sun-mar
Sealand
AirHeadToilet

Any actual experience?

John
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World
by Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman
From $14.59
4WD Driving Skills: A Manual for On- and Off-Road Travel
by Vic Widman
From $17.27

ntsqd

Heretic Car Camper
I've used those at Toroweep, but no experience beyond that. I was kind of hoping for an education here. :)
 

dzzz

What's the point of a composting toilet in a moving vehicle? It may have a bigger tank than a cassette. But so does a regular toilet with a bigger tank.

Responsibly treatment and disposal of black water goes through decomposition from many of the same organism as a composting toilet. But it does so elsewhere. That's a good thing.

The high-end toilet with real benefits in a moving vehicle is the vacuflush.

Composting toilets for a cabin where a septic system isn't practical sounds like a good idea.

I wonder what "eco"-roamer is doing with their finished compost?
 

bobDog

Expedition Leader
The caretaker of the cemetery where Mozart was buried kept getting complaints that there was music coming from Mozart's grave.....after many hours investigation and on-site listening he found that the the music was indeed Mozart's and it was being played backwards. Soon after he posted his findings at the gate......."folks, there is nothing to worry about....it's only Mozart decomposing." :coffeedrink:
 

robert

Expedition Leader
I know two people who use them at their cabins, but no one that's ever used one in a vehicle of any type. They work great for the cabins where the ground is too rocky for a septic system or doesn't perk properly since you can just dump the compost outside without having to haul it off but I can't really see the advantage in a vehicle. Not criticizing, I just think most holding tanks are going to need to be emptied before your composting is completed. Many of the models out now also drain the liquid off to keep the humidity at the right level which means they are larger and going to take up more room. They also need a vent system that, in the small confines of a camper, you may find objectionable (no big deal when the vent is on the roof or outside, but might be with the smaller size of the camper).

If you come up with a workable idea or more info I'd love to read it as I think, in theory anyways, it's a great idea. It's really a shame we don't use them more in our homes as they dramatically cut down on water usage while providing a usable product.
 

JRhetts

Adventurer
If you come up with a workable idea or more info I'd love to read it as I think, in theory anyways, it's a great idea. It's really a shame we don't use them more in our homes as they dramatically cut down on water usage while providing a usable product.
Robert

From a lot of consulting with the sailing world, I have found two units that are in pretty extensive use and seem to be first cousins if not siblings:
NaturesHead.net
AirHeadToilet.com

The key to this design is separating (automatically, by design) the liquid and solid components. The combination is what produces the horrific smell we all love so much.

In the sailing world, live-aboards report up to two months between solid disposal (on a flower garden if you want), and the (sterile) liquid is captured in a 2.5 gal bottle for disposal in lots of places (pit toilets, regular toilets, cat hole, etc).

I'm awaiting some feedback from jay shapiro (eco roamer) about his use of the Air head unit.

John
 

robert

Expedition Leader
Heck, separating it is the easy part- who likes peeing inside anyways? :sombrero: I'm a big fan of old Gatorade bottles for emergencies and I'm not stinking up the inside of my bus if I don't have to. I very rarely carry my chemical toilet (always involves a woman claiming it's somehow a necessity). :snorkel: I figure I don't carry one while backpacking, I don't need one on the road.

Actually, if I go the popup camper route I'll carry one for emergencies.
 

bobDog

Expedition Leader
Heck, separating it is the easy part- who likes peeing inside anyways? :sombrero: I'm a big fan of old Gatorade bottles for emergencies and I'm not stinking up the inside of my bus if I don't have to. I very rarely carry my chemical toilet (always involves a woman claiming it's somehow a necessity). :snorkel: I figure I don't carry one while backpacking, I don't need one on the road.

Actually, if I go the popup camper route I'll carry one for emergencies.
LOL.....-20o and 10 mile winds...now that':coffeedrink:s an emergency!
 

JRhetts

Adventurer
WOW!!! again.

This is definitely uncharted territory for the overland gang.

The first 92 views did not make a post. In almost 3 weeks and 444 views, 10 posts have been made, of which one offered any actual experience and two others had concrete info to offer.

The sailors have used these much more, and we are going to install a NaturesHead unit in about two weeks. After we drive to Honduras and back in March, I'll give a report.
 
Last edited:

Recommended books for Overlanding

Into Africa
by Sam Manicom
From $23.76
First Overland: London-Singapore by Land Rover
by Tim Slessor
From $13.4
Tschiffely's Ride: Ten Thousand Miles in the Saddle from ...
by Aimé Tschiffely
From $10.99
Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why
by Laurence Gonzales
From $9.99

Atti

New member
I know from experience that the envirolet is a Huge waste of money.
My husband and I bought one for a small house we had.
We followed instructions, consulted their customer service, did it all "right".
It was a toilet nightmare.

We ended up using a very simple sawdust toilet like so:
http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/sawdustoilet.html
the composting takes places in the composting bin. This worked out very well for us at our old house.
 

Every Miles A Memory

Expedition Leader
I was watching to see if you got any solid feedback (Pun Intended) on this as its something I've been trying to research myself

I'm thinking you might get better feedback by asking the same question on a sailing forum. But if you do ask on another forum, could you post the asnwers back on here so we can all learn from it
 
Top