5 Best Portable Toilets of 2024, Tested by an Outdoorsman
Wondering how you'll do your business on an upcoming camping or road trip? We tested the best portable toilets to help you choose.
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Portable toilets are any toilets that can be moved around easily. They come in many designs, styles and levels of complexity, and are definitely worth considering if you spend a lot of time in nature or on the road. When I decided to head into the woods and live off the land for a while at age 18, I never considered the luxury of a portable toilet, but I’ve since learned how helpful this sort of device can be.
Nowadays, my wilderness trips always include a portable toilet, especially when I bring my wife and daughter along. I’ve had the chance to try a handful of these helpful devices over the years. Keep reading for my take on the best portable toilets in various categories.
The Best Portable Toilets
- Best Overall: Thetford Porta Potti 565E Curve Portable RV/Marine Toilet
- Best Budget: Reliance Luggable Loo Portable Toilet with Metal Handle
- Best Composting: Trelino Evo M Portable Composting Toilet
- Best Tankless: Cleanwaste GO Anywhere Portable Toilet Seat
- Best Compact: Boxio Portable Toilet
Best Overall Portable Toilet
Thetford Porta Potti 565E Curve Portable RV/Marine Toilet
The Thetford Porta Potti 565E unit is packed with more features than I’ve seen in just about any other portable toilet, especially those in this price range. Running on electricity supplied by included AA batteries, the 565E has a push-button flusher connected to an electric pump. I found adding water for flushing through the fill port at the back to be a breeze, and the bottom waste pipe made dumping as safe and easy as possible.
The upper and lower tanks (for water and waste, respectively) total nearly 10 gallons of capacity. Even though this unit is on the tall side for a portable toilet (nearly 18 inches), I found it surprisingly light and easy to carry. A big part of this ease was thanks to a very well-placed handle at the back. It’s even got a toilet paper compartment built into the side and a capacity gauge at the back. Note: The manufacturer recommends using liquid waste treatment in the top tank and sewage treatment in the lower tank to keep the toilet as clean as possible.
- Water flush makes it more like a standard toilet
- Convenient push-button flushing action
- Comfortable height
- Built-in toilet paper storage
- Large waste capacity
- Comes with batteries
- Needs water to flush
- Requires sewage treatment liquid
Best Budget Portable Toilet
Reliance Luggable Loo Portable Toilet with Metal Handle
At a budget-friendly price, you’d be hard pressed to find a lower-cost portable toilet than this Reliance one. I’ve used this unit before, and can tell you from experience that sometimes when nature calls, you don’t need or even want all the bells and whistles some fancier units include. The simple 5-gallon bucket topped with a snap-on toilet seat is more than adequate for those truly roughing it. It is lightweight and has plenty of capacity, and the seat is surprisingly comfortable. Most importantly, the seat snaps onto the bucket very securely.
- Extremely simple design makes it easy to use
- No moving parts or complex instructions
- Lightweight and portable
- Large 5-gallon capacity
- Emptying can be somewhat unpleasant
- No separation of solids and liquids
Best Composting Portable Toilet
Trelino Evo M Portable Composting Toilet
This German-designed unit has the most streamlined, user-friendly design I’ve ever seen in a composting portable toilet. Next time I go on a wilderness adventure, this is the toilet I’ll bring. It’s small (15.4 inches by 13 inches by 14 inches) and lightweight (9.5 pounds), making it great for wilderness camping or van life.
Number one and number two are automatically separated, with solids directed into a plastic container lined with a compostable bag and liquids funneled into a second sealed container with a flexible rubber membrane at the top to prevent spills. I love the fact that this unit doesn’t have a lot of confusing moving parts and doesn’t require water or electricity.
- Separates solids into a compostable bag
- Well designed with very comfortable seat compared to other models
- Small, compact and weighs just 9.5 pounds
- Handles on sides for easy carrying
- Doesn’t require water or electricity
- Only 3.4-gallon capacity
- Low seat height might be uncomfortable for some
Best Tankless Portable Toilet
Cleanwaste GO Anywhere Portable Toilet Seat
The Cleanwaste GO Anywhere offers the best solution I know of to folks who want the comfort of a portable toilet without the trouble of emptying a built-in waste tank. Its sturdy, three-legged design supports a seat, which can either be left open to a hole dug in the ground below or hold a waste disposal bag if digging isn’t an option. The bags that come with the unit are more than strong enough to do their duty, and each one even comes with some toilet paper and a wet wipe inside.
- No holding tank to empty
- Only weighs 7 pounds
- Extremely simple design makes it easy to use
- No electricity or water required
- Folds into a briefcase shape for easy transport
- Legs are a bit difficult to unfold
- Three-legged design is prone to tipping if you don’t sit centered
Best Compact Portable Toilet
Boxio Portable Toilet
At just 16 inches by 11 inches by 11 inches, this portable composting toilet is about as compact as they come. Like other models of this style, it divides waste into liquids and solids via two separate tanks below the seat. Composting material is added to the rear tank to help break things down and prevent odors. The main advantage of this unit is its small size. For avid camping enthusiasts, wilderness explorers and van-dwelling nomads, storage and pack space comes at a premium. That’s where the Boxio really shines. Some folks even build custom cabinets with a drawer to keep this unit out of sight when not in use.
- Small, lightweight and compact
- Very easy to carry and store
- Doesn’t need water or batteries
- Separates solids and liquids
- Composting material prevents odors
- Limited capacity
What to Look for When Buying a Portable Toilet
- Comfort vs. simplicity: Your first decision when shopping for a portable toilet is what sort of features you want. Will you be happy with a solid seat and a plastic tank, figuring out the rest as you go? Or perhaps you’d prefer a toilet the comes as close as possible to the comfort of home, including battery-powered flushing—even if it means more steps and less portability. Decide for yourself how much you value toilet comfort vs. simplicity.
- Disposal system: Some portable toilets contain waste in a bag, others in a sealed container and others in a removable tank. Some don’t contain waste at all. Think ahead to the sort of waste disposal options you’ll have available when using your portable toilet, and shop accordingly.
- Size and portability: Will you be using your portable toilet on hikes? At wilderness campsites? While touring America in your van or RV? Depending on your answer, choose a toilet that matches your size and portability needs. Personally, I’m the wilderness explorer type, so the smaller and more compact my portable toilet, the better.
Why You Should Trust Us
I’ve been exploring the wilderness here in Northern Ontario, Canada since I could walk, and I’ve had the chance to try many portable toilets over the years. I’ve used them on long canoe trips where I didn’t see a sign of civilization for weeks at a time, on wilderness hikes that lasted all day (or multiple days) and carried them in the back of my pickup as I drove it along the flat, undisturbed limestone shoreline of the island where I live, foraging for wild foods.
I’ve also gone without a portable toilet often enough to know just how much of a help and comfort it can be. Nothing makes you appreciate a plastic box with a toilet seat more than squatting over a poison ivy patch deep in the woods in the pouring rain at night with nothing to support your backside. Trust me, I know. It’s also why I know which portable toilets are worth it.
We’ve Tested a Handful of the Best Portable Toilets on the Market
Of the five portable toilets mentioned in this article, I’ve personally tested three. I’ve also used a handful of other, similar models over the years. Based on my experience using these since 2009, I can confidently say the portable toilets listed here are some of the best on the market.
Where do I empty my portable toilet?
It depends. Many campsites include designated waste dump sites you can use to empty your portable toilet for a small fee. RV parks have similar facilities, often using separate disposal facilities for gray water (sinks and showers) and black water (human waste). If none of these are around you can always tie up your stuff tightly in plastic bag (they often come with portable toilets) and throw it in the trash. This, of course, only works for solids. Liquids can be poured out discreetly in the woods, if there are woods around.
How do I clean my portable toilet for storage?
Our resident expert, Deane Biermeier, has suggestions for cleaning a portable toilet for storage or for cleaning maintenance. “The most important thing is to follow any manufacturer’s cleaning instructions for your toilet, especially regarding chemical use,” he says. “While there are many commercially available products around to accomplish the task, avoiding harsh chemicals and abrasives when cleaning plastic surfaces is crucial. Try using vinegar, water and mild disinfectants in the absence of manufacturer recommendations. If your toilet’s maker offers a proprietary cleaning solution, it’s often your best bet.”