Portable toilets are often referred to as “camping toilets,” but they’re not just limited to camping trips. Portable toilets are used any place where traditional facilities are inconvenient or absent entirely—from boats to campsites to cabins to workshops. Every regular camper should have on on hand. A lot of other folks will find they’re handy as well!
It’s important to choose a high-quality portable product, so you don’t end up with a biological hazard on your hands. That’s why you want to read this guide before you buy!
There are lots of different options when you’re shopping for a portable loo. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to all the various setups you can use, and show you a few of the best we’ve found. Our in-depth reviews will help you learn about the pros and cons of each approach and each model in particular.
Read on to see all the models we currently recommend and to find out why they made our cut.
These are our 3 favorite portable and camping toilets:
Hang on, you ask–what’s the big deal with buying a camping toilet? Isn’t it just a matter of bringing a bucket? Not so fast! It’s important to have something comfortable, convenient, and sanitary. Otherwise, you may as well be squatting in the woods and using leaves instead of paper. Nobody wants that! Below, we’ll show you a range of options you can use to go to the bathroom comfortably and hygienically outdoors.
Make sure you have a look at all of our recommendations to see which one is the best approach for you take. With a wide variety of designs and sizes, not all of the products we’ve recommended will be right for your specific needs.
So, what makes a good product for “going” when you’re on the go?
Ideally, portable camping toilets should be small in size (or collapsible) and easy to carry. They should be light but also durable. Though comfort might sometimes be a relative term when you’re “roughing it,” a good camping toilet will at least not be painfully uncomfortable to use. It’ll be a lot better than squatting over the ground or trying to perch on the bare rim of a plastic bucket! You’ll find that there’s a wide range of comfort and convenience on the market. These things aren’t mutually exclusive, as our recommendations demonstrate. However, the more comfortable a toilet is, the heavier and bulkier it’ll likely be. The reverse is true as well.
There are many different types of commodes available for on-the-go use. Some are little more than a seat over a bucket, while others are sophisticated self-contained devices that are designed for regular use, such as in an RV. We’ll introduce you to all your options in this guide. We’ll talk through all the crucial differences and give you some guidance for choosing your ideal setup.
So how do you pick the right one? Though the needs of each individual adventurer will vary significantly, there are some models that stand out above the rest:
Best Portable and Camping Toilet Reviews
Top Pick: Green Elephant Folding Commode Comfort Chair
The best ideas are often the simplest. That belief clearly inspired our top pick, the uncomplicated but extremely practical Green Elephant. It’s essentially a rebranded version of our old top recommendation, the discontinued but much-beloved Travel Toilet!
The Green Elephant is super light, but more than sturdy enough to support the average person. It’s made with a reinforced steel frame, which folds for easy packing and carrying. The seat itself is also the size and shape of a standard toilet seat, and even comes with a bathroom tissue roll holder. Waste is collected in disposable plastic bags that are securely held in place by the double layered seat.
We suggest this one for hiking, and for any sort of camping expedition where portability and compactness count! It’s by far the easiest standalone option to carry and set up. It’s also a lot more durable than other folding options sold today.
Exceptionally light yet durable, The Green Elephant suffers from none of the problems commonly found in its collapsible competition. Typically, this style of commode is unstable, breaks easily and isn’t suited for larger bodies or long-term use.
Not so with The Travel Toilet. The reinforced steel is built to support any body type for years to come, despite the unit weighing less than 4 pounds. It’s rated to 250 pounds. The stand is designed for stability, too, preventing any disastrous situations caused by tipping over. That’s super important, or you can end up on the ground and in something unsavory.
Overall, it’s surprisingly well-made for something so inexpensive. The metal components are coated for rust-resistance in outdoor settings. The toilet seat is hard, dense plastic that can easily take years of use. It’s bolted onto the frame, so it’s not going anywhere in a hurry! We think it’s a very good investment.
You can use whichever bags you like. You’re not tied to any proprietary refills or things like that. The portable frame can be used with traditional plastic garbage bags, or with special “bio-bags.” Anything sized to 8 gallons will work well. You just wrap the bag all around the seat, and your body weight will hold it in place.
If you’re setting up at a campsite in the woods, or somewhere discreet, you could also set up the Green Elephant over a latrine hole and avoid the bags altogether. You’ll need to dig and fill your own pit, though. This approach also tends to be smellier, since you can’t place a lid over your bag. The base is wide enough that you don’t have to worry about the legs ending up in the pit, either.
The height of the unit and the standard-sized seat are perhaps the best features on this model. At 16.4” high—about the height of a normal toilet—the Travel Toilet is a good choice for individuals who are looking for a bit more comfort in the great outdoors. It has a wide seat that’s much more comfortable and accommodating than the cramped, small seats on most traditional camping models.
You don’t have to squat, so this one’s a great choice for older folks, pregnant women, or anyone else who finds the usual squatting behind a tree too uncomfortable. Even smaller persons will notice a big difference in comfort with this unit. It’s as close as you’ll get to the feeling of a standard toilet on the go.
It even has a toilet paper hook built in! All the little creature comforts count when you’re going to the bathroom in the woods, so that’s a big plus for us. You don’t want to have to leave your TP on the ground to get dirty. Plus, it’s not comfortable to keep bending over every time you need to wipe.
While it’s very affordable compared to more elaborate setups like the Camco, it is a bit pricey next to other folding-type models.We think it’s worth it because of the sturdiness, but it’s undeniably on the more expensive end of the spectrum.
It lacks a lid. If you don’t want to throw away the bag after every use, it will quickly become unpleasant for obvious reasons. Some users have improvised their own lid to address this problem, using trash bags, plywood, or opaque plastic coverings. However, the lack of an included lid is pretty disappointing because of the high pricetag.
Despite its relatively minor issues, the Green Elephant has completely won us over. It’s a great successor to our old favorite, the Travel Toilet. Simple and light, yet sturdy and comfortable, this is a great option for extended excursions and short camping trips alike.
‘Just be prepared to find your own lid for it. Thankfully, you can make all sorts of solutions work. You can also leave it uncovered if it’ll be used in a location where odor isn’t a concern.
The Green Elephant is also the best option on this list if you’re a traveler with limited space in your vehicle or tent—or if you have to carry all your things on your back.
Second Pick: Reliance Luggable Loo
Our second pick is also very simple in design. But simplicity hasn’t kept the Reliance Luggable Loo from the best-selling spot among camping toilets on Amazon. If you don’t mind sitting a little lower to the ground, it’s a great little throne.
The Luggable Loo is a 5-gallon portable bucket-style toilet, with a hinged molded seat and snap-on cover. It’s popular among camping, fishing, and hunting enthusiasts, and it’s also a key component in many disaster-preparedness kits.
Users can line the inside of it with disposable plastic bags, and a compatible set of “Double Doodie” bag linings can be purchased from Reliance. Many owners prefer to use simple trash bags, and we’d also suggest using a odor-neutralizing absorbent (like kitty litter or peat moss). The nice thing about this one is you can use it any way you like!
The Luggable Loo is probably the most economical option available on Amazon. At roughly a third of the cost of The the Green Elephant, it’s a great option for people looking for a simple but reliable portable toilet that doesn’t break the bank. After all, it’s basically a bucket with a comfortable seat.
We really love this portable toilet, and we’re not alone! Look online, and you’ll find many owners complimenting its surprising sturdiness. The Luggable Loo is an ingeniously simple solution to off-grid sanitary needs.
Especially at campgrounds, it’s a very convenient option for late night bathroom visits, when full bathrooms are far away and it’s dark out. You have your own private facility, but it’s a lot less conspicuous than the Green Elephant.
Since it has a wide bucket base, it’s much more stable than something like the Green Elephant. You don’t have to think about it sinking into the ground.
Having all the waste inside the bucket makes this a bit less awkward to look at than the Green Elephant. You’re not seeing an open latrine pit or a bag of fresh waste. This one’s all nicely self-contained.
Speaking of containment, you can outfit the Luggable Loo in a variety of ways. You can use simple trash bags if you’re on a tight budget. Or, get a latrine bag that turns liquid waste to gel for the best containment. You can add things like sawdust, sand, or peat moss to your bags as well. The idea is to absorb any liquid waste and reduce odors.
We also noted that the lid did an excellent job at sealing off any potential offensive odors. The lid fits very snugly over the seat, which helps to keep any smells from escaping the compartment. The lid and liners work very well in combination, and are an excellent camping companion. And while you may as well use the Luggable Loo liner replacements, you can certainly substitute any trash bag you like.
The primary issue some people will have with The Luggable Loo is the height of the seat. Some folks will definitely find it to be uncomfortably low. It should be mentioned, however, that some shorter people find it just right. You can always place it on some kind of platform, but that adds another thing to your load when you go to camp.
If you’re on the taller side, you’ll probably find that the design would be more comfortable with a taller waste compartment and seat, but since it’s primarily used for occasional camping or emergencies, the height shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
Another common complaint we found online was the plastic lid. Though the bucket is made of sturdy material, the lid—according to some customers—was flimsy and broke easily. We haven’t had issues, but that’s something to be mindful of. Just be gentle with it and be aware that it might not be suitable for the very heaviest users.
In addition, some of these reviews assert that the latch holding the toilet lid in place is also weak by design. They said that it easily wore out, and that the clip part of the latch had a very loose fit which came undone easily. Again, that’s not something we’ve experienced, but it’s worth mentioning.
Finally, the Luggable Loo lists the weight capacity on the product itself—but not on the Amazon product page. That weight capacity is 200 lbs, though many users well over 200 pounds claimed it held their weight without issue.
Still, many shoppers might not feel comfortable taking such a risk. The Luggable Loo broke for at least one user over the weight limit. This one’s definitely not as heavy-duty as the Green Elephant. Make sure you check weight limits if you or someone in your party is on the heavier side!
The Luggable Loo is a good option for many campers, especially those on a budget. Though there are certainly those who could take issue with design elements of this portable toilet, we think it’s well-worth the price. It contains waste conveniently and can be lined in any number of ways.
Reliance’s portable toilet is a better option if you will need to take it on short trips, as frequent and long-term use would likely become uncomfortable. Furthermore, some the flimsier parts of the toilet may break under frequent strain.
It is also the best option for people looking for a temporary solution to plumbing issues. If you’re remodeling your bathroom, or searching for a portable toilet for a home emergency preparedness kit, the Luggable Loo serves as a sturdy and inexpensive option.
Third Pick: Camco 4154 Portable Toilet
The other two portable toilets we’ve recommended in this guide are generally designed for infrequent use, since tent campers and hikers are usually more concerned about the “portability” aspect of portable toilets.
If you need to buy a toilet for more long-term and regular use—if you’re an RV owner, trucker, or cabin owner—you might prefer the Camco 4154 Portable Toilet. It’s made specifically for RVs and campers. You can use it for years and have a civilized toilet experience wherever you can park your unit!
This Camco Model is a self-contained unit, with a lightweight construction and 5.3 gallon holding tank. The flushing mechanism takes a small amount of fresh water, using a bellows-type pump to flush water into the tank for waste removal.
The seat itself is about 16.5” inches high, and the unit weighs 11.5 pounds when empty. The top and sides have handles for easier transport, and the waste tank is secured to the top of the toilet with latches on the side.
The waste tank has a sliding gate valve to prevent odors and water leakage. Deodorizing packets can be purchased for additional stink-fighting power. Disposal is relatively simple—the lower tank is detachable and features a pull tab for emptying.
Compared to the other two portable options on this list, the Camco 4154 will feel the most similar to a household toilet. It’s pretty similar to sit on, and the flushing mechanism works in much the same way. Its use isn’t limited to outdoors like the Green Elephant, and the Camco will be much more comfortable and pleasant to use over extended periods of time than the Luggable Loo.
These factors make it a better option for longstanding use. If you are looking for a toilet for your RV, homestead, or boat, the Camco is definitely worth checking out. It’s very sturdy, so you can expect to get years of use from one of these.
Additionally, any owners of the Camco assert that the unit, when used correctly, doesn’t smell at all. It’s similar to any standard flushing loo in that regard. Particularly for RV and trailer owners, escaping odors is a primary concern. The included sanitary packs make a huge difference in keeping waste compartment odors to a minimum, though. We’d recommend stocking up when you buy.
The final pro many prospective buyers will find appealing is the relatively low price and value of the Camco 4154. This portable toilet is less expensive than other similar models, even those with lower ratings. It’s definitely more expensive than our other recommendations but it’s well below the average price in its category.
One important criticism among negative reviewers was the location of the water tank. For flushing purposes, the 2.5 gallon freshwater tank is located at the top of the unit. This makes the Camco a bit top-heavy when the water tank is full but the waste tank is empty.
Because of this element, it’s important that RV owners and those transporting the Camco in a vehicle may want to find some way to secure this toilet when in motion. They said it’s fairly top-heavy, and prone to tipping (which can obviously get quite disgusting). You’ll probably want to secure it for travel with a bungee cord or other straps.
Additionally, there were a significant number of people who pointed out that the pull-out lever tab has a tendency to get stuck over time. Many owners came up with creative solutions to this problem—one reviewer suggested olive oil, while another used vaseline to grease the lever. They said that really any lubricant, even something like WD40 made a big difference. This is by no means a dealbreaker for us. It’s simply something to be aware of.
Finally, the seat of the Camco is 13 inches wide, which may be a little too small for consistent comfort for certain campers. If you’re on the larger end of the spectrum, you may want to consider a larger RV model. However, RV loos on the whole are definitely more compact than those you’d buy for a house.
If you’re looking for a longer-term solution to plumbing issues, the Camco is our recommendation for you. A few minor design flaws don’t undercut the largely positive opinion most users have towards this portable toilet.
How to choose between the best portable toilets:
- Green Elephant
- Reliable Luggageable Loo
- Camco 4154 Portable Toilet
The best camping toilet for you should be based on your needs and those of anyone you’re camping or traveling with. Think about who’ll be using it, where it’ll be used, and how it’ll have to be transported. Once you’ve thought through all those factors, you’ll find it a lot easier to choose between our recommendations!
Those looking for a short-term, inexpensive solution that won’t set them back a significant amount of money should consider Reliance’s Luggable Loo. It’s not a great option for lots of people or for long trips, but it does the trick and stays nicely self-contained.
Adventurers who are looking for a comfortable camping toilet that’s as sturdy as it is portable, and will last for many camping trips to come, should check out the Green Elephant. It’s simple, straightforward, and works both with bags and with latrine pits.
Finally, for RV, cabin, boat, and other vehicle owners who are looking for a reusable, comfortable and consistent toilet that feels like home, the Camco 4154 is a great option. It’s the most “standard” and hygienic of the bunch.
There are lots of things to consider when you’re choosing your new portable camping toilet. Below, we’ve included some key factors to think about as you browse our reviews. Thinking about all these things up front will help you make a smarter decision and end up with a better experience once you’re actually camping.
Where and how you’ll be disposing of your waste while camping is an important thing to think about when you’re shopping for a toilet. Since you won’t be using a standard flushing toilet that sends waste to a septic tank or leach field, you’ll need to get down and dirty with the process of disposing of your waste on the go. It’s important to be sure that you can do this conveniently, sanitarily, and efficiently.
Depending on where you go camping, you may have a convenient disposal facility onsite. If so, you’ll want to follow the instructions listed there. If the management requests that waste be bagged and then disposed of, you’ll want to be using a toilet with bags or dumping chemical buckets into bags before emptying. If there’s a pit that accepts straight-up waste, you can empty right into there. Do your research and see whether any facilities exist before you buy any portable camping toilet.
In most cases, you’ll be disposing of waste on your own in some fashion or other.
If you’re out in the woods, and aren’t a large group, you can usually just bury waste. As long as you’re just dealing with biological waste in relatively small quantities, you don’t need to worry about leaving it in the ground. It’ll decompose quite quickly and harmlessly.
Here’s how to do it. Use a folding toilet without a bag and dig a pit under where you’ll sit.
Then, fill in the pit when you leave the area.
Don’t do this around other campsites or where it’s prohibited, though. There are also some general etiquette and hygiene steps to take. Always dig pits at least 1 foot deep and 100 yards or further from any water source. You don’t want to be contaminating anyone’s drinking water. You also don’t want waste to be buried in a shallow pit that might be easily uncovered or disturbed.
Make sure you’re only burying biological waste. Some people bury things like floss, tampons, and other hygiene products in the woods, thinking it’s a safe thing to do. All these things usually have plastic in them somewhere, so they don’t decompose completely. Never bury anything that’s not human waste or toilet paper. Keep a separate, sealable bag to dispose of sanitary products at the end of your trip. You can’t bury waste in plastic bags, either, but you can buy biodegradable bags to use with buckets and folding toilets. They’ll contain waste during your camping trip but break down harmlessly when you bury them.
If burying waste isn’t an option, you can use a bag with a folding toilet to contain and transport waste to an appropriate disposal facility. Double-bagging is good practice if you use a dumpster. Try and prevent leakage in any way you can. Never put toilet bags in someone else’s dumpster. Use a campsite facility or bring it to the dump on your own. You should seek out a biological waste container wherever possible, since excrement isn’t something you want to throw just anywhere.
Chemical bucket toilets are especially convenient, since you can just chuck the whole thing away after your camping trip. They usually turn any liquid waste into a gel, so it doesn’t simply leak out when you throw the bucket away. Buckets stay sealed quite well, but bagging them in a trash bag is a good precaution to take.
How much waste are you going to be needing your camping toilet to handle? Think about whether you’ll be capturing liquid waste, or only solid waste. In most wooded locations, it’s fine to go pee in the bushes rather than filling up your toilet receptacle with liquid waste. Think about how long your camping trip will be, how many people will be going, and then get yourself a rough estimate. Plan on at least one #2 trip per person per day.
This is mostly to help you figure out how many bags or pits you’ll need, unless you’re buying a chemical bucket-type toilet. In that case, you’ll want to see whether one bucket will be enough or whether you need to bring multiple buckets. For folding toilets, figure out what kinds of bags you’ll be bringing. Establish how much they each hold and how long you can expect each one to last.
Interested in portable, self-contained toilets that allow you to dispose of your waste in a more hygienic and environmentally friendly manner? Check out our article on The Best Composting Toilets or visit https://homeworthylist.com/ for more reviews!