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How To Use Bathroom in a Campervan

  Class B RV Rental

May 22, 2024 How To Use Bathroom in a Campervan

When you’re planning to rent a camper van (also known as a class B RV) for your next trip, you may be wondering about using the bathroom. Some camper vans come with a toilet; others won’t. If your rental does not, you’ll need to find alternative places to use the bathroom during your travels. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of having a bathroom in your camper van, the best practices for both camper vans with and without bathrooms, and the best options for class B RV rental

Introduction To Camper Van Bathroom Basics

To choose the appropriate vehicle for your needs, you’ll want to know the different types of camper van bathroom setups. So, let’s go over logistics, types of toilets, and expectations vs. reality when using camper van bathrooms. 

The Logistics of Camper Van Bathrooms

Class B camper vans are oversized vehicles built on van chassis. That said, they’re still considered compact when you compare them to larger RVs like class C and A models. Many people choose them because they’re much easier to drive and manage. However, if you have a bathroom in it, there won’t be a ton of space. 

The average camper van is about 17-19 feet long and 8-10 feet wide. Vans with bathrooms usually have them in a space about 2 feet wide by 3 feet long. This space is enough to fit a small toilet and sit down on it, but it doesn’t leave much room to move around. That means using the bathroom in a camper van may not be the most comfortable. 

Many find that stopping at a public restroom is much more comfortable and easier during their trips. 

The Logistics of Camper Van Bathrooms


Different Types of Camper Van Toilets

Bathrooms in a camper van may also come with different types of toilets. 

First, there are plumbed RV toilets with a water tank and the ability to flush them. However, compact plumbing setups commonly clog and can lead to more maintenance issues. Plus, you have to empty the toilet tank at some point, which can be unfavorable. 

Cassette toilets are a popular choice in the camper van community since they don’t have external plumbing you have to deal with. They’re compact toilets with water tanks you can flush. However, the tank is much smaller than the externally plumbed toilet, and you’ll have to empty them more often. 

Small portable toilets are another option. These are a good add-on when renting a van without a bathroom and don’t take up as much space. However, some portable toilets won’t have a flush mechanism, and since they’re smaller, you’ll need to dump them more frequently. 

Lastly, you may see camper vans with composting toilets. They’re the most environmentally friendly choice. However, they’re generally larger to accommodate the composting part. Plus, you can’t mix urine with the composting mixture, so you’d still have to find a place to dump it to dispose of the urine. 

Different Types of Camper Van Toilets

Expectations vs. Reality While Using Bathroom in Camper Vans

Many people who choose to rent a camper van with a bathroom will imagine the convenience of it since you don’t have to plan your trip around locating public bathrooms and a regular toilet. 

However, many people find that after the first couple of days, they start gravitating toward using public facilities because it’s easier. You’ll have more room to spread out and don’t have to dump toilet tanks or deal with plumbing issues when you go that route. 

Our camper vans at Escape Camper Vans don’t have bathrooms, and many of our customers say they prefer them that way. This frees up more space for other useful features like bigger sleeping areas, extra storage, and cooking utensils without having to deal with the downsides of a bathroom. 

How Do You Go to the Bathroom in a Camper Van? (Bring Toilet Paper!)

When renting one of our vans from Escape without a bathroom, you’ll want to find public facilities to use or follow leave-no-trace principles while camping. Many campsites also have easily accessible public bathrooms. 

If you were too far away from the campsite or there was no public bathroom facility, you would use leave-no-trace principles by digging a cathole about 6-8 inches deep for solid human waste. Make sure you have toilet paper and hygiene products with you before you go, and cover up and disguise the hole after you’re done.  

When you have a bathroom in your camper van, follow the instructions for the specific type of toilet you have and make sure to empty it regularly. With compact RV flush toilets, you may want to flush more frequently to prevent it from clogging. 

What To Do About the Toilet in a Campervan?

When you have a cassette toilet in your camper van, you’ll want to consider the different types and options for disposal. You’ll have to empty compact camper van toilet options like portable and cassette toilets more often. And with options like the plumbed RV toilet, you’ll need to maintain it regularly to avoid plumbing issues during your trip. 

Most RV toilets need to be cleaned once every 1-2 days and dumped every 2-3 days. Many of these toilets have an attached sprayer that helps rinse them down. You can also use a toilet bowl cleaning solution like Scrub-It RV toilet cleaner and a toilet bowl scrubber to help clean it and remove bacteria. 

Cleaning and dumping it regularly and closing the lid tightly after use will help reduce odors in your vehicle and ensure a sanitized living space. 

Since RVs have smaller water tanks, it’s also important to be conservative in how much water you use and how often you use the toilet. Many experienced van lifers will recommend using public restrooms when possible to reduce the cleaning and maintenance you must do. 

What To Do About the Toilet in a camper van?

How Does the Toilet Work in a Campervan?

With options like plumbed or cassette toilets, the unit will have two water tanks. One will be for clean water, and the other will be the receptacle for the water you flush after use or grey water. You need to regularly empty the receptacle tank and fill the other tank with clean water to keep your toilet clean and working correctly. 

RV toilets also commonly use bacteria or enzyme compositions in them to break down waste and eliminate the smell. During long-term use, you may need to replenish those chemicals in the chemical toilet tank to keep your toilet clean. 

If you have a composting toilet, it will be a different experience. Composting toilets work differently since they use a biological decomposition process to manage waste. To help in that process, they’re usually mixed with a bulking agent like wood shavings. 

Portable toilets are usually very small. They may or may not come with a flushing mechanism and usually have a holding compartment under the toilet to hold the waste, such as a trash bag. You’ll want to seal the lid tightly after use to eliminate odors and empty and clean them regularly. 

How To Empty a Toilet in a Campervan?

When emptying camper van toilets, it’s essential to do so safely, efficiently, and legally. 

Since you can’t empty the waste tank at any gas station, the first step is finding the right place to dump your toilet’s tank. Most campsites have designated waste emptying points on the campgrounds to do this. Otherwise, if you’re looking for the right spot in your nearby area, the sites to dump the waste will be called chemical disposal points (CDPs) or household hazardous waste disposal points. 

Once you’ve found the right location, here are some general, step-by-step directions to empty the tank for most types of toilets you may have in your vehicle:

  1. Locate the disposal drain at the CDP. 
  2. Place your toilet cassette or toilet tank near the drain. 
  3. If the toilet tank has a spout, swivel it out and remove the end cap. Otherwise, if you don’t see a spout, follow the specific instructions for your toilet to open it and prepare it for emptying. 
  4. Pour the waste down the drain and follow directions to wash the tank before sealing it back up. 

Pro Tip: You may want to wear disposable gloves while going through this process, and make sure you wash your hands thoroughly afterward. 

How To Empty a Toilet in a camper van?

Conclusion and Best Practices

To wrap things up, let’s review the best practices to ensure you have everything you need to choose the right camper van and bathroom solution for your needs. 

  • Not everyone needs a bathroom in their camper van, especially if you’ll be near public facilities or are comfortable using leave-no-trace principles while camping. Not having a toilet to fuss with can be a better option for those just looking to relax on a camping trip. 
  • If you want a toilet in your camper, there are several options, such as cassette, composting, portable, and plumbed RV toilets. 
  • When you rent a camper without a bathroom, bringing a portable toilet can be a good alternative option. 
  • To keep your camper van’s toilet sanitary and working properly, clean it every 1-2 days and dump it every 2-3 days. 
  • Find legal dumping stations wherever you go to legally get rid of waste in an environmentally friendly way. 

Ready for Van Life? Rent a Camper Van from Escape Camper Vans

Our camper vans at Escape don’t come with bathrooms, but as mentioned earlier, many of our customers prefer them that way. It can be more of a hassle cleaning it all the time and potentially dealing with plumbing issues when you’re trying to enjoy a nice relaxing trip. Find out more about the Pros and Cons of Camper Vans.

We aim to make our camper vans easy to use so you can get in and go when you need a vacation. They come equipped with features like:

  • Queen-size beds
  • Foldaway tables and benches
  • Bucket seats that you don’t have to collapse to make your bed
  • Propane stove
  • Water tank and sink
  • Refrigerator
  • Extra storage
  • Uniquely painted designs

With 11 locations across the U.S. and over 600 vans available for rent, we’re ready to help you get out on the road. Reserve yours today, or contact us with any questions you have. 

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