Please Be Seated: Is A Portable Or Cassette Toilet Right For Your Camper Trailer?

Posted on: 3 November 2016

Unless you're very interested in getting 'back to nature', so to speak, an efficient toilet is one of the most essential parts of any camper trailer. However, not every camper trailer is sold fitted with one of these essential items, while pre-fitted toilets on older trailers can become worn-out and unpleasantly leaky. As such, many camper trailer owners find themselves in the market for a new trailer toilet at some point, and choosing the best type of toilet for your needs can be more difficult than it sounds.

When it comes to toilet types suitable for camper trailers, you have two main choices; portable or cassette toilets. However, while these toilets function on very similar principles, they can perform in dramatically different ways, so it's important to take stock of the pros and cons of each toilet type before you make your decision.

What are portable toilets, and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

These toilet types are disarmingly simple and essentially consist of a simple seat and bowl connected to a waste reservoir. All but the very simplest and cheapest models have an adequate flush capability (usually operated by a simple lever or button pressed with the foot), which rinses the bowl with specialised antiseptic solutions available from practically every camping and caravanning supplier. Antiseptic fluids are also contained within the waste reservoir, where they contain unpleasant odours and pathogens while liquifying solid waste and toilet paper for easy disposal.

The simplicity of these toilets is perhaps their greatest boon, as it means that they are very inexpensive, very simple and intuitive to use, and very easy to replace in the event of accidents or damage. Their small size and easy portability also makes them easier to empty than cassette toilets, and most portable models feature a detachable waste reservoir to simplify the process further. Portable toilets also require no electricity and do not require a water supply, making them an excellent choice for more adventurous campers off the beaten trail.

Unfortunately, this simplicity also means your waste is held in close proximity to the toilet itself, and while waste reservoirs are well-sealed they can still become distinctly malodourous when neglected. Portable toilets will therefore usually have to be emptied more frequently than cassette toilets. The small size of portable toilets also means that they sit quite low to the ground and can shift while you sit on them, a daunting prospect for larger and/or taller campers.

What are cassette toilets, and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

There toilets are somewhat more salubrious and are seen in the vast majority of newly-sold caravans and larger camper trailers. They consist of a seat and reservoir very similar to those found in a portable toilet, but these two components are seperated by sealed piping, and the whole arrangement is built into your trailer.

The main benefit of this option is that is streamlines the reservoir emptying process -- most cassette toilet configurations allow you to remove the waste reservoir from your toilet setup from the outside of the trailer, and the reservoir remains tightly sealed until you choose to unseal it at a sewage line or emptying point. This can make a casette toilet a far more sanitary proposition (not to mention easier on the nostrils), and the added distance between you and your waste does a great deal to minimise smells and contamination. Because they are built into the trailer's structure, they are also more comfortable and convienient to use, as they sit higher from ground level and do not shift about under your weight.

However, the integrated nature of a casette toilet means that damage to the toilet can damage the trailer itself, and an old, leaky casette toilet can badly damage the interior workings (particularly electrical components) of a trailer. This installation process also makes cassette toilets a significantly more expensive option than portable models.


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Hello, my name is Lenny and I live in Melbourne, Australia. I was never much of a sporty person. I didn't even watch sports on TV. I hated it. However, all that changed one day when I suddenly collapsed at work. When I woke up in the hospital, the doctor explained that I had had a heart attack and I was seriously overweight. He suggested I take up a sport and get some exercise. I started to play softball and then soccer at my local club. It was a lot of fun and I lost a lot of excess weight. I decided to start this blog to encourage others to take up sports.


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