By Abigail Epperson

One of the bigger decisions we faced when building out Wander Bus was whether we wanted to go with a compost toilet or do a traditional RV toilet with a black tank. Both had their pros and both had their yucky cons, but at the end of the day we weighed our travel desires against both options and went compost, specifically the Nature’s Head Composting Toilet.

If you clicked on the link above your jaw probably dropped at the price tag. A Nature’s Head isn’t cheap, but when you weigh it against the cost of building out your own RV plumbing system, it really wasn’t that much of a difference. Also, there would be no black tank to dump.

Building out the bathroom

So why compost? Well, for one, we weren’t to keen on emptying a black tank, and we had major concerns about the potential smell from said black tank. It was also less work for Jason to install, fit perfectly in our bathroom layout, and from what we’d read, it seemed like general maintenance would be at a minimum. Standard toiles are also big water hogs, and we really wanted to be able to extend our stays outside of campgrounds on public lands as much as possible. But what finally sold us, or I should say me, was Jason agreed to do all the cleaning and dumping. Can’t beat a deal like that.

Of course, I was still incredibly skeptical and didn’t actually believe we could have a chamber of poop in our bus and not have our bus smell. We are a family of five and people poop, but it doesn’t smell. No joke. We use coco coir as our base, and it really does turn to compost. However, we do have the “no #2 in the bus when at a campground” rule, but that’s a pretty common practice for many RVers, especially if the campsite doesn’t have sewer hookups. I also keep a spray bottle of water/vinegar mixed with a few drops of orange essential oil by the toilet and after people finish peeing they spray that area down to keep it clean. It’s incredibly simple, and the compost toilet is easy for the kids to use. Our youngest potty trained using the compost toilet.

Two and a half years into full-time bus life and we haven’t had a single problem with our Nature’s Head. Easy to use, easy to clean. The liquid chamber is emptied about every two days, the compost chamber every few weeks to few months depending on the amount of use, and it’s basically dirt. It doesn’t even smell when you empty it. Or, at least, it smells like potting soil. Because we have this self-contained toilet, we have felt even more empowered to boondock and camp without hook-ups. We can, and will, talk compost toilets all day—that’s how much we love our Nature’s Head.

We spent a lot of money on Wander Bus, and there are things we would certainly change, but our $1,000 toilet was worth every penny. Don’t fear the poop chamber. Go compost. You’ll be glad you did.


Abigail

Abigail

Coffee drinker, skoolie owner, partner, roadschooler, and parent. Along with Jason, Abby is the co-host of the RV Miles Podcast and America's National Parks Podcast. When not talking National Parks and RV living, you can find Abby talking theater as the managing editor Of PerformInk. Find her on Twitter @abigailtrabue or search Our Wandering Family across all social media.

2 Comments

Susan Severson · October 14, 2019 at 12:22 pm

How did you receive your RV certification with a composting toilet? I thought the Illinois requirement was a toilet evac (in your other article)?

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