When traveling in a minivan camper, one of your biggest challenges is where to go when you don’t have a convenient place to go. Not where to go as far as a destination, but where to go to the bathroom. Sometimes public restrooms simply aren’t available or convenient.
There are few options when it comes to indoor plumbing in a minivan camper.
Resembling traditional toilets, albeit smaller and more compact, cassette toilets are popular with larger vehicles such as RV's, full-size vans, and sprinter type conversion vans. Well-made cassette toilets tend to be odor free although they may have some lingering odor when the toilet is in use. The biggest downside to a cassette toilet is probably the cost and whether the size is compatible with your layout.
When they need to be emptied, the easiest way is to carry them to a porta potty and dump the waste directly into the toilet there. Most have a discharge outlet to make this chore as pleasant as possible.
Probably the most popular model is the Thetford Porta Potti 345. The seat is removable for cleaning. The carrying handle is ergonomically shaped and comfortable. It features a rotating pour out for easy disposal. Dimensions: 13" height x 15" width x 16.8" depth.
Pros: Comfort, stability
The most popular version is the Reliance Luggable Loo Portable Toilet. Essentially it is a toilet seat that snaps on to a 5-gallon utility bucket. First you line the bucket with a heavy-duty garbage bag and then snap the seat onto the bucket. The rest of the procedure should be obvious.
Once done, you then seal the bag and dispose of it. Potentially you can seal the bag and reuse later. If you choose this option, then placing some kitty litter into the bag will help reduce odor and absorb liquids. Ideally you would use a heavy-duty garbage bag that will help contain any odor as well as being a bit stronger so that you don't have any unexpected breakage or spillage. Luggable Loo offers their own brand of bags that are more odor resistant than regular garbage bags.
The Luggable Loo can be used to store other items inside the bucket to maximize your space efficiency. The inside of the bucket should remain clean unless there was an accident with one of the bags. I store extra toilet paper, garbage bags, Baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and other cleaning supplies inside the bucket.
Price warning! Just buy the lid separately and buy a standard 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot or Lowes. It is much cheaper this way. There's nothing special about the Reliance bucket.
Pros: Price, easy to disposal.
Cons: Comfort, stability.
Peeing on the Go!
Guys have it much easier than the ladies do. Pee bottles or portable urinals can offer a bit of discretion when relieving oneself. These are useful for late night trips to the bathroom. Often you can find household containers such as orange juice bottles that can be re-used for this purpose. There are commercial alternatives too.
Some people use disposable urine bags as an alternative to urinating inside their vehicle. These are especially popular with truck drivers and commuters that find themselves in traffic jams from time to time where with nowhere to go. These can be useful for the camper van enthusiast when they need an alternative to a rest stop. These are also popular with those who use the Luggable Loo portable toilet.
Alternatives for Women Include:
The GoGirl FUD (female urination device) is a well established and very popular option among female backpackers and sea kayakers so using it in a van should be a wee bit more civilized.
Nothing beats a nice long hot shower. This however can be challenging when traveling. My first choice is popping into a Planet Fitness. When this isn't an option, I fall back to either a gravity fed solar shower or an electric pump shower.
Solar Camp Shower
The solar shower holds five gallons and also serves as a backup container for additional water. It heats up quickly when left in direct sunlight. The nozzle does a decent job of dispersing the water making it easier to rinse off.
Electric Pump Shower
The Riigoo Portable Camping Shower is battery powered featuring a USB rechargeable battery. Two batteries packs are included. It can also be powered directly from a 12 volt dc outlet.
The pump motor fits inside your water container. I use a Reliance Four Gallon Aqua-Tainer Water Container. The Riigoo has a filter to strain out any large matter in case your water source is not completely clear. You could use this directly in a lake or stream if you really wanted or needed to.
The Riigoo comes with a suction cup and hook for hands free use.
It is also useful for rinsing off dishes. It's also very handy if you need to pump water. Just remove the hose from the shower head and pump into another container.
Adventure Mat Foldable Rubber Shower Mat
I wanted some sort of mat to stand on outside the van while showering. It can be easily carried into campground showers too.
- It's easy to clean—just rinse with plain water or add detergent; wet wipes work great, too
- Open mat dimensions: 26 x 19.5 x .08 in.; folded mat dimensions: 7 x 7. x 0.5 in.
These are ideal for showering or using your portable toilet. They are easy to set up and take up minimal space while affording privacy.
The Abco instant privacy tent offers you instant private space for camping bathroom & potty use, outdoor showers, changing clothes, etc. It easily folds into a circle and stashed into the carry bag it comes with. The compact size takes up very little space inside a van. Full Size : 47in x 47in x 75in
Carry Size : 23in x 2in.
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