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Motorhome Toilets

An explanation of the types of toilet found in a motorhome

The toilet isn't often something that is spoken about in much depth when discussing how, where and when you use your motorhome. But it is really quite important....

Here we take a look at the various types available.

Porta-Porti

Is a portable stand alone toilet, made in two sections. The top section is the bowl you go into and a tank holding the fresh/flushing water. The bottom section is the waste tank. You usually separate the two sections, to enable you to carry just the waste section to a toilet or the dump point for emptying. Here at Southdowns we very rarely come across this type of toilet, although we do have one in the old VW camper van we have at home. (It's been in the family a long time and we can't bear to part with it - the van that is not the toilet!)

Cassette toilet

These are probably the most common toilets in motorhomes these days. The toilet is a permanent fixture in the vehicle, usually made of durable and robust plastic. The waste is collected in a plastic cassette that can be removed for emptying and is often accessible from outside the vehicle. The toilet is flushed either from a water tank that is part of the toilet itself, or more commonly from the vehicles main on-board water tank. This type of toilet is standard equipment on most Rimor and Concorde motorhomes. Some of the higher specification vehicles have a second cassette too, often with a in built storage unit for carrying it either whilst empty of full. (We can supply these, see our Accessories Price List for details). Some of these units also have a light that indicates when the toilet is nearly full. Probably the best know manufacturer of this type of toilet is Thetford.

Marine toilet

This is a fixed toilet that is connected to a fixed on-board waste tank (often called a black tank) in the motorhome. The water for flushing is usually from the vehicles main onboard freshwater tank. As the waste tank is fixed you have to drive to a ground level disposal point for emptying which is accomplished by opening a valve and allowing the contents to drain out. This type of toilet normally has the largest capacity waste tank and is often to be found in our larger motorhomes such as many of the larger Concorde's.

There are a number of variations of marine toilets, when fitted to Concorde Motorhomes, they have a proper china bowl (always a favorite) and a macerator to liquidize the waste. The maceration helps the waste to flow away more easily even through small diameter pipes. Some people even choose to have a pump fitted to the waste outlet so this can be pumped out of the tank rather than left to flow by gravity. The waste tank generally has some method of flushing it out, so as to remove all traces of waste. This is particular desirable before preparing the vehicle for periods out of use.

If this type of toilet sounds so great, why doesn't every vehicle have one of these. Well, three things really; firstly cost, they are a lot more money than a cassette toilet. Secondly, weight, the toilet weights more, they need a bigger water tank and they need a large holding tank. Thirdly, you usually have to take you whole vehicle to the dump point (not just the holding tank) so if you park up somewhere, put down your levelling jacks put up you large awing and safari/privacy room for a three month stay - you'll have have to move you motorhome when the loo holding tank is full.

Chemicals

Chemicals used to be synonymous with motorhome toilets but these days things are going green.

Chemicals are often used just to cover the smell, but we believe that a regular daily emptying does a better job of minimizing smell than the use of chemicals. If you don't use chemicals you can also still dump your waste in normal toilet even if it is using a cess pit rather than mains sewerage. In some European countries use of more obnoxious toilet chemicals (such as Elsan Blue) are illegal. Thetford offer a range of products for motorhome toilets, again we can supply these.

Toilet Paper

Many people use bog-standard toilet paper (excuse the pun) in their motorhome without any problems, although some people say that it does not dissolve fully and can lead to clogging up the system. Specialist camping toilet paper is available, this dissolves more rapidly than normal loo roll. Again Thetford market a suitable product - Aqua Soft Toilet Paper.

Ventilation

Most marine toilets will have a vent to allow the smells from the tank to dissipate. These vent are usually mounted on the roof and enable noxious vapours to be removed from the vehicle well above nose level. In the last few years a ventilation system has become available for cassette toilets too.

The SOG is a vent, with a small pump that allows the smells to be removed. In some cases the vent is on the outside of the cassette access hatch door. On our Concorde Motorhomes, the vent is usually on the top of the roof, minimising the chance of an unpleasant whiff. on some other vehicles are vented in the door of the cassette locker. Because the presence of a SOG vent means that the chances of smells is reduced, the requirement for odour masking chemicals is also reduced, hence these are often seen as environmentally friendly units. SOG vents can often be retro fitted to existing cassette toilets. SOG, that means the toilet can be used without chemicals at all.