Join Date: May 2007
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Re: The Poop (deck) on Camping Toilets!
We use a Thetford brand portable toilet on our Catalina 309. We bought the boat new, and took out the holding tank and porcelain toilet after one season. We got tired of having it pumped out. And got got tired of not knowing when it was just about full. And we got tired of the fact that it didn't really handle solid waste. C'mon, the opening at the bottom of the toilet is about the size of a half dollar...great for hamsters, I guess.
I used to have a portable toilet on my old 26 footer and had learned that they work great. We don't seem to have to empty it any more often than we had to pump out the holding tank. Really. And it's easy and clean to empty. You carry it like a briefcase, and a pipe swings out when you're ready to dump it into a shore toilet. Not messy.
I disagree about the smell. All you have to do is use the portable toilet chemical, and you won't have odors. If you use the toilet, and then don't use your boat for a couple weeks, there can be some smell. Just add some more chemical or empty it.
Our portable toilet cost about seventy bucks. So think about it...I can NEVER have a repair that cost me more than seventy bucks. And after 5 seasons of use, I've had no problems. Never had a problem with the toilet on my old boat either.
Do a search on this site for holding tanks or smell, and you'll see that holding tank systems on boats are a source of problems.
Overall, we greatly prefer the portable toilet over the holding tank system for the day, weekend, and occasional 1-2 week cruising we do. It's not for everyone, but I think the portables get a bad rap simply because people equate them with small boats or camping and think they don't belong on a proper yacht.