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-   -   First time using the Porta Potty (https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/forums/f9/first-time-using-the-porta-potty-19452.html)

BrianW 05-02-2017 08:48 AM

First time using the Porta Potty
 
So, after five years of lugging it around in a cabinet, I used my Porta Potty in my SMB for the first time this weekend.

It just felt wrong.

Emptying it was an experience, too (liquid only, thankfully). I had one or two "note to self: don't do that again" moments.

It was convenient, though. Most of the time when we are traveling it's my wife, me and our 12-year-old son. The only place we could use it in our van layout is pretty exposed, so we haven't used it.

Not sure if I'll keep carrying it around or not, or only bring it when I'm solo camping.

JoeH 05-02-2017 09:02 AM

Well, at least you didn't have to bring a stick with you to make room in the box like say on an 18 day river trip and you start running out of sh*t cans. Not good when you're hung over.

I don't really like using mine either. PIA really but good to have along. We more often use wag bags and a bucket with a seat.

1der 05-02-2017 10:03 AM

We use ours quite a bit (please hold the snarky comments).

Our walk through layout puts it at the far rear passenger corner with a nice view out the back windows, which are pop outs for that fresh air feeling, and tinted for a bit of privacy and sun protection for those special parts. It all works pretty well. It is even usable at 70 mph on the highway (use the window shade if truckers are around)

Since I am the designated PP manager, and we go on six week van trips, I (we) have learned a lot and have user rules:

1. It is there for convenience, so if an alternative depository is readily available, use the out of van facility (minimizes the PP Manager's efforts)

2. If #2 is the calling, then use a Happy Bowl liners (may not catch it all but it will catch far more than not using one), deodorizing drops (crazy what two or three drops will accomplish), and PLEASE disclose what is brewing and about to happen so the other person(s) can prepare and go out for a walk. Also, open some windows and use the Deodorizing spray (in addition to the drops), if needed. The bowl is to be left super clean, nobody else cleans up anybodyelse's stuff.

#3 If we are going through elevation changes - leave the blade valve just ever so slightly unlatched a bit to allow for air pressure changes.


For the PP manager:
Always use good quality and and quantity additive in the holding tank, do not short change this. Make sure to always carry a new bottle as back up. Make sure there is enough water added to the holding tank to cover the bottom to begin with, as well as enough water in the upper supply tank.

Make sure the PP is secured so it does not tip over while driving. It is never a good thing to hear a sound, look at each with the "What was that?" look, look in the rear view mirror and realize the PP is over on its side and loose. I have had it happen. FORTUNATELY, nothing has ever leaked out, but it is a high stress inducing moment.

Emptying the holding tank - Any bathroom will do, but if the tank is really full, it is going to be heavy and it is not going to be pleasant (btw - picking up steaming mushy dog (big or small, but bigger is worse) poop isn't pleasant for me either, I put them on about the same par). It is really good if there is fresh water available to do a couple of rinse outs before adding the Holding tank additive to the now empty tank. If not, then just make sure there is enough extra water from somewhere to add to the holding tank and additive. Having a dedicated one gallon jug for PP water transfer needs is handy. Trying to add water to a PP directly from a drinking fountain is NOT going to go over well with anyone, and is not even good for my own mental health.

Hand gel and disinfecting wipes are really nice supplies to have on hand.

We love ours and consider an essential piece of van equipment.

Okay, need to go pack up some swivel bases for the rest of you. Maybe a swivel base for the PP, hmmmmmmmm.:p1:

rallypanam 05-02-2017 10:47 AM

We use ours sparingly, only when necessary. But at those times it's very helpful.

It's not enjoyable emptying that bad boy.

Wanderlust Bus 05-02-2017 10:53 AM

We have an older one that was given to us by my girlfriends grandma. It is probably 20 years old and brand new. I'm not sure if I want to go through the trouble of learning how to clean it.

capnkurt 05-02-2017 11:10 AM

We use ours every time we go camping and even when just on road trips. Like 1der, ours is always accessible, so my wife can use it while at speed on the highway if the need arises. That's a pretty rare occasion, but it does happen. When we're on a weekend camping trip, we are able to use the PP exclusively without filling it up. We use the Curve by Thetford, and love it. It's a nice height and holds a lot of 'stuff' (5 gallons). Since it's in the rear compartment and can be easily partitioned off, we are able to use it in perfect privacy. If that weren't the case, I'm guessing we wouldn't be using it anywhere near as often.

Cleaning the Thetford is really easy, and I have an RV dump station near my house which just adds to the convenience. I've had to empty it in the toilet at home before, and I'll never do that again. We use Thetford AquaKem deodorizer (the whole bottle, not just half) and it works awesome at keeping the holding tank really clean and smell-free.

capn

caideN 05-02-2017 12:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by capnkurt (Post 202235)
We use ours every time we go camping and even when just on road trips. Like 1der, ours is always accessible, so my wife can use it while at speed on the highway if the need arises. That's a pretty rare occasion, but it does happen.
capn

Wow. Wouldn't it be better to pull over first?

I just can't imagine getting into a wreck while doing you know what.

Steve_382 05-02-2017 12:47 PM

We dig holes if camping in the outback. But at night in campgrounds, we use dedicated yellow Nalgene bottles for #1. You need to rinse them well after dumping or the odor gets bad. 30 years ago, we didn't need to use anything at night. Ah, the young old days.

BroncoHauler 05-02-2017 01:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve_382 (Post 202242)
... 30 years ago, we didn't need to use anything at night. Ah, the young old days.

Ain't that the truth.

For #1, I found these TravelJohns invaluable. There are a few gymnastics involved to use them properly in a teardrop trailer, so using them in an SMB should be a piece of cake.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Herb

LenS 05-02-2017 08:27 PM

We use ours on all trips. And yes I am the PP person. Have never had issues with it and the place of choice to empty it is in an outhouse vault. With age we are using it much more (middle of the night) and I now prefer to empty it when it is 3/4 full rather then having to carry a full one. I like it and my wife considers it a must have. Our van layout puts it in a dedicated bathroom space at the back of the van with a curtain door.

gcvt 05-02-2017 08:49 PM

I really like our West Marine branded unit. The girlfriend refuses to use it. Emptying it certainly is a few seconds of unpleasantness, but I think it's worth having it. Ours lives in a cabinet right behind the driver's seat which is a good spot for it in the EB10 layout.

larrie 05-02-2017 09:25 PM

We have the Curve model and like it. It travels in a cabinet by the barn door. It comes out at night and lives between the drivers and passenger seats. Like many others here we use ours in the middle of the night. The rule is to only for #1. I find it is light outside then it is a trip to the outhouse or cat hole. I have a harder time picking up dog poo than emptying the port a potty.

dig255 05-02-2017 09:38 PM

I always like the fresh air option.
Does this make me a DUMP truck?
https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...cture34734.jpg

rltilley 05-02-2017 10:29 PM

We use ours every trip but have yet to "drop a deuce" in it. Never heard of Happy Bowl liners so I'll need to look into that. Sounds like they would solve a nagging question I've had about using the porta potti for #2's.


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Ned5555 05-02-2017 10:54 PM

We "prepared" ours to take on our maiden 3-week road trip, and used it a handful of times while bookdocking or when the bathroom lines at Yellowstone were too long. But I dread using or emptying it so much, we've never touched it again. It still lives in the shower compartment in case of emergency, but now I seem to pick campgrounds based on bathroom availability. I guess I'm too spoiled by flush toilets.

gcvt 05-02-2017 11:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rltilley (Post 202278)
We use ours every trip but have yet to "drop a deuce" in it. Never heard of Happy Bowl liners so I'll need to look into that. Sounds like they would solve a nagging question I've had about using the porta potti for #2's.


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They are a must for #2!

https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Bowl-Bi...l%2Bliner&th=1

BrianW 05-03-2017 09:26 AM

Some good hints in here! Not sure I'm totally sold on it yet, but we'll see. We have Curve model. Biggest problem is lack of a good place to use it in the van due to our layout.

capnkurt 05-03-2017 11:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gcvt (Post 202283)

Awesome! Thanks for the tip, gcvt! We always line the bowl with TP before using it for #2, but that uses up a lot of extra paper. As long as you line the bowl before #2, there is absolutely ZERO problem with getting every last bit down with just a standard flush.

capn

LenS 05-03-2017 01:14 PM

2 Attachment(s)
We both much rather use our own toilet then a public one. Also great for when camping with our grand daughters. Our through isle layout was partly configured with a bathroom in mind. Absolutely no regrets and most women like privacy not a toilet setting in an isle. Left those days behind when we gave up tent camping and build a camping van.

MadScience 05-03-2017 01:15 PM

I own one, and have used it on one trip where there was really no other option. Didn't love using it or dealing with it, but I'll bust it out again if I really have to, I won't let something like that keep me from camping somewhere pretty.

I can't see bothering with it for liquid only. Generally you can find a place to go outside without too much trouble. If you're desperate to keep on moving, I could see carrying a pee jug, like the setups you'd deal with in a 3-6 seater aircraft. They are a bit simpler for boys than girls, but solutions exist for both. Not sure I'd dump them out the window like you might in plane though.

daveb 05-03-2017 03:09 PM

Still never have hauled my Porta pottie (I'm scared of it) and use wag bags if needed instead. I guess it's either dealing with the cleaning and dumping of a PP or hauling and dumping the wag bags. Both are not pleasant to deal with but it's fairly easy to find a trash dump to get rid of the bags. One question is why do the PP manufactures suggest "RV T-paper"? That alone is enough for me to not use it or is that only for the marine type heads that have an external holding tank? On a trip I took last year with another member, it took Steve some time to clean out his porta pottie and he had to use a stick to get stuff to flow out of it. Confirmed I really don't want to mess with the thing.

Tienckb 05-03-2017 04:44 PM

I value my PETT wag bag set up very much. Seal, zip and toss by the respective depositor.


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86Scotty 05-03-2017 05:01 PM

Man, everyone sure is chatty about such a shitty subject. Can't we argue about gas vs. diesel or something?

I know, I don't have to read it, but if it's this crap or the news I'm still going to read this crap.

:b5:

rionapo 05-03-2017 05:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1der (Post 202228)
Since I am the designated PP manager, and we go on six week van trips, I (we) have learned a lot and have user rules:

#3 If we are going through elevation changes - leave the blade valve just ever so slightly unlatched a bit to allow for air pressure changes.

If you wonder what constitutes sufficient elevation change, the PP will let you know when you flush.

:b1:

Our PP is also a critical piece of equipment. As I've noted in other posts, SMB built a cover for ours and it serves as an Ottoman. It's the perfect height for sitting at the stove or sink.

I'm always surprised by folks who don't like the idea of using a PP. Reminds me of a camping trip with my daughter-in-law. We hiked a mile +/- from a campground to be a bit more isolated. She would hike back to the campground to use its overused facility rather than walk a short distance, dig a cat hole and do what comes naturally. (Squatting works far better than sitting, IMO. Sorry for the continued details, Scotty.) City slickers, greenhorns or tenderfeet is what we call folks like that hereabouts.

Don

BrianW 05-03-2017 06:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rionapo (Post 202341)
I'm always surprised by folks who don't like the idea of using a PP.

Has something to do with the old adage, "Don't sh*t where you sleep."

Otter 05-03-2017 07:03 PM

After having slept in too many boat cabins where the previous owners clearly felt comfortable with that left-over holding tank "aroma" that never quite goes away, we have a rule when we tow the trailer: #1 in the potty, #2 in a wag bag. In the van, I use a folding Pett wag-bag setup for everything. Very simple, clean and, in 30 years, I've never had to empty a nasty porta potty or stinky holding tank. That's just ain't for me. :rolleyes:

Tienckb 05-03-2017 07:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Otter (Post 202352)
After having slept in too many boat cabins where the previous owners clearly felt comfortable with that left-over holding tank "aroma" that never quite goes away, we have a rule when we tow the trailer: #1 in the potty, #2 in a wag bag. In the van, I use a folding Pett wag-bag setup for everything. Very simple, clean and, in 30 years, I've never had to empty a nasty porta potty or stinky holding tank. That's just ain't for me. :rolleyes:



Ditto that man


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rionapo 05-03-2017 07:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrianW (Post 202350)
Has something to do with the old adage, "Don't sh*t where you sleep."

That's why we dig cat holes if we don't have an exterior option, an important item I didn't mention earlier. The PP has been pressed into emergency service but that's happened only a couple of times in the five years we've travelled in our SMB. The liners mentioned in this thread will be added to our contingency storage for those occasions.

Don

86Scotty 05-03-2017 09:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rionapo (Post 202341)
(Squatting works far better than sitting, IMO. Sorry for the continued details, Scotty.) City slickers, greenhorns or tenderfeet is what we call folks like that hereabouts.

Don

No worries, Don. I was mostly joking. It's just funny what threads don't gain any traction and which ones leave skid marks. :D

We always carried our PP in our van. Now it's sitting idle in the garage, probably full of chemical and hopefully nothing else. Being male and hiking alot, I'm actually just fine running off in the woods but if my wife and daughter start traveling with me in the van again I'm sure it will go too.

For about two years I had the same old Mcdonald's cup wedged in my Aluminess tire carrier behind the tire. It saw lots of parking lot use.........and no one ever knew it.

:b5:

1der 05-04-2017 12:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daveb (Post 202320)
... it took Steve some time to clean out his porta pottie and he had to use a stick to get stuff to flow out of it. Confirmed I really don't want to mess with the thing.

A stick??? Sounds like operator error as in failing to: 1. Use enough holding tank additive, and 2. Not enough water when flushing. I guess if PP is only used for #2 that could lead to that type of problem along with too much paper?

BrianW 05-04-2017 06:15 AM

For me, the only time I'd really use it is when stealth camping someplace like Walmart, etc., and particularly for my wife and son. We'd like to take advantage of parking-lot camping more, but the bathroom situation always gives us pause. Otherwise, the good-old cup or dedicated bottle works fine.

daveb 05-04-2017 06:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1der (Post 202366)
A stick??? Sounds like operator error as in failing to: 1. Use enough holding tank additive, and 2. Not enough water when flushing. I guess if PP is only used for #2 that could lead to that type of problem along with too much paper?

Yeah Ray he did mention that. He said he doesn't use RV paper and thought that my be an issue.

jpau00 05-04-2017 07:27 AM

Being a woman and doing mostly stealth camping, the PP is essential. I can remember being much younger and trying to hide behind a cactus in New Mexico to take care of first morning business. Or wandering around San Francisco trying to find somewhere open at 3am to use their facilities because I made the stupid mistake of drinking a large latte late in the evening (sorry, I just can't bring myself to pee in someone's driveway). The PP is much, much preferred.

Econoliner 05-04-2017 08:36 AM

We had a Thetford Curve for a year but it was a constant headache. The flush switch failed on a trip and pumped the fresh water contents all over the back of the van. Thetford wanted over $100 for a switch assembly that might be worth $10 at retail. I rigged up a 9V battery and switch that worked fine. Our trips typically last about a month, but no matter how careful you were, it needed a serious bleach and garden-hose session in the driveway when we’d get home. I won’t tell any stories, but you definitely had to be mindful of pressure changes in the mountains.

My wife is pretty adventurous, but I didn’t want anything to sour her on van camping, so I bit the bullet and got a Natures Head composting toilet. It has been awesome!! We can easily do 30-day trips with no emptying of the lower unit. The liquid container is very easy to deal with. There is absolutely no smell and it has a tiny (quiet) fan that helps the composting process but also creates a little negative pressure at the opening (unless the van is sealed and the Fantastic Fan is going full blast out). It comes with a vinegar spritzing bottle that works great. If we’re in a situation where we’re somewhat confined to the van and someone needs to go back there and get medieval, we have a curtain (and the radio).

I read a good tip on another forum: to extend emptying time, it helps if you make a distinction between “yellow paper” and the other kind. The former can go in a little trash bag while the latter goes in the lower unit. It’s really nice not having chemicals, water and all that weight. We use the coconut coir.

I mounted it in the back of the van where it’s easy to use and clean out. It’s tied through the floor with stainless T-nuts that easily unfasten. It’s the same height as our sleeping platform so it provides a little extra room. Every square inch matters in a van.

1der 05-04-2017 09:02 AM

I looked at the Natures Head units and was really interested. It gets excellent reviews. I think it is s good solution for the right set up. Ultimately for us, the NH requirement for a vent to the outside required drilling another hole, the head cannot be moved from a "stored" position, and more importantly, having a pop top and sleeping above the vent nixed the NH idea.

The manual pump works great on our PP, I was not impressed with the idea of an electric head pump.

Having had boats and been around boats big and small for much of my life, I am VERY familiar with the holding tank aromas, pumping out, treatments, fixing stuff in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Marine toilets are bad but try cleaning/replacing a shower sump pump 500 miles offshore. Our PP has had no odor issues, nothing to replace, super convenient.

Maybe goes without saying - but #1 use is always done sitting regardless of gender.

Econoliner 05-04-2017 09:22 AM

I vented our unit through the floor behind the left-rear wheel. The venting is not really nasty, like residential plumbing or something like that. Sometimes we don't even run the fan. The initial composting is very fast and the fan is primarily used to control moisture level in the coir. It comes with very high-quality flexible vent pipe that might be configurable in a slide-out situation.
Yes, you were wise to get the manual pump on the Thetford! Simple is almost always better.

Fitz 05-04-2017 09:28 AM

I am in total agreement with 1der's comments above. The manual pump PP works great, and cleaning it is no worse than changing a messy diaper. The convenience FAR outweighs the maintenance.

rallypanam 05-04-2017 10:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fitz (Post 202386)
cleaning it is no worse than changing a messy diaper.

Yeah, that's not really a glowing endorsement.. Made it 46 years without changing a diaper, don't want to start now.

rionapo 05-04-2017 11:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpau00 (Post 202371)
I can remember being much younger and trying to hide behind a cactus in New Mexico to take care of first morning business.

Cacti require a careful examination of the clearance to the rear. :b1:

Don

1der 05-04-2017 12:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rallypanam (Post 202397)
Yeah, that's not really a glowing endorsement.. Made it 46 years without changing a diaper, don't want to start now.

And what about Ella?? :)
But when camping she takes care of herself in the woods :d8:


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