Portable Waste Units - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-04-2016, 07:16 AM   #1
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DeanCHS1980's Avatar
Name: Dean
Trailer: 2005 Casita 17' Freedom Deluxe
Posts: 345
Portable Waste Units

Hi All,

Laura and I have 23 nights under our belts so far during our first camping season with our new to us Casita. Here are a few parameters to set up my questions:

1. We like to stay in state parks. Many of the parks only have electric and water with no on-site sewer hook-ups.

2. We like to do a 4 day weekends leaving on a Thursday and coming back on a Sunday.

3. We like to us have the flexibility of using our shower.

4. Based on the above, I have noticed that we can easily fill up our gray tank between showers, dishes (we eat most of our meals at our campsite), etc. Filling up our black tank has not been an issue.

Based on the above, I am thinking about purchasing a portable waste tote. I think we would use it primarily to drain the gray tank down once or twice during our long weekends. Manufacturers seem to include Barker, Tote-n-Stor, and Thetford. I do not want a large unit. Between the Casita and our midsize SUV, space is an issue, plus I don't relish the idea of carrying a sewer container inside our SUV. At first, I thought I would get a really small one, perhaps only 5 or 6 gallons. However, I am wondering if a slightly larger unit (two wheels, handle, an accessory or two, preferably holding 10 to 15 gallons) would make more sense. I don't want to go much larger than 15 to 18 gallons.

Here are my questions:

A. I am wondering if we could store it empty in the Casita bathroom while traveling? Thoughts?

B. Do you recommend a particular brand? Features? I would like to stay around $100 plus/minus $25.

C. What do you think about the size of 10 to 15 gallons in terms of storage, weight, etc.?

D. Am I overlooking anything?

As always, THANKS,


Laura & Dean | '05 Casita 17' FD | '09 Kia Borrego Limited V8 2WD
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:02 AM   #2
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Name: Clif
Trailer: 08 Weiscraft Little Joe 14 Subaru Outback 2.5i CVT
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What water conservation strategies have you implemented? I think it is fair to say that you can't use water while camping as freely as you do at home. For example, do you leave the shower head on while washing up, or do you use the wet, wash, rinse method with the water off during the wash? Do you wash each dish and then rinse under the faucet, or do you wash the dishes and then rinse them all at once. Both of these methods save lots of water.

I would try to develop strategies such as these before finding another single use item to carry with you.

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Old 08-04-2016, 08:54 AM   #3
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Name: Carl
Trailer: 2015 Escape 5.0TA
Somewhere in the Lower 48
Posts: 692
I have the flexibility of using my own shower. That being said, I find most State Parks have very good showers and hot water sources larger than the typical 6 gallon water heaters in our trailers. It also means I do not fill my gray tank in as short a period as 4 days. Moving on, I have over the years owned both a Thetford and a Barker. I would purchase another Barker; I would not purchase another Thetford. If you are not using it for black water, it is not as likely to have the yuck factor. However, rather than carrying it inside the trailer, I would find a way to transport it on the rear bumper, atop the propane tank(s), or on a roof rack. As far as size, I would suggest something fairly close to the size of the gray water tank. The advantage of the larger waste totes is that their handles typically fit over the trailer ball and can be towed (low speed) to the dump station; not necessarily so with the smaller ones.

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Old 08-04-2016, 09:43 AM   #4
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 1,255
Water is heavy so any tote over 4-5 gallons should be wheeled. I find the 10 gal size good. Not too large to store yet large enough to hold a few days or more of waste water. If I only half fill my ten gallon wheeled tote, then I often just lift it and put it in the tug to take it to the dump station. If its full then I wheel it there.

Wheeled totes can be the type you pull by hand and/or tow behind a vehicle (very slowly by the way). Some, like mine can be pulled by hand but also come with a bracket to hook it to a tow ball.

IMHO it should have the standard hose fitting as well as a garden hose fitting.

Barker is one of a handfull of popular brands. They have the original design as well as four wheel models.

Another is Thetford.

Here is a list of 23 different ones (as of today at least).

I would read all the reviews on these you can. Pay attention to the quality and size of the wheels and make sure replacement parts are available.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:07 AM   #5
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Name: Larry and Pat
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 15
I bought a ten-gallon tote to use with our Scamp 19, primarily because I was concerned about space for transporting the tote when not in use. I should have just dealt with the larger size. Weight of the tote when empty is negligible. I find myself wishing that I had bought in the 15-16-gallon size that attaches easily to my bumper hitch where I could have slowly pulled it to the dump station. When the tote is full it gets into the 40-50 lb. range which is awkward to handle whether I am loading it into the truck bed for a trip to the dump station, or wheeling it by hand or using a strap to attach it to the trailer hitch. A bigger tote would have simplified everything.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:11 AM   #6
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Name: Glenn
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
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I have a wheeled tote. It's called my trailer. I've never had to dump because the grey tank is full. I have had to dump for the black. And besides, I probably need beer by then.
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:38 AM   #7
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Name: Peter
Trailer: G30 Elite Class C
British Columbia
Posts: 640
totes-filling up grey water Pain in butt,

Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
I have a wheeled tote. It's called my trailer. I've never had to dump because the grey tank is full. I have had to dump for the black. And besides, I probably need beer by then.
: I just hooked up the Bigfoot and found a storm drain in a parking lot and lined trailer up with it then pulled handle on grey water holding tank and let er go, no fuss not bother. then I head back to my site and set up for when ever then do same on way home if no dump sites available. But if have to do Black water then if find a dump site and even pay mega bucks to get that one cleaned out.
This is why I Like Porta Potti so much as all you need is stand alone bathroom, or service station or if staying at friends and if he offers u the use of his bathroom then dump there, though cannot dump built in Grey water unless one has a pump of some kind that can hook up and service station people let u do this. Storm drains worked well for us.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:41 AM   #8
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 23,916
I made a portable blue tote a number of years ago. Cost me less than $20. I can lift it and can use it for either gray or black water. I only take it when I know I'll be camping without full hook-ups. Because this was created years back, the part numbers may have changed, but you get the idea.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:58 AM   #9
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Name: Glenn
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
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Originally Posted by stude View Post
: I just hooked up the Bigfoot and found a storm drain in a parking lot and lined trailer up with it then pulled handle on grey water holding tank and let er go, no fuss not bother.
No fuss, no bother unless you get caught.
In North Vancouver:

Use of Storm Sewer System
7. No person may use the storm sewer system for other than the discharge of storm water or any clear water waste or both as permitted by the relevant provisions of the current Building Regulations of British Columbia.

You will also find yourself in contravention of the Fisheries Act.
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:10 AM   #10
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Name: Kevin
Trailer: 28' Bigfoot Silver Cloud
Oak Park, IL
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We bought the Thetford 18 gallon, 4-wheel pull model for when we don't have easy dumping capabilities. Thus far, I've used it on two trips because I didn't want to move the trailer to dump in the middle of a 7+ day stay. When empty and cleaned out, we stand it upright in our bathroom or on 4-wheels on a pad on the main tile floor (to catch any possible drips).

My only concern has been how the hose connects to the portable tank. It enters below the mid-line of the tank, so I'm not sure how it would ever fill above that point just by gravity fill. It seems it would only fill the tank half-full because the hose would back-up when the tank reached half capacity.

Anyone have any experience with this? Is it really a concern?
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:26 AM   #11
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 2012 Casita FD 17 - 2010 Audi Q5
Puget Sound, WA
Posts: 179

Water weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon. 10 gallons will weigh 83.4 pounds plus whatever the weight of the container is.

I carry a 2.5 gallon container for fetching fresh water just to limit the weight I have to carry.

The gray tanks in the 17's apparently hold something less than their full 32 gallon capacity. It's said that a HepVo valve modification increases their capacity. There's also a vent modification that is supposed to restore even more capacity.

Maybe you can open the toilet seat when you shower so that some of the water runs into the black tank.

Otherwise, if you keep going this direction, I think you will soon need to consider something like this arrangement.
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Old 08-04-2016, 02:32 PM   #12
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Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 676
one solution....

one way to address your particular "problem" would be to locate a flat plastic tank (all different sizes available for built-in fuel tanks in boats) and locate it in the back of the Borrego....after that a simple little 12V pump with garden hose and fittings (like the one on the end cap of your dump system) would do the trick....use up very little space in the Borrego and can be taken out and stored in the garage between trips....or just left there if you don't think you'll need it on a particular trip
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Old 08-04-2016, 09:56 PM   #13
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Name: Ray
Trailer: 2014 Scamp 13
Posts: 367
Portable Waste Units

Not wanting to be a smart Alec here but ..... My first thought was like Clif's ( The Minimalist) .... Are you taking "military showers" when you are in the trailer?

My dad was in the Navy and told me that fresh water aboard ships at sea was somewhat limited.
So, aboard ship, they turned on the water and got wet, turned off the water and soaped up, then turned the water back on, rinsed off, and then fairly quickly turned the water back off again. Minimum water used and, of course, minimum water down the drain.

Later, dad had a lake cabin that was on a septic tank with minimum laterals due to rocky ground. Fresh water was from a well that had an electric pump in a pump house. So, although not quite as bad as being on a ship, making at least some minimal attempts at water conservation was much appreciated whenever we visited him at the lake.

Even without an onboard shower in our trailer, I know that it sure seems like our gray tank fills up amazingly fast. Arrgh! ☹️ So ...... I certainly know what you mean! 😉

Good luck with whatever solution you decide on! 😊


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Old 08-05-2016, 03:11 AM   #14
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Name: Tom
Trailer: 1980 Bigfoot 17 ft
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Another idea to conserve water is find a plastic tub the same size as the sink. Use the tub for dish washing inside the sink,then carry the tub to the toilet and pour it in. Refill with rinse water and repeat. All of your dish water is now in the black tank, not the gray tank.

1980 Bigfoot 17' & 1973 Compact Jr
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