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Old 08-04-2016, 07:16 AM   #1
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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,

Dean
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:02 AM   #2
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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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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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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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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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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.
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Old 08-04-2016, 10:38 AM   #7
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totes-filling up grey water Pain in butt,

Quote:
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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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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: 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.
Stude
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.
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:10 AM   #10
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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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Dean,

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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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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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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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.
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Old 08-05-2016, 03:44 AM   #15
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Dean, if you want to keep it simple, get a cap with a garden hose outlet and put a short piece of hose on it. Get a gallon milk jug or something close, crack the grey slide valve and fill it up and dump it. Call the walk back and forth exercise . Draining the grey doesn't have to be in one shot.......remember the rocket science thing ?
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Old 08-05-2016, 07:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Dean, if you want to keep it simple, get a cap with a garden hose outlet and put a short piece of hose on it. Get a gallon milk jug or something close, crack the grey slide valve and fill it up and dump it. Call the walk back and forth exercise . Draining the grey doesn't have to be in one shot.......remember the rocket science thing ?

Or two 1 gallon jugs and cut the trips back and forth in half!


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Old 08-05-2016, 07:43 AM   #17
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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. ...
What I do it step one of above, but I pour my gray water into a container and then use that water to flush the commode when needed. The same water does double duty. (And it sometimes makes me wonder why I spent so much money for plumbing in my trailer )

The original question was about portable totes and not water conservation, but I think everyone who has talked about water saving have a good point. You probably can empty your tanks a lot less frequently than you think if you really try to conserve and reuse your water.
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Old 08-05-2016, 09:07 AM   #18
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What I do it step one of above, but I pour my gray water into a container and then use that water to flush the commode when needed. The same water does double duty. (And it sometimes makes me wonder why I spent so much money for plumbing in my trailer )

The original question was about portable totes and not water conservation, but I think everyone who has talked about water saving have a good point. You probably can empty your tanks a lot less frequently than you think if you really try to conserve and reuse your water.
Dual use! Now that's camping!
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Old 08-05-2016, 10:59 AM   #19
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I have a 6 Gallon Tote-N-Store.

I personally would not go any bigger as others have said the bigger the tank the heavier it is and the more problematic it is to find a place to store it & dump it & the more reluctant I would be to actually using it. Mine is small enough that if your at a place with no dump station you can take it elsewhere (a gas station bathroom for example) and carefully dump it down a bathroom toilet & flush it away - obviously not all in one pour! LOL

I use mine mainly for draining off grey water only, as the places I camp they usually have an outhouse so I can avoid the filling of the black tank as well. Cleaning it out after grey water only use is easy - once home fill with fresh water and put a bit of bleach in it and let it sit for awhile. Keeps it from getting stinky and you can be stored in the back of the vehicle or in the trailer without an issues. Someone recently told me that dropping a good denture cleaner into it and leaving it sit with water is an even better way to clean it (and the blank tank in the trailer as well). Have not tried it yet!

I use the short garden hose connected to the grey water discharge pipe that has a cap with a garden hose connection on it. Makes it real easy to control the flow of the water & not having to deal with the larger slinky type hose.

Lots of ways as others have suggested to keep water usage down. Having a shut off on the shower handle is one but the one I think saves me the most water is the use of a tub in the kitchen sink when doing dishes. Especially when it comes to rinsing off the dishes. Having the water run into a tub that fits in the sink rather than down the sink pipe is a real good reminder as to how much water you are using. You can then dump the tub water into the black tank that more often than not has the room for it.

A tote with wheels is good to have & on occasion wished mine had wheels but the wheels are only usable if where you are staying actually has a dump facility and paved road that you can pull it along. Most of the places I find I need to use the tote more often and not do not have a dump facility and or a paved road.

I found with the Scamp I could easily get by being careful with water usage & 2 people having showers for 4 days - longer if I am traveling on my own - before needing to drain off some grey water. So the frequency that my tote is actually used would not warrant one of a larger size and giving up of storage space for it.

If you do a google of this site you should be able to find a post where someone rigged up a holder under their Scamp? using PVC pipes for storing their small portable tank.
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Old 08-05-2016, 11:19 AM   #20
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My dentist doesn't even recommend Polident tabs for dentures. Waste of money. How many do you think it would take to have any effect on a waste tank? I think they are just a mild bleach.
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