Are Portable RV Waste Tanks Worth It?

Camco Rhino Portable RV Waste Tank

Have you been considering buying a RV portable waste tank but not sure if they are worth the money? I can assure you that you’re not alone. RVers all over the country are asking the same question. While I can’t answer the subjective question on what something is worth to you, I can give you some feedback about my experiences as well as a few pros and cons of having one. What is highly valuable to one person may not be worth anything to another. Consider the old phrase, “One man’s trash is another’s treasure.”

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 Kellie and I have a portable RV waste tank and I can tell you that for us, it is worth its weight I gold. I couldn’t imagine spending time in our travel trailer without one. In this post I am going to cover some of the basics of these handy portable tanks as well as some benefits and downsides to having one. Hopefully I can clear up any questions you may have so you can make an informed decision on whether you need one or not. Let’s get to it, shall we?

What Is A Portable RV Waste Tank?

Often referred to as a “Blue Boy”, these tanks are a convenient way to dump your RV holding tanks without the need to completely tear-down camp to haul your RV to the dump station. Most portable RV waste tanks are equipped with wheels and a handle that easily attaches to the hitch of your tow vehicle. When your gray and black tanks get full, simply empty the contents into the portable waste tank, hook it to your tow vehicle, and haul it to the dump station. (Provided there is a dump station at the park you are at)

Related: RV Holding Tank Maintenance

How To Use A Portable Waste Tote

Dumping a portable waste tote is the same as dumping your RVs tanks at the dump station. The main difference is you don’t need to bring your camper with you.

You will need a shorter sewer hose than the one you use for your RV holding tanks. I cut a piece of hose from our extremely long sewer hose to make a much shorter hose just for dumping our waste tank.

The main thing to remember is to make sure the vent on the waste tank is open when filling and dumping. The vent allows air to get into the tank making the dumping process so much easier. Think about a straw with your finger over one end. It will not fill if the “vent” is closed. Equally so, if it is full, it will not empty if the “vent” is closed. The same principle works with these portable tanks.

Just make sure you close the vent before transporting the portable tank. You don’t want a mess on your hands.

Related: How To Easily Dump RV Holding Tanks

Things To Consider Before Making A Purchase

There are a few things you need to consider before purchasing a portable RV waste tank. What size tote do you need? Where are you going to store it?

 The size of the portable RV waste tank you need is going to depend on those two questions. You will want one that will hold the capacity of your holding tanks, if you have room to store it.

Kellie and I have a 25-gallon Blue Boy and we keep it in the bed of our truck. There is no way we could keep it in our basement storage. There simply isn’t enough room.

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If you do not have a place to store a portable waste tank, make sure you take that into consideration before making the purchase. On the other hand, if you have a rack or a ladder on the rear of your RV, you might think about storing one there. I’m sure you’ve seen the RVers that have their tote strapped to either the ladder or an equipment rack on the back of their rig.

Pros

As stated earlier, the main benefit to having a portable RV waste tank is not having to break camp when your holding tanks get full.

If you pay for full hook-ups to avoid the dump station, having a portable tote can not only save you tons of money on campsites, but it also gives you more options as to where you can camp. You no longer need to settle for sites that are only full hookup.

Cons

The biggest drawback of having a portable RV waste tank is storing it. If you are puling a camper or 5th wheel, you most likely will have room in the bed of your truck. If not, you may need to buy a smaller waste tote. A smaller waste tote just means more trips to the dump station as you will not have the full capacity of your holding tanks.

Tips To Extend Time Between Dumps

Here are a few tips for conserving that much needed space in your holding tanks to keep you from needing to dump as often. These tips are mostly for your gray water holding tanks but can also be used for conserving your fresh water as well.

Using paper plates, cups, etc. will not only conserve water, but it will also keep your gray tank from filling up so fast. Another great way to conserve water and gray tank capacity is taking “Navy” showers. A Navy shower is essentially getting wet, shut off the water, lather with soap, and rinse.

If you have a washer and dryer in your rig, consider using the park facilities if you are not at a full-hookup site.

Wash your dishes outside by the water hook-up using a bucket or small bin. Kellie and I did this for years before we got our first travel trailer. Again, this is a great way to conserve holding tank capacity.

Macerator Pump

If you are at a campsite where there is no dump station on-site, pulling your portable RV waste tank to the dump station may be out of the question. In this situation, you will need to put your portable tote in the back of your tow vehicle to transport it.

You most likely will not be able to hoist a full portable tote into your vehicle. You will have to put the empty tote in your vehicle and pump the waste into it. This is where a macerator pump saves the day.

A macerator pump is similar to a kitchen garbage disposal in that it creates small waste particles out of large waste particles making it easier to pump uphill or over a long distance.

Michael Boyink of Ditching Suburbia wrote a great post explaining in detail what a macerator pump is and how this process works. If you would like to check out his post, you can check it out here.

My Recommendations For Portable RV Waste Tanks

Tote-N-Store 25-Gallon Portable RV Waste Tank

My first recommendation on a portable RV waste tank is going to be the one we personally use. We use the Tote-N-Store, 25-gallon portable tote. This tote has been a life-saver on more than one occasion over the years. It is a two-wheel tote that connects to your tow hitch via a separate towing bracket made for Tot-N-Store waste tanks.

This tote has no-flat rubber wheels and weighs 22 pounds when empty. The dimensions of this portable RV waste tote are 35.25” X 24” X 11.63”.

This Tote-N-Stor is easy to use, easy to transport, and is extremely durable. One downside of this tote is its size. Unless you have a rack to strap it to or room to store it in your truck bed, you might have a hard time finding a place to keep it.

Camco Rhino Heavy Duty 28-Gallon Portable Tote

This heavy-duty portable RV waste tank comes with all the accessories you need, all in one package. It includes a hose, fittings, clamps, and storage caps and It is designed to be strapped to a ladder or a tote rack as it is molded with channels that fit a ladder seamlessly.

The Camco Rhino is constructed of highly durable HDPE plastic and will not deteriorate in extreme weather. It weighs in at a whopping 43 pounds and measures 14.5” X 24” X 44” and best of all, it is made in the USA.

Tote-N-Store 25-Gallon, 4 Wheel, Portable RV Waste Tank

We had the chance to use this tote when we stayed at Barefoot RV Park and Campground years ago. The campground had two of these totes available for RVers to use. At the time, we had left our tote behind and thankfully the park had this available to use.

This Tote-N-Store tote is much like the one listed above only it has four wheels instead of two. It also has a built-in tow bracket for added convenience. The thing I like most about this tote is the swivel drain because it makes dumping so much easier than lifting the tote. This tote is constructed with a built-in storage compartment and has a hose connect for easy cleaning. It measures 40.75” X 27” X 14.37” and is easy to store because of its low-profile.

Conclusion On Portable RV Waste Tanks

Now that we have reached the end of this post, I hope you have more information on what a portable RV holding tank is and a few things to consider before buying one. You might have even realized that you don’t really need one after all. Are these portable totes worth the money? In my opinion, yes. I wouldn’t consider a long stay at a campground without one.

Do you have any other pros and cons or suggestions when it comes to portable RV holding tanks? If so, please leave a comment below and let us know.

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