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There are different classes and types of RVs and they each have their own features that set them apart from one another. However, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Class A motorhome or a pop-up camper with a bathroom, they all have one thing in common. Holding tanks.
These holding tanks are designed to store our on-board fresh water, and our waste water. At some point in your RV travels and camping adventures, these tanks will fill up and have to be dumped.
I have a good feeling that most RVers would agree that the worst part of owning a camper or motorhome is dumping the waste tanks.
In fact, I can’t remember a single time I have met another RV owner that said, “Ya know, my favorite part of RVing is emptying the waste tanks.” As unglamourous and dirty as it is, it’s one of those things that has to be done.
If you’re at a site that has full hookups, dumping your RV holding tanks takes much less effort than if you’re camping at a site doesn’t.
For those sites without a sewer connection, you have two choices. You can either break camp and pull your camper to the dump station, or you can empty your tanks into a portable RV waste tank and pull it to the dump station instead.
I think I’ll take the second option. Afterall, who wants to tear down their campsite just to go dump?
If you typically camp at campgrounds that don’t have full hookups, or if you do a lot of boondocking, a portable RV waste tote might be a good addition to your RV camping gear.
When choosing the best portable RV waste tank for your camper, how do you know which one is best for you? Sure, they might seem to be as simple as a tank for hauling poop, but there are other features of a portable RV waste tank that are very important.
By the end of this article, we hope you will have the information you need to make an informed decision on the best portable RV waste tank for you and your family’s needs.
Let’s jump in…
- What Is A Portable RV Waste Tank?
- What To Look For In A Portable Waste Tank For Your RV
- How To Empty A Portable RV Waste Tank
- How To Clean And Sanitize A Portable Waste Tote
- How To Transport A Portable RV Waste Tank
- Portable RV Waste Tanks Options
- Portable RV Waste Tote Accessories
- In Conclusion
What Is A Portable RV Waste Tank?
Often referred to as a “blue boy,” a portable RV waste tank is a convenient way to dump your camper’s waste tanks without completely breaking down your campsite just to haul your rig to the dump station.
Most portable waste totes for an RV are equipped with wheels and a handle that attaches to a vehicles tow hitch for easily transporting to the on-site dump station.
When the waste tanks on your camper begin to reach capacity, empty the contents into a portable RV waste tank, hook it to your tow vehicle, and head to the dump station.
What To Look For In A Portable Waste Tank For Your RV
In order to find the best portable RV waste tank for your needs, there are certain things to consider. Wheels and handles aren’t the only two features you need to think of before making a purchase.
How big of a waste tote do you need? Where will you store it? How easy is it to use?
Below is a list of things to consider that will help you in the decision-making process to be sure you find the best portable RV waste tank for you and your camper.
- Ease Of Use
- Storage Requirements
The most important feature to look for when choosing the best portable RV waste tank for your camper is the overall capacity. How much waste can it hold? How big are your camper’s holding tanks? You want to make sure the portable waste tank you choose for your RV can hold the contents of your tanks.
For example, if your black water holding tank holds 30 gallons of waste, a smaller tote may not be as useful as a larger one.
However, if toting 30 gallons of wastewater seems a bit too much to manage, a smaller portable waste tote might be a better choice. But keep in mind that if the holding tanks on your camper are larger than the portable RV waste tank, you will have to make multiple trips to the dump site. In addition, you risk the chance of an overflow scenario and raw sewage on the ground.
- For more information about RV sewer hoses, check out Choosing The Best RV Sewer Hose For Dumping Your Waste Tanks.
Filling up your portable waste tote is the easy part of dumping your tanks. Now you need to get the portable tank to the dump station. This is where a portable waste tank’s portability comes into play.
The most popular portable RV waste tanks are available in two options. Two-wheel and four-wheel.
The two-wheel options will require you to attach the tote to your bumper hitch, either with a bracket or a tow strap. In addition, the molded grab handle allows you to lift the front of the tank to move it around.
The four-wheel options will have a built-in handle that easily hooks to a tow hitch for hauling. This handle also makes it much easier to maneuver by hand than the two-wheel sewer totes.
If the wheeled options aren’t a great choice because of storage space, or if your RV has smaller waste tanks, there are smaller, hand-held versions as well. More on that below.
Ease Of Use
Another thing to consider when choosing the best portable RV waste tank for your camper is how easy it is to use. I have used some four-wheel portable waste totes that are much easier to dump than our current two-wheel model.
Most four-wheel totes are equipped with an easy-to-use gate valve, or a low point drain spout that pivots downward when ready to dump. All you do is hook one end of the sewer hose to the tank and the other end to the sewer dump point, then either pull a valve or tilt the drain down.
The two-wheel portable totes can be a bit more difficult to dump because you have to pick it up and stand it on end to empty it. Depending on the size of the tank, this can be quite a task for some RVers. We have a 25-Gallon, two-wheel Tote-N-Stor and when it is completely full, it’s not very light.
Anything and everything you buy for an RV needs to have a place to be stored. A portable RV waste tank is no exception. If you don’t want to carry a waste tote in the basement storage of your camper, consider your storage options when choosing a portable waste tank for your RV.
We used to keep ours in the bed of our truck when going to and from the campsite. But the back of the truck quickly filled up when we added our dogs, coolers, and tables to the mix. To free up much needed truck bed space, we recently installed a bumper mounted bracket for our portable waste tank.
Having a budget beforehand is important when choosing a portable RV waste tank. Not all totes are created equal. The larger the tank, the more it will cost. These totes are not cheap. But, when you consider the alternatives to not having one, they are well worth the money.
Also keep in mind the features that you will need in a portable waste tote for your camper. If a smaller two-wheel model fits your needs, there no reason to spring for the huge four-wheel model, and vice-versa.
Make sure the option you choose is durable, has the capacity you need, and has all the necessary features you want.
How To Empty A Portable RV Waste Tank
Emptying a portable RV waste tank is similar to dumping the waste tanks on your RV. The only difference is you are using the portable waste tank as a transfer point from the camper to the dump site, instead of dumping straight into the sewer connection.
The main thing to pay attention to when emptying your camper waste into a portable tote is making sure you don’t overfill. Nobody wants raw sewage spilling all over them and the campsite.
If your portable RV waste tank is smaller than the holding tanks on your camper, don’t completely fill the portable tote before closing the waste valves on the RV. Remember there is still waste inside the sewer hose that needs to go into the portable waste tank.
Once you get the portable RV waste tank full, drive it over to the dump station and dump it just like you would your camper.
How To Clean And Sanitize A Portable Waste Tote
Cleaning and sanitizing a portable RV waste tank isn’t any different than cleaning the holding tanks in your RV. Once you get all the contents dumped out of the tote, use the rinse hose provided at the dump site to wash everything down.
I will typically fill our portable waste tank with clean water, then dump the tank again. You can use the same tank treatment for your portable tote that you do for your RV holding tanks if you want to take it a step further.
- For a more information about RV holding tanks, check out our Beginner’s Guide To RV Holding Tanks.
How To Transport A Portable RV Waste Tank
Transporting a portable RV waste tank from the campsite to the dump station is as easy as hooking it to the bumper hitch of your vehicle and slowly driving to the dump site. There are tow straps and brackets available for the two-wheel versions that make it a breeze to hook to your bumper hitch.
Portable RV Waste Tanks Options
As we mentioned above, portable RV waste tanks are available in two-wheel, four-wheel, and hand-held options. When choosing the best waste tank for your camper, keep your RVs tank capacities in mind, as well as available storage space in your camper…
Tote-N-Stor 6 Gallon Portable Waste Tote
This 6-gallon portable RV waste tank by Tote-N-Stor is ideal for small teardrop and off-road campers. It’s compact size makes it easy to store and can easily be transported to the campground dump station when your waste tanks begin to reach their capacity.
While this is the smallest waste tote on the list, it can prove to be a valuable accessory to have on hand for those short camping trips.
The freestanding design allows it to stand on end for easy dumping and can easily be carried with its built-in handle.
In addition to the 3” sewer hose inlet, this portable RV waste tank also features a 3/4″ inlet for standard water hoses for rinsing and cleaning.
- Compact Size For Easy Storage
- Perfect Size For Campervans And Small Campers
- Easy To Carry
- Recessed Outlet Makes It Difficult To Completely Empty
- Poor Design Of 3” Inlet
- Bayonet Cap Tends To Pop Off
Tote-N-Stor 25-Gallon Portable Waste Tote
If you are looking for a 2-wheel portable waste tank that is budget friendly, this 25-gallon waste tote by Tote-N-Stor might what you’re looking for.
The overall capacity of this portable RV waste tote is great for travel trailers with smaller waste tanks.
Some notable features of this waste tote are the rubber wheels, on-board storage compartment for accessories, and the included tow bracket that makes it easy to haul a full tank.
This unit comes ready to use, right out of the box and includes a 36” sewer hose, 15” garden hose for rinsing, and, of course, the tow bracket.
- Easy To Haul
- Textured Rubber Wheels
- Low-Quality 3” Hose
- Recessed Outlet Makes It Difficult To Completely Empty
- Inner Part Of Wheels Are Plastic
Camco Rhino 28-Gallon Portable RV Waste Holding Tank
The Camco name brand is synonymous with the RV and camping industry, and they are well known for making quality products. The Camco Rhino 28 Gallon Portable RV Waste Tank is one example of their commitment to only offer high-quality RV gear.
This portable tote is made of high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, that is blow molded to create a seamless design to minimize leaks.
Like the Tote-N-Stor above, this 2-wheel waste tote is ready-to-use, right out of the box. Not only does it include a sewer hose, but it also includes everything you need to dump, clean, and store the tank.
Other features that are impressive about this portable waste tote for a camper are the large, no-flat wheels with smooth running axle bearings making it easy to maneuver.
- Large Wheels
- Accessories Included
- UV Resistant
- Some Assembly Required
- Wheels Are Thin
- Taller Than Other Totes On The Market
Thetford SmartTote2 35 Gallon Portable Waste Tote
If the two-wheel sewer totes listed above are too small to fit your needs, the Thetford SmartTote2 is a great option for those looking for a larger, four-wheel option for a portable waste tank.
The four-wheel design and the extendable handle make this portable RV waste tank a breeze to maneuver on any terrain. In addition, the wheels and the handle together make hauling this tote to the dump station hassle and stress free.
Thetford designed this sewer tote with ease-of-use in mind. The large drain port and auto-stop level gauge make dumping your RV waste tanks seamless and spill “resistant”.
The built-in storage compartment keeps your sewer hose, fittings, and attachments in one, easy-to-find place and also helps protect them from the elements.
- Steerable Front Wheels
- Easy-To-Use Dump Port
- Integrated Handle
- Some Users Report Loose Clamp Connections
- Low-Quality Sewer Hose
Barker 42 Gallon Portable RV Waste Tank (30844)
Last on our list of portable RV waste tanks is the Barker 42-Gallon sewer tote. This waste tank isn’t meant for RV owners with small campers. Because of it’ enormous tank capacity, this portable tank is designed for larger motorhomes and fifth wheels that have equally enormous holding tanks.
This portable tank is made from blow-molded polyethylene, zinc-plated steel, and aluminum making this unit extremely durable.
Unlike the other portable totes in this list, this Barker waste tank features air-filled tires making it the easiest tote in this list to maneuver and haul.
The side-mounted 3” gate valve ensures you will never have to lift this tank in order to dump, saving your back in the process.
- Air-Filled Tires
- Built-In Gate Valve
- Level Indicator
- Low Ground Clearance
- Some Assembly Required
Portable RV Waste Tote Accessories
Not all of the portable RV waste tanks listed above come with certain accessories. Below is a list of the most popular waste tote accessories to make hauling and dumping your portable waste tote a bit easier.
Camco Rhino Bumper Mount RV Tote Tank Carrier
This portable RV waste tank bracket is one of the best RV accessories we have ever bought. If you don’t have a ladder on the back of your travel trailer, fifth wheel, or motorhome, this bumper mounted bracket is the way to go.
Although it is designed for the Camco Rhino waste tank, it will accommodate many other brands as well.
Camco 3’ Waste Tote Hose Kit
You are going to need a quality sewer hose to dump your portable waste tank and Camco has one specifically designed for portable totes.
This sewer tote hose kit includes everything you need to dump your portable sewer tank.
Camco Rhino RV Tote Tank Level Gauge
Overfilling your portable waste tank is one the biggest fears many RVers have when it comes to dumping their waste tanks. However, a RV tote tank level gauge can save you from a stinky and embarrassing situation.
If your camping style includes dry camping or extended stays at campgrounds without full hookups, a portable RV waste tank might be a great investment. Afterall, who wants to completely break camp just to dump the waste tanks?
We don’t know what we would do without ours. It has been a literal game-changer for us. It gives us a certain freedom and peace of mind knowing that when it comes time to dump our tanks, all we have to do is fill the portable RV waste tote and head to the dump station.
What are your thoughts on these handy portable totes? Drop us a comment below and let us know.