Nobody likes waking in the middle of the night for a pee, but that is especially true when it’s raining outside and you’re 100 metres from the campsite facilities. Enter Thetford’s range of Porta Potties, often referred to by experienced campervanners as the absolute best porta potty available on the market.
This is the exact portable camping toilet we keep in our VW T5.1 campervan.
It’s awesome. It doesn’t smell, fits right in (you wouldn’t even know it’s there), and is super convenient.
We bought our campervan in 2020 and began facing this “problem” fairly quickly. It really isn’t so much of a problem, more of an annoyance, but after doing some research we thought we could solve it pretty effectively.
This article outlines the sort of research we’ve done in installing a Thetford 335 Porta Potti into our VW T5.1 campervan.
The campervan portable toilet that we decided to purchase, and we are absolutely over the moon with, is this one. We did a lot of research beforehand and we now store this in the van. all of the time and love it. It doesn’t smell, and nobody even knows its there.
Before we get started, let me tell you that I am now absolutely a Porta Potti convert. I initially despised the idea of carrying a toilet around everywhere in our shiny new VW campervan. Honestly though, Diana tried for months to get me to purchase a Porta Potti for the van but I just didn’t fancy it:
- Will it smell?
- Is emptying it a horrible task?
- How long until it’s full?
- Which is the smaller campervan porta potti?
- What chemicals will we need?
- Etc. etc.
If you’re not convinced about buying a porta potti just yet, let me put your mind to rest. If you have a VW Campervan and use it for fairly frequently weekends away and day trips to the beach like us, then I am 99.99999% sure you’ll be happy with your purchase just like we were. I did NOT want it, but convinced by Diana in winter 2020 we purchased it for our Transporter camper and I’m so glad we did!– Joe
Thetford campervan portable toilet range
There are loads of different Thetford Porta Pottis on the market. They usually have some obscure range of numbers associated with them, but there isn’t all that much difference between their entire range.
This post is primarily a Thetford Porta Potti 365 review as this is the exact model that we have been using for around 9 months now. However it could just as easily be a review for the Porta Potti 165 as we actually purchased the 165 initially only to return it immediately as it didn’t fit in our van cupboard.
Thetford camping toilets – Porta Potti 365 vs 345 vs 165 vs 145
The main difference between all of these models is the just dimensions – specifically the height.
They all look pretty much the same with the exception of the dimensions.
Our recommended camping toilet
As you can probably tell from this article so far, we are very happy with our Thetford 335. We tell all of our camper friends and fellow campsites pals about it. Both of us do not hesitate to recommend it to everyone with a campervan.
The smallest one is the Porta Potti 145 which measures (H x W x D) 330 x 383 x 427 mm. The largest (of this square, boxy shape) is the Porta Potti 365 which measures (H x W x D): 414 x 383 x 427 mm.
The most common campervan portable toilet for the VW crowd is definitely the Thetford Porta Potti 365 due to its size. It’s the smallest of their entire range.
We found the height being the most limiting factor in storing the toilet. The first one we bought (Thetford 165) was a little bit too tall to fit inside our cupboard. Because we bought it on Amazon Prime we were able to return it for free (before using it of course!) and exchanged it for the smaller 365 model.
A 10cm height difference doesn’t sound that much, but in a campervan every inch is precious. Cupboard are small to even begin with, so having any redundant items or items that are larger than necessary is a non-starter.
What else do you need?
You’ll also need to buy a few extra things before you start using your Potti…
Toilet roll (you need a special one!)
You cannot use any old toilet paper in your Porta Potti because normal roll won’t break down. You’ll need a special toilet roll from Thetford like this one. It’s not especially expensive and we find it lasts a long time.
Thetford Aqua Soft What we purchased
Tanki – Non-Blocking Toilet Paper (18 Rolls) Large pack – 18 rolls
There are a couple of different options here. You may read the Porta Potti chemical being referred to as the blue chemical and the red chemical. This is referring to putting a different chemical in the top (the flush water) to the bottom (where your pee goes).
However, you do not have to buy different chemicals! You can buy all-in-one organic chemicals which allow you to fill the the flush water as well as the waste bit. There are plenty on the market, but this one is quite popular and is available on Prime. We recently purchased an off-brand chemical from a DIY store while in St Ives and it works perfectly fine.
Storing your Porta Potti
We will take some photos of how we store our Porta Potti and show some clever ways you can store yours too. Hint: it can double up as a seat!
Campervan portable toilet etiquette
Apparently yes, but it’s not what we use it for. The reviews here suggest it’s fine though as long as you use the proper chemicals.
No not at all. Most campsites have chemical disposal facilities, which is just a posh name for a spare toilet in a cupboard that you pour the waste into. It’s not smelly or horrible at all, and because everyone else on the campsite is in the same boat (or campervan!) as you, it’s not embarrassing at all either.
2 of us can use the Porta Potti 335 (10L waste tank) exclusively (peeing only!) for 2-3 days. Bare in mind this depends on how much you flush, and how much you fill the waste tank with chemical/water mix prior to using it. For occasional use I think it could last us up to a week of a couple of pees a day each. Like everything, it depends!
Yes as long as it’s the correct toilet roll. We recommend Thetford’s own Aquasoft toilet roll as this decomposes nicely and simple pours away when you empty the toilet.