Living full-time on the road and in the woods has put our survive and thrive priorities up front – instead of paying someone else to take care of our needs, the basics take up a good chunk of our time.
Shelter, food and water, hygiene, animal care and the big one – the bathroom.
Toilets in all of their incarnations symbolize a place of urgency and importance, it is the throne after all… and we think we’ve found THE BEST.
Our bathroom is a scant 2 ft. x 3 ft. — So you can imagine the challenges we have had building our biddy in a bus!
We have spent MONTHS researching options for a mobile commode! Everything from Ed Begley’s composting Envirolet toilet, to the more compact/travel versions, like Air Head, and Nature’s Head (which cost over a grand after you get all the proper accessories). One thing we learned from our composting toilet option: Strong odor results from solid waste mingling with urine. Separate the two and the smell is waaaaay limited. We nearly went with the composting option – but since we are not stationery for more than a few days tops, and we use our toilet often, there really wouldn’t be enough time to fully break down the material as compost requires — The smell is limited, but not eliminated.
We also for awhile tried the chemical RV option and porta potty (which we soon nixed – it’s why most RVs smell the way they do). They are just plain awful to operate or empty — and, in our opinion, are only good for very limited or emergency outdoor use.
We even looked into incinerator toilets (warning, that link goes to a very graphic video explaining how incinerating toilets work)! They leave very little waste, but take a lot of power to run and aren’t the safest option for a traveler in motion.
(See also: Our travel tips and galleries on HoityToilets.com)
Thanks to the DryFlush waterless, compact, travel toilet, we have been able to go three-plus months on the road so far without any smells, leaks, or awkwardness! It also costs half what a compact composting toilet will set you back.
The DryFlush is a space-aged emerging technology perfect for our small bathroom space in A Little Further. The unit is compact, yet the seat size is standard. The DryFlush toilet flushes via a battery that can be charged via a small solar panel or any average 120v outlet. We charge it by plugging it in to an extension cord once a month (we have gone longer, but if you let the battery sink too low, we have found that the unit uses more power and cartridge resources — so charge when you can!).
Once you’ve done your biz, you hit the button and listen for the swirl – the device sucks the air out of the chamber, shrink wraps the waste, then compacts it into the bottom half of the unit, where it is stowed inside of a larger bag that, once full up, you simply pull out (without having to see, touch or smell anything offensive!) and dispose of in a trash bin (no awkward moments at a dump station or rest stop!).
(THIS IS ALL PERFECTLY LEGAL — think diapers, dog poo bags, etc.)
There is seriously NO ODOR. AT. ALL. And you don’t need to cut a hole to vent it out of your vehicle!
There’s been no leakage and aside from the twinge of guilt for taking up landfill space (the DryFlush company is currently developing a biodegradable/compostable option!) the unit has saved us from using harsh RV toilet chemicals, extra water (and weight in our tiny space); as well as many painful cold, late night trips to the woods or the restroom in below-freezing, emergency, and incognito situations! It really is the best solution for our unique situation.
Our only criticisms of the unit is that a little extra TP is needed to soak up the liquid as the unit gets fuller to avoid being forced out with the air — but the positive is that you can use any type of toilet paper or recycled materials, unlike in a typical chemical or enzyme plumbing system found in most RVs that require special toilet tissue that is expensive and not too skin/environment-friendly. Also, the cost of the cartridges that hold your waste can be steep for a full-time user, but this company is relatively new, and we have been told that in addition to the biodegradable solutions they are working on, they are also redesigning their cartridges to be more affordable, since they are a disposable item. Our suggestion to DryFlush: nix the plastic and try a fabricated (perhaps coated?), recycled cardboard for the ring!
The DryFlush is a truly incredible invention that can solve so many problems for travelers, disadvantaged areas with poor plumbing and sanitary conditions, military units, off-grid homes, boaters, ice fishers, you name it!
Until we land and are able to build out our ultimate dream bathroom – the DryFlush is our choice for the road!
-Dave & Kristina-