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DIY Separating Toilet (How We Did It)


Selbst gebaute Trenntoilette

Which kind of toilet in the Van?

A fully functional toilet in an enclosed area in the van was important to us from the start. Of course, for weekend vanlifers and camping enthusiasts, a so-called “pee-funnel” or even a chemical toilet can be enough.

However, we wanted to have as far as possible a normal toilet, which

  • does not rely on chemicals
  • does not stink and
  • is easy to empty.

Separating Toilets or Separating Compost Toilets…

… separate the liquid from the non-liquid. The advantages of such a separation toilet: it stinks less or not at all. The liquid canister can be easily emptied. The bucket with the rest can also be easily disposed of in a plastic bag in the non-recyclable waste. And last but not least: A dry toilet does not need any chemicals.

Pros and cons: Buying or building yourself?

The price of a good purchased separation toilet is definitely a deterrent. A good quality toilet can easily cost up to 1000 dollars. We definitely understand those who buy a separation toilet because of its simplicity and functionality reasons. But we didn’t have the money when we converted our van.

After we got along great with our self-built separation toilet for almost 2 years, we would now certainly decide against the purchase and for the self-built separation toilet. It is much cheaper and also has the advantage of being permanently installed.

This is how we built a fully functional separation toilet

We installed our toilet in an enclosed area in the van where we also shower. The layout of our “wet room” in the van looks like this:

Layout der Dusche im Camper
Layout der Dusche im Camper

We bought a toilet seat, which comes with a urine separator and a toilet lid. In addition, we bought a water canister (ours holds 15 liters – with 2 people we need to empty it about every 3-4 days) and an ordinary bucket.

Then we sawed a wooden board to fit the top and the side. A toilet height of 44 cm fits very well for us. To empty the urine container and clean the inside, we installed a large square and a small circular boat hutch in the front.

Toilette im Van

Now we need to sand the wooden boards and paint them with “liquid plastic” or “bathtub/ pool/ boat paint“. Before we built everything together, we installed a small computer ventilator under the toilet to the outside. That way it doesn’t smell so much at all (we don’t need a litter either). Done!

This is what you need to build our composting toilet

Separett-Trennaufsatz
Urine diverting inset Privy
15 Liter Wasserkanister
15 Liter Wasser-Kanister
Runde weiße Inspektionsluke

If you want to make things easier for yourself – We recommend these separating toilets:

Thetford Toilette
Thetford Toilet (no separating toilet)
Natureshead Toilette
Composting Toilet Natureshead (High Quality Option)

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