Before you head out on your RV adventure, you need to consider the ways in which you can live comfortably for its duration. And one of the main issues is waste collection and disposal. After all, without taking care of this job properly, you are in store for a very unpleasant vacation indeed! Sometimes, the main waste tanks on the campsite are entirely inaccessible, so you need a smaller tank to collect everything which will be dumped at another time.
With all this in mind, we have collected a list of six of the top portable waste tanks to discuss, helping you to gain a better perspective on which is best for your next trip. We have also broken down each of their key features to help you in your task of choosing a portable sewer tank.
The Best RV Portable Waste Tank
This four-wheeler tote tank has been made with convenience in mind. It is designed to stay close to the ground and has a long handle that allows you to transport it around easily. There are double wheels at the front, and it swivels easily to help move it. Instead of having to lift it to dump tanks, there are 3-inch valves to stop the need of undertaking this strenuous task.
Rather than having to assemble the tank yourself, everything comes fully put together. Some of the extra items that you get with it are bayonet fittings and a five-foot sewer hose. The tough tank is made from blow molded polyethylene, zinc plated steel and aluminum.
Double front wheels and long handle for easy manoeuvrability
Weighs 37 pounds empty
Comes completely assembled
- Weight 40.4 pounds
Second on our list is this tank from Rhino, which is ready to use, and comes with a host of accessories needed to maintain, clean, and store the tank when it is not in use. The wheels at the back are large and heavy-duty to make for easy transportation from place to place. The hole is low-drain to ensure complete emptying of the tote tank, and you can clean it using the tank rinser.
When you are not using it, you can simply clamp it up to your RV camper ladder, so it will not take up any space in the interior. The main tank is constructed using UV-stabilized HDPE, which is designed to prevent leaks and deterioration.
Blowmolded construction using tough HDPE
Smooth interior for total draining
Integrated ladder hook at the bottom
Large, no-flat wheels
- Weight 34.5 pounds
This sleek and stylish case has a large 32-gallon capacity, and all of the accessories can be comfortably stored in the special compartment which it has available. It comes entirely assembled, so you don’t have to worry about doing this yourself.
As for transportation, you can move it around using the long, steel tow bracket. It also has quiet rubber wheels and an in-built handle when you need to move it around by hand. The construction is rugged and durable enough to last for a long time, so you know that this isn’t the kind of product that you will need to keep replacing time after time.
Compartment storage for extras
Comes completely assembled
- Weight 26.8 pounds
Everything that you need to empty your RV holding tanks is included in this set. You get a nice storage compartment to hold the extras including heavy-duty hose and the 900-elbow nozzle. It is a compact size but still holds 27 gallons of waste.
The front two wheels move with the handle when you turn around corners to allow you to manoeuvre it to the dump station when you need to. The auto stop level gauge stops you from overfilling it and allows you to empty it quickly too. You can also attach it to the hitch attachment to take it to the dump station.
Easy sewer connection
PermaStore storage compartment
Front wheels and handle manoeuvre easily
Large port to rinse tank easily
- Weight 26 pounds
While the design may seem low-profile, there is still enough space to store all your extra hook-up fittings. The vent system makes the tank easy to fill, but also ensures that it drains easily without the need to lift it up. The built-in handle is long enough to ensure that you can tow the tank easily. When you let go of the handle, it stays upright so you can grab it again.
Another feature is the translucent sight tube that shows you the fill level. Everything comes already pre-assembled, so you don’t have to worry about any putting together work.
Long, built-in tow handle
Low-profile design for easy storage
Smart design to drain tank without lifting
3-year manufacturer warranty
- Weight 45.5 pounds
The final product choice that we have to discuss is another one from Barker. The polyethylene construction is blow-molded, and there are zinc-plated steel brackets holding it all firmly in place. The wheels are larger than on some of the other models that we have discussed. A couple of the other items that are included in the set are a tow bracket and five-foot sewer hose.
Blow-molded polyethylene construction
Standard bayonet fittings
16 pounds empty
- Weight 20 pounds
Best RV Portable Waste Tank Buying Guide
In the following section, we have our buying guide and frequently asked questions, which aim to clear up any issues that you are still having about RV portable waste tanks. After all, it is important that you have as much information as possible, so you can make a decision which is strongly informed.
Things to Consider When Buying an RV Portable Waste Tank
From the above product selection, you may think that you have already got the RV portable waste tank that you want lined up in your mind. If not, the following section on the top things to consider may help to provide you with a little more steer on the subject.
- Size of the Tank
The size and capacity of the tank are two vital features which cannot be overlooked. If you are traveling with a big group of people, a larger tank is the more logical choice. While it may seem like a bigger tank is always better, you have to remember that you will be storing it in your RV when it is not in use. If it is too big, you are going to find it harder to find a place for it. Also, a bigger tank is trickier to clean and empty. A couple of the other factors that will play a role here include the length of time that you will be on your trip and the distance away that you are from the dump site.
- Ease of Transportation
The next factor to take into account is how easy the tank is to move from one place to another. After all, you don’t want emptying the tank to turn into a huge ordeal every time you need to do it. The best tanks come with good-quality wheels which roll without getting stuck or jamming. Rubber wheels are renowned for providing great traction and leverage on the ground. You will also experience fewer bumps in the road along the way, which reduces your odds of spilling any of the contents. Tanks with double wheels at the front are easier to swivel around. You should also look at the handle, how easy it is to drag around, and how adjustable it is.
If you want durability from any product, it is certainly going to be a portable waste tank. Look for a brand which has a good reputation for sturdiness and stability. The design should also be tough enough to prevent any cracks and leaks leading to some very unpleasant spillages! If it resists weather like sunshine, this is a big plus point. If you choose a tank with a high durability factor, it is more likely that it will stand the test of time for many years to come, and you won’t need to be so quick to invest in a new one.
- Extra Features and Accessories
Now that you have considered some of the most important issues, it is time to look closer at what sort of extra features and accessories you can expect. A few of the things which can prove to be useful are cradle pivots, auto-stop system, self-storing sewer hose, and tow handles extension.
- Ease of Use
If the tank is straightforward to use, this makes your life a whole lot easier. For instance, it helps if it comes with a handle and wheels which swivel around, so you can drag it around with ease. Cleaning should also be a cinch. Most require a hose and a valve to complete the job effectively.
A waste tank for your RV is not something that you are likely to find at a very cheap price, so you should work out your budget before making an investment. The price is often dictated by the filling capacity, so this is something which is worth bearing in mind. Check what sort of features you will receive for your money. Don’t assume that the most expensive tank is also going to be the best quality. You should also check some of the product reviews to see what others have had to say about the portable gray water tank.
Why You Should Invest in RV Portable Waste Tank?
There are a number of reasons why a portable black water tank is a worthwhile investment for your RV. Here are a few to bear in mind.
- Stayin in a Campsite with an Inaccessible Waste Tank
Sometimes, you find yourself in a campsite where the waste tank is too far away, or it is simply in an inaccessible location for your RV to get to. When you have a portable waste tank, you don’t have to worry about this being an issue. When your portable tank is full, you can move it over yourself via the handle and wheels, without having to worry about moving your entire vehicle. Many of the best tanks on the market are compatible with both black and gray water storage units.
- Keep Odors Contained
Many tanks come with odor-tight hoses and valves which keep the waste contained within the storage unit. There is nothing that ruins a camping trip quicker than bad smells! If you deal with this problem efficiently, you and the people you are with can enjoy your camping trip much more.
- Give You Peace of Mind
When you go out on expeditions away from your RV, you don’t want to return to find multiple problems with leaking waste. Bear in mind the difference between black and gray water. The latter only contains water which comes from your bathroom and kitchen sinks, and this can accumulate very quickly. Disposing of the waste is so much more convenient using a portable tank.
RV Tank Types
There are several different types of RV sewer tote which are all worth talking about in greater detail. Each one has a specifically designated purpose and maintenance tasks which you will need to complete on a regular basis. Take a look at this brief guide for more information on each of the tanks of your RV.
- Water Tank
First up, you have your standard water tank. As you would expect, it contains clean, fresh water. The main purposes are for drinking, bathing, and washing your dishes. The hoses are white to indicate that they are suitable for drinking. Avoid using a standard garden hose to fill up your tank, as this can make the water smell quite unpleasant and could lead to chemicals entering. If you are concerned about the potable water at campsites, you should get a filter to remove the dirt particles and bacteria. Clean the tank on a regular basis to ensure that it continues to provide you with fresh water. You should aim to completely flush out the tank at least once a year. A good opportunity is when you first take your RV out at the start of the season.
- Gray Tank
Your gray tank is reserved for water which goes down your sink or shower drains. It is called ‘gray’ water because it has been used, but it is not entirely dirty. You can dispose of it by connection to a sewer line, or sometimes, flushing it out over vegetation. The water can contain food and other waste, which can lead to an odor build up. Using tank treatment can help with this problem, as well as flushing the tank out thoroughly.
- Black Tank
This type of tank holds the water and waste from your toilet. You are only permitted to dump this in specially designated sites. When you are not emptying out or cleaning it, you need to make sure that the valve is screwed on tightly. If the water is left to drain away, this will lead to only solid waste remaining, potentially leading to a blockage. You can get chemicals which reduce the odor and break up the solids, making it easier to empty the tank when necessary. You can also buy special toilet paper to make blockages less likely.
- Portable Tank
Finally, we have the portable waste tanks for campers which we have been discussing in this post. These allow you to empty your gray and black tanks during the trip. These range from tiny tanks of six gallons to those which can carry as much as 32. They are designed to be towed by hand. Alternatively, you can attach them to a hitch and move them to a dumping station this way.
How Do You Empty an RV Waste Tank?
There is an established procedure for emptying your RV tote tanks. First, you need to install the sewer drain hose, checking the fittings are secure. You should empty the black tank first, and you are likely to find that you need to empty this one more frequently. Open up the gate valve and let it drain completely. You should flush the tank out with clean water if possible. You then need to move onto the gray tank. Again, this will be controlled by a gate valve – albeit, a smaller one.
How to Choose the Right Portable Holding Tank Size?
Choosing the right one could either make or break your entire trip. First, be sure to get the right size. What you'll need for a 2-day trip with just one friend is not the same option suitable for a 5 day trip with 10 friends. Next, make sure it is easy to use and carry around. Being stuck with waste you cannot maneuver can take a negative toll on your trip. Issues like price and extra accessories are relative, but the two listed above need to be explored explicitly.
How to Use a Portable Waste Tank
With the right set up, it is a pretty straightforward process. Start by hooking up a macerator pump then pump the wasted from your permanent RV tank into the portable one. After that, take a hold of the handles then wheel it to the dump station closest to you. While transporting it there, be very conscious of the terrain. Having a massive spill on your hands could make for a very unpleasant RV trip story.
Once you are at the dump station, simply empty it out and your work is officially done.
Best RV Portable Waste Tank FAQ
Q: Where Can I Dump My Gray And Black Waste Tanks?
A: You can only dump your black waste in specially designated sites around the campsite, so check where these are upon arrival. Some sites have areas for gray water disposal as well, but you can sometimes flush it over vegetation as well.
Q: Can I Leave My RV Tank Drain Valves Open?
A: The black tank drain valve should NEVER be left open as this will mean that the solids build up in the black holding tank, while the liquids escape. As for the gray drain valve, there is some discussion on this point. Some people recommend leaving it closed as it will allow odors from the sewer system into your RV. However, this means having to monitor the water level on a daily basis and dumping it when it gets full. Other people say that it is fine to leave it open once it is fully hooked up to the sewage system, meaning that you don’t have to worry about taking that extra-long shower in the morning.
Q: How Do I Clean My Portable RV Septic Tank?
A: Cleaning your portable RV septic tank should be a relatively straightforward job. First, you should add bleach and water to the holding tank installation. Run the water until the bleach has properly mixed and allow it to stay there for 24 hours. Next, drain the bleach water and keep the tank open until the bleach smell has disappeared. Chemical treatment will help hide the bleach smell when the tank gets filled up. Just a couple of drops are all that is required.
Q: How to Avoid Black Tank Clogs?
A: Preventing clogs in your black tank is obviously something that you will want to make every effort to do. Treat your tank regularly with a substance to digest and liquify the waste. There are plenty readily available. As previously mentioned, you should always keep the black tank valve shut. Otherwise, the liquid waste will drain out and the solid waste will remain and fester. Whenever you flush it through, you should make sure to use plenty of water, holding the handle down for at least 10 seconds. The more water inside, the less likely it is to clog. Avoid chemical toilet cleaners as these will kill off the beneficial bacteria which keep the tank clog and odor-free. Also, you should regularly monitor the temperature of your tank. It should stay between 45- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit. If it gets hotter, you may need to put in more water. If it gets colder, some sort of insulation system may be required.
Q: Should I use holding tank chemicals or treatments?
A: The two work in different ways to achieve the same aim. While chemical treatments work by preserving the waste, biological ones break it down. Through chemical suppression, the chemical option keeps the odor at bay and the other option does so through biological means. Biological products aim to halt the production of the bad-smelling bacteria altogether and are a lot easier on the environment. The greatest downside when it comes to the chemical ones is that they contain harmful ingredients. As such, opting for biological treatment is better for users and the environment as a whole.
Q: How should I clean RV black tank sensors?
A: Anything from store-bought sensor cleaner to detergent can be used to clean this. Nevertheless, for most cleaners, the methods vary, but generally, follow the same framework. First, empty out the tank and then fill it with fresh water until it reaches the sensors. Apply the specified amount of sensor cleaner to the toilet then leave it in there for about 15 hours(or the time specified in the instructions). Proceed to shake the RV by moving it around so as to dislodge the debris. You can repeat the process if needed or drain it and enjoy your clean sensors.
Our Top Pick
Let’s recap our number one RV portable holding tank on the list, which is this 32-gallon tank from Barker. You can tow it along the ground using the long handle, and the front wheels will ensure that it turns with ease. The whole thing comes completely assembled, so you can start using it from the moment it arrives at your house. It weighs 37 pounds empty, and the capacity should be plenty big enough for a decent-size group of campers. It is a highly rated product which we also believe is a great investment for your RV.
- How to Dump RV Black Water Tanks - Trip Savvy