LAST UPDATED: January 25, 2021

The Best RV Portable Waste Tanks (Review) in 2021

Best Choice Barker Wheeler Tote Tank Barker 32 Gallon Capacity RV Portable Waste Tank
Best Value Camco RV Rhino Heavy Duty 28 Gallon Portable Waste Holding Tank with Steerable Wheels Camco RV Rhino Heavy Duty 28 Gallon Portable Waste Holding Tank
Premium Pick SmartTote2 RV Portable Waste Tote Tank SmartTote2 RV Portable Waste Tote Tank

If there’s one thing you don’t want to think about while you’re on vacation, it’s waste. But when you own an RV, waste disposal is important. You want to thoroughly relax and enjoy nature without having to worry about what to do with the waste you create. You want to live comfortably even when you’re away from home. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to ensure you’re prepared by keeping unpleasant waste out of sight and out of mind: an RV portable waste tank. Designed to collect and contain waste, these handy tanks get the job done whether you’re camping for a few days, a few weeks, or longer. They’re a great campsite companion, and you can choose between different tank sizes depending on your needs. If you want to make waste worry-free on your next RV adventure, check out our picks for the best portable RV waste tanks.

The Best RV Portable Waste Tanks

This four-wheeled tote tank was 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 three-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.

Key Features
  • 32-gallon capacity
  • Double front wheels and long handle for easy manoeuvrability
  • Weighs 37 pounds empty
  • Comes completely assembled
Specification
  • Brand Barker
  • Model 4003698
  • Weight 40.4 pounds

Everything that you need to empty your RV holding tanks is included in this package. You get a nice storage compartment to hold the extras, including all the accessories needed to clean and maintain the tank. It is a compact size but extremely heavy duty and holds 28 gallons of waste.

Equipped with a large steel tow adaptor and heavy-duty, no-flat wheels, you can easily transport this holding tank like you would a wagon or a cart, or you can even tow it behind a golf cart or truck.

Key Features
  • Easy sewer connection
  • PermaStore storage compartment
  • Front wheels and handle maneuver easily
  • Large port to rinse tank easily
Specification
  • Brand Camco
  • Model 39005
  • Weight 51.3 pounds

The SmartTote2 RV Portable Waste Tote is a fantastic companion for any RV owner. This portable waste tank is more than just a container. It’s big, it’s capable, and it makes dealing with waste a whole lot easier. You can use this tank with any RV right out of the box with no special setup needed. It can hold up to 35 gallons of waste, and it’s built with rugged, durable materials, so it’ll withstand all of the challenges and unexpected weather that can come with camping in an RV. The tank features four wheels, which makes it very easy to move when it’s both empty and full. It’s also fast emptying and easy to rinse out — two critical features when it comes to getting rid of your waste at the end of each trip. 

Other features make the SmartTote2 a great, reliable portable RV waste tank. RV owners will love the handle, which offers more mobility and easier maneuverability when you’re working with your waste. An AutoStop level gauge also monitors the level and prevents overfilling so you aren’t dealing with messy overflow. And there’s even a PermaStore compartment built into the tank to hold the pre-attached hose and sewer fittings.

Key Features
  • Holds 35 gallons
  • Includes a set of four wheels for increased maneuverability
  • Large port allows for quick emptying and easy rinsing
  • An AutoStop level gauge prevents overfilling and spills
Specification
  • Brand SmartTote2
  • Model 40519
  • Weight 29 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 that 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.

Key Features
  • 32-gallon size
  • Compartment storage for extras
  • Comes completely assembled
  • Rugged construction
Specification
  • Brand Tote-N-Stor
  • Model 25609
  • Weight 26.8 pounds

This sleek and stylish case has a super portable 15-gallon capacity, making it the ideal choice for smaller spaces. It comes entirely assembled, so you don’t have to worry about doing this yourself.

As for transportation, you can move it around easily thanks to its large, heavy-duty, no flat rubber wheels for easy towing over uneven terrain. An optimally low-placed drain hole and smooth interior ensure complete tank emptying. 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.

Key Features
  • 15-gallon size
  • Heavy-duty rubber wheels
  • Comes completely assembled
  • Rugged construction
Specification
  • Brand Camco
  • Model Rhino Heavy Duty 15 Gallon Portable RV
  • Weight 31.5 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.

Key Features
  • Blow-molded polyethylene construction
  • Standard bayonet fittings
  • Entirely assembled
  • 16 pounds empty
Specification
  • Brand Barker
  • Model 4003692
  • Weight 20 pounds

Best RV Portable Waste Tank Buying Guide & FAQ

RV portable waste tanks aren’t exactly easy to buy. While it might seem like many tanks are identical and there aren’t a ton of choices, there are more differences than you think. Even small features and functionalities can make the work of using a portable waste tank easier. If you’re armed with the right information, you can make an informed decision about which portable RV waste tanks are the right for both your needs and your RV.

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 that 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 dumpsite.

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 that 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.

Durability

If you want durability from any product, it is certainly going to be a portable waste tank. Look for a brand that 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.

Price

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.

RV with portable waste tank near water
Most RV units are capable of housing an RV portable waste 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.

Staying 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 that 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 that 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 that 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 as we discussed previously. 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.

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 for your RV sewer system. 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 that 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 dumpsite.

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 that 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.

Durability

If you want durability from any product, it is certainly going to be a portable waste tank. Look for a brand that 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.

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.

Price

The price is often dictated by the filling capacity, so this is something 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.

Up to $150

Over $150

RV Camping
An RV portable waste tank can be used for almost any type of camper.

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 in depth.

How to Use a Portable Waste Tank

With the right RV sewer setup, it is a pretty straightforward process. Start by hooking up a macerator pump then pump the waste 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?

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?

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?

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 is all that is required.

Q: How to avoid black tank clogs?

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?

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 in your holding tanks is better for users and the environment as a whole.

Q: How should I clean RV black tank sensors?

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

Our top pick for a quality RV portable waste tank is the Barker 32 Gallon Capacity RV Portable Waste Tank. This tank is spacious and large enough to hold quite a bit of waste, and it’s designed to get you through several days at a campsite. Built with tough materials that are designed to withstand all of the surprises that can come with RV trips, this tank offers enough room for groups of RV residents. It also offers increased convenience — a long handle allows you to tow or pull the tank, and a set of double front wheels makes toting the tank a whole lot easier. You won’t have to be frustrated by RV waste when you’re equipped with the Barker portable waste tank.

Sources:

  1. How to Dump RV Black Water Tanks – Trip Savvy