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Old 11-12-2015, 03:36 PM   #1
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Additional freshwater tank/composting toilet

We are in the final stages of shedding the excess baggage, and prepping the house to sell. After years of research and getting our minds right, the fulltime dream should be realized in (hopefully) a few short months. We seem to be set on a 28'-30' AS, late model, not yet purchased.

Under current consideration: My wife came up with the idea that if we installed a composting toilet, and replaced the blackwater tank with a new one to be used for additional freshwater, that our stays in campgrounds without sewer hookups and the occasional boondocking experience could be made a little easier.

I like the idea, but I don't have enough experience to know what the true pros and cons could be.

She has spoken with an rv customizing company who liked the idea and are willing to do the conversion and pipe up the supplemental freshwater tank.

Any input as to why this would be a good/bad idea?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:00 PM   #2
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I've thought about the same thing from time to time, but having never used a composting toilet, not sure if I want to. You might consider swapping out the toilet first, go a while and be sure you're happy using it prior to doing the work on the tanks. That way, if you find you don't like it, just swap the old toilet back in and you're done.

Unless you're doing lengthy boondocking (more than a week at a time) I don't see the need. I empty the tank once a week and it is rarely more than half full (2 people; assuming the monitor is accurate). A cheaper solution might be to get a bladder for the back of the truck, fill it (in addition to the water tank) when you know you're going to boondock, a week should be no problem. Search for aquatank2 on amazon as an example.
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:38 PM   #3
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If you like the composting toilet, by all means go for it. For our part, it doesn't appeal to me and, as is, our black tank lasts for two weeks so we've never had an issue.

As far as having a bigger fresh water tank is concerned, please see this link for how we solved that particular problem:

http://www.amazon.com/Reliance-Rhino...ords=water+can

It's a whole lot cheaper than your approach. Plus, it's basically "infinite." We use about 10 gallons per day so we have two of these cans and just fill them up at a convenient spigot. Unless you are way, way out in the desert, chances are you'll find a handy spigot somewhere nearby.
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:38 PM   #4
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We thought about going the composting route but have found that we can go up to 2 weeks before filling the black tank. The gray tank is the one that fills up faster. Fresh water can be carried in the tank and replenished from 5 gallon containers. We carry 4 of those containers and find it quite easy to keep the fresh water tank full.

So, if it were me, I would look to change the black to gray.
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Old 11-12-2015, 06:46 PM   #5
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I was curious if the composting toilets would be more convenient

I know people who do certain types of camping, in certain areas, swear by them. As for me, from time to time, I bring a porta potti. I can dump it in any toilet, and it increases my black waste capacity. I have on occasion, set up the porta potti outdoors. ( and used it for van camping )

As far as an extra fresh water tank ???. I would want to keep the option of being able to go back to the conventional rv toilet. I bought four plastic 6 gallon gerry cans, for when I need to boondock for extended stays. I can also use them to make a water run in the tow vehicle without moving the trailer.
One drawback of another fresh water tank would be towing with the added weight in the trailer. When I use them , I position the full gerry cans in the middle of tow vehicle .

Both of your ideas are very cool though. You could also supplement your ideas with my methods and maybe be able to camp out for a few weeks. ( unless you let my daughters use your shower, which would limit you to a few hours )
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Old 11-12-2015, 07:12 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input. To me, the appeal of the extra integral tank is not having to lift heavy jugs of water, but certainly the cost would have to be a consideration. Can anyone tell me if the jugs that were suggested impart any off flavors to the water if they are left in the TV in warm climates for a week or two?

I gotta say, I'm not totally keen on the composting toilet. My wife is, completely.

The deal she offered me was she would take care of emptying it as needed, if I agreed to keep us in fresh water and empty the gray tanks. Lol. Seems like a great trade off, provided I can't smell the toilet in the meantime. I need more input to be sold on that!
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ndWind View Post
Thanks for the input. To me, the appeal of the extra integral tank is not having to lift heavy jugs of water, but certainly the cost would have to be a consideration. Can anyone tell me if the jugs that were suggested impart any off flavors to the water if they are left in the TV in warm climates for a week or two?

I gotta say, I'm not totally keen on the composting toilet. My wife is, completely.

The deal she offered me was she would take care of emptying it as needed, if I agreed to keep us in fresh water and empty the gray tanks. Lol. Seems like a great trade off, provided I can't smell the toilet in the meantime. I need more input to be sold on that!
We've never left fresh water in the jerry-cans for more than a few hours but it is made of essentially the same material as the built in tank so I would think that it would not make any difference where you kept your water. Believe me, you will never leave fresh water in those cans for very long as you will be using it up. Figure about 5 gallons of fresh water per person per day assuming you don't use campground showers & toilets.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:45 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by 2ndWind View Post
Thanks for the input. To me, the appeal of the extra integral tank is not having to lift heavy jugs of water, but certainly the cost would have to be a consideration. Can anyone tell me if the jugs that were suggested impart any off flavors to the water if they are left in the TV in warm climates for a week or two?

I gotta say, I'm not totally keen on the composting toilet. My wife is, completely.

The deal she offered me was she would take care of emptying it as needed, if I agreed to keep us in fresh water and empty the gray tanks. Lol. Seems like a great trade off, provided I can't smell the toilet in the meantime. I need more input to be sold on that!
I carry store bought gallon jugs of water for drinking, or water from home.

The convenience you lose by having to lift containers of water…you gain by being able to restock water without moving the trailer. My friend uses an rv water pump to load water into the camper from containers.
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:17 AM   #9
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I believe that the 28' and 30' have different fresh water capacities. 39 Gal versus 54. We are going to add the composting toilet to increase our dry camping capabilities - gray water/black water. Also carrying 8 jerry-cans of water in the back of the truck (don't forget to account for the weight).

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Old 11-13-2015, 10:26 AM   #10
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Depending on where one intends to park, dumping gray water is probably against the rules.

Carrying more fresh water is not really helpful if one can't get rid of when it turns colors.

Our gray fills first, so when parked with no connections we try to remember to pour all the gray water we can in the back tank.

Do dishes in a pan and empty in the toilet, etc.

This extends things as much a anything, and no hardware changes.


Regards,

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Old 11-13-2015, 10:43 AM   #11
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Check out "Gone with the Wynn's" addition of composting toilet and clever black to gray tank conversion. Many feel more gray is best.
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:55 AM   #12
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I've been fulltiming in my '58 and installed a Nature's Head Composting Toilets: Saving Our Water for Tomorrow composting toilet june 1. It's awsome! there is no smell from it- it has a small fan that draws .02amp/hr and pulls the interior air through the toilet and out to a vent you would install. i'm by myself and was sceptical but i have no tanks and needed to go this route. it works great. #1 gets diverted into a big jug that i empty every 3-4 days into a regular toilet and #2 goes into the bin in the base. so installed june1 and did not have to empty it until end of sept. everything is easy to empty into a regular trash bag and was totally composted, smelled like dirt. i gave it to a friend to fertilize their rose garden. more people more frequent emptying of course, but i'm told 2 people might need to empty it every 1-2mos.

i like it too because it's a full size thing and not uncomfortable to use.

i recommend it,
https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...54610687_o.jpg

https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...91652731_o.jpg
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Old 11-13-2015, 11:13 AM   #13
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Not mentioned above is the consideration of how much extra weight you will be adding with an additional full freshwater tank.

We have a 27 ft with 39 gallon freshwater tank and a GVWR of 7500lbs.

39 gallons of water weights 328.77lbs. If you have a 59 gallon tank that's 492.06lbs.

In my case that would be 656lbs added to the Airstream and taken away from my Airstream's payload. Our last CAT scale readings showed our Airstream presently weighted in at 6893lbs.

Keep in mind, we are full timers. That would really be pushing it in the weight department. Also, the fresh tanks are placed directly over the axles for perfect balance. You would be offsetting the balance of the Airstream with an additional fresh tank.

Up above AnnArborBob mentioned the Reliance Rhino water jugs. They're excellent. We have 4 of them.

We haven't had hookups since June. We are always dry camping and boondocking. Family of 4. Our black tank usually lasts for 18 days, and could go further if Dad here went #1 outside.

Our fresh water, if we don't take showers but twice will last us the same two weeks, usually I'll end up toping it off with the Rhino's.

We have considered a compositing toilet to eliminate the need to dump. But one of the things you have to do with that is empty the liquids regularly. And depending where you are camping, say dry camping in a National Park, you might no have anywhere to dump out you pee. Although I'm sure they would be a pit toilet. But it's worth thinking about.



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Old 11-13-2015, 11:17 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by 2ndWind View Post
Thanks for the input. To me, the appeal of the extra integral tank is not having to lift heavy jugs of water, but certainly the cost would have to be a consideration. Can anyone tell me if the jugs that were suggested impart any off flavors to the water if they are left in the TV in warm climates for a week or two?

I gotta say, I'm not totally keen on the composting toilet. My wife is, completely.

The deal she offered me was she would take care of emptying it as needed, if I agreed to keep us in fresh water and empty the gray tanks. Lol. Seems like a great trade off, provided I can't smell the toilet in the meantime. I need more input to be sold on that!

I've been using them for about 8 months now. No issues with flavor. they are BPA free.

The jugs are 5.5 gallons and weight 45lbs each full. That's about the weight of a bag of sand.

A friend of ours bought a small 12v pump and he just lines the jugs up and fills the Airstream with the pump.
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Old 11-13-2015, 11:34 AM   #15
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I'm sure the EPA and others would blast me

Grey water is not toxic. It's water that was in your mouth, on your face, on the plates that you were just eating on, and for me, some biodegradable soap. Letting grey water trickle on the ground, as you use it, yields no odor, and the ground soaks it right up. Micro organisms eat it up in short order. On my 10+ acre farm, I have used greywater to water my lawn that a dozen type of wild animals pooh on daily. I realize that practice would be devastating in densely populated areas. But cows across the road drop a deuce 40 feet from my kitchen. Bears pooh 10 feet from my apple trees. I am NOT condoning anything in campgrounds, state, local, federal or public lands.

But if you let greywater sit in your tank for a few days, it turns into a foul substance. I know because a pumping truck had a mishap on my campsite. I was very upset and resigned myself into relocating. The pumping truck operator watered down the spill and in 15 minutes, there was no evidence. It would be really bad if a few dozen campers dropped " saved up " greywater at the same time, at the end of their weekend. Large quantities dumped all at once would puddle and smell to high heaven. Food stuffs that people put down their drain is another reason why greywater is a problem.

I have heard of boon dockers in the desert who drained greywater into a blow up kiddie pool, let it evaporate, and it supposedly cooled off their campsite. The method included sweeping up the soap powder left in the pool and putting it in the garbage.
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:25 PM   #16
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Exactly the info I was after

Thanks. Those were the considerations I needed to hear. We are experienced hikers and campers, but not RV'rs. I think I can live with the composting toilet, and I'll take the advice to not rush into any new tanks for the time being until I see exactly how quickly we fill the black vs. gray, etc.

We are looking to purchase in the March/April time frame and will be spending the season locally at a riverside campground that has no sewer hookups, but a dumpstation and honey wagons to borrow. We'll winter in an apartment or airbnb, and repeat that for a couple years until I retire. I don't know how much travel/boondocking we'll actually undertake for the first year or so. But it's nice to have all this experienced advice to think about while we figure it all out.
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:53 PM   #17
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Nikki & Jason Wynn (Gone With the Wynns on TouTube) have done just that (albeit in a Class A motorhome). I understand that they're VERY happy with the results. Check out the video they did on this topic on their YouTube Channel.

Gone With the Wynns
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Old 11-13-2015, 05:37 PM   #18
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We've been using a Natures Head Composting Toilet for the last year (about 110 nights, 70 boon docking). We would rather boondock and it works well for us. Installation does not have to be permanent. I mounted ours on a piece of 3/4" plywood. After taking out the blackwater toilet I put a drain plug in the old toilet hole. Then mounted plywood over the plugged up hole. Could easily go backwards to black tank.

Poo begins composting quickly in peet moss which is the starting material in the toilet, does not stink. There is a handle that stirs the "mixture", you use it each time you use toilet. Pee can begin to smell. After a hint on the Natures Head web site we start each new "batch" of pee with 2 cups of vinegar. No more smell. Dumping of pee can sometimes be a hassle.

With black water tank sealed it is easy to use for an extra grey water tank. On our Avion the tanks empty into a common drain the "stinky slinky goes on. with the common valve closed I just open each tanks valve and they equalize. There is a few cups of water that spill when you open the common drain cover to drain.

If you don't boondocks often I wouldn't bother. If you do, its really handy.
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Old 11-14-2015, 05:36 PM   #19
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Kilroy, I like the idea of how you mounted the toilet, and the extra gray. We won't be boondocking much for awhile, but that set up could certainly be handy at the campground we're scouting. I've been leery of the composter, but my wife says it's happening and I guess that's that.
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:54 AM   #20
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Kilroy, I like the idea of how you mounted the toilet, and the extra gray. We won't be boondocking much for awhile, but that set up could certainly be handy at the campground we're scouting. I've been leery of the composter, but my wife says it's happening and I guess that's that.
Forgot to mention that I needed to cut a hole in the middle of the plywood to clear the flange.
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