Written by 4:43 pm RV Gear/Accessories

5 Best Portable RV Waste Tanks: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Portable RV Waste Tote Featured Image

There are several types and classes of RVs and they each have their own features that set them apart from one another. However, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Class A motorhome or a pop-up camper, if it has a bathroom, they all have one thing in common. Holding tanks.

Drivable Types Of RVs

These holding tanks are designed to store our on-board fresh water, and our wastewater. At some point in your RV travels and camping adventures, your waste tanks will fill up and have to be dumped.

I have a good feeling that most RVers would agree that one of the worst parts of owning a camper or motorhome is dumping the waste tanks.

In fact, I can’t remember a single time I’ve met another RV owner that said, “Ya know, my favorite part of RVing is emptying the waste tanks.” As unglamourous and dirty as it is, it’s one of those things that has to be done.

If you’re at a site that has full hookups, dumping your waste tanks takes much less effort than if you’re camping at a site doesn’t.

For those sites without a sewer connection, you have two choices. You can either break camp and pull your camper to the dump station, or you can empty your tanks into a portable RV waste tank and pull it to the dump station instead.

I think I’ll take the second option. Afterall, who wants to tear down their campsite just to go dump?

If you typically camp at campgrounds that don’t have full hookups, a portable RV waste tote should be on your “must-have” list of camping gear.

When choosing the best portable RV waste tank for your camper, how do you know which one is best for you? Sure, they might seem to be as simple as a tank for hauling poop, but there are other features of these totes that are especially important.

By the end of this article, you will have the information you need to make an informed decision on the best portable RV waste tank for you and your family’s needs.

Let’s jump in…

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5 Best Portable RV Waste Tanks At A Glance

What Is A Portable RV Waste Tank?

Often referred to as a “blue boy,” a portable RV waste tank is a convenient way to dump your camper’s waste tanks without completely breaking down your campsite just to haul your rig, or drive your motorhome, to the dump station.

Most portable waste totes for an RV are equipped with wheels and a handle that attaches to a vehicles tow hitch for easily transporting to the on-site dump station.

When the waste tanks on your camper begin to reach capacity, empty the contents into a portable RV waste tank, hook it to your tow vehicle, and head to the dump station.

The 5 Best Portable RV Waste Tanks

Portable RV waste tanks are available in two-wheel, four-wheel, and hand-held configurations. When choosing the best option for your camper, keep your RVs tank capacities in mind, as well as available storage space in your camper. I’ll cover more on that later in the article.

Best Overall – Thetford SmartTote2 35-Gallon Portable Waste Tote

Thetford SmartTote2 35-Gallon Portable RV Waste Tank

The Thetford SmartTote 35-Gallon waste tote is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a large, high quality, four-wheel option in a portable waste tank.

The four-wheel design and the extendable handle make this portable RV waste tank a breeze to maneuver on any terrain. In addition, the wheels and the handle together make hauling this tote to the dump station hassle and stress free.

Thetford designed this sewer tote with ease-of-use in mind. The large drain port and auto-stop level gauge make dumping your RV waste tanks seamless and spill “resistant.”

The built-in storage compartment keeps your sewer hose, fittings, and attachments in one, easy-to-find place and also helps protect them from the elements.

PROS:

  • Steerable Front Wheels
  • Easy-To-Dump Port
  • Integrated Handle

CONS:

  • Some Users Report Loose Clamp Connections
  • Low-Quality Hose

Best Large Capacity – Barker 42-Gallon Portable RV Waste Tank

Barker 42-Gallon RV Waste Tote

Coming in as the best large capacity portable RV waste tank is the Barker 42-Gallon sewer tote. This waste tank isn’t meant for RV owners with small campers. Because of it’ enormous tank capacity, this portable tank is designed for larger motorhomes and fifth wheels that have equally large holding tanks.

This portable tank is made from blow-molded polyethylene, zinc-plated steel, and aluminum making this unit extremely durable.

Unlike the other portable totes in this list, this Barker waste tank features air-filled tires making it the easiest tote in this list to maneuver and haul.

The side-mounted 3” gate valve ensures you will never have to lift this tank in order to dump, saving your back in the process.

PROS:

  • Air-Filled Tires
  • Built-In Gate Valve
  • Level Indicator

CONS:

  • Low Ground Clearance
  • Some Assembly Required

Best Small Capacity – Hike Crew 6-Gallon Portable RV Waste Tank

Hike Crew 6-Gallon Portable Waste Tote

If storage space is an issue in your rig and you’re looking for a compact portable waste tote, the Hike Crew 6-Gallon RV waste tank might be the answer you’re looking for.

This tote features a rotating drain spout, a built-in handle for carrying, or a telescoping handle for rolling to the dump station.

The air relief valve removes excess pressure inside the tank to help prevent any splashing or splattering while in transport mode. I think we can all agree that even the smallest amount of splatter would be a deal breaker.

PROS:

  • Compact Size For Easy Storage
  • Perfect Size For Campervans And Small Campers
  • Easy To Carry/Pull

CONS:

  • Discharge Hose Not Included
  • Poor Design Of 3” Inlet
  • May Need Adapter To Fit Some RV Hoses

Best Budget Friendly – Thetford SmartTote2 27-Gallon Portable RV Waste Tank

SmartTote2 27-Gallon Portable RV Waste Tank

If you are looking for a 2-wheel portable waste tank that is budget friendly, this 27-gallon waste tote by Thetford might what you’re looking for.

The overall capacity of this portable RV waste tote is great for travel trailers of all sizes.

Some notable features of this waste tote are the solid rubber wheels, retractable 5’ discharge hose, and an Auto Stop level gauge to prevent overfilling the tank.

In addition, built in handle and optional towing strap make hauling this waste tank to the dump station almost effortless.

PROS:

  • Easy To Haul
  • Budget-Friendly
  • Textured Rubber Wheels

CONS:

  • Accessories Sold Separately
  • Sewer Hose Can Pop Off During Transport

Honorable Mention – Camco Rhino 28-Gallon Portable RV Waste Holding Tank

Camco Rhino 28-Gallon Portable RV Waste Tank

The Camco name brand is synonymous with the RV and camping industry, and they are well known for making quality products. The Camco Rhino 28 Gallon Portable RV Waste Tank is one example of their commitment to only offer high-quality RV gear.

This portable tote is made of high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, which is blow molded to create a seamless design to minimize leaks.

Like the Thetford mentioned above, this 2-wheel waste tote is ready-to-use, right out of the box. Not only does it include a sewer hose, but it also includes everything you need to dump, clean, and store the tank.

Other features that are impressive about this portable waste tote for a camper are the large, no-flat wheels with smooth running axle bearings making it easy to maneuver.

PROS:

  • Large Wheels
  • Accessories Included
  • UV Resistant

CONS:

  • Some Assembly Required
  • Wheels Are Thin
  • Taller Than Other Totes On The Market

What To Look For In A Portable Waste Tank For Your RV

In order to find the best portable RV waste tank for your needs, there are certain things to consider. Wheels and handles aren’t the only two features you need to think of before making a purchase.

How big of a waste tote do you need? Where will you store it? How easy is it to use?

Below is a list of things to consider that will help you in the decision-making process to be sure you find the best portable RV waste tank for you and your camper.

  • Capacity
  • Portability
  • Ease Of Use
  • Storage
  • Budget

Capacity

The most important feature to look for when choosing the best portable waste tote for your camper is the overall capacity. How much waste can it hold? How big are your camper’s holding tanks? You want to make sure the portable tote you choose for your RV can hold the contents of your tanks.

For example, if your black water holding tank holds 30 gallons of waste, a smaller tote may not be as useful as a larger one.

However, if toting 30 gallons of wastewater seems a bit too much to manage, a smaller portable waste tote might be a better choice. But keep in mind that if the holding tanks on your camper are larger than the portable RV waste tank, you will have to make multiple trips to the dump site. In addition, you risk the chance of an overflow scenario and raw sewage spilling on you and the ground.

Portability

Filling up your portable waste tote is the easy part of dumping your tanks. Now you need to get the portable tank to the dump station. This is where a portable waste tank’s portability comes into play.

The most popular portable RV waste tanks are available in two options. Two-wheel and four-wheel.

The two-wheel options will require you to attach the tote to your bumper hitch, either with a bracket or a tow strap. In addition, the molded grab handle allows you to lift the front of the tank to move it around.

The four-wheel options will have a built-in handle that easily hooks to a tow hitch for hauling. This handle also makes it much easier to maneuver by hand than the two-wheel sewer totes.

If the wheeled options aren’t an ideal choice because of storage space, or if your RV has smaller waste tanks, there are smaller, hand-held versions. Like the 6-gallon tote mentioned above.

Ease Of Use

Another thing to consider when choosing the best portable RV waste tank for your camper is how easy it is to use. I have used some four-wheel portable waste totes that are much easier to dump than our current two-wheel model.

Most four-wheel totes are equipped with an easy-to-use gate valve, or a low point drain spout that pivots downward when ready to dump. All you do is hook one end of the sewer hose to the tank and the other end to the sewer dump point, then either pull a valve or tilt the drain down.

The two-wheel portable totes can be a bit more difficult to dump because you have to pick it up and stand it on end to empty it. Depending on the size of the tank, this can be quite a task for some RVers. We have the 25-Gallon, two-wheel Tote-N-Stor and when it is completely full, it can be a challenge to stand up.

Storage

Anything and everything you buy for an RV needs to have a place to be stored. A portable RV waste tank is no exception. If you don’t want to carry a waste tote in the basement storage of your camper, consider your storage options when choosing a portable waste tank.

We used to keep ours in the bed of our truck when going to and from the campsite. But the back of the truck quickly filled up when we added our dogs, coolers, and tables to the mix. To free up much needed truck bed space, we recently installed a bumper mounted bracket to store ours.

Budget

Having a budget beforehand is important when choosing a portable waste tank. Not all totes are created equal. The larger the tank, the more it will cost. These totes are not cheap. But, when you consider the alternatives to not having one, they are well worth the money.

Also keep in mind the features that you will need in a portable waste tote for your situation. If a smaller two-wheel model fits your needs, there no reason to spring for the huge four-wheel model, and vice-versa.

Make sure the option you choose is durable, has the capacity you need, and has all the necessary features you want.

How To Empty A Portable RV Waste Tank

Emptying a portable RV waste tank is similar to dumping the waste tanks on your RV. The only difference is you are using the portable tank as a transfer point from the camper to the dump site, instead of dumping straight into the sewer connection.

The main thing to pay attention to when emptying your camper’s waste into a portable tote is making sure you don’t overfill. Nobody wants raw sewage spilling all over them and the campsite.

If your portable RV waste tank is smaller than the holding tanks on your camper, don’t completely fill the tote before closing the waste valves on the RV. Remember there is still waste inside the sewer hose that needs to go into the portable waste tank.

Once you get the portable RV waste tank full, drive it over to the dump station and dump it just like you would your camper.

How To Clean And Sanitize A Portable Waste Tote

Cleaning and sanitizing a portable RV waste tank isn’t any different than cleaning the holding tanks in your RV. Once you get all the contents dumped out of the tote, use the rinse hose provided at the dump site to wash everything down.

I will typically fill our portable waste tote with clean water, then dump the tank again. You can use the same tank treatment for your portable tote that you do for your RV holding tanks if you want to take it a step further.

How To Transport A Portable RV Waste Tank

Transporting a portable RV waste tank from the campsite to the dump station is as easy as hooking it to the bumper hitch of your vehicle and slowly driving to the dump site. There are tow straps or brackets available for the two-wheel versions that make it a breeze to hook to your bumper hitch.

Portable RV Waste Tote Accessories

Below is a short list of popular accessories for the portable RV waste tanks listed above. While some models listed above come with everything you need right-out-of-the-box, other models could benefit from an upgrade where accessories are concerned.

Camco Rhino Bumper Mount RV Tote Tank Carrier

This portable RV waste tank bumper bracket is one of the best RV accessories we have ever bought. If you don’t have a ladder on the back of your travel trailer, fifth wheel, or motorhome, this bumper mounted bracket is the way to go.

Although it is designed for the Camco Rhino waste tank, it will accommodate many other brands as well.

Camco 3’ Waste Tote Hose Kit

You are going to need a quality sewer hose to dump your portable waste tank and Camco has one specifically designed for portable totes.

The Camco 3′ sewer tote hose kit includes everything you need to dump your portable sewer tank.

Camco Rhino RV Tote Tank Level Gauge

Overfilling your portable waste tank is one the biggest fears many RVers have when it comes to dumping their waste tanks. However, an RV tote tank level gauge, like this one from Camping World, can save you from a stinky and embarrassing situation.

Final Thoughts

If your camping style includes dry camping or extended stays at campgrounds without full hookups, a portable RV waste tank might be a great investment. Afterall, who wants to completely break camp just to dump the waste tanks?

We don’t know what we would do without ours. It has been a game-changer for us. It gives us a certain freedom and peace of mind knowing that when it comes time to dump our tanks, all we have to do is fill the portable waste tote and head to the dump station.

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Last modified: April 12, 2024
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