What is a Portable Waste Tank? 5 Best

Camping is fun because it creates opportunities for relaxation, family bonding and adventures. When loading your RV with your camping gears, a portable waste tank may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, you cannot escape answering nature’s call for the duration of your trip, no matter how short. 

This is where a portable waste tank comes to play. A portable waste tank is one gear that enables you to embark on long camping trips in your RV. 

What is a portable waste tank?

For an inexperienced camper, this may be the most important question of all. A portable waste tank is a container you can use to dispose of your black water and grey water while camping. 

Black water is the water from your RV toilet while grey water refers to water from the shower and the sink. 

With a portable waste tank, you do not have to worry about how frequently you relieve your bowels when camping or boondocking for a long time. 

A portable waste tank can be a 2 wheeler or a 4 wheeler.  

Advantages of a Portable Waste Tank

The benefits of having a waste tank cannot be overemphasized. As a new camper, you want to enjoy your trip without having to pack up your RV in search of a dumpsite, every day. Some of the benefits of having a portable waste tank include:

  • Extra capacity for black and grey water disposition
  • The luxury of planning a longer and more convenient trip
  • Ability to camp in the boondocks or non-developed campgrounds
  • Convenient for large families or many people

Features of the Best Portable Waste Tanks

It is indeed convenient to have a portable waste tank but the real advantage comes from owning the best portable waste tank. Getting the best portable waste tank is only possible when you know what to look out for when purchasing your portable waste tanks. Some key features of the best waste tanks include

  • Large Capacity: To avoid having just another RV tank that will need to be emptied all the time, you need to get a larger waste tank. 

The rule is to get a portable waste tank that will allow you to empty the contents of your RV waste tank. For instance, a 20-gallon portable waste tank is useless to a 35 gallon RV waste tank. So you need a tank that is larger than your RV waste tank.

  • Two-wheel vs four-wheel: After getting a portable waste tank with greater capacity, you may want to consider the weight of the tank. A portable waste tank is very weighty when full, so you need a tank that you can easily transport to the nearest dumpsite. 

Two-wheel portable tanks have only two wheels at the back while four-wheel portable tanks have wheels on all four corners. This means that you will have to lift and support the front of the two-wheeler when emptying the tank, which is not so convenient. 

The four-wheel portable waste tank is easy to transport, and you do not need to lift it at all when transporting or draining. However, if you are bothered about cost, a two-wheeler is your best bet. 

  • Type and material of tanks: Even though most portable waste tanks hold both grey and black water, some do not hold both. There are specialized tanks that hold only grey water or only black water. So keep your eyes peeled when buying, to avoid using a grey water tank for black water. 

Also, portable waste tanks are made of different materials, plastic and polythene being the most popular. While plastic is less prone to cracking, polythene is more durable and prevents odour from coming out. 

Components of a Portable Waste Tank

  • A firm handle design 
  • Sturdy wheels 
  • Ladder attachment for easy attachment to the RV
  • Indicator fills 
  • Clean out valve 
  • Sewer hoses
  •  Dump valve

How to Fill a Portable RV Waste Tank

  1. Connect the expansion tank sewer hose to dump fitting on your RV
  2. Open the black water dump tank valve
  3. Let the tank empty then close the valve tightly
  4. Put the caps on the sewer connection and store the hose
  5. Transport the tank to the dump station

How to Empty a Portable Waste Tank

  1. Connect the portable waste tank hose to the sewer connection at the campground
  2. Open the valve to empty the content
  3. Open the air valve on the opposite end of the tank to speed the process and improve the flow
  4. Tip the waste tank vertically to finish draining
  5. Flush the tank with a water hose (do not use your portable water hose)
  6. Close the cap off all connections

How to Clean a Portable Waste Tank

Cleaning your portable waste tank is as crucial as getting the best portable waste tank. This is because a good product that is not properly maintained is as good as a bad product. So it is important to clean and maintain your waste tanks properly. 

Depending on the type and features of the tank, there are many ways to clean your portable waste tank. However, most people stop at rinsing the tank which is not always ideal. There may be leftover sludge and debris that you may not get off by merely rinsing your tank. 

Some general rules include

  • Wear protective clothing such as rubber gloves, shoe covers and protective glasses to avoid getting soiled.  
  • Empty your tank even if it is not full.
  • Fill the tank again to about a third of its size, with soap, water and bleach and allow to sit for about 10 minutes or less. 
  • Drain the tank again. 
  • Fill the tank again, this time with fresh water and rinse out properly. You can repeat this process until you are sure that you have properly rinsed out the bleach. Note that leaving bleach inside the tank may spoil the material and pipes. 

Following this cleaning procedure is sure to keep your tank clean and not smelly. You can also use an enzyme treatment once in a while to remove any debris that the cleaning procedure may have missed. 

With all the information in this article, picking the best portable waste tank should be easy. However, to make your selection easier, check out some of the best portable waste tanks below. 

ThetFord SmartTote 2 RV

This SmartTote Portable Waste Tank checks the capacity box by coming in four different sizes. The 12 gallons, 18 gallons, 27 gallons and 35 gallons sizes are all portable and easy to use. Its most efficient feature is the AutoStopTM level gauge that prevents overfilling and ventilates the tank while emptying. It is a ready-to-use tote that comes assembled from the box. 



Designed as an added waste storage tank, the Tote-N-Stor is perfect for your long boondocking. This 4 wheeler portable waste tank comes in 18 gallons, 25 gallons and 38 gallons. It fills fast and drains as fast, making it the fastest draining tank on the market. The already assembled tank comes with a ¾ inch garden hose cap, a 3-inch straight hose adapter, a 15-inch garden hose cap, a 3-inch x 36-inch waste drain hose and clamps. It is portable, durable and convenient. 

Baker 16 gallon

As a four-wheeler tote along, the Baker 16 gallon portable waste tank is perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. Made from synthetic material, it keeps bad odour from coming out. It has sturdy rubber tires that make it easy to transport to a dump station. It also has a pop-up indicator to avoid getting overfilled. 

Camco Rhino Heavy Duty

The Camco Rhino Heavy Duty Waste Tank is an excellent choice for campers who are planning long trips. The inside of the tank is very smooth and easy to clean. The tank hardware is zinc plated to prevent rust and corrosion while the bearing on the wheels is stainless steel. 

The sturdy and portable design is balanced on large no-flat wheels with large circumference for easy transportation. The sewer tote tank comes with a sewer hose, water hose, elbow adapter, storage caps, tow adapter and TST Drop-Ins. 

Alpha Systems Holding Tank

The first thing that comes to mind when handling the Alpha Systems Holding tank is, sturdy. The 33-gallon tank has a uniform thickness that makes it more durable than most waste tanks. It also has configurations that allow you to attach fittings to it. The blow-moulded HDPE tank has a measurement of 22 width x 54 length x 8 height. 

See the best selling portable waste tanks

As a family affair, camping is only fun when you have the best car for your family size and all the gear you require. Your camping trip can become most unpleasant if you have to battle with disposing of your grey and black water. With the information in this article, you should be a pro at picking the best portable waste tank and maintaining your waste tank.  

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