If you fancy taking up caravanning, one of the most important accessories you'll need is a toilet. Although most campsites offer flushing loos, you'll still need somewhere to 'go' if you venture out into the wilds. So what are your options and how does your chemical loo work?
There are several types of chemical toilets to choose from. The simplest form, which is probably best used just in emergencies, is generally referred to as the 'bucket and chuck it' loo. Its name pretty much describes how it works!
A slightly more advanced version of this loo features two sections. The upper part combines a toilet bowl with a flush-water tank and has a detachable cover and seat. The lower part of the unit is effectively a waste-holding receptacle. To empty the loo, you simply detach the bottom section.
A third option is a built-in loo in your caravan's bathroom area. These toilets feature a cassette-style waste holding tank that is detachable. You remove the cassette from the outside of your caravan, making emptying and cleaning more hygienic. These loos also have a swivel bowl so that the unit doesn't take up too much room. The flush may be either battery-powered or could work through a campsite's hook-up.
Chemicals and disposal
You will be able to buy all the chemicals that you need for your caravan's loo from your local caravan accessories shop. Be sure to read the instructions supplied with your unit before you buy the chemicals, as each type works slightly differently. Some use biological action to break down waste, whereas others need chemicals to keep them hygienic and smelling fragrant.
Most of the chemicals you'll need are supplied in either fluid or tablet form, and you place the chemical in the unit's waste tank. Most of the loo fluids you buy lose their efficacy within a few days so you'll need to empty the unit or top it up regularly with fresh fluids.
The best loo paper to use is special 'quick dissolve' toilet paper, available from a caravan accessories shop or on-site.
When you need to empty your chemical toilet, only do so in the designated place on the campsite, usually marked Chemical Disposal Point or CDP. Don't empty the contents of your loo into the 'waste water' disposal point. When emptying your toilet's cassette, press the air valve button. This allows air to flow into the cassette, whilst the contents pass smoothly out without spluttering.
If you're planning on going caravanning this season, you'll need to make sure that your van is equipped with a suitable loo. For more information and advice on what would suit your caravan and requirements best, have a chat with your local caravan accessories shop staff.