Installing A Composting Toilet

Mike 7 minute read

We are the official owners of a Natures Head Composting Toilet. What’s a composting toilet, and why would we ever do such a thing? Simple…

Leveled up Boondocking

We are not campground people. We love camping out in the wild. Be it a national park, national forest or BLM land. We just love to camp off-grid as much as possible. That means camping without hookups. And for us that meant our stay was limited by the time it took to fill up or black tank.

Nothing is a mood killer like having to hitch up and move every 8 days to dump. And my least favorite activity is personal time with the ol’ stinky slinky.

So the wife and I decided to buy a Natures Head composting toilet.

How does it work?

Our composting toilet is what’s known as a urine diverting dry toilet.

The system is natural and self-sufficient. The toilet is like a mini ecosystem that separates the liquids (your pee) and the solids (your poo). It uses no water doing this, so no more wasting your fresh water with every flush. The separating of the two allows the solids to compost into humus. And for easy disposal of the liquids.

We purchased a Natures Head Composting Toilet. We chose this brand after much research and hearing comments from others who owned one.

Natures Head Composting Toilet

As stated above, the toilet separates liquids and solids into two separate compartments.

Urine is diverted via these two holes up front into a 2.2-gallon jug at the front of the unit. You can easily remove this and dump it when it’s full.

Solids (your poo) is diverted into the composting bin. When it’s time to go you just open the solids trap door, and your “stuff” drops right in.

How it works

On the side, there is an agitator handle. After each use, just give it a couple of turns and it will mix the compost. The bacteria will do the rest of the work.

Why doesn’t it smell?

Really, it doesn’t smell! The key is separated solids and liquids. By keeping them separate, you don’t create sewage or the smell.

Inside the solids tank is a composting material, such as peat moss or coconut COIR. These both smell like dirt. There’s also a fan inside the tank that directs the air, along with any smells, outside while keeping the moisture down inside the solid tank.

This allows the solids to dry out and then be broken down into humus by safe bacteria inside the container.

You can later dispose of the humus after a certain number of uses in a manner of different ways. Returning humus to the environment is just as safe as using animal manure.

100% organic made by YOU. ;-)

Our installation

** This article is not a how-to or instructional; it’s just how we did things in our Airstream.

This installation should be easy for most RV owners. Since there is no plumbing involved, you only need to worry about an exhaust vent hose and 12v power supply.

We have a 2007 Airstream International Signature 27 foot front bedroom model. So everything following is in relation to our Airstream.

We started by removing our Dometic 310 toilet. It was secured to the flange with two 1/2 inch nuts. Then we closed off the toilet flange to the black tank. A 3-inch repair plug will work for this.

Work in Progress

After that was out of the way, I proceeded to clean the floor and wall. No one wants to work in a dirty workspace.

In the 27ft FB, we have a fake wall in the left corner next to the toilet that is hiding the black tank vent. We removed this wall to expose the vent pipe.

False wall removal

Our flange sat just about 1/4 of an inch above our floor tiling. For us to set the new composting toilet level on the floor, I needed to use a piece of plywood.

So I cut a piece of wood and did my best to cut a circle for the flange. Not my best work, but it will work for our purpose.

I also decided to cap off my toilet supply line using a 1/2 inch SharkBite End Stop.

mounting base

Needless to say, the Natures Head toilet is a lot larger than the Dometic 310 it was replacing. To make sure we had room for comfortable positioning and proper operation we had to angle the toilet slightly towards the door. We marked our mounting base for installation of the mounting brackets, installed them and then stained our wood.

The mounting brackets allow you to easily remove the base of the toilet to empty the solids compartment when needed.

If you are installing one of these, make sure you take measurements. It’s a tight fit in the 27ft Airstream FB but still workable.

I connected our vent to the black tank vent using a 1 1/2 inch PVC tee and connected my vent hose to it.

Wiring the 12v was the easiest for us. Our house batteries are behind the wall of the bathroom. So all we had to do was route the wire through the wall.

After that, I re-installed our false wall covering the black tank vent.

Natures Head Composting Toilet in Airstream

The last thing to do was prep our composting medium. We use General Hydroponics CocoTek Bale Coco as our composting material as it’s sustainable and environmentally friendly.

JorDanee had the pleasure of prepping the CocoTek Coco. It comes in a big dehydrated bag. So we needed to break some of it off and rehydrate it for our toilet.

Coco Coir

Once it was ready, we placed it in the toilet. We used just enough to fill up just below the agitator per the instructions.

How it works

Initial Impressions

WE LOVE IT! It’s true people like what they have, but this has been a fun experience. Our first uses have been trouble free. Zero smells and no problems.

I’ll be honest; I was just a tad concerned I’ll be cleaning the bowl from some streaks. Not the case. Everything just “drops” right in the hole when you go to drop one (pun intended).

The end result:

Airstream Composting Toilet

We’ll do a follow-up post in a month or two and let you know how life has been with a composting toilet.

Until then, thanks for reading!