We bought our Nature’s Head Composting toilet about 3 years ago. We’ve had plenty of time to discover the pros and cons of this unit and we’re going to share our experience with you today. This is the only brand we’ve tried, but we’re currently renovating an Airstream Argosy and we plan to install an Airhead composting toilet, to see what the difference is. We will do a comparison between the Natures Head and Airhead in the future…shall we call it a “head to head”? 😅
What is a Nature’s Head Composting Toilet?
A composting toilet is a toilet that treats human excrement by allowing microbes to break down the organic matter into compost. This happens under controlled aerobic conditions and usually in some sort of medium like peat moss or coco coir. However, this process takes months to fully compost, so most RV composting toilets are actually more of a dry toilet.
The biggest brands on the market are Natures Head and Air Head and both have a unique diverting system that separates the urine from the solids to prevent a foul odor from forming. Though to be honest, the urine reservoir can smell really bad when changed. We’ve tried the recommended vinegar and sugar and it doesn’t help much, but we only smell it when emptying the reservoir or after we’ve travelled with a full tank.
We hear a splash of bleach works best for the urine odor, but never use it in the solids compartment or it could kill those microbes doing all the compost work. The composting side typically just smells like soil and have never found it offensive, unless than fan goes out and isn’t able to evaporate the excess liquids.
Why did we Choose a Nature’s Head Composting Toilet?
We went with a Nature’s Head composting toilet for a few reasons. We have a ridiculously small black tank on our 16ft 1985 Fiber Stream camper and the composting toilet needs to be changed less often than the original the black tank. It saves a ton of water, none is needed for flushing, so we can be extra conservative with our water and we can get rid of our black tank.
How do you Dispose of the Waste?
Ideally it would be added to a compost pile or bin, but while traveling it can be buried or disposed of in a bag. We wouldn’t recommend burying it, because of the potential of contaminating ground water, the size hole required and that it may not be allowed where you’re camping. We recommend a sturdy bio-degradable bag that can be disposed of in the nearest public use dumpster or trash can. Urine can be dispersed in nature, or emptied in public restrooms.
Is it safe? From all our research this seems to be the safest, recommended method for those of us who travel full time. Our friends Live Small Ride Free wrote a great blog post about proper disposal and the answers they found when contacting EPA and other government agencies.
Thoughts After 3 Years
Our composting toilet has suited our needs and method of travel well. I definitely think there are some design elements with the Nature’s Head that could be improved upon though, especially for the price point. We look forward to trying out the Air Head in our new rig and seeing how it differs. We will report back with our findings!
Overall, we’ve been satisfied with our experience and think we made the right choice in going with a composting toilet. Here are our pros and cons for this unit –
- Easy Installation
- Conserves water
- Can remove black tank or add extra gray tank
- It’s self-contained, so it can be removed or moved easily
- We’ve had to replace the fan about 4-5 times
- The compost bin has to be opened to remove the urine bottle
- The seat is not comfortable
- The agitator does not reach the compost in the corners of the bin