If you travel widely in your RV boondocking or visiting sites that don’t have a sewer connection on pitch, then you need to get yourself the best RV portable waste tank. Using a portable waste tank will make your trip much easier and eliminate the need to trail long sewer hoses across the campsite.
RV portable waste tanks are separate, usually wheeled, tanks that you drain your holding tank into. Once full, you can close up the cap and transport it to the dump station without having to move your RV. Emptying your waste tanks isn’t pleasant, but the convenience of a portable waste tank will save you lots of time if you travel regularly.
There is a huge range of RV portable waste tanks on the market, so choosing the best option for you and your RV can be difficult. To help you find the right model for your needs, we have reviewed five top-rated models and included an in-depth buying guide that explains what to look out for before purchasing.
What is an RV Portable Waste Tank
RV portable waste tanks are separate portable tanks that are used to transport your gray and black water to the dumping station. They can hold both solid and liquid waste, and usually have wheels so you can pull them along behind you.
This method is much more convenient than trailing a long sewer hose from your rig to the dumping station, and is an essential tool if you travel widely in your RV.
Best RV Portable Waste Tank
It might not be your favorite task, but emptying your RV holding tanks is a necessary part of RV ownership.
To help you find the best RV portable waste tank for your next trip, we have selected five of the leading models on the market today. Read on to find your ideal match.
- Barker 4-Wheeler Tote Tank
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
- Camco Rhino RV Portable Holding Tank
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
- Thetford RV Portable Waste Tote Tank
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
- Tote-N-Store Portable Waste Transport
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
- Barker Handheld Tote-Along Drain Water Tank
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
Barker 4-Wheeler Tote Tank
Top of our list is the Barker 4-Wheeler Tote Tank. This popular model is available in a range of different sizes from between 16 to 42 gallons, and has a super durable design. It’s also easy to pull along thanks to its four wheels, unlike two-wheel models that require you to hold one end off the floor.
The Barker 4-Wheeler Tote Tank is made from a combination of blow-molded polyethylene, aluminum and zinc-plated steel, so it’s incredibly strong and reliable. Exactly what you need when transporting your waste to the dump station. The generously-sized pneumatic rubber tires are robust and roll smoothly across the ground, while making hardly any noise.
This model comes complete with a full tank indicator, so you can immediately see when it’s about to fill up and shut off the holding tank to avoid any nasty overspill. Once filled, you can tow it to the dump station using the comfortable handle, and easily empty it out via the 3-inch waste valve. Unlike two-wheel models, you won’t have to lift it up to drain it, which makes the whole process much more convenient.
The Barker 4-Wheeler Tote Tank comes with a 3-foot hose designed for use with your holding tank. This hose is of reasonable quality, but some users have complained that it’s a little frustrating to assemble and it doesn’t last very long before weakening. As a failed hose will result in pretty unpleasant consequences, you may wish to buy a more reliable sewer hose separately.
Camco Rhino RV Portable Waste Holding Tank
Next up we have the Camco Rhino RV Portable Waste Holding Tank. This model is available in both 2-wheel and 4-wheel options, and comes in a range of capacities from between 15 to 36 gallons.
This portable waste tank comes complete with everything you need to transport your waste from your RV to the nearest dump station. It includes a sewer hose with all the fittings, a clear elbow with a four in one adapter, 15-inch adapter for water hose, double bayonet elbow and storage caps. The 24-inch tow bar is comfortable to use by hand, but it can also be towed behind a vehicle if required.
This model is made from blow-molded HDPE material that has been UV stabilized for maximum durability. This means it won’t weaken or expand with exposure to sunlight. The heavy-duty wheels roll well on all surfaces, so it’s not difficult to transport it to the dump site when full.
This portable waste tank doesn’t come with a fill level indicator, so you’ll have to use your judgment here or risk a smelly spillage. It is easy to empty out once you need to dump it, though, thanks to the integrated gate valves. Cleaning the tank is simple too – the smooth interior surface rinses clean efficiently with the accompanying tank rinser.
It’s worth keeping in mind that, depending on the capacity you go for, you’ll receive a different size waste hose. The bigger capacity options come with a 6-foot hose, while the smaller ones have a 3-foot hose.
Thetford SmartTote2 RV Portable Waste Tote Tank
Thetford is another popular manufacturer, so it’s little surprise that the Thetford SmartTote2 RV Portable Waste Tote Tank made it onto our list of the best RV portable waste tanks.
This model features a four-wheeled design that makes it super-easy to transport from your rig to the dumping station when full. The extendable handle is comfortable to hold, and you won’t need to lift up one end to wheel it along. You can even attach it onto your trailer hitch and tow it that way.
The 35-gallon capacity is suitable for most RVs and it has a durable construction with rugged wheels and a polypropylene shell that will stand up to tough environmental conditions without weakening or cracking. We like that it has an auto-stop fill level gauge so you can prevent any overflow, and when you need to dump the contents, the large opening makes for rapid drainage.
Cleaning this portable waste tank is pretty hassle-free, a simple rinse with a hose is enough to flush out any remaining contents from the smooth interior surface until your next use.
Other great features include a special compartment for your hose and sewer fitting so they don’t get lost or damaged between uses. The portable tank itself comes fully assembled, too, which saves you from gathering your tools and having to put it together yourself.
Tote-N-Store Portable Waste Transport
Next on our list is the Tote-N-Store Portable Waste Transport. This waste tank is available in sizes between 18 and 28 gallons and boasts a highly-durable, blow-molded polyethylene construction that’s sure to last many years.
Thanks to its four-wheel design, this model is very easy to manage and can be comfortably towed along the ground without having to lift it up at one end. The long handle gives you plenty of space so you don’t clip your heels during transport, and the tough rubber wheels are low-noise and cope well with all surfaces.
We like that this portable waste tank has a low-profile shape, that makes it simple to drain and store when not in use. The translucent sight tube enables you to monitor the fill level as you transfer from your black tank, so you can act quickly to prevent any nasty overflows.
Another great feature of the Tote-N-Store Portable Waste Transport is its built-in storage compartment. It comes with a dedicated area for keeping all the accompanying accessories onboard, saving you the hassle of finding somewhere safe in your RV to store them.
If you hate putting things together, you’ll be pleased to know that this model comes fully assembled and you can use it straight out of the box. Tote-N-Store also provides a three-year warranty for each purchase, so should it spring a leak during that time, you can contact them for a replacement.
Barker Handheld Tote-Along Drain Water Tank
Last, but not least, we have the Barker Handheld Tote-Along Drain Water Tank. This model comes in a range of sizes, but notably, it’s the only one in our selection that offers a super-compact 5-gallon capacity.
This small capacity is useful if you’re heading out on a short trip, and only need to drain a day or two worth of waste from your black tank. The blow-molded polyethylene shell is very durable and hard-wearing enough to be stored on the exterior of your RV in all weathers.
This model comes with a 3-inch vented cap and a ¾-inch hose outlet for relatively easy filling and dumping. Unfortunately, there’s no fill indicator, so you’ll have to be very careful that you don’t overfill it when draining your black tank. Due to its size, this model doesn’t have any wheels, but the molded-in handle is smooth and comfortable to carry from your rig to the dump site.
As it’s so compact, this 5-gallon portable waste tank will take up barely any space when in storage, but it’s not really suitable for longer trips. Most RV black tank capacities will far exceed 5-gallons, so unless you only go away for a couple of days at a time, or you’re happy to empty your black tank very frequently, this model will be too small for your needs.
That said, if you’re looking for a small portable waste tank on a budget, this model is a worthwhile pick. Its simple design makes it easy to use, while the compact dimensions and rugged construction are built to last without taking up all your storage space. It also comes with a 1-year warranty for your peace of mind.
Buyer’s Guide to Buying the Best RV Portable Waste Tank
To ensure that you buy the best RV portable waste tank for your needs, you must consider several features carefully before purchasing.
If you’re unsure where to begin, read through our in-depth buyers guide below. We have covered the most important factors to keep in mind when choosing a portable waste tank – so you can find the perfect model for your rig.
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Portable RV waste tanks are available in a wide range of capacities and with a variety of features. Therefore, the price range for these products varies considerably, with models on sale for anywhere between $40 and $300+.
The price you pay will largely depend on the brand, construction material and capacity of the tank. We don’t recommend opting for the absolute cheapest model you can find, unless you are confident in its quality.
After all, emptying your RV black tank is unpleasant enough, without a cheap portable tank leaking waste all over you in the process.
Two-wheels or Four-wheels
Wheeled RV portable waste tanks come in two options – two-wheeled or four-wheeled.
Two-wheel waste tanks have two wheels at the rear of the tank, four-wheel waste tanks have two wheels at the back, and two in the front. The front and rear wheels may be different sizes. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Two-wheel portable waste tanks must be lifted up before you can tow them. To move it, you have to grasp the handle and lift the front end off the ground to wheel it along, much like a suitcase. This type tends to be cheaper than four-wheel models.
The downside is that this method of towing can be quite difficult, especially if you have a large capacity tank that is full to the max. The tank will be pretty heavy, so if you have to tow your tank a good distance to the dump station, you may be cursing your choice the whole way there. Also, when you get to the dump station, two-wheel waste tanks will need to be stood up on one end so you drain the contents.
Four-wheel portable waste tanks may be more expensive, but they’re much easier to transport. You can simply pull or tow the tank along behind you like a little cart, without having to lift one end off the ground. When you reach the dump site, a four-wheel tank can be emptied out from a level position – again, with no lifting required.
Perhaps the most important factor to consider before buying a portable RV waste tank is your required capacity.
The best place to start is by looking at the size of your holding tank. If your tank has a 35-gallon capacity, it will be pointless to buy a portable waste tank that only has a 30-gallon capacity. In this case, you should look for a portable waste tank that has at least a 35-gallon capacity so that you can drain your holding tank all in one go.
It can be a good idea to buy a portable waste tank that has a slightly greater capacity than your holding tank – so that you don’t need to worry about spillages when transferring your waste.
However, this may not be possible for all circumstances, as the larger the portable tank, the more space it will need for storage. If you have a small RV or trailer with little available storage space, you may have to go for a smaller portable tank and simply empty your holding tanks more often.
Of course, you should take the number of people and the length of your trip into consideration, too. If you take weekend trips alone or as a couple, you’ll have much less waste to dump than if you travel with the whole family for a week at a time.
Also, keep in mind that the larger the portable tank, the heavier it will be when full. So, you should consider whether a large capacity model will be manageable for you in reality.
Ease of Cleaning
Dealing with waste is one of the least enjoyable aspects of RVing, so it will make your life much easier if your portable waste tank is simple to clean once you’re done emptying it.
The best portable waste tanks will have a smooth interior so that there are no nooks and crannies for waste to hang out in while flushing it out. A good tip is to empty your black tank and then empty your gray tank. The gray water will give your portable waste tank a “pre-clean”, which will make the final rinse out more effective.
Ease of Use
The most important feature that contributes to ease of use is a flush valve. This valve works to automatically flush all of the waste out of your portable waste tank, so that no remnants get left behind to cause a stink. We recommend checking that your preferred model has a flush valve before buying – otherwise, you’ll have to do this task manually.
It’s also a good idea to look for models that come fully assembled and include all of the necessary hoses and accessories for use. This will save you the hassle of scouring hardware stores to find compatible versions before your trip.
RV portable waste tanks are usually constructed from one of two types of material: polyethylene or polypropylene.
Polyethylene Waste Tanks
Polyethylene is a very popular choice for portable RV waste tanks. This material is durable and has thick, impenetrable walls that prevent leakage of waste or odors.
This material is very resistant to environmental damage, too, so it’s less likely to crack or weaken in exposure to sunlight or extremes of temperature.
On the downside, polyethylene is a little heavier than other materials, which can make a big difference when towing a large, full waste tank.
Polypropylene Waste Tanks
Polypropylene is a lighter material than polyethylene, so it can be a good choice if you need to manage a large waste tank.
This material also has good environmental resilience and is fairly durable, but it’s not as robust as heavier polyethylene, and it may leak with frequent use. As polypropylene is more lightweight and less hard-wearing, it’s also usually a cheaper option. This is worth keeping in mind if you are deciding between longevity and price.
Don’t even contemplate buying a portable RV waste tank without a handle. All models should come with some type of handle, whether it’s molded into the shell, or a separate attachment altogether.
You should check the build quality of the handle before buying. It should be strong, comfortable to hold and have a sturdy attachment to the waste tank itself. You may have to tow your waste tank some distance to reach the dump site, so the last thing you want is a flimsy handle that breaks halfway there.
Some handles can be doubled-up as a tow bracket, which is useful if you have a large portable waste tank. These enable you to pull the tank behind your vehicle (slowly!), rather than dragging it by hand.
Storing your RV portable waste tank when not required is an important factor to consider before buying. RVs don’t have a lot of storage space, so having the option to attach your portable tank to the exterior of your rig is a great way to save space and prevent any unpleasant smells from entering your living quarters.
Some models can be attached to the underside or rear of your RV, while others come with the option to secure them to your roof instead. Take the time to assess what attachment options a particular model is compatible with, and whether these are suitable for your RV before purchasing.
Fresh Water Hoses and Sewer Hoses
When using a portable RV waste tank you’ll also need both a fresh water hose and a sewer hose. A fresh water hose is required for flushing out and cleaning your waste tank, while the sewer hose is needed for draining the tank into the dump station.
The best RV portable waste tanks will come complete with the necessary hoses, and will include some onboard storage options so you can keep them packed together with the tank ready for each use.
The wheels on RV portable waste tanks are usually made from either rubber or plastic. The best option for you depends on your travel habits.
Rubber wheels are effective on all surfaces, are easier to fill and can be patched up if a puncture occurs. This type of wheel is a good choice if you travel all year round and plan on using your portable waste tank frequently.
They are usually seen on more expensive models, but as they are hard-wearing and easy to patch up, they can save you money in the long run when compared to plastic wheels.
Plastic wheels are commonly seen on portable RV waste tanks. They are cheaper for manufacturers to use than rubber wheels, and they can be inexpensively replaced when they wear down or become damaged.
On the downside, plastic wheels are much less robust than rubber wheels, and don’t last very long when used over rough ground. If you travel a lot and are expecting to tow your waste tank over gravel or asphalt, you may find yourself having to replace plastic wheels frequently.
The overall “portability” of your portable RV waste tank is clearly a crucial factor in your decision. There are several features that contribute to the portability of a particular model, and we recommend considering all of them before purchasing.
Perhaps the most important choice is between two and four-wheeled models. It is generally accepted that four-wheeled models are much easier to transport to and from the dumping station, as unlike two-wheeled models, you won’t need to lift one end of the tank up to tow it.
Aside from the number of wheels, the capacity, empty weight, filled weight, wheel material and type of handle are all critical features to bear in mind when making your choice. We recommend examining each of these features in turn and weighing up the pros and cons of each model to ensure you make the right purchasing decision.
How to use a Portable RV Waste Tank
If you’ve never used a portable RV waste tank before, you may be a little worried about accidentally covering yourself in the contents of your black tank.
To help you avoid such a disturbing experience, follow our step by step guide below:
- Identify the outlet for the holding tank you wish to empty. In most RVs, there will be just one outlet for both your black tank and your gray water tank – but some models may have separate outlets. Check your manual if you’re unsure.
- Open the outlet cap. No waste will come out until you have opened the valves, so you don’t need to worry about that just yet. Connect one end of your sewer hose to the valve and the other end to your portable RV waste tank.
- Now it’s time to open the gray water valve to check for leaks. Do this slowly, so you can always reign it back if there’s a sudden leak. If everything is good, close the valve.
- Now turn to the black tank valve. Open it up and let it drain out fully into your portable waste tank. If you have a black tank flush, you can connect the hose to this and flush the tank out. Once it’s done, close up the valve securely.
- Then connect your hose to the gray tank valve and let some water flow through the hose to clean out any waste that may have got stuck in it. Close the valve afterward and disconnect your hose. Make sure to hold it high so no dribbles come out over you and rinse it through to clean it.
- At this stage, you should close up the outlets on your RV and shut the levers to prevent any leaking.
- Screw the cap onto your portable waste tank and transport it to the dump station. Empty it out and then rinse it thoroughly to make sure that there’s no stubborn sewage left lurking inside.
All of the models we have reviewed in this guide make excellent choices in their own right, but the best RV portable waste tank for you will depend on your RV and travel lifestyle.
If you’re looking for an easy to maneuver portable waste tank that has a large capacity, we recommend the Barker 4-Wheeler Tote Tank. This model is available in a range of sizes up to 42-gallons, and has four rubber wheels for hassle-free transportation. Made from blow-molded polyethylene, it’s highly durable and includes a full tank indicator to prevent nasty overflows.
If you tend to go for shorter trips or prefer two-wheel models, then the Camco Rhino RV Portable Waste Holding Tank is well worth another look. This model comes in both four and two-wheeled options, and offers a range of modest capacities from 15 to 36 gallons. Its blow-molded HDPE construction is resistant to environmental damage from harsh conditions, and it comes with everything you need to drain and dump your tank without any fuss.
Alternatively, if you have very little storage space or usually take weekend trips alone or as a couple, then the Barker Handheld Tote-Along Drain Water Tank could be just what you need. This super-compact model has a small 5-gallon capacity, which is perfect for short road trips where you won’t have much waste to dump. The blow-molded polyethylene shell is hard-wearing and while it doesn’t have any wheels, the molded-in handle makes it comfortable to carry to your dumping site.