Going camping soon and need the know the best RV portable waste tank to take on your trip?
My top choice is the Tote-N-Store 20123 Portable Waste Transport 4-wheel, a 25-gallon tank that delivers durable construction, ease of use, sufficient storage capacity, and a built-in accessory compartment to prevent lost parts.
RVers with lots of camping experience know that having a portable waste tank, also known in the RVing community as a “honey wagon” is another tool you should never be without while on the road.
Do you sometimes find yourself at a campground that does not provide full hook-ups?
When you want to enjoy the privacy of using your RV toilet and shower or use the kitchen sink to wash dishes, you’ll need a solution to the problem of disposing of your wastewater.
The answer is an RV portable waste tank that you can carry on your RV or in your tow vehicle. These portable tanks on wheels hold the fluids from your grey and black tanks so you can properly dispose of it at a nearby dump station.
In this guide, I will discuss what to look for in a portable RV waste tank, give you a review of the top five best RV portable waste tanks, and some helpful tips to keep your tank clean and functioning correctly.
So read along to learn everything you need to know about RV portable waste tanks!
What to Look for in an RV Portable Waste Tank
Portable water tanks are a convenient way to empty wastewater from your RV during camping trips when a sewer connection is not available at your campsite.
In order to find the right portable tank for your needs, you must look at the different features found on portable waste tanks for RVs like:
- Durability of materials
- Wheel design
- Handle design
- Drain valve openings
#1 – Size and Capacity
Choosing which size tank you need depends on where and how you camp. If you camp with many members of your family and have large holding tanks in your RV, you will want a tank that has as large of a capacity as you can safely handle alone.
A 40-gallon portable tank may sound fantastic (just one trip to the dump station!), but it may be too cumbersome for a single person to fill and drag to the sewer drain.
My suggestion is to get the smallest tank you think you need. Worst case scenario you’ll have to take an extra trip or two to the dump station, but those trips will be less stressful when your tank is smaller and lighter to move.
Smaller capacity tanks also are dimensionally smaller, which means it will be easier to store the container when not in use.
#2 – Durability of Materials
Your waste tank will have to handle the vibrations and bumps of RV travel as well as the actual use of the unit while camping, so the durability of the materials used in construction is paramount.
Prices vary among manufacturers, and a higher price does not necessarily mean better construction. Look for a tank made from a polyethylene material that is less likely to crack or puncture. A blown body will eliminate seams in the tank that could leak over time.
Look for an inner tank that has a layer of aluminum or other metal that won’t rust or corrode. This inner lining can keep wastewater inside even if the plastic outer coating incurs damage.
Make sure connections at the location of the valves are sturdy, and other components like clamps and covers consist of tough materials that won’t break after exposure to the elements while on camping adventures.
#3 – Accessories
Some portable RV tanks come with just the tank and have no accessories like caps and hoses that you need to use the tanks.
Decide on your budget for your portable tank and see if they include all the items you need at the price of your model or what you’ll need to spend separately for sewer and water hoses and fittings.
Check reviews of tank brands to see if any of the accessories that come with a portable tank are not of good quality and will need replacement anyway.
#4 – Wheel Design
Your portable tank must be, well, portable!
Wheels are crucial things to consider when choosing a portable waste tank. You’ll need the wheels to be able to traverse grass and gravel just as easy as cement or asphalt surfaces.
Most wastewater tanks have two wheels, but if you can find a four-wheel option, it will be much more convenient to use.
A swiveling front axle will add even more ease to maneuvering the tank. Large wheels made of rubber will hold up well to the weight of a full tank and be way less noisy to others in the campground if you must pull your tank down the road.
#5 – Handle Design
After wheels, the handle of your portable tank should be a high priority when making a purchase. The longer the handle, the easier it will be to pull and keep you from straining your back.
A built-in handle that folds up for storage is best. Some tanks have the handle molded into the main body which makes it necessary to add a pull strap to tow the tank comfortably. Some tanks have a removable handle that could get lost while camping.
Look carefully at the handle design of any potential waste tank you are considering to make sure you are getting one that you can use with no worries, especially if you plan to tow it behind a vehicle when visiting the dump station.
#6 – Venting
A good RV wastewater portable tank should have vents you can open and close to make filling up your tank and draining your tank at the dump station quicker.
While no vents is not a deal breaker, having vents will make your RVing life better.
#7 – Valve Openings
The valve you need to think about most when choosing a portable tank is the one that you use to fill the tank from your RV black and gray water storage compartments and then drain that fluid at the dump station.
This valve should be substantial. Most portable tanks will have the standard three-inch valve fitting which makes the fill and drain process more manageable and prevents blockages. You may find a model that has a filling valve at the top of the tank, and a drain valve on the edge of the tank near the bottom.
There will also be a valve, or fitting, where you attach a garden-type hose to flush the portable tank after use. Make sure you look at the design of this fitting, since some may use a female thread, while others a male. You should always carry a female/male hose adapter in your RV toolbox for such a reason.
Top Five Best Portable Waste Tanks for RV
Next, I review the top five models of RV portable waste tanks. I will provide all the pros and cons of each tank, plus other important details and features, as well as which model is best for what type of RVer.
BEST FOR – Any RVer who has either an exterior rack to hold this size of a tank, or has room inside a storage bay or tow vehicle to keep it when not in use.
- TOTE-ALONG 4-WHEELERS - The "tow on the...
- Each 4-Wheeler Tote-Along is completely...
- Constructed of blow molded polyethylene, zinc...
- Double wheel, front-swivel design for easy...
- 37 pounds empty; The front-mounted double...
- Very easy to maneuver
- 3-inch dumping valve clears liquids fast
- Lightweight yet solid construction
- Durable wheels
- Convenient fill gauge
- Cost more than other brands
- Sewer hose could be better quality
The Barker 27844 Tote Tank may cost most than other tanks, but it’s worth the investment since this tank is ready to go out of the box and can handle just about every campers needs for wastewater removal.
The Barker 32-gallon tank is perfect for most RVers who need a sufficient capacity to handle wastewater without the need to empty their tank during a camping trip repeatedly.
The Barker external tank is blow-molded polyethylene with aluminum and zinc-plated steel which makes it very durable and keeps it rust-free. The handle is secure and can handle being “hitched” to your truck or vehicle for the trip to the dump station.
Customers love the four wheels, with the front two able to swivel which makes it very easy to move about and pull, even when full. Customers also like the 3-inch valve fittings that empty the tank fully without having to lift the tank.
Customers also appreciate the bayonet fittings for a secure connection and that this tank comes with a five-foot sewer hose for emptying the tank at a dump station. This tank also gets high marks for the fill-gauge indicator, so you know just how much space you have left in your tank.
The only complaints were that the quality of the sewer hose that comes with this tank is lacking, with many people getting pin-holes very soon after purchase. You may want to consider buying a short sewer hose of better materials if you purchase this model RV portable waste tank.
BEST FOR – Any RVer who does not like to deal with a large-capacity portable tank that is heavy and burdensome to empty.
- [VERSATILITY]: Thetford's SmartTote 2 RV...
- [DESIGN]: The rugged 12-gallon tank is easy...
- [FUNCTIONALITY]: AutoStop level gauge...
- [OPTIONAL]: SmartTote 2 can be fitted with a...
- Easy to use and maneuver
- Can be fitted with a tow strap
- Large port for easy draining
- Rugged design with built-in handle
- No accessories like extra hose or fittings
- The handle is a bit low when pulling
- Small capacity
- Need an adapter for water hose to rinse the tank
The Thetford SmartTote2 Portable Tank is an ideal choice for RVers who have small campers and don’t need a large portable wastewater tank.
The smaller 12-gallon size allows you even to put it under the kitchen sink to catch water if you have a custom-built camper, teardrop, pop-up, or other types of RV that do not have permanent black and gray water storage tanks.
Customers like the compact design that makes it easy to store. The durable molded-polypropylene tank with rubber wheels means it can hold up to rigorous use while camping.
Customers like that the drainage hole is large, making it faster when it’s time to empty the tank. Just stand the tank up, and the wastewater flows right out.
On the negative side, customers didn’t care for having to add a tow strap and sewer hose to this model or that the fittings are odd for a regular water hose attachment when you want to rinse the tank out.
BEST FOR – RVers who want a one-stop-shop portable waste tank that comes with all the bells and whistles like four wheels and accessories at an affordable price.
- Quickly drains and fills without lifting
- A breeze to steer and maneuver(longer handle/four wheels)
- The handle lays flat for storage
- Storage compartment for accessories
- Sight tube for monitoring capacity
- Comes with lots of accessories
- Some random leaks reported
- No latch on the compartment door
- A bit heavy
The Tote-N-Store 20123 is the one portable RV waste tank every camper can count on to get the job done fast and clean.
The tank’s 25-gallon capacity holds just enough to handle every RVers needs without becoming so cumbersome that it’s hard to fill and dump while camping.
The low-profile design makes it easier to slip into a storage bay without taking up much room. The tank comes pre-assembled so you can use it right away. Integrated vents make the filling and emptying of the tank much faster.
Customers like the built-in storage compartment which keeps all your sewer connectors handy.
Customers also find the fill capacity indicator helpful to check the fluid level within the tank and the four rubber wheels that make it less stressful to pull the unit to the dump station.
Customers were not so happy with poorly tightened fittings that leak. Thankfully, most leaks stop when the clamps were adjusted and tightened correctly. There were also some complaints that the onboard storage compartment lid did not close securely.
BEST FOR – RVers who want a large capacity tank that can endure years of camping seasons.
- Ready to use kit includes everything needed...
- Large, heavy duty, no flat wheels with...
- Gate valves make emptying the tote tank...
- The integrated ladder hook can sturdily clamp...
- Constructed of extremely durable blow molded,...
- Heavy-duty, no-flat wheels (sturdy for towing)
- Tank drains completely
- Easy to clean
- Comes with durable Rhino accessories
- Odor-free smooth interior design
- Materials won’t crack or leak
- Integrated grooves for secure strapping to RV
- Tow handle is removable and could get lost
The Camco Rhino 28-gallon portable RV waste tank is heavy-duty and comes with everything you need to use, clean, and maintain the unit.
The tank is of a high-density, UV-stable blow-molded polyethylene that can withstand the harshest of environments with no cracking or leaking. Metal components are zinc coated to prevent rust and corrosion.
Two heavy-duty wheels make pulling or towing the tank easy, and the capacity is plenty for even large motorhomes and RVs to use when full-hookups are not available at your campsite.
Customers appreciate that it comes with all the accessories you need to use the tank like fittings and hoses. They also like the design that drains the fluid from the tank completely, making the container much more straightforward to clean.
The only fault is the removable tow handle. While the handle makes it less of a hassle to move the tank, it is easy to misplace or lose it entirely.
BEST FOR – RVers who take long road trips and want a large-capacity wastewater tank so they can empty their RV quickly at a dumpsite in one trip.
- Built-in storage compartment with a 3/4 inch...
- Easy to manuever with four wheels
- Handle design means it can never touch the ground
- Tow bracket on handle to attach to a vehicle
- Sturdy and quiet rubber wheels
- Very large capacity
- Poor quality of included hose
- Large and hard to store/transport
- Heavy when full
The Tote-N-Store 20129 has a very large 38-gallon capacity which makes quick work when it comes time to empty your RV during a long road trip.
Like the other Tote-N-Store model above, this tank offers fast draining via the large drainage port with no lifting. This model also features the built-in storage compartment for the included accessories.
Customers like the sight tube to check the level of fluid in the tank which helps prevent overflows. They also note that the long handle makes it much easier to move the tank about without having to stoop.
Customers are also happy with the venting system that makes using the tank hassle-free.
On the downside, some consumers state that the tank is weighty when full making the tank hard to pull on soft surfaces. They also advise checking the nuts and bolts on the tires after use to ensure they are tight, so you don’t unexpectedly lose a wheel.
Tips to Keep Your RV Portable Waste Tank in Good Condition
Just like any RV accessory, you want to protect the investment you made in your portable waste tank by keeping it in good condition so you can use it for years.
Below, I give you some tips on ways to keep your portable RV waste tank working best!
#1 – How to Prevent Clogs
Make sure the tank you buy has valves that are three inches across. The wide valve keeps any toilet tissue and wastes from clogging at this transition point while draining the tank.
Only use single-ply toilet paper in your RV or camper since it will dissolve much quicker than a two-ply tissue. The double ply paper has a lesser chance of dissolving in the water. Another option is to dispose of all toilet tissue in the trash and keep it out of your wastewater entirely.
- Specially made for use in RVs, boats, buses...
- Breaks down four times faster than the...
- Soft, absorbent sheets are gentle on skin
- Sewer-safe and septic-safe unscented bath...
- FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified...
Make sure you use plenty of water when flushing your RV toilet. Not enough water will create a thick, soupy mess that will be hard to drain from your portable tank and require you to spend extra time flushing and cleaning it before you can store it away.
Drop-in tank chemicals are made specific for RV waste tanks. Use them inside your camper when using your toilet so they can break down solids before you drain them into your portable tank.
- Essential for RV Black Water Holding Tanks:...
- Great Smell: Fresh citrus scent. Ultra...
- Not Made with Bronopol: Does not contain the...
- Safe for All Septic Tanks: Drop Ins are RV...
- Quantity: 30 drop ins/container
#2 – Sanitize Your Portable Tank
You need to regularly sanitize your RV portable waste tank to keep odors and bacteria at bay. You can use the drop-in tank treatment tablets to clean and help eliminate odor by filling your portable tank with fresh water, add in a tablet, and let it soak for a couple of hours to refresh the interior and clean out any residue.
You can also sanitize your portable waste tank with three-parts water and one-part bleach mixture that will clean and deodorize your tank without harming your valves or fittings. Let the mixture soak inside the tank for 30 minutes or so, then drain at a proper location.
#3 – Don’t Overfill Your Portable Tank
While portable tanks are made to hold a specific amount of fluid, it’s best to try keeping your tank at around three-quarters full when taking it to the dump station.
Filling your tank too much can cause it to overflow, especially when you tow the tank and the wastewater inside is sloshing. By leaving extra space, the fluid inside will have less of a chance of seeping out and the reduced weight of the liquid will help keep critical component connections intact over time.
#4 – Dumping Tips
If both your grey and black tanks are full, use your portable tank on the black tank first. Once you dump that tank, return and fill with the gray water. This step will help clean out your RV portable of debris from the black tank and relieve you of more work during the final fresh water rinse.
Use disposable gloves when dumping your tanks to stop the transfer of bacteria. Wash hands thoroughly when your tank dumping is complete.
- AMMEX Glove works nitrile industrial gloves...
- The gloves come with raised diamond texture...
- Latex-free and powder-free, these green...
- 8 mils thick around the palm and fingers,...
- These high-visibility green gloves come in...
Finally, consider getting an RV macerator pump. This pump fits right onto your three-inch pipe and not only grinds up your waste solids into easily moveable material but will also pump that fluid to your portable tank. This pumping action is ideal for those who like to keep their portable tank in the bed of their truck or are camping on very uneven ground.
- Connects directly to the RV waste outlet,...
- Dump longer distances and drain holding tanks...
- Garden hose discharge port, fresh water rinse...
- Remote handheld on / off switch with 6' wire...
- Easy clean up and storage, includes rugged...
Sometimes camping requires you to do less-than-pleasant tasks like dealing with your wastewater. Having the best portable waste tank for your recreational vehicle, like the four-wheel Tote-N-Store model 20123, is imperative for you to make this chore as fast, easy, and clean as possible.
I hope this buying guide to portable RV waste tanks helps you make the right decision when it comes time for you to make a purchase. Check out the below video for more pro tips on using your honey wagon while camping.
What’s your favorite RV portable waste tank? Share why you like it in the comments below!
Product data was last updated on 2019-12-16 at 04:46.