It’s the perfect camping trip. You’re having a great time. Visiting with family and friends is awesome. Not to mention getting in some valuable me time in the hammock. And then you notice your waste tanks are full.
So right in the middle of a great vacation, you have to break camp to go to the dump station.
RV Holding Tanks Basics
RVs have 3 holding tanks. There's one for clear or drinking water. Another is for gray or wastewater from showers and sinks. And one for black water (sewage). Once the gray and black tanks are full they need dumping.
When the tanks are full the choice is to either break camp and take the RV to a dump station. A third option is to use a portable tote tank to empty the RV holding tanks without breaking camp.
How to Use An RV Portable Waste Tank
Connecting An RV To A Portable Tote Tank
Like connecting to a dump station drain, the RV’s sewer hose connects to the portable tote. Before buying a tote, determine the size tote you'll need.
How many gallons of liquid do your RV's gray and black water tanks hold? This will determine the size of the tote you’ll need.
How To Fill A Tote Tank
There are 3 working parts involved in filling a tote: the fill spout, a vent, and the drain valve. After connecting the RV sewer hose to the tote, close the drain valve and open the vent.
TIP: Dump the black water tank first. We’ll cover why in the section about cleaning the tank.
How To Dump An RV Portable Tote Tank
Dumping a tote is the same as dumping an RV tank with one exception. Be sure the vent on the tote is open before opening the dump valve.
Cleaning A Portable Waste Tank
We dump our grey water tank last. The gray water is from the sinks and shower so it’s soapy. Filling it and dumping it after the black water allows the gray water to wash out the inside of the tote.
When the tote is empty, we use the water at the dump station to spray the inside of the tote.
Where To Stow An RV Portable Tote Tank
This is where knowing the size of the tote is important. A large tote takes up a lot of room, so you’ll need to plan for it.
What Is the Best Portable RV Tank?
There are four popular tank manufacturers. And they make a variety of RV portable tote tanks.
Camco Rhino Series
Camco's heavy-duty Rhino is a top-rated tote. When we were researching what tote to buy, we spent a lot of time looking at the Rhino series. We liked that the hose outlet was low to the ground so draining would work well. The tires are no-flat style.
Thetford Portable Tote
Thetford portable waste totes are good tanks. They have four wheels which we liked. The wheels were no flat design. And the large tote has an auto-stop feature to prevent over-filling which was a nice feature.
The Tote-N-Store comes with a 3’ sewage hose and a nice selection of accessories. It has 4 no-flat wheels and was easy to move. And Tote-N-Store portable waste tanks are low-profile.
Barker Tote Tanks
The large Barker Tote Tank holds 42 gallons. And it has wide air-filled tires rather than no-flat solid tires. The Barker Totes are low profile and easy to drain. And it comes with a gauge so you know when the tank is getting full.
For extended stay RV travel, an RV Portable Tote Tank is invaluable. We have stayed for 3 weeks at a site and never had to break camp to dump our tanks