DIY Van Conversion | Natures Head Composting Toilet Install + Review
I am not a van conversion professional or professional handyman. This is a documentation of my experience and you should make your own decisions on how to build your own van, and seek professional guidance if you are unsure. This blog post also contains affiliate links, so if you click a product link and buy from the merchant, I will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not. Buying through my product links is the best way to say thanks if this blog post was at all helpful to you.
The toilet constantly runs a small fan that blows air from the solids container outside. The complicated part of this is the venting because you need to drill a large hole to run the tubing outside. It generally smells worse standing next to the van than inside the van while someone is pooping.
I ran the vent hose that comes with the toilet through the tunnel in the bottom corners of the van that are guarded by those black plastic triangles. This was tricky as there are 2 tunnels down there and it was really tight getting the hose through to the inner tunnel. I used a hole saw to drill a hole under the van to allow the vent to come through the bottom of the tunnel. I had to grind off part of the plastic vent piece for it to fit here, as there wasn’t much room. I attached the hose to the vent, using the mosquito netting stretched between the two so that small bugs could not fly up into the solids container. I then cut some of the 1/4″ metal mesh and used silicone to attach it to the entry of the vent, preventing small rodents/large bugs from entering and getting to the mosquito netting. To avoid more holes in the van, I used window weld to permanently attach the vent, and to seal the seams between the vent and the hole. (Braced it while drying with scrap wood)
Installing the actual toilet from here is really straight forward. You just screw the provided mounts into the floor and plop it in, plug in the hose, and wire/plug-in power.
I built the bench seat containing the toilet out of 1/2″ ply. Since the bench seat is higher than the toilet, I made a folding section that is lower than the toilet seat so your legs wouldn’t be uncomfortably dangling off the wood while you are using the toilet. The top of the bench seat folds up and attaches to the wall with a hook and eye latch. I gave plenty of room for storage around the toilet. This design also allows access to the otherwise awkward space under the skis but behind the gear tray. We store paper towels, toilet paper, and extra composting material under here. To the right, behind the small section of wall, I have 2 cubbies accessible without opening the toilet for shoes. Next to the toilet, we have cleaning supplies, shower supplies, and a small 12v vacuum.
Natures Head Composting Toilet Review
I was strongly considering not having a toilet at all and I am so happy that I went with having a good toilet in general. I have been on so many road trips in normal vehicles that it just didn’t seem necessary, because those road trips were great and I never thought “I wish I had a toilet in my car”. Living and working in the van full time is really different than those experiences; not having to worry about finding a bathroom or having to relocate to go to the bathroom is huge. It also opens up primitive campgrounds which makes camping free (don’t have to pay for a campsite with a shitter). I generally though it wouldn’t be a big deal just pooping more often in nature, but some camping areas really aren’t private enough and are really far from toilets. Then also some landscapes really don’t handle human waste well, even buried, and it feels good not to be taking shits in the desert soil where they just won’t decompose for a really really long time. Just don’t overflow the pee jar ;). Also for Kylie not having to pee outside every time has been a big plus.
WHAT IS IN THIS POST? This is the main post, where I have links to pages that cover my DIY campervan conversion on a new 2019 Ram Promaster 3500 159 EXT Wheelbase cargo van. It contains my process, materials used, and things that I think would…