How to Install a Toilet in a Pop-Up Camper- Part One

by on December 10th, 2014
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This is the first article in a three part series explaining how to install a toilet in a pop-up camper. The first article outlines reasons for the installation, considerations, materials and tools needed. The second article explains the work involved in installing the toilet, black water tank and hardware.

Check Craigslist, your local newspaper or website for pop- up campers for sale, and you’ll find many listed. Most do not have a toilet or shower installed. As such, their price is significantly lower than those manufactured without.

RV parks treat pop-up campers like tent campers. Without a sewer hookup, the length of stay is two weeks, at least in San Antonio, Texas. With a hookup, many parks allow “long-term” stays, meaning indefinite.

In different state and federal parks, only campers with certain sizes of black water tanks are permitted. Ten- gallon black water tanks are considered “self-contained.” Because of the rule, pop-up campers without toilets are left out.

A pop-up camper doesn’t need a shower to qualify for long term living. Many RV parks have shower facilities available. Although adding a shower isn’t that difficult, space is the main consideration.

Pop-up boxes, the towable part of the camper, range from 8 feet long to over 22 feet long. In shorter boxes, adding both a shower and toilet may prove too space consuming.

The second consideration is space. Remember, the addition of a toilet results in the loss of cabinet or storage space. If the box is 8 feet long, a toilet space measuring 2 feet square is significant.

Since pop-up campers are different from manufacturer to manufacturer, and box lengths vary, no exact measurements are given. The owner/installer needs to measure their box, toilet, tanks and other items to ensure the accuracy of their installation.

The third consideration is weight distribution. The toilet, tank, valve and materials do not add a significant amount of weight when empty, but if the trailer is moved; say to a dumpsite with the tanks full the towing is affected.

The next consideration is additional water lines and clearance under the trailer. If the owner’s state laws require a certain amount of clearance between the road and the underside of the trailer, the tank may need indoor installation. In that case, the tank might be considerably smaller. In a box with low sides, this may prove impractical to impossible.

It is possible to eliminate the tank for clearance or finances. Install the toilet with a valve allowing sewer hook-ups directly at an RV park. This would work at any RV park. Use a portable toilet or install a black water tank for off-grid camping or boondocking.

Install a toilet in a pop-up camper or in a vintage or homemade trailer originally manufactured without one.

The second article in this series discusses the components needed for the installation, and the preparation process.

Source: Mark Polk, “Mark’s RV Garage, Internet TV Show Series,” RV Videos on Demand Website, no date given

Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse forms of DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects and more.

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