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composting toilet love

Composting Toilets: Tips, Tricks and Solving Problems

We’ve been using our composting toilet for over a year now and we’ve gone from “There’s no way that will work and smell ok” to practically writing the book on how great a composting toilet is!

With this article and video we dive deeper into some of the issues we’ve come across and a few of the biggest “grey” areas for living with a Composting Toilet.

If this is the first Composting Toilet Video and Article you’ve come across make sure to check out other articles and videos for more on what it is and how it all works:  www.gonewiththewynns.com/all-composting-toilet/

We covered most of the questions below in the video, but just in case you want to read it here’s the shorthand version along with a few updates:

  • Why does my toilet smell?  If there is any smell it should alert you there is a problem.  For us we’ve smelled odors only a couple times and that was due to the fan coming unplugged accidentally.  If it smells, its likely user error that can be easily remedied.  We recently did a test and used half the amount of COCO COIR we normally use, after 2 weeks of use it began to smell because there wasn’t enough compost material to cover the waste, I put a few big scoops of hydrated COCO COIR into the toilet and within 12 hours the smell was gone.  It’s all about proper humidity, correct amount of compost material and the fan pulling out any smells while drying the solids bin.
  • What if my Urine tank smells?  Don’t eat asparagus!  If it smells like Urine when the liquid tank is connected to the toilet you should check that the fan is working because it shouldn’t smell.  Put 2 tablespoons of raw sugar in the urine tank for smell, you can also try leaving a cup of vinegar in the tank after dumping.  We’ve also heard of people using grape pop to reduce the smell, and some people swear by a product called Bio-Kleen…we have yet to try these 2 methods.  Honestly I haven’t found the perfect solution to reduce urine smell upon dumping, if you have any tricks of your own please share in the comments.
  • How do I clean off the buildup of Urine on the liquid tank?  Dump urine, put 3 inches of Vinegar into Urine Tank, place 1 inch of rocks in the tank and shake.  Let it set for a bit and shake some more.  Any caked on urine will eventually come off.
  • How do I clean the Toilet after use?  Spritz Water/Vinegar Mixture after going #1.  If necessary wipe the bowl with a piece of Toilet paper after going #1 or #2.  For us, any extra clean-up after using the toilet is rarely necessary, and no it’s not because I have good aim, it’s just the way the toilet is designed.
  • How do I store and hydrate my Compost Medium?  It’s often recommended to use a gallon zipper bag to hydrate the COCO COIR or Peat Moss, we prefer to break off clumps from our brick and do a ‘hands on’ hydration until the COIR feels like a slightly moist soil.  We demonstrate here: How to Prep and Dump a Composting Toilet
  • How much water do I need to hydrate the compost?  It varies, but we typically use around 1.5 liters of water to hydrate enough COIR to fill the base up to the handle (as recommended by the toilet mfr).
  • Where can I legally dump the solids?  If you’re traveling by RV like us the safest place to dump is to put your waste into a 13 gallon (composting) bag and put it in the dumpster.  Yes this is legal and not it’s not disgusting, there are laws that allow human waste to go into landfills so that adult and baby diapers can be thrown away with regular household refuse. 
  • Any Regular maintenance?  Other than making sure the fan and fan filter are not clogged there’s no extra maintenance.
  • Do I need to wash the base after dumping?  No, any leftovers will continue to compost as you use the toilet.
  • Do I need any extras?  If you’re out to sea or wild camping in the middle of nowhere we’d recommend having these spare parts: Spare Fan, Spare Liquid Tank just in case, spare liquid tank cap.  You can purchase an extra base if you want to continue composting before placing in a compost pile or bin.  Another cool tip: put a piece of Velcro on the liquid tank and lid so you always know where the lid is.

composting toilet love

Some of the Tips and Tricks not covered in the video:

  • Can I directly connect my Urine to the old Black Tank?  This can be done but the mfr does not have a kit for this so you’ll have to head down to the hardware store and create your own.  I don’t think it will be too difficult if you’re replacing a toilet that is already plumbed into the black tank.  One thing to be concerned about is the solidifying of urine on the tank walls.  I would highly recommend you combine your black and grey tank if you re-route your urine because if you do not mix the urine with water the urine will cake onto the tank walls and may become impossible to remove.
  • What about Heavy Menstruation?  The composting toilet can handle heavy menstruation according to the manufacturer.  If it affects the humidity of your solids base I would recommend adding an extra scoop of compost medium to counteract the moisture.
  • I’m a clean freak; can I use Lysol or Bleach to clean the toilet?  As long as you’re not pouring liquids down the solids tank feel free to clean or disinfect the toilet as often as you’d like.
  • How long does it take to truly compost?  This has long been a debate about composting any sort of waste, along with the segregated groups of “to-aerate” and “not-to-aerate”.  As a general rule of thumb most of the bacteria is dead within a day, but to fully compost can take anywhere from 3-12 months.  Basically the longer you can let the waste sit, the more composted it will be (assuming the conditions promote healthy compost).  Wish I could give you a definitive number but there’s just too many grey areas…and I’m not a scientist.
  • Can I bury my waste in the Ground?  Before attempting this I would make sure you understand local laws and regulations.  In theory many public lands have a Leave No Trace policy and when it comes to human waste they request you bury it a certain depth and a certain number of feet away from trails or campgrounds…so I’m not sure why you wouldn’t be able to bury your compost in the same manner, but I’d check with the proper authorities before attempting this.
  • Will a Composting Toilet really change the world?  We had a guy accuse us of destroying the world because we were putting our not-fully composted waste into a dumpster.  Seriously people?!?  Come on!  We honestly believe if everyone made the switch to a composting toilet it would create a drastic change:  We’d save millions of gallons of fresh water (who knows maybe CA wouldn’t be in the midst of a giant water crisis), the cities would use far less chemicals to treat sewer water, electrical consumption would go down, a composting toilet would inspire people with homes to start composting all their food waste keeping tons of “trash” out of our landfills, and our utility bills would go down!  Or at least that’s our take on it.
  • What’s the difference between an Air Head and a Nature’s Head Composting Toilet?  We originally spoke to the owners of both companies when we were researching a composting toilet to install in our RV.  I believe the Air Head has a ‘normal’ toilet seat and the liquid tank can be removed without lifting the solids base as high.  Also the Air Head is more expensive.  After weighing the benefits, speaking with the owners, doing some online research, and needing to reach our delivery deadline we felt the Nature’s Head was the best option for us…but that’s just our opinion so I’m not going to try and sway anyone on the subject.
  • Do you Like the Dry Flush Toilet that wraps and seals waste for RV installations? Keep in mind I have zero experience with this toilet, however we have a friend who purchased this toilet and they seemed to like it. The biggest downfall to this toilet in my opinion is you’re taking human waste, that would breakdown rapidly in nature, and now you’re wrapping it in a petrol based plastic product that will poison the ground and take hundreds of years to decompose (the company claims biodegradable plastic is in the works, but their website has said this for years now). Also the cartridges that hold the plastic are expensive, so each flush costs about $1.
  • What About the Separett Toilets? First thing to know is: this toilet is not a Composting Toilet! It’s basically a holding area for waste. The “RV Sized” model is the Separett Villa 7010 (also knows as the “Weekend”). At the time we were looking into composting toilets these weren’t marketed in the USA, so I haven’t done a ton of research on it. The main thing for us is Nature’s Head is made in the USA, pretty rare to find such a unique product designed and manufactured in this country (and not china or somewhere with cheap labor).
    Here are my concerns with this toilet, keep in mind I’ve not seen, or used one in person:
    – I wonder about the waste going directly into a bag and not being mixed with any compost material, maybe the fan is powerful enough to keep the smell from entering the coach, but you definitely would need to do a roof mount exhaust vent otherwise if you vent underneath the coach I would guess the smells will likely surround your entire RV.
    – Another thing you’ll want to understand is the urine drainage process in the Separett, I believe you are required to route the urine to another tank of some sort, which could be your grey tank, but it will likely require some engineering to make it happen.
    Other than those couple concerns it looks like a fine toilet for about the same price, however I’m not sure it’s a better option for RVing than our composting toilet.

If you would have asked us about a composting toilet anytime before the summer of 2013 we would have said something like “there’s no way that will work and not smell, especially in the small spaces of an RV.”  We’ve been happily proven wrong and we can honestly say we love our composting toilet, not only the way it works but we love everything it stands for.  So, for those of you out there that want to hate…go for it; but for those of you who are genuinely interested in making a difference, want to Wild Camp for longer, or you simply hate having to deal with a black tank, we hope all this information has been helpful…and one last time because I know I’ll get this question: Yes it does work, no it doesn’t smell and yes we really like our composting toilet.

If you’re interested in buying our same composting toilet, the best place to purchase is directly from Nature’s Head.

Larry, the owner of Nature’s Head, has offered up a special discount to everyone that reads our site. If you click the link below he’ll beat the Amazon Price:

Buy From Nature's Head Directly

The main advantage of ordering direct, vs Amazon, is to make sure you get the options you need for your specific installation (i.e. do you need the spider handle? Do you need a solar fan? Do you need spare parts?) Click the link above, select your configuration (we have the Spider handle with extra Liquids Bottle) and at checkout the discount will be automatically added.
If you’re still in research mode you’ll want to visit our site just before you purchase to click the link above, otherwise the discount may not be automatically applied. If you have questions, the customer support team is extremely helpful and can be reached by email or phone which you’ll find on the Nature’s Head contact page.

Please share your tips, tricks and any thoughts you have about composting toilets in the comments below.  We honestly feel if we make this taboo subject easy to talk about; the more people will become interested in greening up their Sailboat, RV, cabin and home toilets. If you need technical help please call or email Larry, we are just users of the toilet, he can better help with “more complicated” issues.

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (138)

  • Nebbie

    For curiosity’s sake.

    How much of a urine flow into the main compost area would it take for the compost system to be compromised?

    How much urine can the main composting area handle safely, i.e., without being too much like “black” water?

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    • I couldn’t say as I have never had that problem and never intentionally tried to create it.

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  • Bevis

    hello; thanks for your knowledge.

    have you had any issues with flies or other insects? as have heard this can be a problem at times.

    appreciate your thoughts.

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  • Story

    Do you know if the Nature’s Head would work in a situation where it wasn’t being used daily? I’m researching options for a guest cottage with no plumbing, but it would only be used a few times a year.

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    • Curious Minion

      I think Nature’s Head has a whole section on this in their FAQ. The compost bin should be fine to leave as long as the fan keeps running but you definitely don’t want anything left in the liquids bin. If it will be below freezing while you’re gone, definitely check the Nature’s Head FAQ section for advice on freezing temps.

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  • Nancy

    What can be used to clear the urine tube [this is a Separette toilet where I rent] that keeps blocking up?… vinegar, citric acid solution?
    Thank you! I am getting tired of having the line keep blocking.

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  • Nick

    Hey, you two. I’m currently travelling from LA (live/work) to CT (family) with my pregnant girlfriend and have been brushing up on my compost toilet knowledge while sipping some coffee and I noticed something you may consider augmenting:

    You posted this question and answer:
    I’m a clean freak; can I use Lysol or Bleach to clean the toilet? As long as you’re not pouring liquids down the solids tank feel free to clean or disinfect the toilet as often as you’d like.

    Bleach, when mixed with the ammonia in human urine, creates noxious and potentially deadly gasses called chloramines, especially if a small class C RV like ours is not ventilated. I would advise against anyone getting bleach in the liquid tank, even if it’s empty with only residual urine. I have noticed, in the past, a crude, white gas bubbling out of the liquid tank when bleach is used. Just a thought.

    Much love. Happy trails. Thanks for all the info.

    -Nick and Summer

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  • Carol Carper

    Can flushable wipes be composted too?

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    • Flushable wipes are made to break down in water…you can use the ones that say biodegradable but we don’t personally recommend putting them in the compost bin.

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  • PLEASE.!!!
    How and where do you store, for continuous use, your “everyday” compost material and how do you measure, move and use it, after you “go”.????
    An email answer would be GREATLY APPRECIATED.!!!
    Thank you, [email protected]

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  • Tanya Bjorling

    Hi, we are so excited about entering the world of full-time R’ving. We are about 1 year now from our goal so, doing a lot of research now to work out newbie concerns and frightening information overload!! We will be purchasing a Nature’s Head toilet next year as well. I did have one tip on the reduction of urine smell… I’m not in anyway a nurse, doctor or any healthcare professional. This is from personal experience only.. make sure you are getting the right amount of water your body takes to stay properly hydrated!!! This also includes drinking less to no soda, coffeetc and tea. Sorry, about that… for me if I maintain around 1 gallon of pure water each day, my urine has little to no smell and can almost be clear in color. Really!!! Morning urine might be slightly smelly due to not drinking any water for 8 hours. Thanks for all your videos. Roy was sure a fancy RV! 😉

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  • Edward

    Thanks for the tips Nikki & Jason. I really enjoy the post. But as I see, the price for a composting toilet is pretty high. Do you have any idea about DIY composting toilet or suggest any cheaper option for an off-grid toilet? Honestly, I’m looking for cheap toilet options for the off-grid tiny house as well as RV.

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    • It is a steep price up front but far less expensive in the long run and works like a champ. If you google how to make a composting toilet you will get a bunch of videos and articles for the DIY version. It’s basically a bucket, a toilet seat and compost medium. I personally don’t like it because it doesn’t separate the urine from the solids like the natures head. So, there are still odors and it needs to be changed more frequently. That said, I haven’t looked into it in a while so someone may have come up with a great solution. I recommend the book Humananure Handbook as well: http://amzn.to/2fGg5fJ Good luck.

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  • diana

    why am i getting urine in my tank every time i pee it goes int my tank why?

    reply
    • What a bummer, could be some sort of issue with the seal or something. I would give natures head a call or email and let them know what’s going on. If there is something wrong, they will be able to walk you through how to fix it or it might require a replacement part they can send out to you.

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  • celestiel Balson

    Hi, Thanks for all the great tips and info! I just ordered a Nature’s Head toilet for our Scamp and tried the discount codes given, but none worked! Bummed! Is there anything that can be done retroactively? Thanks! Happy Travels!!!

    reply
    • Well that is a bummer to hear. I will have to check our codes, sorry about that. It’s very likely if you give natures head a call and let them know, they will take care of you. But do it quickly before the shipment goes out.

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  • The Smiths

    I am so sorry to be so explicit but being an older woman I almost always pee and poop (which is usually diarrhea )at the same time. Is there still some kind of separation of 1 and 2?

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    • Dawn

      I would also like to know the answer to this question as I also do both at the same time.

      reply
  • Nicole

    Can I use this inside a tiny house made out of an old bread truck? My question is specifically related to the ventilation system. Will I need to drill holes?

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    • Curious Minion

      It does need to be vented to the outside. Check the Nature’s Head website for more info.

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  • Tasha Grace

    Two questions:
    #1: What does the inside of the toilet look like? Is the waste exposed inside while you go? You mention a trap door. How exactly does that work?
    #2: You have a kitty. Do you dispose of cat waste in the composting toilet? If not, do you know if that would work if using a natural flushable cat litter (such as World’s Best Cat Litter)?

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  • Zach Starr

    I’m currently building a composting toilet. I’m about done, just need to hook up the ventilation, but I was curious if you noticed any smell from your composting toilet when you had your roof vent fan blowing outside and didn’t have any other roof vent/window open for airflow. If you essentially create a vacuum inside your rv, would you begin pulling air from your compost toilet making the ventilation of the compost toilet flow in reverse? The solution i suppose would be to have the compost toilet air inlet fed from the outside as well making it completely isolated (loop) from living quarters, but is that even an issue you need to worry about/have dealt with?

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    • We haven’t ever had that issue but our toilet fan is vented low, far away from our roof vents.

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  • Jen

    This might sound silly to you, but being that I’m older (and getting older!), I’m very intolerant to the cold. How do you deal with changing things out in the winter?
    Also, I saw where someone asked what to do during stomach bugs. I don’t know about you guys, but it isn’t unusual for us to suddenly need to throw up — can you do that in there? — or have to “go” right then and there, no time to bother with certain things. How do you deal with such incidents?
    (PS All this said, something I love about the composting toilet: no more plunging! I have a granddaughter who is fearful of our toilet. It messes up every time she comes over!)

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  • Dan

    Hi there – the latest discount code I can find looks out of date. Is there a current one? Thanks for the informative article!

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  • mike lamay

    My toilet have been leaking urine between the head and the bin allowing the foam seal to become urine soaked. I cleaned the toilet inside and out but the urine stink still remains… yuck

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    • You should contact Natures Head, I am sure they can help you resolve the issue and would send you a new foam seal.

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    • Ours is doing the now. What’s was the solution?

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  • Becky Gardner

    In your videos, it seems like the discussion was based on the perfect scenarios. These are kind of an interesting questions. Whenever you’re traveling with a woman, such as myself, it’s likely that the monthly cycle could happen. Also, we have 6 kids and we’re looking into full timing it. There’s bound to be some times when stomach upset or digestive bugs hit. So how do these unavoidable events affect this system? If there’s a chance that it could significantly upset the system, what kind of backup plan do you recommend?

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  • Je

    What happenshould if pee gets mixed in with poo?!?

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  • Troy

    Love the toilet, but we keep getting little black flying insects out off it 🙁

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  • Ross

    Just ordered my Nature’s Head straight from the natureshead.net – I’ve never been so excited about a toilet before. Thanks for the discount code!!! The price was already lower than Amazon, so it knocked it down even more. I can’t wait to get this baby on my boat!

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    • It’s the little things in life that bring the most joy. 😉 Enjoy the go!

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  • Heather

    for the water/vinegar solution to spray… what ratio do you use? Can the vinegar ever hurt the composting process?

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  • Cindi O.

    Thank you for your informative posts about this taboo topic!! I was on the fence about whether or not to get a compost toilet for the fifth wheel we are buying for fulltiming. I was considering it mostly because I dread the smell and problems associated with black tanks! Pyramid of poo first among them AAAGH!! When I brought up the topic my husband wouldn’t even consider a compost toilet and so made me a promise that he would do ALL care/dumping/maintenance of the black tank. Then he started reading up on exactly what he had just agreed to, LOL, he backed out of that deal pretty quick!! After viewing your videos and further research, he is completely on board with replacing the standard toilet and black tank setup with a Nature’s Head. But the main reason I want to thank you for your posts is that it really raised our awareness of the fact that we are pooping and peeing in perfectly good drinking water! Every day we ruin gallons of fresh, tasty, life-giving water, that’s crazy!! Living in Southern California, I think about it every time I use our sticks and bricks toilet and I can’t wait to move into the RV and start composting our waste. Your videos and posts are tasteful (well, as tasteful as possible considering the topic) and presented in a mature and respectful way. The haters have NO valid arguments, they just need to discharge anger because of their own discomfort with the topic; ignore them.

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  • Scott

    We are considering the Nature’s Head for our tiny house after spending time with both a bucket toilet and porta potti type setup. Thanks so much for going in-depth on this subject. All the “dirty” little secrets that no one wants to talk about are fleshed out in your posts and are greatly appreciated!!!

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  • Jon

    There is no easy way to ask this so I’m just going to say it.
    In a normal toilet, sometimes when solid waste comes in contact with any interior surface it leaves a “skid” mark”.
    the interior of the composting toilet is similar in slope and I can see some solid waste coming in contact with it. So you end up with an unsightly mark, you cant just flush a few times, now what?

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  • We are planning to call Larry this week to order ours! We just purhcased our 5th wheel last weekend and moving in full-time April 15. Last night I had trouble sleeping while thinking about this toilet LOL Question I have (being a girl….) How hard is it to aim your urine stream into the holes for the liquid tank? What if I don’t have enough “power” behind it and it fills in the area above the solid tank door? *ACK* I’m assuming when we wipe after we urinate (with and without period issues) we put the paper into the trash? Or do we open the solids door and drop? Wouldn’t that wet paper be a problem?

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    • When going #1 everything funnels to the front, even if you don’t aim there. It is really no problem and there is no such thing as filling anything up or it staying there. Everything drains to its appropriate place. As for the TP it is your call. You can open the hatch and drop it down or put it in the trash. The TP will just fill up your solids tank a little faster but no harm and no foul. All personal preference.

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  • Tanner

    Thanks for sharing all your experience! Yall are awesome. I was wondering if you know of anyone who has actually directly connected the urine to dispose to the old black tank while still using the solids composting of the toilet? It totally makes since that you would want the gray and black water tanks connected to dilute the urine. That sounds like an interesting modification to make if it can be done without any messy consequences. My wife and I are looking at becoming full timers in a 5th wheel and it would be nice not to have to do the pee container every few days.

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  • Sheila

    This seems like a great idea! If you did go for a solar roof vent option, that would only run during the daylight hours, right? So what about the fan operation at night (does the fan need to run 24 hours a day)? Thanks!

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  • Bob

    Where in the RV did you source your power for the fan? Vent needs to go trough the roof. Can you show a video on how this is accomplished?

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  • Sooo…something awesome just happened. After about 6 months with our Nature’s Head toilet, I just got the fan wet today rinsing off the toilet (just because we wanted to) when we were emptying it. I forgot about the fan in there. I plugged it back in and of course it didn’t work. I called Larry at NH and told him I got the fan wet. He said “I’ll send you another one!” No questions asked, no charge, no shipping. Nada. Just asked me where to send it. Awesome! I just wanted to report back for other readers. The customer service is great with Nature’s Head.

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  • I even love the loveable loo composting toilet as described at humanurehandbook.com. I made one for my Airbnb which has no plumbing. We are going to use one in our rv as well. Again no smell using sawdust as the covering and base. It’s really great!

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  • spider handle or standard handle? you’ve inspired us to install one in our fifth wheel. which handle to do recommend?

    GREAT RV resource!!!!!!!!

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    • There is no better way to go! We prefer the spider handle personally. Have fun composting and not dealing with a black tank, its awesome!!!

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  • Edward

    Yay! My composting toilet was installed in my new “Wynn” Bounder this morning. I just finished mixing up my first batch of coco coir and I am now ready to go! (Pun intended) thanks so much for making all the useful videos on preping the toilet! One thing that took me a minute to reassure myself about that you might want to mention is that there is no “seat” to put down. Being so used to a “normal” toilet it sort of felt like I was sitting on the bowl itself at first. I guess the good news is that I won’t ever have to worry about leaving the seat up!

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  • Kristy Maser

    I read the part about heavy menustration being ok for the solids section but what about tampons? I use biodegradable and flushable tampons/applicators and currently flush them in my standard toilet. With this composting toilet, would it be necessary to throw them in the trash with the #1 toilet paper?
    Thanks for answering my awkward questions!

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    • I am not 100% sure but if you call natures head and ask them they can let you know.

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  • Hilary

    What product did you use to plug your black tank (on the bathroom side) before installing the composting toilet? I’ve seen septic tank plugs, but don’t know if this would work. Is the opening a standard size? 6″? It seems pretty important to have the plug handy before pulling out the old toilet so as not to endure more stink coming out than necessary.

    Also, did anyone weigh in on plumbing the urine to the black tank, perhaps using gallons of vinegar to prevent caking? That sounds like a great idea. I will probably try it and report back.

    Also also, y’all are really wonderful! Thank you so much for all of the info and doing what you do. It seriously helped me get going living full time in an ’83 class C. The cheapest rent in San Francisco! ♡

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  • Priscilla

    Hi,
    Thank you both so much for all the time and effort you take in thought and set-up for your videos. I have enjoyed your “journey” with all its ups and downs, and your clever presentations. However, I do have one question, toilet paper…Your take on the do’s and don’ts…? Especially for a composting toilet.
    Thanks for all the fun and experiences you share!

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    • Thanks for the love!!! As for the TP. #1 tp goes in the trash as not to fill up the toilet as fast and #2 tp goes into the toilet and mixes in, breaks down and composts with the rest of it. That being said, it is totally fine to put both in the toilet or the trash as well. Its all personal preference.

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  • Robyn

    Thank you so much for these videos !! We will be installing one in our airstream (when we get one ) but I have a question, Do you have to unscrew the base from the floor and take the whole toilet outside every time you have to dump ??

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  • carl

    forgot to click the notify me via email.

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  • carl

    thanks for the great info on the composting toilet..It will be in our RV when we get one, hopefully, next year. (airstream) My wife did a have an interesting question. when ladies go #1 they like to wipe afterwards.. how do or what you do with the used paper… my suggestion was to toss it in the waste can but that was meet with a funny face that let me know it was NOT going to happen.. any advice I can pass along?

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  • Becky

    We purchased an Air Head brand composting toilet for our old sailboat about two years ago. Prior to that we had a standard marine toilet and holding tank that really began to stink no matter what we tried; our boat is small, and the head is just feet away from where we sleep, so that was NOT a good thing! We love the composting toilet. Absolutely no smell in the solids tank, UNLESS as pointed out by others, you allow the mixture to become way too dry or way too wet. We use vinegar and water to spray down the bowl as needed and occasionally scrub it with a disinfectant wipe . Yes, the urine tank stinks when you remove and open it for emptying, but that takes less than a minute and is a small price to pay for eliminating that marine toilet funk that so many boats have!

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  • MrAndMrsV

    Thanks for sharing the information. I was very shocked when I saw your first video on this, so I can understand many typical Americans reacting to this topic negatively (since we are so out of touch with nature). We had never heard of this and were a little scared to try it. After a lot of research, we decided to buy this product (full-time RVers), and we LOVE IT! We have used it for several months and we agree that it is BETTER than a regular toilet.

    Thank you for sharing this product, because it has the potential to save us a lot of money on our “off grid” property and it also makes us feel much better about our desire to reduce our negative impact on the world. I am sorry that you are getting “haters”, but I sincerely hope it is worth the hate to help people who appreciate the information and your willingness to talk about something that is obviously taboo. 🙂

    We love your videos. If you are ever in Washington state (near olympia/tacoma) looking for a place to boondock, please send us an email. We have some raw land near a beautiful lake where you are always welcome. We would love to be able to host you after all that you have helped us learn (composting, solar, BLM, etc).

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    • Fantastic! Love hearing that and don’t worry, our passion for sustainable living can’t be stamped out with the few naysayers! We are headed your direction the first of October and we could possibly meet up. We are planing on being in the Seattle area.

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  • Bob

    Definitely ignore the haters! My wife and I love this site and the help you have given us and so many! She stumbled across a facebook post about a European VW conversion camper van and sent to me lamenting the fact that she wished we could take off in one of those and retire early, being we have a long time to wait for that to happen. Here we are 6 months later and have a complete early retirement plan set in place for us to unplug,sell the house and live the RV life. In the mix came “Gone with the Wynns”and all the invaluable help and knowledge we have gained form yours, and others experiences. With our new found knowledge we feel savvy enough to be confident in what we know we want and can afford, how we want to live , and what we require to do so. Composting toilet- never would have believed the wife would be the one to lobby me in that direction and so happy you helped her! Happy trails my young mentors!

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  • Chris

    Hello,

    We bought the composting toilet because of your videos and we are very happy so far….however….we pee way too much! TMI but necessary. I would like to route our urine jug to the unused black tank. I know you said it would be best to combine the black and grey, however, we will always have our grey tank open to a sewer drain when at our main place of residence (a friends property).

    So…since you said putting vinegar in the jug will prevent caking, wouldn’t just putting a gallon or two of vinegar in the black tank also prevent caking in the black tank?

    Thanks for all your videos and awesome website! You helped give us the courage to go full time and we are one month in and loving it so far!

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  • Patrice

    Thanks for the information. I would love to install a composting toilet in our RV…just have to persuade hubby that it would be a better option for us. Don’t listen to the haters, I like watching and learning from you guys because you are trying to reduce your footprint while RVing.

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  • Sandra T.

    The trolls are just being mean, cuz they can. I have enjoyed learning all about composting toilets! I live in a trailer/mobile home full time. (I gratefully sold my 1800 sft of $$$$;maintainence, taxes, assessments, etc.) Since this place needs some updating, I am now thinking of having Nature’s Head installed in both bathrooms. I have found all of your info invaluable!
    As far as dealing with the “natural” side of things; either you are committed to dealing with things or not. I’m no tree hugger, but if we can use less crystal spring water to flush toilets, stop the amount of chemicals being dumped in city reservoirs, and get back to a more organic way of life, that can only be a good thing! Blessings!

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  • Scarecrow

    I have now read two thorough and great articles on composting toilets (well, also watched the videos), and I think they’re a great idea. I am brand new at this RV thing, so I’m investigating all the ins and outs before I jump in. But one question came to mind: Instead of combining the black tank with the grey, let’s assume you switched to a composting toilet BEFORE the black was ever used. Don’t laugh, but can the black then be used as an additional freshwater tank? Or is that silly thinking (possibly because I don’t know enough about how things work on an RV).

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  • Chantel

    Slightly awkward question, but is it at all difficult to ‘aim’ or keep liquids and solids separate?

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  • Dinah

    Ignore the haters! I love every single video you’ve ever posted and am SO thankful to learn through your research, successes, and (sometimes humorous) struggles. Keep it real. You are loved.

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  • 55goddess

    Love your enthusiasm! Keep up the good work… You are helping to change the world. We have a tiny vintage trailer with no toilet. We have been using “Pee containers” that we empty into toilets at rest stops and Luggable-Loo bag system for #2. Our system works but it is preserving #2 in plastic for all eternity. We will be adapting our trailer to get a Natures Head after seeing all your videos.

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  • Karen

    OK I get that it takes 3 to 12 months to compost. With that said, you just deposited no. 2, you turn the handle and you realize it’s time to dump. How can it be ok to add this fresh deposit to a garden albeit non-edible? If you wanted this as a viable solution to a conventional water toilet on a property, would you have to compost and turn it further for 3 to 12 months before you can safely spread it?

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  • Lauri L

    Let them hate all they want! I just installed my Nature’s Head composting toilet today and have watched each of these videos multiple times. I can not tell you how helpful they are as a reference. Thank you SO much!!

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  • Adrienne

    Thank you for these informative videos and for sharing your experience. When I decide to buy a home (however I end up defining what home is for me), I’d like for it to be friendly to the environment with as small a footprint as I can manage. Keep the videos coming!

    Adrienne

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  • Kevin

    Thank you for your great videos, I find your blogs helpful. my question is I’m only a part-time camper only going out 2 to 3 days a month sometimes up to 60 days between outings are there any issues with the composting toilet sitting unused for longer periods of time between uses .

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  • Babs

    Thanks for this very informative information. I have been researching all things RVing for only about a month now…hoping to buy a Class C within the next 1 – 2 years for full-time living. I absolutely love your blogging site and all your information videos. And as for all the “haters”.. if they don’t like the information, nobody is forcing them to watch and/or read about composting. If you can’t say anything nice…don’t say anything at all. Thanks!

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  • Kathi

    I just talked to Larry and our composting toilet is on the way! We pick up our RV Wednesday and will install it that night. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. All your posts with such clear information were very beneficial in making this choice. Larry was terrific and offered to walk us through and answer questions as needed, weekends included.

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    • That’s great, congrats! Larry is the nicest guy and I am glad to hear he was as helpful to you in the process as he was for us.

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  • Andre C

    I’ve read some people say the fan is a little noisy, specially when all is quiet while sleeping. Some have replaced the fan with a bigger computer fan, placed at the end of the hose, that turns slower and is quieter. Do you find it noisy?
    Thanks

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  • Toby

    Great info, thank you for sharing it. I do have one question.
    Since the toilet is vented and air flowing from outside all the time… When it is cold out.. Like in the 40’s it is not cold to set on it with the door open? I would think this to be very uncomfortable. Please share your thoughts.

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    • The vent running outside is not bringing air in, it is taking it out of the toilet to keep everything dry.

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  • Betty

    Thank you for all the great information! I’m shopping for an RV, but with the water crisis in California, I might buy the composting toilet first, use it at home, and then install it in the RV when we get one!

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  • I want to thank you for your excellent and enjoyable videos. My husband and I lived in a fifth-wheel for two years (parked in a trailer park) a while back. We only moved it once each year for four days (legal requirement because it was an RV), so we were hooked up to the sewer all the time. But I hated dealing with the chemicals and flushing the black water tank and the icky hose…YUK!

    We’re buying an old motor home right now and plan to spend the rest of our lives on a “circuit” between our kids and other relatives and friends (the harvest of a life full of love!) and one of the first things we’re going to do is replace the toilet with a composter like yours.

    I really appreciate your videos (all of them, not just the potty ones) and got several belly laughs out of the What Not to Do one! God bless you on your travels and in your business.

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  • LOVE these articles and videos! You two have gotten me super excited about full timing. Thank you for sharing your passions with us and hope to meet you so eBay soon.

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  • loo fan draw – watts?

    a watt is equal to burning one wooden kitchen match.
    That is what i was told by bob marley;s sound man.

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  • what is the energy draw of the fan?

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  • Billy

    Awesome info guys! We are about 6 months out from full-timing and though I am not sure if we will do this before we hit the road it is definitely a mod I hope to make eventually so I really appreciate all the time you have put into the videos and blog posts on it.

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  • Dillon

    I give a sh*t about your sh*t composting toilet. I think its cool.

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  • Sandy

    We love your composting information and videos! My husband has been very excited about us going full time next year just knowing he won’t have to deal with black water!! In fact we love ALL your informative and entertaining videos!! You both have been a great help as we prepare for our own wild camping adventures ahead!! Thank you!

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  • Good advice. I didn’t know about using the vinegar. I’ll try that next time.

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  • Dianne Worthington

    What happened to my comment? I posted a question yesterday about how the solar panels are doing now that you’ve had them for a while. Any less efficient, cupping or other problems?

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  • It looks like a tight fit to remove the base for emptying.
    We’re in a fifth wheel and to lift the base up, back out of the door into a narrow hall and down three steps to the doorway steps makes me nervous about titling to much or spilling the contents.
    Your motorhome looks like more of an open path from the bathroom to the outdoors.
    Maybe once I see a toilet at an RV show I’ll think differently, but so far I haven’t actually seen one up close and personal. -:)
    Glad it’s working so well for you, it should make a huge difference in water usage and boondocking.

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    • The NaturesHead web site shows an extra base, with a LID for sale. Like you, our fifth wheel has a small head room and hallway to three stairs, then out the door and down three more steps to the outside. If it were me, I’d invest in that spare tank setup and just use the lid on the full tank, so even a minor kerfluffle is unlikely to make much mess. During a prolonged period of stuck gate valve, I was hauling full 5 gallon buckets of pee out to be emptied. The NaturesHead looks like it wouldn’t be anywhere near as difficult (or heavy) to cope with.

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  • Karen

    Well, haters gonna hate, right? And the inter webs is a golden opportunity for passive-aggressives to vent their spleen anonymously. Nice that you can delete comments at will.

    Still, can’t believe anyone would get into a hissy over your very interesting series on the composting toilet. I had only rarely heard about such things, mostly in articles about off-grid sticks and bricks, so am grateful to have heard about the possibility in rvs. Definitely a potential in ours! The idea of having a double-sized grey tank is wonderful! Carry an extra bladder of water in the truck bed for more days of “wild camping”, and have enough holding space to deal with it 🙂

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  • Joe

    Thanks for continuing to post great information….
    In the investigative stage of getting our “full time” rv and definitely learning a lot from your site before we buy and head out on the road.. I’ve not only learned about the benefits of this toilet but also about the inverter as well..
    Hope to see you two in Pomona at the upcoming RV show next week.. My wife and I will look for you two !!
    Once again, thanks !!
    Joe

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  • elizabeth ferguson

    Opps. I am taking your greatness at videos for granted. Kudos on another great video. Really good info and entertaining, too. Thank you.

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  • elizabeth ferguson

    Question for David Lee: How will you convert your black tank to fresh water? BTW, Jason has a video on an easy way to convert to grey water.

    Question for Jason or Nikki: On the Natures Head website they suggested just dumping the soild waste into a plastic bag – will it continue to compost in the plastic bag as much as in the extra bin?

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  • John & Jane Timmons

    We first encountered composting toilets last year at Strictly Sail Chicago. What a great solution to a huge problem. Thanks for your information and encouragement. We’re about 18 months away from moving full time onto a sailboat. A composting toilet is one of the first upgrades we’ll be making to our new boat/home. Don’t sweat the ugly comments. These are people that likely have no idea what they’re talking about, anyway. Obviously they need some instruction in manners. Keep up the good work.

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  • I’m sorry you’ve received “hate mail” over the topics you choose to write about.

    I value your content and believe you help and inspire so many folks to “retire now and travel” or “hurry up and find a way to retire soon.” You’ve provided the public with inspirational and quality travel content.

    We can all turn the channel if we don’t like the programming. And since we aren’t paying for your content, you certainly have the right to program as you see fit. While I’m not interested in any more compost toilet content at all – I haven’t forgotten how impressed I am with your mission and methods of reporting on your personal experiences.

    We personally travel in an Airstream Interstate and have enjoyed landing occasionally at some of your reported destinations. Off to Bend Oregon tomorrow and back to Jackson Hole Tuesday. Looking forward to catching one of your next videos.

    Best, Scott

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  • Thanks Wynns! These are great posts and videos. The composting toilet solution is on our short list. You guys are also on our short list of folks who provide us with insight on full-timing and inspiration to do it. We just purchased our RV last month and will be full-timers in less than 2 years. Solar, LED lights, composting toilet and storage ideas are among the many technical posts that are influencing our decisions on how to fix up our RV. More than that the adventure of it all is simply awesome.

    Thanks!
    Jengle

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  • David Lee

    Hey, you two!

    You sure won’t get any “hate mail” from me over your composting toilet! I love it, and I’m so glad you’ve shared your experiences with it with us. When my wife and I go full time, the first thing I’ll do is get rid of the toilet and convert the black tank to a fresh water one. What better way to increase the availability of water for boondocking for extended periods of time. Keep doing what you do.

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    • Short of a professional re-lining the tank, the repurposing of a black waste, ABS plastic tank to a fresh water reservoir is a dubious venture at best and likely to result in contamination of any water you might store there. On the other hand, repurposing to expand your gray water capacity is well within the realm of possibility, offers no significant hazard to you, your family nor the public and is easily achieved with some minor replumbing. You might want to rethink your earlier remark, eh?

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  • JERRY CUMMINS

    What type of coffee do you folks drink?

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  • Stephanie

    Wynns!!! (forgot to correct ” :))

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  • Stephanie

    Dear Wynn’s,
    This last post was laugh out loud funny!!!! I personally look forward to the toilet updates 🙂 Please, doodoo not let these “Potty Mouths” influence what you post, these little Hershey squirts ( ha ha!) don’t deserve to be acknowledged!!!!
    Baby diapers & a plethora of other things are more of a scourge to the planet than composted poop!
    Thanks for the belly laugh!

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  • Rick K

    Thank you for your continuing series on this subject, It has been really helpful in my decision to install one in our fifth wheel when we finally upgrade in a couple of years. I was thinking of trying to get the urine into the black tank as you mentioned (glad it seems possible). I was also thinking of trying to get the vent into the black tank as well, It seems like I would already have the existing hole into the black tank – and with the fan it would keep positive pressure so odors would not be a problem? The black tank is already vented so it seems like a good way to vent without new holes running out of the camper. anyone reading this have experience or thoughts on venting the composing toilet into the black tank?

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  • Thanks for posting. You guys talked us into getting a composting toilet via one of your earlier videos and it gets installed next week.

    Small fan request: Probably a supremely gross video… but if you could show your strategy for emptying the unit it would be most appreciated.

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  • I can’t believe people would hate on you like that. That’s absurd! It’s your blog and from where I am standing the composting toilet makes much more sense than the whole black tank thing. I’m a little scared to try it but I can perfectly well understand why you would feel inclined to spread the word.

    Sadly one thing I have learned the hard way over the years is that nobody wants advice, especially those who need it most. Some people just like to do things their way, right or wrong. And they especially like to complain about those poor choices to others 😉 My desire to help is what got me into trouble with Technomadia… It was late and I typed something up that got misinterpreted in the biggest possible (but understandable looking back on it) way and bam, instant hatred and fury directed my way.

    But I guess nothing else to do but roll with it. I really appreciate the work and posts you’ve done. You guys actually seem like you have genuinely more fun RVing than anyone else. Especially us. When things go wrong, we have a lot of trouble taking it lightly. And things always go wrong. We’ll be in Napa next week and Half Moon Bay SP later on if you’re tremendously bored and want to hang out with another 30 something fulltimer couple. Fair warning, our toddler is nuts, but that’s par for the course.

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