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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Portable Waste tank

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out_for_a_rip

Michigan

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Posted: 05/31/18 11:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Everyone - I am considering buying a portable waste tank for some longer trips we have coming up and am looking for advice. What is a good model? Do you recommend for both black and gray? My tanks are both 30 gallon, what size should I target?

Thanks in advance!

DutchmenSport

Indiana

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Posted: 05/31/18 11:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, I'll chime in. There's lots of opinions on these forums about the use of portable waste tanks. Those that use them all the time, and those that never use them, and some in-between.

There are 2 main manufacturers of the tanks: Barker and Thetford and each manufacturer makes different sizes and the price goes up with each size bigger.

There are 2 wheeled versions and 4 wheeled versions.

Of course the 2 wheeled versions means you have to lift one end up to move it around. The 4 wheeled versions means you simply have to pull it to move it (no lifting).

Tretford uses the same hose to fill the tank as it does to dump the tank. Barker has a top fill and a slide valve side dump.

I tried using the Tretford and absolutely hated it because of the single hose. When dumping, all I ended up doing was making a poop mess everywhere. It was my in-laws tank.

I've owned a Barker 32 gallon 4 wheel side discharge valve version for over 20 years and it's still going strong.

Here are a couple tips:

The older you get, the heavier they get. So, get something you don't have to lift or carry.

Get something that will adequately hold one of your tanks without overspilling. Your holding tanks are 30 gallon, then get at a bare minimum a 32 gallon tank. You will never over fill it that way and make a mess at the campground (or your own yard or driveway).

You could get the 42 gallon tank, but with your tanks being 30 gallon each, if you were to dump 2 tanks into a 42 gallon, you run the risk of overspilling 18 gallons on the ground. The extra 18 gallons will not benefit anything. Make 2 runs to the dump station if you have to. You'll have to so anyway, even if you have a 42 gallon tank. So get the tank that will comfortably hold your largest holding tank and you will never over fill.

Weight? There are those who say the 4 wheeled 32-42 gallon tanks are just way to heavy. Yes, they are. But you are not lifting them in the air, you are rolling them on the ground. Big difference.

I'm 63 years old and can still pull my full 32 gallon tank through the grass by hand. I do it at home all the time using my septic tank at home to dump in. I use to tow it behind my small John Deere, but realized it was much easier just pulling it by hand.

The side slide discharge is nice. You simply attach a hose and pull the lever. No spilling anything on the ground. Same for filling. You unscrew the cap on the top, attach your hose and pull the lever on your trailer. No spills, no mess. Although, you will need to lift the hose to finish draining it out.

Barker guarantees their totes for life! After almost 20 years, they sent me a new slide valve replacement absolutely free last year when mine started leaking. I replaced it and it's working absolutely great again.

I've towed mine behind my truck through campgrounds over some 20 years at lest a thousand miles or more. Still works great!

[image]

[image]

[image]

In the back of my truck (the blue thing under the ladder)..

[image]

How NOT to tow it:

[image]

Instead, do something like this:

[image]

2edgesword

New York

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Posted: 05/31/18 12:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Pulling the tank on level ground isn't an issue with respect to size and many of the tanks have handles that can be attached to the tow ball on your truck. Where sizes comes in is if any lifting of the full tank is involved. As I've mentioned in other threads some of the dump stations have a concrete curb around them that might require you to lift one end of the tank up to bring it over that curb for dumping. Each gallon of water (not counting waste) weights 8.3 lbs so a 40 gallon tank weights 332 lbs. If you have to lift one end of the tank up over that curb it means lifting 100+ lbs. I'm a little, old guy so handling that size tank is not something I'd want to do (I have a 20 gallon tank which is about my limited as far as lifting).

That said just because a tank can hold 40 gallons doesn't mean you have to fill it to 40 gallons. The dump hose on these tanks is relatively short (mine is about 3 ~ 4 feet). If that's not enough to get from the tank to the dump hole in the ground you could carry your regular dump hose with you so you don't have to lift one end of the tank over the curb to empty it.

The weight issue is one factor to consider.

SoundGuy

S Ontario

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Posted: 05/31/18 12:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DutchmenSport wrote:

There's lots of opinions on these forums about the use of portable waste tanks. Those that use them all the time, and those that never use them, and some in-between.

There are 2 main manufacturers of the tanks: Barker and Thetford and each manufacturer makes different sizes and the price goes up with each size bigger.


Tote 'n Stor is a third. [emoticon]

I'm one of those who tried a wheeled tote tank, hated it, and couldn't wait to get rid of it, and instead invested in a FloJet waste macerator so I can service my tanks at home. While camping I usually off load grey water by gravity into inexpensive 7 gal Aquatainers labeled for that purpose.

[image]

With a 30 gal black water tank I rarely have to off load BW while camping but with my FloJet can if necessary into those same 7 gal waste water Aquatainers - no tote, no stinky slinky. Others may not agree but this has worked better for me. [emoticon]


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wildtoad

Blythewood, SC

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Posted: 05/31/18 01:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a Thetford 27 gallons as it was about as big as I’d want to man-handle. I pull it to the dump with my toad. It works pretty good but I need to make several trips to the dump if the tanks are full. My only negative on the thing is that it’s difficult at best to get it all out, but you can attach the rinse hose to it so what is left is clean water.


Tom Wilds
Blythewood, SC
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Dick_B

Palos Heights, IL USA

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Posted: 06/01/18 08:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Although others will disagree I never use my tote for Black Water. As previously mentioned it is virtually impossible to get all of it out so where does it get stored that the smell isn't a problem?


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GrandpaKip

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Posted: 06/01/18 08:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 27 gal. Thetford with 4 wheels. I have 30 gallon tanks and have never overfilled it, but I dump before they are totally filled. I’ve never had a problem with the short hose, either.
However, if I was to buy another, the Barker does look to be a better design.
I imagine that it really does stink inside, but I keep it closed and don’t smell it while I’m around it.
I’m also looking to replace the plastic tires with either solid rubber or polyurethane.


Kip
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scottsnider

Buena Park

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Posted: 06/01/18 10:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I will say this, I got a 32 gal tank on Craigs list for $25 not the almost triple price in the store. I got mine and it had never been used and to be honest I have not used it in the 3 years I have had it, but still take it if I am not sure about the places I am going. So check Craigs list or other places before you buy one.

SoundGuy

S Ontario

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Posted: 06/01/18 10:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dick_B wrote:

Although others will disagree I never use my tote for Black Water. As previously mentioned it is virtually impossible to get all of it out so where does it get stored that the smell isn't a problem?


This was one of several issues I had with the 22 gal Tote 'n Stor I once owned years ago. The Aquatainers I use now are easy to empty & flush thoroughly and air dry completely before the next use. [emoticon]

hbrady

Maine

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Posted: 06/01/18 12:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I loved my Tote-N-Store 20123 25 Gal tank until I forgot to move it when moving my camper. Ended up mashing a wheel and I'm finding it IMPOSSIBLE to get parts. Now I have a $230 paper weight.


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