Nature's Head Composting Toilet: Expert Insights for Off-Grid Living
Hi! I'm Hailey, Co-Owner of Wild Oak Trail. My Husband Saxon and I have been running this company for over 6 years and we've learned about all of the must haves for Living Off the Grid, as well as what works and what doesn't. One of the most common concerns among our clients, especially those new to tiny homes, RVs, or van life, is choosing an appropriate toilet solution. The Nature's Head Composting Toilet frequently comes up as a top choice, and for good reasons.
Why Nature's Head Stands Out
Nature's Head Composting Toilet is designed with off-grid living in mind. Its ability to mimic a conventional toilet while minimizing maintenance and avoiding the use of chemicals makes it a standout choice. The key is its separation of liquids and solids, leading to efficient waste management and basically no odor, which are crucial in confined living spaces. No plumbing & no water needed! It's also incredibly compact, making it perfect for small spaces.
Composting Toilets VS Incinerating Toilets
Composting and incinerating toilets offer unique solutions for waste management, especially in areas without traditional plumbing. Composting toilets utilize natural processes to transform waste into nutrient-rich soil, functioning with no water and being virtually odor-free. They're also more cost-effective, ranging from about $700 to $3,000, compared to incinerating toilets which cost between $1,200 and $5,000. Additionally, composting toilets are more environmentally friendly; they save water and don't require much electricity or paper liners like incinerating toilets. Some incinerating toilets also require a gas hookup.
While incinerating toilets might be easier to maintain with simple pedal and button operations, composting toilets have the edge in portability and eco-friendliness. They can weigh as little as 28 pounds, making them easily transferable between cabins, boats, and RVs, whereas incinerating toilets are typically more permanent fixtures. The choice between the two often comes down to the user's environmental priorities, power availability, and mobility needs, with composting toilets emerging as a more versatile and sustainable option.
Composting Toilets VS Casette Toilets
Cassette toilets and composting toilets each offer unique features for mobile or off-grid sanitation, but there are key differences that highlight why composting toilets might be the better choice. Cassette toilets, commonly found in vehicles, feature a clean water tank that enables flushing, similar to traditional stationary toilets. They store waste in a portable tank that combines solids, liquids, and chemicals, necessitating more frequent, manual disposal. They need to be emptied at the same locations you would empty your black tank, whereas a composting toilet can be emptied into any garbage.
In contrast, composting toilets, also known as dry toilets, operate without water or chemicals. They employ a natural composting process, efficiently separating liquids from solids into two distinct compartments. This separation not only simplifies the disposal process but also makes it environmentally friendlier compared to the cassette toilet's heavier, single-container system.
While both toilets are compact and portable with reduced odor, composting toilets stand out for their eco-friendliness and easier waste management.
Operation and Maintenance
Understanding how the Nature's Head Composting toilet works is essential. Solids are composted with materials like coconut coir or sphagnum peat moss, which aids in odor control and decomposition. Liquids are collected separately, reducing the frequency of emptying the solids container. A hand crank facilitates the composting process, and a simple vinegar-water solution suffices for cleaning.
Eco-friendly Composting Materials
I recommend coconut coir over peat moss due to its sustainability and efficiency. Coconut coir, being a renewable resource, aligns with the eco-conscious ethos of many off-gridders. It's also easy to use, you can buy it pre-moistened in bags or in bricks that you simply hydrate with water. Just make sure its not too damp. When you squeeze it in your hand, it should feel damp but no water should come out.
Installation is pretty straight-forward. The toilet comes with the venting hose and mounting brackets that you need to get it set up. You may need an additional voltage adapter if you're using 110V power, which can be added on at the time of purchase. The dimensions of the toilet should be carefully considered during the design phase of any off-grid setup.
An initial investment of around $1,000, including the toilet and installation materials, is expected. However, the long-term benefits, such as reduced waste disposal and no need for chemicals, often outweigh the upfront cost.
Managing Smells and Maintenance
Contrary to popular belief, if maintained correctly, the Nature's Head toilet does not smell. The separation of liquids and solids, combined with the right composting materials, ensures a smell-free experience. The only strong smell you will encounter is when you empty the liquids container.
In cases of diarrhea or vomiting, extra composting material may be required. For more in depth information on this, check out our Nature's Head Composting Toilets & Diarrhea: What you need to know blog. As for overflows, this shouldn't happen if you are emptying when you should. If you think you may be in a situation where you can't empty your liquids compartment when you need to, it's a great idea to purchase a second liquids compartment to switch it out with until you're able to empty it.
From my professional standpoint, the Nature's Head Composting Toilet is an excellent solution for anyone embracing an off-grid lifestyle. Its design, efficiency, and environmental benefits align well with the needs of those seeking a sustainable and practical living setup.
In the off-grid living space, balancing comfort with sustainability is crucial. The Nature's Head Composting Toilet effectively meets this balance, offering a user-friendly, environmentally responsible solution for waste management. It's a product that I confidently recommend to my clients, assuring them of its reliability and suitability for their unique off-grid lifestyle.
Check out our videos on what to expect in the box and the run-through of how it works!
Hailey Funk, co-founder of Wild Oak Trail, harmonizes the pragmatism of prepping with a mother's protective instinct. Her journey alongside her husband, Saxon, is fueled by a shared vision, yet as a mother, Hailey's approach is imbued with an extra layer of love and foresight. She cherishes the peace that comes from knowing her children are always provided for, reveling in the independence and security her preparedness grants her family. Hailey's passion extends to every client she encounters, driven by an earnest desire to nurture similar confidence and self-reliance in others. Her expertise and maternal insight make her not just a businesswoman, but a steward of care and empowerment in the prepping community.