How to Install a Nature’s Head Composting Toilet in a Van

How to Install a Nature’s Head Composting Toilet in a Van

Photo of author

We plan on living full time for a year or two in the van. For a minimum of comfort (and convenience), we really wanted a toilet. And after reading about Nature’s Head composting toilets, it seems like the perfect solution for us!



The present article covers the installation of the Nature’s Head composting toilet in our van. If you want to learn more about it (pros/cons/emptying frequency/what we like/don’t like/etc.) please head over here for our review:






TOTAL COST : $1200 USD (that’s a shitload of money to take a dump, but it’s so worth it!)


DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a product link and buy anything from the merchant (Amazon, eBay, etc), we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not.












  • Get your sh*t together



First of all, our Nature’s Head composting toilet is hidden in our couch just behind the driver’s seat:

Composting Toilet Installation Camper Van Conversion (1)
That’s the idea…


Installing the Air Exhaust

There is no black water or whatever to install with the Nature’s Head, but there is, however, an AIR EXHAUST. The air exhaust will ensure that absolutely no odor leaks in the van by constantly pulling a very small volume of air from inside the toilet towards the outside world. There is a very small fan (computer-like) that runs at all times; that’s no big deal as it draws just about 0.1 amp. We decided to pass our air exhaust through the floor near the B-Pillar, inside the wall cavity. We got the idea from, although he is using it as his main van passive intake.

We need to get inside this cavity:

Air Exhaust Passage

To access the cavity, we cut a door through the Ez-Cool (you can read our EZ-Cool Installation Article here):

Composting Toilet Installation Camper Van Conversion (40)


Behind the Ez-Cool “door”, we drilled a 2-3/8″ diameter hole through the van floor using a hole-saw (Buy on Amazon):

Composting Toilet Installation Camper Van Conversion (44)
Inside the door…


Of course, to prevent corrosion, we sanded the bare edges of the hole and touched them up with primer+paint+clear-coat:

Composting Toilet Installation Camper Van Conversion (43)
Corrosion is for other’ vans, not ours.

To prevent the composting toilet exhaust from being sectioned by the hole edges, we improvised something out of a MLV leftover (what’s MLV? See our Floor Installation Article!). Note that a grommet would have been much better, but we did note have one handy…


Composting Toilet Installation Camper Van Conversion (54)
The “triangle” shapes of the MLV are in contact with the hole edges


Now let’s get under the van on the driver side where this arrow is pointing:




We can see the exhaust passing through the hole in the floor!

Composting Toilet Installation Camper Van Conversion (49)
MLV is not shown in this picture.


To prevent critters from crawling into our toilet (huh), we installed some wire mesh and mosquito screen (not shown in the picture) on this plastic part (included with your Nature’s Head Toilet):

Composting Toilet Installation Camper Van Conversion (47)
The Mosquito screen is not shown in this picture, but it’s very important!!


Then we just pulled the exhaust out (from the hole in the floor) and press-fitted the plastic part:

Composting Toilet Installation Camper Van Conversion (51)


The plastic-part is bolted in the upper-left hole of the van’s vent passage (there is a hole in the van. no need to drill):



That’s it for the exhaust! Here we are at this point:

Composting Toilet Installation Camper Van Conversion (20)
Note that we don’t pass the exhaust through the Ez-Cool “door”. It passes just behind the toilet so we don’t see it…


Installing the Composting Toilet

We like our Nature’s Head, but it still has to be hidden. We built a couch with a removable lid and a nice cushion for that job!

Note: When designing your toilet installation, remember that to empty the compost, the upper part of the toilet must be removed. To do so, the upper-part rotates around the hinges in the back and then it is pulled left. Make sure your enclosure has enough clearance around the toilet to allow this movement!

The upper-part rotated around the hinges in the back
Then the upper-part slides about 2 inches to the left


Here is the base of the couch:

We kept things simple…


The base holds with corner braces and glue



The lid is built the same way as the base, except that we glued a 3″ thick cushion on top (with 3M 90 Spray Adhesive Buy on Amazon) and covered it with fabric.

The cushion is glued with 3M 90 Spray Adhesive, so it doesn’t slip away


At this point, hand over the lid and the cushion to your mother-in-law and LET THE MAGIC HAPPEN!*

*Thank you SO MUCH!

It’s magic!


The fabric is held with Velcro, so it can be removed and washed:

Lid Velcro


The lid is held to the base with a small “bracket” we made:

The lid fits nicely on the base!
Here is a look inside


Dump & Recharge Station


Connecting the composting toilet fan to the electrical system

You can download our Wiring Diagram & Tutorial here:

Wiring Diagram & Tutorial PDF Download


Later on, we also added a sensor to monitor the liquid level on our Simarine Pico monitor. Full Simarine Pico installation write-up here:

Natures Head Composting Toilet Liquid Tank Level Sensor Simarine Pico (silicone screws)
Tank Level Sensor
Simarine Pico Tanks (500px)
Simarine Pico Monitor


At last, fill the composting toilet with coco (or peat moss):



And here are the dimensions:

24″ Height x 24″ Width x 23″ Depth


And here is a happy man:

Composting Toilet Natures Head Man in a Van


As mentioned previously, the small exhaust fan is running continuously. No big deal, as it draws just about 0.1A…

Exhaust Fan Electrical Draw





Before living full-time review:

At the time of writing this we don’t live in the van full time yet, but we used the toilet for a few weekend trips. So far, so good! We haven’t emptied the toilet since we first used it (about 3 months ago): there is no odor, and we think the Nature’s Head Composting Toilet is THE SHIT!!

First month on the road review: 

(The following text is extracted from

We would definitely install it again if we had to do it over. You might get away without it for weekend trips, but for full-time living it’s just so-much-better. We empty the liquid tank every 3 or 4 days if using the composting toilet exclusively, or every week if using other toilets. We’re getting between 2-4 weeks autonomy for solid waste depending on the temperature (cold slows down composting action) and depending on if we use other toilets occasionally.

We bought compressed coco fiber (Buy on Amazon) because it’s MUCH more compact to carry than normal coco fiber! This block is 5in x 11in x 11in and equals to about 3 cubic feet!

Kempf Compressed Coco Coir. Buy on Amazon.

Want More?


Stay in touch!


About us



Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017, we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers, and moved into our self-built campervan. Every day is an opportunity for a new adventure... We’re chasing our dreams, and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

Heads Up: Exclusive Deals!

Thanks to all of you, we managed to negociate group discount on these. Strength in numbers!

28 thoughts on “How to Install a Nature’s Head Composting Toilet in a Van”

  1. Hello,
    With your conversion on a Transit 148 in WB high roof can a compost toilet be installed anywhere else but in the midst of your living quarters? I don’t need a full size bed and was wondering..
    Could a compost toilet be installed behind the wheel wells close to he back doors? With a small bed for one, would there be enough room for a privacy partition in the back of the van?
    Thanks for any insight you have on this matter!

  2. Hi! Did you guys use your own shorter screws to attach the brackets to the bottom? The ones that came w my toilet are way too long for 3/8 (and my 1/2). Thanks!

  3. Hi I&A

    I was wondering if you considered attaching the lid of the cover, the part with the sofa cushion on it, by hinges, opening to the drivers seat side. Seems it would work fine, and you could open it with one hand.
    You could even put a toilet roll holder on the inside of the cover, and it would be just at the right place!

    Cheers, D

  4. Hi guys! So grateful for you sharing all the knowledge you’ve gained during your build-out! You guys are so helpful! We have a 2018 Transit a lot like yours and we’re about to install the Air Head toilet which is about the same height as the Nature’s Head. Our couch will then be about 24″ high like yours. We are 6′ tall but that is still too tall to comfortable sit on, so we’re considering a flip down foot rest. I read that you don’t use that couch much but do you find that you need to put some blocks or anything down for a foot rest or how do you deal with the couch being so high when sitting on it? Thanks so much!

  5. So it looks like you guys did not use the mushroom vent, correct? On the Nature’s Head website it recommends it, but it seems like you guys made it work fine without it. Is it only necessary maybe if you are venting out the top or side? I guess I’m asking if you guys would recommend the mushroom vent for any reason, or if you think it is easiest to just vent it the same way you did in this article?

    Thank you.

  6. I’m not sure if I missed it but did you have a weblink to the computer fan?
    You have been a holy grail of info; we’re just about to get a new van and start from scratch! Just about every question you’ve answered somewhere! Thanks!

  7. Thanks for all the detailed info here! Have you guys had any issues with odors venting through the floor? Debating between venting through roof or floor. Also any odors indoors when running the MaxAir fan? I saw a video on YouTube that complained that the odors from the compost were being circulated through the cabin when running the MaxAir fan without opening a window b/c this fan is so much more powerful than the fan of the composting toilet. Have you guys had any issues with this?

    • We sometimes get a smell when driving on the highway (because of the pressure), but it’s subtle and it doesn’t bother us. It doesn’t happen when we’re parked using the fan.

  8. Sorry if this is obvious — is the toilet hooked up to your batter? If yes, I don’t see how/where that happens in your installation directions?

    Thank you!

  9. LOVE all the information! I’m new to the whole idea of this and would want to live in my van/ travel full time. How do you go about dumping it? Is it usually pretty easy to find somewhere to dump? Do you clean it every time after? lol sorry for the nitty gritty questions.

  10. Hi Guys,

    If you don’t mind, I was wondering what is the exact measurement inside the box, top to bottom (or the top and the bottom). I am getting ahead of my self, doing projects that don’t require $1K, so made the box for the Nature’s Head, but alas, we are still headless (remember, $1K). So it’s just a storage box at the moment, that we can sit on.

    My inside measurement is a little over 22 inches (546 mm), thinking that it is easier to trim than to grow plywood. But you said that your top is almost touching the toilet top. So is your interior 21″ (533 mm), based on the Nature Head specs?

    Like to get that seat a little shorter!!

    Cheers, Don

      • Thanks Antoine.

        We were really surprised at how big the box was, although I had measured it many times before. Because we have the middle ceiling height van, our upper cabinets are lower than yours, and, you guessed it, my head hits the cabinet on the 22″ (no cushion ) height. Well, unless I move a little forward to the non-cabinet front. And my feet dangle, like a little kid.

        So Nature’s head says 21″ high, but you measure it at 20.5″. Good info. That means I can trim 1.5 inches off it, eventually.

        Still in the fund building stage for the composting toilet; right now, it will be a 20 liter camping toilet, for peeing only. $20 as opposed to $925.

        Cheers, and, again, thanks a lot.


        PS. Did I see on Strava that you guys are now in the US Carolinas? That can’t be right, can it?


Leave a Comment