Nature’s Head Composting Toilet Review

Natures-Head-Composting-Toilet-Review-DIY

Nature’s Head Composting Toilet Review

The Nature’s Head composting toilet really made our full-time vanlife much more enjoyable. We’ve been using it full time in our van conversion since September 2017, so it’s time to have a discussion about this relieving device!

Composting Toilet Natures Head Man in a Van
They predicted we could fly with our car, turned out way better…

 

Natures-Head-Composting-Toilet-Review-(Toilet-Inside)
It’s a toilet! It’s a couch! It’s a supertoiletcouch!

 

Introduction to Nature’s Head Composting Toilet

Does it smell?

No! Sewage smell is the result of the liquid and solid being mixed together. If you ever used a dry toilet (such as hole-in-the-ground toilet at trailhead), you know what we’re referring to! The Nature’s Head composting toilet is designed to separate the solid and the liquid, thus there is no sewage smell:

Natures-Head-Composting-Toilet-Review-(1)

 

So no odor?!

There is NO odor in the van, but we’re not saying the solid tank produces ZERO odor. If you plunge your head into the solid tank, you will smell something we can best describe as “soil” or “earthy” smell: nothing like poop smell, really, it does NOT smell like sh*t.

This “soil” or “earthy” smell is evacuated by a small fan that constantly pull a small volume of air from the solid tank to the exterior of the van. The fan will also pull (most of) the odor out of the van while doing a number 2 🙂 The fan only draw 0.1 Amp, that’s almost nothing.

Natures-Head-Composting-Toilet-Review-(2)

 

What’s in the solid tank as composting medium?

There are two options here:

  1. Sphagnum Peat Moss (Buy on Amazon)
  2. Coco Coir (Buy on Amazon)
  • For both option, make sure there is no additives added (such as nutriment. We’re not trying to grow anything here)!
  • Do not use soil from outside to fill the solid compartment, as this will introduce bugs or worms…

 

How often is the solid tank emptied?

We empty our solid tank every 2 weeks, using the composting toilet full time (2 persons). 

If we have a chance, we will use other toilets (gas station, etc) to extend the time between dumps. If not using the toilet frequently (such as for remote cabin), the solid can be left for months into the tank! It’s even better as this will leave more time for composting action to happen.

How to empty the Nature’s Head composting toilet solid tank: http://natureshead.net/user_guide/

 

How do you know the solid tank is full?

When it’s getting difficult to turn the handle, it’s time! If it’s not emptied then, it becomes almost impossible to turn the handle in the next 2-3 days. (don’t worry the solid tank won’t overflow)

 

How often is the liquid bottle emptied?

We empty our liquid bottle every 4 days, but that’s because Antoine prefer to pee outside. Otherwise we would empty the liquid bottle every other day.

As opposed to the solid tank, emptying the liquid bottle more frequently is preferred. If using the toilet for remote cabin or such, make sure to empty the liquid bottle before leaving otherwise it will develop an unpleasant smell!

How to empty the liquid tank: http://natureshead.net/user_guide/

 

How do you know the liquid bottle is full?

We keep an eye on it! It’s semi-transparent, so we can monitor the level when we use the toilet. If the liquid bottle is not emptied, it will overflow! Don’t ask us how we know… (the overflow will be collected by the toilet; it won’t go on the van floor)

Natures-Head-Composting-Toilet-Review-(Liquid-Overflow)

 

Where are the solid and liquid disposed?
  • Solid: in a trash bag, into a dumpster. (it can be buried in nature too)
  • Liquid: we dispose of it in nature. (if diluted, it’s a great nutriment source for mature trees)

 

Don’t you think emptying the Nature’s Head composting toilet solid tank is disgusting?!

No! We much rather empty our composting toilet than a cassette toilet. The solid matter does NOT look and smell like poop, it look and smell like soil! Alright, there you have it:

Natures-Head-Composting-Toilet-Review-(3)

 

See, we told you it’s not gross!

 

What are the Nature’s Head dimensions?
Nature's Head Composting Toilet Dimensions (inches)
Click on the picture for full size, or Click here to download a pdf

 

 

Nature’s Head Composting Toilet VS Cassette Toilet

It was a hard decision… in fact, no… it was very easy too choose! Here are the main reasons why we chose the Nature’s Head composting toilet:

  • Dumping it much less often (2 weeks VS 3-4 days)
  • Easier to dispose
  • We used a cassette toilet in a cabin before and we found the process of emptying a mix of poop & urine really gross (that’s us, it’s OK if you prefer this!)
  • Composting toilet reduces our impact on environment! Not convinced?

 

What we Like

We covered much of that in the F.A.Q. above, but here is a nice list with bullets:

  • Long interval between dumps
  • No odor in the van
  • Emptying the tanks is not unpleasant
  • Low impact on environment
  • Using the toilet is just like using a “regular” toilet (except that you have to sit for a number 1)

 

What we Don’t Like …

  • We have to carry composting medium, but fortunately we found compressed coco coir (Buy on Amazon): this block is only 5in x 11in x 11in and equals to about 3 cubic feet! Awesome!
Kempf Coco Coir. Buy on Amazon.

 

 

Models & Where to Buy the Nature’s Head Composting Toilet

There is an option with “Standard Handle” and an option with “Spider Handle”; the “Spider Handle” is more compact so, of course, this is the one we got and we recommend.

Nature's Head Composting Toilet Standard Handle
Standard Handle. Buy on Amazon.
Nature's Head Composting Toilet Spider Handle
Spider Handle (more compact). Buy on Amazon.

 

Installation

We detailed EVERYTHING about our installation in the following article:

 

Using the Nature’s Head Composting Toilet

Number 1

To ensure the liquid goes into the liquid bottle, everyone has to sit: no gender discrimination here! When finished, spray a mixture of vinegar/water to help keep it clean (the spray bottle is included with the toilet).

 

Number 2

It’s just like using a regular toilet. Don’t forget to open the solid tank trap! When your moment of glory is finished, spin the handle 2-3 turns in both directions to mix with composting medium and spray a mixture of vinegar/water to help keep it clean (the spray bottle is included with the toilet). Voilà!

 

Reliability

We’ve been using the Nature’s Head composting toilet full time since September 2017 and we had no issues whatsoever. It’s a device with few features, so it’s hard to imagine how it can fail! Nice!

If anything happens, we will keep you updated! Subscribe to our Mailing List to be notified.

 

Resources

 

 

 


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.

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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. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

37 thoughts on “Nature’s Head Composting Toilet Review”

  1. I was wondering if you’ve ever had issues with the solids becoming wet and soupy? We bought one 4 months ago and are full-time living. We also empty it about every 2 weeks. For the most part, we haven’t had too many issues, except that I have the stir the mix once during the cycle, as alot of dry stuff stays around the edges and wont’ get mixed in. And right now, we have the problem that it is wet and soupy, and we just changed the coco coir 4 days ago. Something is not right and we can’t figure out what. This happened our last cycle also. It’s like some of the urine is going in the solids compartment. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • I recently read about this on another site where the person sells composting toilets in Canada. Someone else was having the same problem with either a Separett or a Nature’s Head. The owner said that it was likely due to the female personnel not sitting properly (I think they were leaning back too far and should sit straighter) on the toilet. When not sitting properly, the urine went into the solids area, resulting in a problem. Maybe give it a search by typing ‘Composting toilets, Canada.’

      Reply
  2. I love your website. I just became a member. And my first comment is about poop. !!!

    I had a professional install the tile floor in my house’s bathroom. My house’s ONLY bathroom. Unexpectedly he had to take 5 days off just after he’d removed the toilet. I consulted Ms. Google, and she suggested I use a 5 gallon bucket (thank you, Home Depot), and some white pine shavings (I have chickens and that’s what I use as coop litter).

    Poop
    Litter
    Poop
    Litter
    Poop
    Litter

    …equals zero nasty smell. Antoine is right when he says it smells earthy – when I dumped it into the garbage it had all broken down into a compost-like material.

    Can’t wait to get my own NaturesHead.

    Reply
  3. how do you attach the various devices, such as solar collectors and fans, to the roof?

    i don’t want to drill holes in the roof.

    Reply
  4. I’m still a skeptic. As I understand it, this is not a two stage design, right. That is, the stuff that is actually composted is not separated into its own container. Have I got that right? If so, whenever you dump, you are not really dumping earth compost. You are dumping a mixture of earthy compost and fresh, raw waste. Am I wrong?

    Reply
    • If the toilet is used frequently, you’re correct. That being said, as mentioned in the article, we dispose our waste in dumpster… Compost or not, it doesn’t make much difference. In the end, we love our nature’s head because it’s super convenient to empty it every two weeks or so.

      Reply
  5. Salut Isabelle et Antoine,

    I’ve been thinking of getting a Nature’s Head for my van. I’ve read about someone using this toilet to compost both human waste and vegetable food waste. I find that idea so fascinating.

    Have you ever tried composting vegetable food waste in your Nature’s Head?

    Reply
    • Don’t do it, you’ll end up with bugs in it. And it would fill the toilet too fast… Also, because it’s our main toilet (we both use it full time), there’s not really time for compost action to happens; it’s more like a neat, odorless way to store NO 2 until we put it in trash.

      Reply
  6. Interesting topic!
    How is it in winter, if I keep my van warm. I’m doing my own right now and was wondering if it doesn’t generate any ice due to condensation, since the fan is running full time?
    Any issue with the fan, the pipe, the outlet?

    Reply
    • Yeah you need to replace the coco coir each time the solid tank of the composting toilet is emptied; a block last 2-3 months I would guess.

      Have a good one!

      Reply
  7. Hi Antoine, We have a little cabin with a shed. My husband put a hospital toilet with a bucket and garbage bag underneath. After a few times of you know what, it reeks. On this unit does the stinky stuff after composting come out like ashes? Or is it still pop? Is there any smell? Out shed is right by our deck. Do u have any photos of the tray when full.

    Reply
    • The solid comes out like soil, I would say. It doesn’t stink (there a subtle soil, or earth smell). The liquid is stinky though, it’s the worst part. But we have no smell in the van.
      No picture of our poop. sorry! 😉

      Cheers!

      Reply
  8. When your overhead fan is turned on, do you notice the toilet odors pulling back into the van?

    My van will have two overhead Maxxairs. I’m worried that might over power the little exhaust fan on the toilet.

    Reply
      • we recently moved into our converted sprinter. and we notice the smell while driving as well. have you all found any solutions to minimize that smell?

        Reply
  9. Hello, if I want to use it in the same environment of the shower, of course with the lid closed, is it possible to drop water on it?

    Reply
  10. very curious why you chose the natures head over the airhead… besides price? Looks like not having to open solids tank on Airhead to empty liquids is a big advantage… your thoughts?

    Reply
  11. Just curious how you guys prepare the coco coir? We had to use an axe to separate it, it comes so tightly packed? (We use half a brick per fill?) anyway, thanks for sharing and great review!

    Reply
    • An axe? Are you Canadians too??

      We use a butter knife to break it, then we use our hands to shred it into the tank.

      So you have a Nature’ Head too? Anything we missed in the review?
      cheers!

      Reply
      • Haha! No, but my husband is South African – does that count? Don’t think you missed anything… we love our Natures Head so much we’re converts for life. Cheers!

        Reply
  12. Hey guys, we are in the same boat, or van. We are trying to eliminate that earthy smell from inside the van. Have you tried or seen anybody route the intake hose outside so it’s pulling outside air through the chamber rather than air from inside the van. Currently if we use or roof vent it pulls air back through the toilet.

    Also, enjoying reading your blog and trying to get the nerve up to do my own!! We split out time between our boat and our van.. currently in Grand Junction, CO. If you find yourself in the area… look is up. http://www.circumdance.com

    Reply
    • We’ve got sniper’s skills 😛

      To be honest we left a few minor marks the first 2-3 times we used it, but then it’s just natural to use. Unless you’ve got an explosive diarrhea, there is no reason to miss the hole! Maybe it’s the picture, but it’s not that small.

      Have a good one!

      Reply
  13. Great review! Very much enjoy your site. We plan on using a composting toilet for our van build (ours will be home made), but reading reviews like this just confirms that we are making the right decision. Hoping to be on the road full time in late 2018. Cheers!

    Reply

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