We installed a compost Thunderbox toilet when we opened and it is a beautiful thing. It doesn’t really smell and looks quite elegant and interesting, tucked away in the corner of the camping meadow, but it has a dark secret.

It fills up and then needs to be emptied, which is a bit of a performance.Full tank of compost at the campsite in sussex

It has lasted for 3 1/2 years since it was first installed but we could hold back no longer and last week we took the plunge. Compost toilets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Our version the Thunderbox is a little bit of a faff as we need to take the whole structure down before we can switch tanks over.

The tanks are where all of the solids are collected and the aim is to keep all urine out of this part of the system to avoid everything smelling awfully.

The urine is removed through a urine trap at the front of each of the toilets and this is whisked away to a couple of tanks outside the building and these need emptying at least once a week, depending on how hot it has been and how much tea everyone has been drinking.

urine separator in the compost Thunderbox toilet

This is why you have to sit down for a wee, even the men

what not to do when using the compost Thunderbox toilet

Once dismantled we had a problem lifting the full tank out as the tractor kept getting stuck so we needed a back up plan. For this we used a set of pallet forks to pull the full tank forward onto some slabs. This allowed us to re-assemble the building with the replacements tank in place.

Bit of a faff really but the compost Thunderbox toilet at The Secret Campsite camping meadow is now back in place and ready to take a load of ………. over the next 4 years, although compost toilets at campsites seem to be very popular so perhaps it will only last 2 years this time.

You need to stick to the rules with a compost toilet so that the system works properly.

How to use a compost toilet


and now wash your hands

Outdoor sink at the campsite near Lewes

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