Episode 7 – Composting toilet installation on our RV

Welcome to Episode 7. Before we start, if you missed Episode 6 please feel free to check it out.

Preparation and Airhead Toilet Installation on Colonel K – finally!! 

So the planned installation of our Airhead on Colonel K, our Overlander RV, kept being delayed due to various problems incurred with our bathroom refit. Doing this in the UK we pretty much have to do it all ourselves as there are not too many companies here who can do this (folks we know in the States have used services like Muse & Co and had it all taken care of for them!). But the new floor was finally laid and we were ready to install the toilet! 

When we had initially stripped everything out of the bathroom we had spent quite a while deciding on the best toilet position. There had previously been an outdoor shower which we had chosen to remove and this hole was the perfect size for our fan to vent through to the outside. Nick carefully lined the hole to prevent any smells permeating elsewhere and then we fitted a clamshell to the outside.

He then made a hole for the hose to pass through the side of the sink unit he had constructed – very useful having a husband who is so good at DIY!! 

The fan housing was carefully fitted inside the bottom of the cupboard and Nick used the electricity supply we had previously used for our cassette toilet to connect it. He tested this supply before securing the fan to make sure everything was working as it should!

We knew we would need to reduce the length of the hose but couldn’t do so until the toilet was in place. Out came our trusty template to enable us to mark out the exact position where we wanted the toilet to be. We then 

placed the toilet on the template to make sure there was enough space for turning the handle of the agitator/stirrer before Nick drilled through the template to make the holes for the brackets! 

It was definitely much easier the second time around as we knew exactly what we were doing!! 

Nick then secured each bracket into the predrilled holes and we were almost ready to attach the toilet. This was rather important as we were due to go away in Colonel K that afternoon so we most certainly needed the toilet all ready to use! You may have noticed the hot and cold pipes on the floor behind where the toilet was going to sit. These will eventually be boxed in but we didn’t want to do that until we knew everything was running smoothly with no leaks!! The one great thing about the Airhead is that it can easily be disconnected and moved off the brackets for access!

Finally, the brackets were secure and we were ready to put the toilet in place. This time we had thought ahead and the coir was all prepared for the solids’ container, so we weren’t going to be caught out a second time!! 

Once the solids container was secured we attached the seat, having first lubricated the rubber as previously on the boat, and even then it was a two-man job to turn the seat and lock it into place! But at least we were certain it wasn’t going to move when we sat on it!! 

Now it was time to cut the hose to size and attach it to the toilet. This proved rather difficult due to the very small gap between the toilet and where the hose exited the sink unit. Finally, after a few false starts and a bit of cursing on Nick’s part, we managed to get the hose to the right size and fit it to the toilet!

Fantastic, we were now ready to set off in Colonel K for our a few days away ‘wild camping’! 

I can happily report that after 7 days away we are so pleased we took the plunge and fitted an Airhead on Colonel K. It gave us the freedom to park in some wonderful isolated spots and enjoy the beautiful British countryside without having to worry about where we could empty our old cassette toilet! We carefully emptied our urine container into hedgerows or under trees but well away from rivers/lakes or where anybody was living. 

Colonel K is now hooked up to electric with the fan still running for the solids container while Nick completes a few ‘jobs’ that were discovered during our first trip out after renovation. Hopefully, it won’t be long before we are back out again but in the meantime, the solids’ container will stay in its current state and be all ready for us to use!

Colonel K parked up by the Grantham Canal – yes we even like canals when we are not in the boat! 

Thank you for reading our toilet journey both for our narrowboat MEand’er and Colonel K. If you ever see us then give us a wave or a shout and remember we always love to talk toilets!!

In Episode 8 we’ll share our findings on the first 6 weeks of living with the Airhead, focusing on dealing with liquids.

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