DIY Projects, Travel

Upgrading the Poo Tank

One of the most controversial parts of camping is what to do about your waste. Some people swear by composting toilets. Some people only use camp bathrooms and do dishes in tubs. Most people living in RVs use black and grey tanks.

For people with larger rigs or fewer people, it can be as simple as dumping your tanks at a campground waste station on the way home after a weekend of camping. For us, it’s not so simple.

We have both small tanks and a large family. We also cook a great deal from scratch and prefer to eat off real plates. Oh. And we don’t move every few days either.

This isn’t a problem when we’re somewhere with full hook ups. Having a sewer site is a beautiful thing, and one that I prefer normally. But it also limits the view a little bit as a lot of really great campgrounds, campgrounds immersed in nature with lots of space to roam, typically don’t have full hook ups.

What’s a tired camping momma to do? Moving the camper every few days just to dump and re-set up camp isn’t a good option. Thankfully they make portable waste tanks for just this situation.

I researched for what seemed like forever to find the perfect waste tank. Of all the things that could possibly go wrong in the shittiest way possible…a full moving tank of poo definitely tops the list.

Guess what? It went wrong anyway. I’m getting ahead of myself but after talking to owners of all different waste tanks, I’m still happy in my choice.

Meet Tanky.

I’ve included amazon affiliate links below. The links cost you nothing extra but do provide a small commission for my family. Thank you for using the links if you decide to purchase anything based on our recommendations and experiences.

Tanky is a Camco Rhino Heavy Duty 36 Gallon Portable RV Waste Tank that came with all of the necessary accessories to get us from camper to dump station without so much as a drop ick or a waft of yeck. (He was $224 when we bought him. Please watch for a similar price. I love Tanky, but I would not pay the $400 that he is currently listed at.)

Most people we’ve come across have the slightly smaller 28 gallon tank. This would work since our tanks are 27 gallons each but I wanted a wee bit of wiggle and wash room. It’s pretty much standard practice for us to add a bit of grey water to Tanky after flushing the black tank to ensure that there isn’t any poo residue in the hoses, and the extra room allows us to do that without worrying about overflowing.

This is actually our second Tanky.

Our first Tanky bit the dust (literally!) during a full poo load to the dump station in western Washington. We had no idea what happened but suddenly one of the wheels had popped off and Tanky was dragging busted side down along the gravel. So embarrassing. So frustrating. But the folks over at Camco were super helpful with the warranty and sent us out a new Tanky overnight. (You can read about that here.)

Tanky 2.0 has served us faithfully ever since.

When we were at the dump station a few days ago though we noticed something that might mean the end of Tanky.

His wheel was cracked.

Was this the source of the original Tanky’s catastrophic failure?

I’m actually not surprised. As tough as these things are built, they still have plastic wheels. And since campgrounds have everything from pavement to gravel to pot holes the size of a small state passing as roads, it was bound to happen.

Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of better options out their for waste tanks so rather than shopping for something new or waiting for the next poo tragedy, we decided to take matters into our own hands.

Tanky was getting an upgrade.

First, Tanky had to get nakey. Removing the wheels was a given. I was pretty sure the axle would need to be lengthened as well to accommodate the heavier dutier tires. No worries. We went to Home Depot for a new threaded rod to serve as an axle and the Farm Store for some sweet new wheels.

The hardest part of the whole affair was actually getting this little sombrero of a nut off the axle so we could remove the wheels.

That is one stubborn little hat!

We actually had to enlist the help of a campground grandpa to wrestle the darn thing off.

Once that was done, it was all smooth sailing. We cut the axle down to size. We slid it into the channel and slid the wheels in place.

Then we made the obligatory second trip to the hardware store.

Just keeping it real here, folks.

Heavier dutier wheels meant not only a wider axle, but the neccessity of spacers between the wheels and the molded plastic of the tank. The wheels weren’t the only upgrade though. We also upgraded the axle from a smooth rod to a threaded rod. This upgrade allowed us to replace the little stubborn push on sombrero with a nylock nut.

Momma is done taking chances.

All in all I’m pleased with the way it turned out. Those wheels are definitely not coming off now. It’s actually easier to move Tanky around by hand. He’s practically silent behind the truck.

And y’all…

Look at that ground clearance.

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