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Old 06-27-2018, 03:18 PM   #1
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Need Recommendations for portable Waste tanks

We are going off grid for a week next month and I'm looking to purchase a portable waste tank. The campground we are going to has a dump station, but I don't want to pack up to leave just to go to the dump station , then come back and set up again. The campground has flush toilets and showers, which we will use except for doing dishes, emergencies and/or middle of the night bathroom calls. Both my tanks (black and grey) are 27 gal each. I'm figuring a 27 gal tank is big enough, a compromise between capacity and size. I'm guessing I'll need to empty it once or twice during the week.


Now for the help needed...

I've been looking on-line at manufacturer websites and user reviews for a couple of days and am more confused than ever. All the big names like Thetford, Barker, and tote -n- store have wonderful videos, but struggle to get three stars on reviews. There are horror stories about hoses leaking, connections coming loose mid dump, and black water going everywhere. I'm starting to think none of these products are worth buying!!


So I'm reaching out to those of you with experience in these matters. Are all these reviews written by idiots that can't follow simple directions, or are these products no better than he stuff they're suppose to hold? Or is the truth somewhere in the middle?


If anyone can steer me in the right direction here, I would certainly appreciate it!
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Old 06-27-2018, 03:44 PM   #2
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I had one, Thetford if I recall & gave it away! Had to use it once while DW was laid up with a broken ankle at a park without sewer hook ups, swore I'd never use it again, what a nasty hassle.
You'll need 2 things to go with the tote, #1 pickup one of the screw on valves & place on your rv, #2 make yourself a sewer hose just short enough to be able to connect the above mentioned valve to the tote, you'll probably need it at the dump station also. The reason you need these is your black/grey valves are who knows how far from the hose connection, s### runs fast downhill & there's not a good way to tell how much is in the tote, so the shortest distance, the quickest shut off = the less mess. This from the voice of experience! If the need ever occurs again I'll gladly pay the honey wagon to come by.
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Old 06-27-2018, 04:48 PM   #3
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Be sure to get a tank with wheels and a tow connection so that it can be towed with your vehicle to the dump station. You won't want to try to lift it at 8.3lbs/gal.
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Old 06-27-2018, 04:53 PM   #4
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Your black tank will last 2 weks at least the way you are doing it . Did for me . And with dishes and tooth brushing needed grey dump after 1 week . If there are vault toilets ,you are allowed to dump grey into vaults, provincial parks here want dishwater to be put in vaults and not on ground for raccoon and bear reasons. You can use a short pail with lid so you do not spill and take to vaults. May neeed numerous trips .
If no vaults just truck them to dump station .
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Old 06-27-2018, 07:09 PM   #5
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I have no experience with the waste water totes. Never owned one.
Depending on how many you will have in the camper for the week and just how faithfully you use the public toilets will determine how long your tanks will last. I have to agree with harley on his analysis.



As far as them being difficult to use/operate, I don't believe they are all that bad. Now I'm judging this by watching a bunch of kids last summer at a park we were in out in WA. Their Dad worked and the kids would grab that tote every day and make numerous trips to the dump station with it. I never seen a spill or mess. It had a handle on it like a wagon. When Dad was home he hooked it on the vehicle, the kids pulled it.
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Old 06-27-2018, 07:24 PM   #6
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I have a Barker and it works great. Came with a short hose section. Dump a bit at a time and watch the level. Never had an issue. It sure is nice to use your own washroom.
I did upgrade the wheels for some of the longer trips to the dump station.
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Old 07-01-2018, 02:53 PM   #7
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Black Water Totes

I have a Thetford Smart Tote 27 gallon. Don't get the largest one out there. Even if you pull it with your vehicle to the dump site you still have to pull it from the point you load it to where you can hook it onto your trailer ball and those suckers are heavy when loaded. And sometimes you are going to be on uneven ground making pulling it even harder, if not impossible. They do work and do the job they are made for, any dealing with the sewer system is less than pleasant but these "blue boys" sure are easier than having to unhook the trailer and pull it to the dump, then back to your site to hook up again.
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Old 07-02-2018, 11:51 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for your comments. I ordered a barker 4 wheeler 25 gallon today. I could not find one retail anywhere to look at, so I'm buying it sight unseen (except for pictures). I looked at the Thetford on at Camping World an it seemed OK, but the decision came down to the fact the barker has the pneumatic wheels, which I assuming will make it easier to tow over less than ideal terrain...

Anyway, we leave on the 14, for a week. I'll post another comment after I gain some "experience" with the thing.

Thanks Again!
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:40 AM   #9
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The pneumatic wheels sound like a positive, might have to change out the ones on mine.
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:57 PM   #10
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OK, we survived our first week off grid, and the Barker Tote worked great! It was easy to fill, transport, and empty. The only hitch I encountered was when I realized that the short hose that comes with it for emptying the trailer tanks into the tote does not work with connections to the dump station... I'm sure there's an adaptor, but I just hustled back to the trailer and got the regular hose I use when I have hookups. Everything went fine after that. The tote was easy to empty and flush clean, and the Pneumatic tires were definitely the way to go! Very happy with this device!

That's the short story. The rest of the story that I had an absolutely horrible experience with the company I bought it from, an on-line outfit called RVpartscountry.com. I ordered the tote from them and it came in just two days. That was great, but the box looked like it had been used as a tackling dummy for a football team, for TWO seasons! Beat up, corners missing, and re-taped very poorly. It was late in the day when I opened it up and the only thing wrong was the T-Handle was broken, with 1/2 of the T missing. It was still workable so I figured no big deal, I'll just get the company to send me a replacement handle later.


The next morning I assembled the hose and connectors, then raised it up on its end to install the handle. That's when I saw that the rear axle was dislodged from it's position in the recessed, molded area of the tank body, on one side. I tried for 1/2 an hour to reseat it but couldn't. That's when I decided it was time to call the seller and get a replacement ASAP. This was on Tuesday and we were leaving on Saturday early AM. Come to find out the number you call on their website for customer service tells you to connect with live support on the web site. "Live" support, it turns out, is a flippin e-mail client!

I went back and forth for the next 2 days with these yahoos and got nowhere. They refuse to call you and there is no number to reach them. I called my bank to inquire about challenging the charge on my credit card. On Wednesday afternoon I decided to contact the manufacturer of the tote, Barker manufacturing. I spoke with the lady in customer service (yea, a REAL person on the phone) and explained my predicament. She simply said, "We know all about these guys (rvpartscountry), and I'm gonna make this right." She proceeded to ship me a new T-Handle and axle caps by next day air at no charge to me, and gave me detailed instructions on removing the existing axle caps and reinstalling the axle into its housing on the tank. I received the parts on Friday morning and had everything fixed in less than an hour.


So the people who sold it to me would not even talk to me, but the manufacturer, who had no obligation to do anything, sent me the parts at no cost to me!


So if you ever decide to buy one of these Totes, go to Barker Manufacturing's website and buy it directly from them! They really stand behind their products, and they know what customer service is really about.

As far as I am concerned, rvpartscountry is a sham. I will NEVER do business with them again and will encourage everyone I can to take your business anywhere else. It will be a good day indeed when I hear they have gone out of business!!!
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