At Outward Spaces, we’re big on breaking down the barriers that keep people from enjoying the outdoors. When it comes to camping, especially boondocking or back-country camping, one BIG challenge that people face is going to the bathroom when away from typical facilities. Pooping and peeing comfortably while off the grid is possible and in the past, we’ve covered a few ways to make it a reality. As we’re always looking for better ways to “take care of business” while outdoors, we’ve recently run across an innovative and exciting new piece of kit that could revolutionize your bathroom experience.
Enter the Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet – a cutting-edge solution that challenges the norm and offers a portable, sustainable, and environmentally responsible approach to human waste disposal while away from the grid. Designed with travelers in mind, the Trelino is a potentially game-changing solution for traveling the planet in RVs, vans, while overlanding, or even while tent camping outside of traditional campgrounds.
Recently, Trelino reached out to us and asked if we would review one of their composting toilets and share our honest opinion with our readers here at Outward Spaces. We were sent their most portable and lightweight composting toilet, the S model from their Evo series. With an upcoming camping trip to the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado already in the works, we were excited to bring the Trelino along and put it through its paces.
Trelino® Evo S Lightweight Portable Composting Toilet
What is a Composting Toilet?
At its core, the Trelino Evo S is a composting toilet. Composting toilets work by facilitating the natural decomposition of human waste, turning it into nutrient-rich compost that can be safely returned to the earth. By mimicking the natural decomposition process, these toilets eliminate the need for water and sewer plumbing making them perfect for off-grid applications like small cabins, RVs, vans, and camping.
In this comprehensive hands-on review, we’ll delve deep into the world of composting toilets and take an in-depth look at the Trelino Evo S. We’ll explore its features, user experience, technology, maintenance and cleaning, and end with our overall thoughts.
So, join us as we look at how this modern composting toilet brings stacks up against other options for an off-grid bathroom. Whether you’re an off-grid homeowner, a van-lifer, or someone simply looking to poo a bit more smartly in the woods, the Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet might just be the portable toilet you’ve been looking for.
A Bit of Background
If you live in North America and haven’t heard of Trelino before, it’s probably because they are a German company working diligently to grow their reach into this continent. While they may be small, there’s a lot to like about Trelino. First, they bring a German sensibility that equally values both engineering and design as they work to solve an important problem – creating a more elegant and efficient portable toilet. Second, they are campers themselves – they understand the challenges of portable toilets firsthand.
Before we delve into the specifics of the Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet, let’s take a moment to understand the need for a great composting toilet. When you’re away from traditional facilities for an extended period of time, like when camping, using the bathroom can be challenging. You can dig a hole like our ancestors did, but that’s a lot of work and feels pretty rugged. Chemical toilets work, but the smells they generate combined with the very real threat of that nasty blue liquid leaking aren’t good. Like us, maybe you’re go-to camping toilet is a bucket lined with a garbage bag and a toilet seat on top. The simple bucket does the job, but between the odors, the flies, and the constant awareness that you are pooping in a 5-gallon bucket, it’s far from perfect.
Composting toilets aren’t new to the market, but most are bulky and expensive. Most composting toilets on the market land around the $1000 mark and, truthfully, most seem overdesigned. For example, one of the most popular composting toilets currently on the market, the Nature’s Head Self-Contained Composting Toilet is 28lbs and looks like it was plucked out of a 50’s Russian submarine. Due to its size and design features, I mostly see the Nature’s Head toilet being utilized for tiny-home or off-grid cabin applications – still leaving a hole for those looking for a good solution while camping or traveling in an RV or van.
Despite these various “solutions”, it’s always felt that there’s something missing in the less-than-sexy portable bathroom department. A portable toilet solution that combined quality science with excellent design has to be possible. And I have to believe that I’m not alone in wanting more options for campers that are 1) less expensive, 2) simpler, and 3) just work well. We have high hopes that the Trelino Evo S could hit this sweet spot.
Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet: Smart Simplicity
Upon receiving our Evo S, the first thing we noticed is how light the box was. The Evo S weighs only 8.6 lbs – making it the most portable and lightweight toilet Trelino makes.
At our request, Trelino sent us the dark gray version for our testing. We liked the sleek, high-design look of the gray and worried the white version would be more apt to show the dust and dirt that comes along with camping life. It’s strange to geek out over a portable toilet, but this small cube truly is beautifully designed.
The theme of the Evo S is simplicity – a trait we appreciate in all of our outdoor gear. Only the recessed side grab handles break up the otherwise smooth exterior of the Evo S. The lid, an identical extension of the smooth cube profile, lifts easily revealing the dual molded toilet compartments. Even the Trelino branding seems perfect – not too big to distract and just enough to let you know who’s behind this toilet.
Remove the top of the Evo S by lifting the seat and lid and you’ll discover even more simplicity. A small trashcan-like box in the back for solid waste and a bright blue container in the front for liquids. The two containers reveal the Trelino’s primary secret to the perfect portable toilet – separating the liquids from the solids.
How the Evo S Works:
Essentially, the Evo S is an extremely well-designed, smartly engineered bucket toilet. It’s similar in size and weight to a seated bucket toilet, like the Luggable Loo, but it’s more comfortable, smells better, and is much less gross.
The Evo S is comfortable for a few reasons. First, its molded seat feels good to sit on – even when you need to be there for a while. The plastic structure feels robust without being overbuilt or heavy. Second, using the Evo S reminds you of using a traditional toilet. When using a bucket toilet, we always feel very aware that we are pooping into a bucket – a feeling we did not get when using the Evo S. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we love using the Evo S because it doesn’t smell awful.
The reason why the Evo S excels in the smell department is because of its ability to separate liquid from solid waste. Beneath the lid, the Evo S has two separate waste containers – a solid waste container that is lined with a plastic bag and a liquid container with a rubber membrane closure on the top that lets liquid in but keeps smells out.
To effectively separate the liquids and the solids, the user only needs to adjust the position on the seat to direct the appropriate type of waste into the correct container. The Trelino’s seat is molded with two main areas that direct waste to the appropriate container. In simple terms, sit toward the center or back of the Evo S to poop and sit forward to pee.
To aid in the drying out of solid waste, Trelino recommends sprinkling sawdust, litter, or other organic material into the solid waste container after using the Evo S. This organic material helps to remove moisture from the solid waster while also providing a pleasant woody or organic smell. In our testing of the Evo S, we used small animal pine bedding which worked great at keeping smells to a minimum.
According to Trelino, most bathroom smells are caused by the solid waste’s inability to dry out. The high ammonia concentration in urine also adds to the smell when not separated from solid waste. Trelino’s simple solution is to dry out the solids and to “keep a lid” on the liquids – which the included “membrane closure” on the liquids container does well.
When the Evo S is full, remove the lid/seat to access the waste compartments. The solid waste container is lined with a bag that can be removed and tied up for disposal. Once the bag has been disclosed of, a new bag is put in its place and a handful of pet bedding gets it ready for use. The liquid container can be picked up via its handle and removed from the Evo S to dump the contents in a convenient and appropriate location. Once dumped, the liquids contained is placed back in the Evo S, and the seat is placed back on the unit making sure that all separation areas are directed to the appropriate containers. The whole emptying process is easy, takes just minutes, and is a far cleaner process than most portable toilets we have used in the past.
Features of the Evo S that we love:
Attractive Design – The Trelino Evo S boasts a sleek and compact design, making it an attractive addition to any campsite, RV, or van. Its contemporary aesthetics blend seamlessly with modern interiors, providing a clean and minimalistic look. The Evo series toilet is also available in various models and sizes to accommodate different spatial requirements.
Liquid/Solid Waste Separation – The core feature of the Trelino Evo S is how it separates the solid and liquid waste, ensuring efficient decomposition and composting. The solid waste is mixed with composting materials like sawdust or coconut coir, creating an aerobic environment that promotes decomposition and eliminates odors.
By diverting urine away from solid waste, the composting process becomes more effective and manageable. This separation reduces the overall volume of waste that needs to be composted, promoting faster decomposition and enhancing the compost’s quality. Additionally, the lack of liquid in the composting chamber minimizes the risk of unpleasant odors, making the overall experience more pleasant and hygienic.
Waterless Operation – The Trelino Evo S operates entirely without water. This reduction in water consumption not only conserves water but also minimizes the need for plumbing – making the Evo S suitable for off-grid, camping, and RV/van use.
Odor Control: Portable toilets can evoke concerns about potential odors, but the Trelino Evo S addresses this issue through effective odor control mechanisms. The proper balance of composting materials and the ventilation system work together to keep any unpleasant smells at bay, ensuring a pleasant bathroom experience.
Using the Evo S
The true measure of any product’s success lies in the experiences of its users. In the case of the Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet, understanding how it performs in real-life scenarios is essential to gauge its practicality and user-friendliness. Let’s hear from individuals who have embraced the Trelino Evo S and gain insights into their firsthand experiences with this eco-friendly composting toilet.
Ease of Use and Installation
One of the key aspects that users often consider is the ease of installation and use. Users will appreciate the Trelino Evo S for its relatively straightforward installation process, especially compared to more complex composting toilets or chemical toilets. The best feature of the Evo S is its simplicity and the clear instructions provided by Trelino will make the setup hassle-free for most people.
When it comes to day-to-day use, the simplicity of the Trelino Evo S wins again. We find it to be intuitive to operate, with straightforward mechanisms for waste diversion and composting material management.
Performance and Odor Control
When the Evo S is used correctly and provided with the right balance of composting materials, it will effectively break down waste into compost over time. Though we didn’t carry our testing through to the full composting process, we’re confident that the Evo S could be used to transform solid waste into usable compost.
What we did test thoroughly was the odor control abilities of the Evo S and we’re happy to report that the Evo S excels in this area. Having tried most other portable toilet options, we had given up on the hope that smells could be removed from our campsite bathroom. But as we used the Evo S over our 5-day trip, we were pleasantly surprised to not smell anything each time we used it. The diversion of liquids away from the solids combined with the pine pet bedding we used left the Evo S with a woodsy odor that made the experience of using it enjoyable. Using the Trelino reminded us of the pet hamsters we had as a kid – much better than being reminded of a pig farm that we’re used to during our bathroom experience.
Though we used the Evo S outdoors, we’d bet that the smells are so well-controlled that the Evo S could be used in an RV or van without any issues or unpleasant smells. As with any composting toilet, you may need to experiment both with the type of organic material and the amounts used to achieve the performance you are after.
Environmental Impact and Satisfaction
Using the Trelino Evo S, you can take pride in knowing that you’re using a composting toilet that positively impacts the environment. By significantly reducing water consumption and eliminating the need for sewage plumbing, the Trelino does give you a good feeling about how its use is good for the environment. Simplicity again here is the key.
But you also feel good in other ways while using the Evo S. Between the molded seat and the lack of smells, this toilet is genuinely comfortable to use. Using the bathroom while camping is rarely a pleasant or relaxing experience, but it can be with the Evo S. Having the coolest toilet around feels pretty good too.
Maintaining and Cleaning the Trelino Evo S
While off the grid, emptying the Evo S is as simple as taking out the solids back and dumping the liquid container. But once you’re home, a few simple cleaning steps will keep your Evo S working (and smelling) like new.
To clean and disinfect our Evo S when we got home, we first rinsed all parts of the toilet – taking special care to thoroughly rinse the urine container. We then mixed up a spray bottle of bleach and water and misted the entire toilet to make sure to kill any bacteria. We also filled both the solid and liquid containers with our bleach/water kix and allowed them to sit for at least 15 minutes.
When the time was up we emptied all the containers and allowed the Evo S and all of its parts to dry. Once dry, if smells remain, you can try letting the containers soak with a vinegar/water solution to remove any remaining odors.
The simple parts of the Trelino make cleaning a breeze. And knowing that your portable toilet is fully clean as you store it away for your next trip is priceless.
The Bottom Line
The Trelino Evo S is awesome! It’s stylish, comfortable, keeps smells at bay, and truly makes going to the bathroom outdoors an enjoyable experience. It’s simple – simple in design, simple to use, and simple to clean.
At $350, the Evo S is an investment, but we think it’s an investment you won’t regret. It’s the best off-grid bathroom solution we’ve come across and it’s really not close. Having a Trelino in your camping arsenal will level up your camping experience with comfort and fresh air.
Going to the bathroom is usually one of the least enjoyable parts of camping. Between the smells, the feeling of being unsanitary, and just being downright gross, not having a good way to poop and pee while off the grid can keep people from enjoying the outdoors. But the Trelino will change the minds of prospective campers who don’t want to stray far from traditional toilet facilities.
Pick up an Evo S and you may just fall in love with a toilet as we have. It’s strange to think that a great camping bathroom can be so important – but those who spend a lot of time outdoors will understand.
Here’s to happier camping for all!
Trelino® Evo S Lightweight Portable Composting Toilet