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Old 03-06-2018, 11:46 AM   #1
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Small budget build. Using what I have. Zodi...

Okay so here's the scoop. I am trying to get a short bus build bought, and done on the cheap. Mostly because I want to hit the road before I am dead, and I'm not filthy rich...

I do have a Zodi Hot Tap instant Hot shower system. Not super high flow, but effective. I have 4 7 gallon AquaTainer water tanks.

I know the Zodi is super basic, and not exactly ventless.... So I am not sure the best way to rig this...

It uses 3/8" hose for pickup and output, with a small 4 D cell pump although there are 12V pumps for them...

Toilet will be self contained (Luggable Loo / Double Doodie bags), no black water.

I'm thinking of rigging some sort of mount that keeps the heater up somewhat high-ish, for operation. Maybe insuring the shower area is close to a roof fan and makeup air source.

I am considering the 12V pump and a waterproof switch for operation.... Just not sure where to start, and how to finish... And should I even bother, or since it is a short bus, just shower outside of the bus?
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Old 03-06-2018, 01:21 PM   #2
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I have met a few full timers that have a membership at a chain gym and shower there daily.

Not for everyone but it works for some folks.
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Old 03-06-2018, 01:57 PM   #3
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You can build a composting toilet inexpensively. The one I built would cost about $25 to build from scratch and the compost material I use is about $6 per fill, which should be every 45 or 60 days for a single person of primary toilet use.
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Old 03-06-2018, 03:01 PM   #4
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You can build a composting toilet inexpensively. The one I built would cost about $25 to build from scratch and the compost material I use is about $6 per fill, which should be every 45 or 60 days for a single person of primary toilet use.
I went fancy with a commercially made urine diverter and a nice seat. I spent closer to $80 on mine.
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Old 03-06-2018, 03:23 PM   #5
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Not everyone can afford that gold plated luxury, I needed the cost savings for bottled water.
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Old 03-06-2018, 03:38 PM   #6
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I have met a few full timers that have a membership at a chain gym and shower there daily.

Not for everyone but it works for some folks.
Yeah, I need to change my gym membership. We are members of a VERY nice local gym, but there is only one.... I know lots of folks that travel a lot that do the 24 hour fitness thing.

As far as the toilet is concerned. I am not allergic to the idea of a dedicated toilet except for the space usage, between that, and budget, I figure the Luggable Loo would suffice for my needs, at least for a while.... Something to remember, if you haven't seen enough from my prior posts. I am a big guy, and exceed the weight limit on a lot of plastic toilets. A 5 gallon bucket has no such limitation...

How would a DIY composting toilet work? Not sure about doing that. Need info...

One of the better ideas I have seen, assuming it could be rigged up by fiberglassing the steps, is having the shower in the entry steps, with a shower curtain enclosing the space... I've seen this done somewhere else, not sure if it was a short bus skoolie or what... But I know I have seen it where the build included basically fiberglassing over the existing stairs / steps, texturing it so you don't slide naked out the side door of the bus, and rigging some sort of drain setup. No extra space wasted for sure.... Not sure how to capture the gray water from that sort of setup though...
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Old 03-06-2018, 03:42 PM   #7
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We use Planet Fitness. If you're moving around a lot you'd want the $20 membership, it lets you bring a guest every visit and you can use any gym you like as many as 5 times each per month.
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Old 03-06-2018, 03:52 PM   #8
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My composting toilet, you can pretty much figure out how to make it by the parts list.

2 5-gallon buckets, one inside the other, makes it a lot stronger. About $5 each.

A funnel ($5 at walmart) on the front for urine diverting, connected to a rubber hose ($5 at Lowe's) that runs out a hole in the front of the buckets and into a gallon jug. Hole drilled through the jug's lid to fit the hose snugly enough. We use Milo's Iced Tea jugs because they have screw-on lids. They cost like $3 full of tea and last a long time.

Academy Sports sells a $5 bucket fit toilet seat.

I bought a 5/16 steel rod from Lowe's for around $5. Bent a little zig zag in it, it runs horizontally through the buckets and bent up a handle on one end. The rods are about an inch above the copostig material's height, so you get good stir action.

I also got a couple PVC pieces to build a vent. I use 1" pipe and a few 90 degree bends, plus a little piece of screen wrapped over the edge with a zip tie to keep bugs out, and a 30mm computer fan on the far end doing negative pressure ventilation. That's another $15 or so in parts.

I use Burpee ready to go coconut coir. You can get it at some walmarts or directly from burpee online. One bag is the perfect quantity for my bucket system and I'm told is also the perfect amount for the Nature's Head. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Burpee-Na...-Coir/55503036
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:21 AM   #9
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My composting toilet, you can pretty much figure out how to make it by the parts list.

2 5-gallon buckets, one inside the other, makes it a lot stronger. About $5 each.

A funnel ($5 at walmart) on the front for urine diverting, connected to a rubber hose ($5 at Lowe's) that runs out a hole in the front of the buckets and into a gallon jug. Hole drilled through the jug's lid to fit the hose snugly enough. We use Milo's Iced Tea jugs because they have screw-on lids. They cost like $3 full of tea and last a long time.

Academy Sports sells a $5 bucket fit toilet seat.

I bought a 5/16 steel rod from Lowe's for around $5. Bent a little zig zag in it, it runs horizontally through the buckets and bent up a handle on one end. The rods are about an inch above the copostig material's height, so you get good stir action.

I also got a couple PVC pieces to build a vent. I use 1" pipe and a few 90 degree bends, plus a little piece of screen wrapped over the edge with a zip tie to keep bugs out, and a 30mm computer fan on the far end doing negative pressure ventilation. That's another $15 or so in parts.

I use Burpee ready to go coconut coir. You can get it at some walmarts or directly from burpee online. One bag is the perfect quantity for my bucket system and I'm told is also the perfect amount for the Nature's Head. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Burpee-Na...-Coir/55503036
Wow, and I thought people used composting toilets for their simplicity!

That's a lot more complex than a bucket, a snap on seat lid, and a bag.

I'm not entirely certain of the environmentally friendly thing with a Luggable Loo, I mean the bags are plastic, however I understand they are now some sort of vegetable based bio plastic, the gel is supposed to be biodegradeable, and I have no real use for composting. Not like I live on a farm or anything...

It should be noted that I am looking at a skoolie build for weekend getaway / staying late dealing with In Laws / week long road trip type of stuff. Not full timing. If I were designing / building for full timing, I would definately go with a flushable toilet / black water tank type rigging... Source up an older 4 burner RV range / oven, and build in a 3 way fridge with solar...

Plus the ability to stay remote from my home without incurring insane hotel fees, would allow me to greatly expand my employment opportunities, thus allowing me to do a better build down the road...
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:36 AM   #10
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I am considering the 12V pump and a waterproof switch for operation.... Just not sure where to start, and how to finish... And should I even bother, or since it is a short bus, just shower outside of the bus?
How/Where do you plan to plan to stay/live - what is your mission? Are you always going to be in nice weather?

There is no right or wrong answer, I'm only asking (rhetorically) because the answer to your question varies based on "how" you want to live and what makes you comfortable.

Some folks spend all their time in campgrounds and state parks which often have showers and toilets. Others boondock most of the time. And so on...

If the former, a shower and toilet can be a fairly low priority if you are happy using the campground facilities. The latter does seem to require at least a toilet of some sort. "Washing" can be as simple as a bucket and a wash rag - baby wipes - an outdoor solar shower or much more complicated.

Again, no right or wrong - just what works for you.
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:53 AM   #11
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How/Where do you plan to plan to stay/live - what is your mission? Are you always going to be in nice weather?

There is no right or wrong answer, I'm only asking (rhetorically) because the answer to your question varies based on "how" you want to live and what makes you comfortable.

Some folks spend all their time in campgrounds and state parks which often have showers and toilets. Others boondock most of the time. And so on...

If the former, a shower and toilet can be a fairly low priority if you are happy using the campground facilities. The latter does seem to require at least a toilet of some sort. "Washing" can be as simple as a bucket and a wash rag - baby wipes - an outdoor solar shower or much more complicated.

Again, no right or wrong - just what works for you.
Good, no, not just good, GREAT questions!

To sum it up. the purpose of any skoolie or RV for me would be to...

#!. Allow my wife, myself, and our 2 pets, a dog, and a cat, to travel on weekends, and for vacations. This would be limited to the long holiday weekends, and 1 to 2 weeks / year.
#2. Allow my wife and myself to be able to extend visits with her family in Houston. They don't have the sleeping capacity for extra folks, and we are more comfortable in our own space, without having to spend the extra 1.5 hours driving home at midnight with all the drunks.
#3. This is where it gets trickier. Having the ability to stay remotely without incurring hotel / apartment costs would allow me to GREATLY expand my upgraded job search. I like my job, but I KNOW I am getting horribly underpaid, because of the area I work in. MUCH better jobs are over an hour away in good traffic, more like 3 in bad, and just not worth the commute. If I can driveway surf with an in law closer to the better jobs, I could land a much higher paying salary...

#3. is where the complication is. I mean I can run a gas line and hanger outside of the bus, and rig up the Zodi and privy shelter outside at the state park, or on a Gulf Coast beach, but that is going to be a LOT more complicated for urban use...
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Old 03-07-2018, 11:02 AM   #12
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Composting toilets are not in the least complicated.

It's one of those things that take more to explain than to do.
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Old 03-07-2018, 11:07 AM   #13
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The reason it's more complex than pooping in a bag is because it has different goals. Like, lasting a while of constant use between dumping it.

If one of the bag systems meets your needs then you're golden. I just assume everyone is trying to full time!


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Old 03-07-2018, 11:15 AM   #14
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The reason it's more complex than pooping in a bag is because it has different goals. Like, lasting a while of constant use between dumping it.

If one of the bag systems meets your needs then you're golden. I just assume everyone is trying to full time!


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I'm not trying to full-time, but I don't want to travel in something that looks "ghetto" either.

So $100 for a decent urine-diverter and a nice hardwood case. The mechanics below it are almost as simple as a "bag in a bucket".

It will just look nicer. The girls in my life will appreciate that
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Old 03-07-2018, 12:49 PM   #15
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I'm not trying to full-time, but I don't want to travel in something that looks "ghetto" either.

So $100 for a decent urine-diverter and a nice hardwood case. The mechanics below it are almost as simple as a "bag in a bucket".

It will just look nicer. The girls in my life will appreciate that
I am aiming not for absolute bottom dollar, but I'd be lying if I said I was disconcerned about budget entirely. It's more a matter of function than anything else... And perhaps I am not stating my goals clearly enough for what I am trying to accomplish...

For starters, I am not aiming, at least short term, to full timing. I am aiming more for get the *#$% out of town and away from work for the weekends and vacations sort of thing. State Parks, beaches etc... Very often no shower and either no toilets, or seriously nasty vault toilets that make me want to dump behind a tree... I need my own facilities that will be used no more than one week between empty and refill...

Toilet wise. I want something portable, that can be stashed out of the way. Like this...


However, as I have stated before, I am a pretty heavy guy, a good bit over 300lbs, and I don't want to break a toilet you know? Hence the idea of the bucket / bag rig... This is what we use when off grid camping now.


Lots of folks just use regular trash bags for them. I really don't trust the regular trash bags. I've been using the Double Doodie bags with Bio Gel..


I am aware of at least some full timers that are using the Luggable Loo setup in vans. I would think the cost of the bags (I use the Ozark Trail versions) would be cost prohibitive but what do I know?

Like those van dwellers using a luggable loo, it's to be stashed in a cabinet out of the way when not in use... Not a permanent fixture to the vehicle.

Problem #2 with a flushable portable I see, even if there was a good rugged model that will hold my fat behind and not break, is capacity. For 2 adults, for a week stay, I doubt a 5 gallon tank capacity would be sufficient. I KNOW Double Doodie bags need to be changed every 2 to 3 days depending on diet / etc...

Waste disposal is also easier, even beach camping, there are almost always the big 55 gallon blue trash barrels on publicly accessible beaches where a bag can be disposed...

NOW having said that, I am NOT allergic to the idea of having a dedicated, installed toilet. But again, durability, and waste management. How do I deal with those issues?

I should re state my desires / needs here. I am looking into a 5, or 6 row bus, I must fit a king bed, kitchen, and shower in there somewhere. The bed can fold to become seating, but no fixed table dinette (I've mentioned I'm fat right?)... Honestly a couple of swiveling captains chairs out of a conversion van and TV trays would be perfect for us!

I think a LOT of this will begin to fall together once I lay hands on a bus as I can at that time, start doing layout in 3D software to get a better idea of what fits where...
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Old 03-07-2018, 01:25 PM   #16
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Hope my explanation makes sense....

And I appreciate the full time perspective. It's not my target right now, but more of a weekend warrior POV...
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Old 03-07-2018, 05:57 PM   #17
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I'm also cash strapped and planning a build. Have you thought about hitting your local Restore (Habitat for Humanity store with reusable materials) or any other local store that sells upcycled construction materials? For a little cash you and ingenuity, can get cabinets and furniture that you can butcher and hack to fit the bus. If done with a little care, you can get some spiffy results with spare change, paint or stain and elbow grease and a little (possibly very little) time. My build is still a ways out, so I'm scanning Craigslist, especially the free section. I found a nice little secretary desk (desk with a top that folds up out of the way) that I plan to scribe to fit the curved side of the bus and bolt in place. I am also eyeing the free kitchen cabinets that come up now and then on Craigslist. voila. Cabinets for noncabinet makers. Good Luck.
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Old 03-08-2018, 01:10 PM   #18
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I'm also cash strapped and planning a build. Have you thought about hitting your local Restore (Habitat for Humanity store with reusable materials) or any other local store that sells upcycled construction materials? For a little cash you and ingenuity, can get cabinets and furniture that you can butcher and hack to fit the bus. If done with a little care, you can get some spiffy results with spare change, paint or stain and elbow grease and a little (possibly very little) time. My build is still a ways out, so I'm scanning Craigslist, especially the free section. I found a nice little secretary desk (desk with a top that folds up out of the way) that I plan to scribe to fit the curved side of the bus and bolt in place. I am also eyeing the free kitchen cabinets that come up now and then on Craigslist. voila. Cabinets for noncabinet makers. Good Luck.
The Freecycle group near me, as well as Craigslist Free section have been hugely important to gathering materials...

There are plenty of items I will need to spend hard earned cash on, and those I am trying to get on the cheap... Will post up a separate thread about...
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Old 03-08-2018, 01:24 PM   #19
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seems like a bucket with a bag is great if you can toss it right away... otherwise the rumor i hear is that the urine is what becomes the big stench.. why alot of people have a separate spot for that to route to.

Personally a toilet is the BIGGEST reason why i dont camp .. and stay in hotels 99% of the time... im not one who wants to clean out copmpost or have to try and be separate about how I go... I want to go and push a button.. maybe the doodie-bag is the ticket, go in the back, seal it up, toss it in the next trash can you see and done??
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Old 03-08-2018, 05:47 PM   #20
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seems like a bucket with a bag is great if you can toss it right away... otherwise the rumor i hear is that the urine is what becomes the big stench.. why alot of people have a separate spot for that to route to.

Personally a toilet is the BIGGEST reason why i dont camp .. and stay in hotels 99% of the time... im not one who wants to clean out copmpost or have to try and be separate about how I go... I want to go and push a button.. maybe the doodie-bag is the ticket, go in the back, seal it up, toss it in the next trash can you see and done??
-Christopher
Sewage is created by mixing poop with urine and water. The smell is familiar.

If you keep them separate, no sewage and no smell. Using a toilet with a urine diverter takes a modicum of practise (and it's easier for guys). Drain the urine directly into your grey-water tank.

All that is left is a bag that just needs tying off and dumping every few weeks.
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