The Transnistria parliament building with a statue of Lenin out front. In the city of Tiraspol, Transnistria. Photo taken December 9, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The best RV holding tank treatment

Yesterday, one of our readers told me about some treatment for your black water holding tank. I had never heard of this particular product before, and it has really high reviews, so I did some research.

Appropriately, It's called "Happy Campers"!

We haven't personally had much of a problem with holding tank smell. That doesn't mean never though. Usually we notice a problem only when the tank is getting full, and it's been hot outside. And we don't put toilet paper in the tank so we haven't had to worry about clogs or dissolving problems. And the couple of times that we have tried some kind of chemical in the tank, it either hasn't worked very well or it leaves some kind of odor itself.

This stuff seems like it covers all the bases though.


And with a ton of five star reviews.

"The best".

"Five stars"

"Excellent product"

"This stuff will make you a happy camper".

It's biodegradable, and environmentally friendly. It's effective in hot temperatures greater than 100F (34C). It will liquefy most household toilet papers so that there's no need to buy special "RV" toilet paper.

And, it's reasonably priced, at only 65 cents per treatment.

Have any of our RV'ing readers tried this stuff? What's your opinion...?



33 comments:

  1. Happy Campers worked for us! It wasn't the smell that we were having trouble with, it was the sediment left inside the black tank even though we rinse often. We had the See-Level II tank monitoring system installed a few years ago and were happy with them until the readings on the black tank were off. For example, I would thoroughly rinse and dump, but the tank still said 56% or 71% (etc) full. After using the Happy Camper solution for all our drains and toilet -- no residue and accurate setting readings on our SeeLevel II gauges. Totally worth every penny!

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    1. Glad to hear that "Happy Camper" has another happy camper. We have never had a problem with sediment so really haven't had to worry about any treatments but it is nice to know that this one works if we ever need it.

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  2. We don't have any issues except the gauge has never worked right. It might be worth giving it a try. Thanks.

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    1. Our gauge has never worked properly since we bought our motorhome either but it is also a 1996 and has a couple of owners before us.

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  3. We only add treatment when we are almost full, notice a smell and are unable to dump soon. Otherwise we just to make sure to use sufficient water when we flush. We use Cottonelle TP and find it dissolves very quickly in water. We have not had a clog since we started using it.

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    1. We have also never had a clog or problem with our black tank since we started RVing. Several times we have put a splash of bleach in the tank when we are almost full and it is starting to smell a bit as we drive down the road. Once we empty the tank gets rinsed out well.

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  4. In over twelve years of fulltiming, I have yet to have a clog with inexpensive Scott one-ply bath tissue. A lot better than tossing it in a basket, ewww! As far as tank chemical goes, it is literally money down the drain.

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    1. A lot better than tossing it in a basket, ewww!

      Honestly, there is no "ewww" factor.

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    2. In Mexico, in our home, we never put tissue down the toilet and there is no ewwww factor there either. That can has a tippy lid, it's lined with grocery plastic bags and we empty it frequently. It's the cellulose in the toilet tissue that quickly fills up a septic tank, so that's why we do it that way.

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  5. If you don't flush TP, how do you handle it?

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    1. We have a small trash can, a foot high maybe, with one of those swinging lids on it. Lined with a plastic bag. When the bag starts to get full, you tie it up and put it in the trash. Simple, and there is zero smell associated with it.

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  6. OOps! that went before I was done.
    Started to say:
    I read your blog first thing every morning after I check my email and FB. I appreciate the fact that you blog every day and answer every post.

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    1. No problem Shirley!

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and let us know, we love to hear from our readers. As for answering every comment, when we have the time we do but sometimes when we are actually out there travelling it can be hard to keep up with the comments.

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  7. I recognize that header photo ;-) We have been using Happy Camper, but only when we feel there is a need for it. We have been happy with it. We handle toilet paper similar to what you do ... the "ewww" factor doesn't exist for us either. Sometimes I have to wonder if that has to do with the fact that our international travels have frequently taken us to countries where tossing toilet paper in a waste basket is the norm rather than the exception.

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    1. I bet you do recognize it!

      Yep, I think that is one of the reasons that we started putting the paper in the garbage. From traveling in Mexico, it is just what they do and we never noticed any unpleasant smells in those washrooms. We find by doing this we can also use nice soft and strong 2 ply paper without any worries of it clogging up the tank.

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  8. We have been using Happy Camper's since 2007, no clogs, no smells, flush tp, and it is allowed in campgrounds.
    That 64 oz container lasts us one full year, we are fulltime. I like it is a dry chemical too. And it does a great job of cleaning the sensors as well.

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    1. Good to hear that you are happy with the results as well. Hoping that we will never have to use it, but if we do we know personally that people are happy with the product.

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  9. We use a product similar to Nappisan in our holding tank, its potassium percarbonate, and have been using it for a few years now and find it works well,. I think it might be similar to HappiCampers but couldn't work out what's in it, and don't know if it is available here in Australia.

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    1. Thanks Rosemary! We would love to go RVing in Australia, it is definitely in our sights.

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  10. Sorry I got the ingredient wrong in the Nappisan, its sodium percarbonate, not potassium percarbonate. I guess that makes a bit of difference!

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  11. We are in South America, without access to dumping stations or quick re-purchase option for treatment chemicals. Last time we traveled with a US RV and fixed tanks, this time we built our own and went for different solutions:
    1. our grey water goes either straight out or into a large jerry can under the truck. This can be removed and emptied almost everywhere.
    2. our toilet is a Thetford Porta Potti with a marine base (so it doesn't move), to which I connected a German sourced carbon filter with a small exhaust fan. These can be ordered direct from the manufacturer: http://www.sog-dahmann.de/ [no affiliation - yet]. This works so far really well, the filter needs to be replaced after one year (we carry some spares, but nowhere near as much space or weight required as for chemicals). Advantage of the Porta Potti: you can empty it almost everywhere, just find a public toilet at a gas station. It's a bit smelly business (depends how long you left it), but with very little practice not a messy job at all.
    We find this makes us more independent of hard to find facilities and saves money plus the environment!

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    1. Sounds like you have it well covered. We have done lots of RV'ing in Mexico so there are also limited places for dumping but we usually look for a campground when we are getting to the point where we know we need to dump. We have also never had to buy chemicals for the tank, although occasionally we have placed a small amount of bleach in.

      Hope you are enjoying South America!

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  12. Well you definitely sucked me in with your fabulous header picture of boondocking - which I LOVE - and this give away. I even posted on your facebook page and I never do facebook. I'm surprised it still remembered me but I understand once you set up an account you are there for life even if you never return.

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    1. I think you put your comment into the wrong blog post but that's OK we know what you meant. ;-)

      Good luck with the contest Sherry, and yes we saw your post on our FB page too!

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  13. New to fulltiming left my black water wide open for about a month, I filled it with water and added some treatment to it. Anyone know how long I should let things breakdown before I open the valve to dump?

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    1. As long as you can! And, google "Geo method" to get more info on how to clean that tank.

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  14. Kevin, I know your post is a few months back, but just so you know in the future, the Happy Camper Extreme Cleaner product would take care of that problem.

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  15. We are completely new to the concept of "gray tanks" " black tanks etc...We are looking to use the 5th wheel trailer we bought about two weeks ago as "guest housing" this holiday season but are not sure how to handle the gray and black tanks during the winter. We live in New Mexico where temperatures can get down to freezing. We would like our guests to have access to the toilet at minimum during the night but want to avoid any damage due to freezing weather. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. It all depends on just how cold is "freezing". We have often camped at temperatures down to below 20F without a problem because the interior stays warm enough to prevent the lines and tanks from freezing. However, if there is no heat on inside, you might have a problem. The idea would be to make sure the tanks are empty when there is nobody using the trailer for a while. As long as you have heat on inside, the lines and tanks should be fine for short periods of nighttime temperatures below 32F.

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