Barker Portable RV Waste Tank Tote, Review
A review of Barker Tote A Long RV Waste Tank and comparison to Thedford and Camco.
When you do not have your RV waste tanks connected to a sewer line, you will eventually find the need to empty them. You only have a couple of options to complete this task. Driving your RV to the dump station will work when moving from one site to the next. However, if you plan on staying at a location for an extended period without a sewer nearby, you might consider a portable RV waste tank.
Choosing a Portable RV Waste Tank
There are several portable RV waste tanks to choose from and several factors that we considered when we were choosing our tote tank.
When finding the right portable RV waste tank, size does matter. The last thing you want is to have spillage because your portable waste tank is too small. We have three holding tanks, each having a 40-gallon capacity, on the 5th wheel. Since size matters, we started looking at portable waste tanks with a minimum 40-gallon capacity.
Once you figure out the size of your portable RV waste tank, you will want to consider what type of wheels the tote comes with and how many. The wheels on the portable RV waste tank become more critical as the tank capacity increases. Considering that each gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds, a 40-gallon portable waste tote will weigh a minimum of 332 pounds. Having the wrong wheels will make moving your tote more strenuous.
2 vs. 4
Portable RV waste tank totes under 20 gallons will work well with two wheels. Exceeding 20 gallons, we highly recommend considering four wheels. For our minimum 40-gallon capacity tank, we only found one portable tank with four wheels.
Solid vs. Pneumatic
Depending upon the type of terrain you will be using your tote on will determine the type of tires you need. Solid tires should work fine on the smooth blacktop or concrete surfaces.
We knew we would pull the portable RV waste tank tote on gravel and in the grass. The need for more all-terrain conditions narrowed our search to pneumatic tires.
The inlet and outlet on most portable RV waste tanks depend on how many wheels it has. Most of the two-wheel totes we found tend to use the inlet as the outlet. In the horizontal position, the RV portable tank tote is filled. At the dump site, you attach the hose to the inlet/outlet, then rotate it vertically to empty the contents.
Some two-wheel totes have a gate valve to drain them, so there is no need to rotate the tote to dump it.
On the 4-wheel totes, there are two methods to empty them. The one we use has a valve similar to what is on the RV. The other design has you pressing your luck with a hose and attempting to keep it elevated enough while connecting to the drain. We have experienced our share of black tank dumping mishaps to know we prefer the gate valve style the RV has.
We considered three manufacturers for our portable wastewater tank; Thetford, Barker, and Camco. The largest capacity offered by Camco is 36 gallons, so it would not work for our 40-gallon need. Thetford's max capacity tank is 35 gallons, again too small for us. That left Barker, the only manufacturer we found (at the time of this post) who makes a portable waste tank of over 40 gallons.
If we did not need a tote tank over 40 gallons, then we would have purchased the Camco Rhino Portable RV Holding Tank. The only drawback being it only has two wheels.
Thetford dump totes come with four wheels but do not use a gate valve. We felt not having to keep the hose elevated to connect to the drain would be more important than two less wheels. Therefore, this style would fall to the bottom of our list.
The Barker 4-wheeler 42-gallon Tote-Along claims to be the highest quality, ruggedly built, and the best performance. Barker says they make RVing easier.
After using the Barker 42-gallon Tote-Along for two to three dump trips a week for the past year, I will attempt to evaluate their claims.
I have only been able to physically compare the Baker 42-gallon 4-wheeler Tote-Along to the Thetford SmartTote2 LX. The quality of the two tanks seems relatively close. Though, the Thetford reminded me of a Little Tikes wagon. A majority of the Thetford tote is plastic and uses plastic wheels covered in hard rubber, while the Barker has a metal handle and metal wheels with pneumatic tires.
We found the Barker accessories are not the highest quality among the three brands above. Our supplied sewer hose developed a pinhole after two uses. I was able to cut the tube down to eliminate the leak. After two months a bayonet broke, rendering the now 'fixed' hose useless. The Barker also came with two 3” caps: one lasted 9 months, and the other made it nearly a year.
I would agree with Barker's claim on the 42-gallon 4-wheeler Tote-Along of being ruggedly built. We have pulled this tote through gravel, dirt, mud, grass, over branches, and curbs. The bottom has some light scratches from going over the curb. So far, the tote tank has held up well.
The Baker 42-gallon 4-wheeler Tote-Along performance has been flawless to this point. Most importantly, the inlet/outlet has never clogged. Since I have not used its competitors, I can not say they are the best. I will say that it performed as I expected a portable RV tote tank should function.
Made RV Life Easier
The Barker 42-gallon 4-Wheeler Tote-Along has made our RV life easier. We do not need to hook up the RV every week to take it to the dump site and then set everything back up. I will agree with them that it can make RV life easier.
The Baker 42-gallon 4-wheeler Tote-Along comes with two 3” bayonet caps, a 3/4” cap, a 1/2x1’ hose with two female ends so you can flush the tank, a 3”x 5’ sewer hose, two 3” bayonet hose adapters for the sewer hose, two stainless steel 3” hose clamps to clamp the hose onto the adapters, and the bobber gauge full tank indicator kit. The Tote-Along does not include a sewer hose to drain the tank at the dump site like Thetford or Camco. I recommend not using the provided sewer hose, hose adapters, or hose clamps as your primary. Rather, I suggest using the Camco RhinoFLEX 3’ Tote Tank Sewer Hose Kit.
The Baker 42-gallon 4-wheeler Tote-Along has made our RV life more manageable. There have been no significant issues with the tote tank. Once, I broke the handle on the gate valve when I loaded it into the back of the truck (find out more here).
The tote has allowed us to empty our holding tanks without moving our RV. The four pneumatic tires enable it to roll across all types of terrain. Pulling a full tote across thick grass can be a bit strenuous.
An improvement we would like to see is Barker making a more comfortable handle to pull it with. The next improvement would be to provide better-quality accessories none at all.
Overall the Barker tote has been a great accessory for our full-time RVing, and we expect it to last several years.