Clearing the Air Around Odor Testing

marine head odor testing

Drew Frye

After several rounds of chemical testing for holding tanks, we have got this stink detection down to a science.

Because the masking chemicals are more effective in port-a-potty applications, there is only one true measure of effectiveness: whether the toilet still stinks after it is flushed.

marine head odor testing

Drew Frye

Since calibrating noses presents certain challenges, it’s nice to have an analytical number to compare as well. A hydrogen sulfide monitor, of the type used to test sewer gas, was used to back-up our sniff testing

We measured hydrogen sulfide (H2S) levels in the holding chamber, using a Honeywell Gas Alert Quattro meter.

marine head odor testing

Drew Frye

1. The door to the lab, a pre-fabricated shed, bears a chilling warning

2. As we did in our holding tank test, we used five-gallon buckets in place of the port-a-potty waste tank. They were only partially filled for the test.

3. The Reliance Double Duty bags works with its own camp-style toilets, but don’t fit well with marine port-a-potties.

4. The Toilet in a Bag proved to be highly odor resistant and strong. The bags cost a dollar each and the package comes with odor absorbing gel and a scoop for adding the gel.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida.


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