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 marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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