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Trash is one of those facts of RV life that everyone has to deal with. Drop the ball on trash collection and your camper can become filled with litter, not to mention a bit stinky. That’s why we decided to find the Best RV Trash Cans for Kitchen, Bathroom, and Outdoors. We even went a step further and we found the best RV Trashcans for Consoles, Collapsable RV Trash Cans that store easily and Narrow Trash Cans too!
Trash cans for your RV range from completely free up to over a hundred dollars. Most people go the free route, hanging one of the plastic shopping bags that pile up after every shopping trip from a convenient handle or hook. When the bag is full, the handles can be knotted together and the whole mess deposited in the campground dumpster or a gas station trash can.
Just be sure you inspect every bag for holes before putting it into service. Double bagging is a good idea for garbage and other wet, sticky or gooey trash.
Ideally, trash cans in your RV will have a secure place where they won’t turn over or roll around. A covered can ensures that trash won’t pop back out in the event of a sudden stop or sharp turn. Many people recommend square or rectangular cans, rather than round, to better use the limited space in an RV.
Covered cans come in a variety of styles, with swing-top lids, lids operated by foot pedals or the touch of a finger, or even with sensors that open the can when you wave a hand over it. Some have butterfly lids, which open to the side rather than straight up, another space saver. Some even have a voice-activated lid if money is no object.
To decide on your RV trash strategy, arm yourself with a tape measure and take a careful look around. Where can you put a trash can? What shape should it be? What kind of lid should it have?
Once you’ve found some likely spots, use your tape measure to determine the exact dimensions you need. Since you may be ordering some cans on the internet, you don’t want to be returning cans through the mail. If you’re shopping for a can in person, take your tape measure and list of dimensions along to the store.
Here are some popular locations for a trash can in an RV and some suggestions on the best models.
Best Trash Cans for an RV Kitchen
As a rule, space in RV kitchens tends to be tight. You’re trying to store food, dishes, eating and cooking utensils along with pots and pans, all in the same few cabinets. Also, the kitchen is likely where the most trash accumulates, not to mention the messiest, with garbage and food containers piling up.
Since you’ll probably be creating and throwing away more trash in the kitchen, one of the most practical and cost effective solutions is a holder for those plastic shopping bags discussed earlier. These come in several models. Look for one that holds the bag securely and keeps it open.
A model that clips to the edge of your kitchen counter or hooks over a cabinet door is convenient as you can easily push garbage into the bag as you prepare your meals. When it’s full, remove, tie it off and put in another bag. And, when it’s time to get back on the road, you can take the holder off the counter or cabinet and stow it. The mDesign Over the Cabinet Metal Wire Trash Bag Holder is a great trash bag holder.
If you prefer a more sturdy trash can with a lid in the kitchen, several styles are available. Ones that mount on the outside or inside of a cabinet door are convenient, but not very large. These can also be used in other parts of the RV, and have the advantage of being secured so they won’t wander while you’re driving.
Camco makes an inexpensive wall mounted model that is about a foot tall with a spring operated lid. Plastic grocery bags fit comfortably inside.
Larger kitchen trash cans appropriate for the cabinet under an RV sink or stove typically hold between two and three gallons and use the tall white kitchen bags. Features to look for include an inside bucket for easy removal; lids that stay open while you change bags; and a pedal operated lid, for hands-free operation.
HomeZone offers a stainless steel, 2 gallon can that has all these features. Be sure to include the height of the can with the lid open, when measuring your space.
Best Trash Can for RV Bathrooms
Space in RV bathrooms is at a premium… except for one, often underused area – the shower. Many people put their trash can in the shower stall, at least when on the road, to keep it out of the way. A really large trash can will fit in the typical shower stall, but keep in mind how heavy your can is since it will need to be removed when you want to shower.
Another option is a wall-mounted can that can go inside or outside a cabinet or be attached to a wall. See our suggestions for kitchen trash cans for suggested models.
Best Trash Can For an RV Console
Another spot where trash can accumulate in an RV is around the driver and passenger seats. A convenient container where you can quickly stow drink bottles and cans, used tissues, snack wrappers and other trash can keep this area neat.
Numerous manufacturers have tackled this problem and come up with some great solutions.
A bag that attaches to the back of your center console provides both a place for trash and pockets for maps and other items. Some can also hang over the back of your seat for use inside the RV or can be taken along on a picnic. Insulated bins can double as coolers.
Features to look for include a waterproof lining, a securely closing lid to control odors, adjustable straps, and the ability to fold up for storage. Look for one with a flexible opening in the lid for depositing trash without opening the entire bag.
The NJNJ Car Trash Can Garbage Bin has many of these features and is completely waterproof with an odor-blocking lid with soft, flexible slits and a “magic” sticker seal. The makers say it will even contain the smell of stinky baby diapers. It can attach to behind your center console, be secured between seats, or hang over the back of a seat.
For small trash, YIOVVOM’s Vehicle Automotive Cup Holder Garbage Can may be the perfect solution. This mini trash can sits in your cup holder and empties out easily during your next gas station stop.
If your RV or van lacks a center console, look for one that includes a covered trash bin, as well as cup holders and compartments for keys, change, sunglasses and other odds and ends. The Aumo-mate Car Trash Can Organizer packs all these features into a console just 6 inches wide. Remember to measure your space before you buy one.
Best Trash Can for Outside the RV
Having a trash can outside your RV is convenient, and will keep your campsite uncluttered. However, the downside is that you must empty it, or take it inside, every evening. To leave trash and food scraps outside is to invite visits from raccoons, bears and other critters that will spread your trash for yards, in addition to destroying whatever gets in their way.
The best option is an easily set up frame to hold a trash bag. At the end of the evening, the bag can be removed and walked to the campground dumpster. When it’s time to break camp, the frame folds up for storage.
The Bag Buddy Bag Holder has a lightweight wire frame that assembles quickly. It will hold a 39-45 gallon bag securely and is handy for trash, leaves, and other items that you might want to bag.
Thetford’s StorMate Garbage Bag Holder is a more secure option. The easily assembled plastic frame will hold plastic bags from 13 gallons up. The advantage of this model is the built-in lid which keeps flies and other insects out of your garbage… and away from your campsite.
Many campers find it convenient to have a small trash can on their picnic table to collect used napkins, bits of trash and food, etc. A large coffee can is great for this use and can be easily emptied into a larger bag every evening. If you don’t drink coffee, plastic jars with screw on lids are available at many discount stores.
Best Collapsible RV Trash Cans for Storage
Perhaps the simplest trash solution, for outdoors and in, is to lay in a supply of the collapsible trash cans sold for parties. You simply open them up, fill them up, then throw them away. Since they store flat, you can conveniently carry them in your RV.
For something a bit more permanent, Coghlan’s Pop-Up Trash Can is a great solution. It collapses quickly for storage and expands just as quickly when you need it. A garbage bag goes inside, secured by clips along the top edge to keep it from slipping down. Grommets around the lower edge allow you to stake it down for outside use, even in windy weather.
Best Narrow RV Trash Can
You likely identified a lot of unused space in your RV as you took your inventory, but of unusual sizes where typical trash cans may not fit. Not to worry. Numerous narrow trash cans are available to fit the slimmest space.
Trash – it’s not the prettiest topic, or the most pleasant. But it’s a reality of life. Plan ahead to keep your RV uncluttered and smelling good.