It’s always a bit of a touchy subject when you talk about going to the toilet when camping. It is often one of the reasons why so many people choose to stay at home instead of getting out and enjoying nature! You can get a Portable Camping Toilet today in various types, depending on what you want. Believe it or not, you can actually have a set up that is in complete privacy, that doesn’t smell and that isn’t too costly either. Of course, it all comes down to what you can carry. When you are hiking you can’t really take a chemical toilet with you, so you are stuck with the usual squatting on the ground over a hole.
However, if you have the luxury of taking a car with you then you will most likely be able to get a toilet that works well. There are generally two types of toilets. The first is one that requires you to dig a hole to bury the waste, and the other type of toilet collects the waste in one way or another, and then you either bury it or dispose of it in a bin. Chemical toilets are usually a small box shaped item which can be used as a normal toilet and then the contents are buried after a few days of use (depending on how many people are using them). The chemicals begin the breaking down process and these toilets rarely smell at all.
The other Portable Camping Toilet that collects the waste usually collects it in a bag, hanging under the toilet. You can get replacement bags, but be aware that this is going to be an ongoing cost when you purchase the toilet. Often the bags will only fit one brand type too, which limits what you can do. The other option is to buy a Portable Toilet that simply allows the waste to fall down into a small hole that you have dug. These are quite cheap, but still allow for the luxury of sitting on something as a pose to holding yourself up!
The right way to go to the toilet when camping
There is nothing worse than going to a beautiful camping location to find holes dug throughout the whole area, with toilet paper sticking out of them (and that’s not as bad as it gets!). When you go to the toilet in the bush, you should always be at least 100 metres away from any permanent water source. This includes both still water sources (lakes and dams) and flowing water sources (like rivers and creeks). Ensure that you dig a hole that is at least 20cm deep (as a bare minimum) and bury your toilet paper and waste.
If you don’t dig a deep enough hole then you risk animals digging it up, and spreading waste throughout the camp sites. By taking the time to look after a location you are ensuring that you can go back year after year, without any problems. More importantly, you are preserving it for the thousands of other people that want to have the same enjoyment. If you are camping in a group and it’s possible to use one bigger hole and share it. Of course, this is not always possible.
Chemical Camping Toilets
Chemical Toilets are probably the most preferred, although they do have a few drawbacks. For starters, they require chemicals to function properly, which are an ongoing cost. On top of this, they are generally quite large, meaning that you lose a lot of space for other camping items (and you are usually hard pressed to find more space in a four wheel drive without a camper trailer or roof racks!). They are also the most expensive type of toilet to purchase, but they work well.
All you need to do is follow the instructions and use the right amount of chemicals. Teach everyone to ‘flush’ them if that is what is required and then you simply empty the tray into a hole when it fills up. These tend to block almost all of the smell, which is very attractive to the women! You can get fold up chemical toilets, but you tend to pay for them too! I know a few people that even take the waste home with them, sealed inside of the toilet and then empty it in their own toilet when they get home. Of course, this wouldn’t work if you were out camping for a long duration.
One of the most annoying (and embarrassing) things about a Portable Camping Toilet is that you don’t really have any privacy. On a recent trip into the sand dunes, I learnt that there is simply no where that you can hide with complete privacy. However, there is a solution. Like Shower Tents, you can get small tents that you set up specifically for people to go to the toilet in. If you have a chemical toilet you can even move the toilet out when you want to and use it to have a shower too. These are not that expensive, but they certainly make the ladies happy (and admittedly are quite a lot better than just squatting!).
Other bits and pieces that make Camping more comfortable
Those who don't like camping will tell you that it is dirty, difficult and not worth the effort. Those who go camping regularly will say that its easy, if you have the right gear and you know how to use it. Some of the things that I love to take camping include an Ice Chest (or fridge which is powered by a car battery or your Camper Trailer battery), Portable Shower, a quality Camping Light, a Coleman Air Mattress and Coleman Chairs. There are other things that are worth taking - see Camping Gear List and if you have most of these then your camping trips are going to be a lot more comfortable and as a result more enjoyable.
It does make a massive difference having a Portable Toilet though, especially if you have young kids (and the women love them!).