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Bring Your Own Camping Toilet

Be comfortable wherever you camp!

Bring along your own camping toilet on your next camping trip and be prepared for anything!

If you have done a lot of camping, you know that campground bathrooms can range from the luxurious ...

... to the not-so-luxurious.

If you are a first-time camper, you might be a bit worried about just what you’ll find in that camp comfort station.

Why not eliminate the worry by bringing along your own facilities? Even if you never use your camping toilet, just knowing that it’s available might bring you some peace of mind.

Types of Portable Camping Toilets

Bucket Toilets

Here's a very basic and economical way to deal with the toilet issue: the "honey bucket".

You could make your own bucket toilet by placing a toilet seat on top of a large bucket. But what if the seat doesn't fit perfectly?

I think it's a better idea to buy a bucket with a seat that is designed to fit.

Some models, like the Reliance Hassock, come with a removable inner bucket to make waste disposal easier.

Or you can line the bucket with a disposable bag.

Folding Toilets

This is basically just a toilet seat on legs. You can hang a sturdy plastic bag below the seat.

It's a good idea to place a bucket under the bag, in case the bag breaks or leaks.

Folding toilets are very portable. Most will fit nicely on the floor of a car.

The Reliance Fold-To-Go is a good basic model.

It's not fancy, but it gets good reviews for its durability.

The TravelJohn doubles as an extra camp chair!

I’ve heard of backpackers who take a folding toilet into the wilderness.

They dig a hole, and place the unit (without a bag) right over the hole.

They say that this is more comfortable than squatting.

(I do neither. I follow the advice in this excellent book.)

The Travel Toilet gets very enthusiastic reviews. It is sturdy and comfortable, and even has a place for your toilet paper roll!

Unlike most other folding toilets, this can be used on soft ground. (The legs on other models will sink into soft dirt, toppling the toilet and the user!)

Portable Flush Toilets

If you want to get even fancier, you can buy a portable flush toilet.

These have the advantage of being most like a “real” toilet. Of course, they are heavier, bulkier and more expensive, and require a bit more work to maintain.

Especially for kids

When my children were young, they refused to use outhouses. We made our own portable potty for them by putting a children's toilet seat on a basin. That worked fine.

I wish I'd known about the Cool Gear Travel Potty! It's perfect not only for camping, but for potty training. It looks like a small briefcase when it's all packed up. You can take it anywhere!

When to use a camping toilet

En route to the campground

If you have small children, you know that you’ll probably have to pull over unexpectedly at least once en route to the campground. Maybe there will be a handy gas station with a restroom when you need it - but maybe there won’t!

If you’re in the middle of nowhere, you can always go behind a tree - but some children (and adults) aren’t comfortable doing that. Pull out your portable camping toilet, take care of business, and be on your way!

During the day

Comfort stations will be closed at least twice during the day for cleaning. Sometimes you just can’t wait!

At busy campgrounds, there might be a lineup in the morning.

If you are toilet training a young child, you'll appreciate having your facilities very close.

In the middle of the night

Perhaps the comfort station is some distance from your campsite. Or perhaps just getting out of your sleeping bag is hard enough, without adding even a short walk down the campground road. Set your camping toilet near the tent, and your slumber won’t be disturbed for long at all!

During the off-season

Some families like to camp early in the spring or late in the fall. You might find a campground that’s accessible, but chances are that the comfort station will be locked and the outhouses not yet regularly maintained. With your own camping toilet, you can “go” anywhere, anytime!

Back at home

Once you return home after your camping trip, keep your camping toilet easily accessible! If you have a plumbing emergency, a bathroom renovation project or more house guests than your bathrooms can serve, you’ll be very glad to have an emergency toilet.

If you live in an apartment, having a portable toilet makes unexpected water shutoffs less stressful.

People who make frequent nighttime bathroom trips appreciate these units - as do those with storm shelters.

Thinking about your family emergency preparedness plan? An emergency toilet is a great idea!

Who else uses portable camping toilets?

Campground campers aren’t the only ones who use these handy units! They are valued by others, too:

Hunters and ice fishermen

I hear that a camping toilet can double as a handy table in a hunting blind! And in the winter when the outhouses are closed, a portable toilet is valued.

Festival goers

Do you really want to use those porta potties?

Long haul truckers

There's not always a truck stop when you need one!

Overseas travelers

I heard of a group who went on a medical mission to a developing country and took their own portable toilet with them!

Now that you know everything there is to know about the camping toilet, you might want to read about comfort stations.

Remember - everything you need to know about your next camping trip is probably here somewhere! Begin your search at The Camping Family home page.

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