If you are a new camper, you may be feeling uneasy about using outhouse toilets. You may have even decided that you won't use them, ever!
I'm happy to be able to tell you that using a modern biffy is not a big deal!
I'll tell you everything I know so you won't have any surprises. Then you can decide if using an outhouse might be an option for you.
If you stay only in full service campgrounds, you'll probably never need to use an outhouse.
But if you want to get off the beaten track, you'll sometimes find yourself with no other option.
Being willing to use outhouse toilets means that you can camp in any campground, anywhere.
You'll be able to camp in remote locations, and enjoy more solitude than in a crowded full service campground.
Modern outhouses are designed to be easy to clean and almost odor-free.
Outhouse toilets in established campgrounds are cleaned regularly, just like regular bathrooms.
Modern outhouses may be fully accessible.
Occasionally, you might find what looks like an outhouse - and discover that it contains a flush toilet! Enjoy the unexpected luxury, but don't count on finding those everywhere.
Outhouses can range from the truly awful to the ordinary to the almost luxurious! I especially like the ones with clear plastic roofs.
I won't discuss the truly awful ones. You probably won't encounter one of those in an established campground. If you do, find another campground, quickly!
I particularly like open air outhouses. Not only do they stay relatively odor-free, but they come with a view!
Check out this great outhouse! Not only is it roofless, but it doesn't even have a door! Privacy is maintained by hanging up the "occupied" sign across the entryway.
I was apprehensive about using this outhouse at first - until I reminded myself that no one wanted to walk in on me any more than I wanted to be walked in on!
During my visit, I enjoyed watching lizards climb the walls. I liked the view of the sky, too. I wished I had brought my sunhat!
Here is the ultimate in open air outhouses. It has no roof, no door, and no walls!
I wish I had thought to take a photo from my place on this throne to share with you. You'll have to take my word for it that the view was inspiring.
Here are some tips for making your trip to the outhouse as pleasant as possible:
There may be a roll there - but there may not.
You don't want to be unprepared.
outhouses are brightly lit, but others are dim and shadowy.
It's nice to be able to see where you are going to sit!
You can read about headlamps here.
This will keep animals from entering the outhouse.
Our kids went through a phase where they didn't want to use an outhouse. That's perfectly understandable. That gaping hole can be scary!
Don't force the issue. Wait until your children are older and are ready to give it a try.
In the meantime, have another plan. Bring along a portable camping toilet - or make your own. We took along our kids' potty seat from home and placed it on a basin lined with a plastic bag. Set under a tree, this made a comfortable and familiar toilet.
If you're able to step outside your comfort level and give outhouses a try, you'll open up a whole new range of camping options. You might even find some great surprises - like this outhouse with a funky mural on the wall, reading material in a basket beside the toilet and recycled rearview mirrors above the sink!
You may even decide that you like using outhouse toilets! I do - as
long as they meet my standards. Using an outhouse reminds me that I am really camping!
Do you have more questions about family camping? Click here to go to The Camping Family home page.