In this article, we review and compare some of the best camping toilets available to purchase online in 2018 and provide a guide for how to find the best camping toilet for your next adventure!
No matter how far away from civilization you’re next adventure takes you, you’re still human.
You can shed every modern amenity from your life as you traverse the great backcountry but the fact is at some point you’re going to have to relieve yourself.
Whether its number one or number two nature is going to call and holding it in isn’t an option.
That doesn’t mean you have to forgo all the rules of proper hygiene and etiquette and answer nature’s call like an animal.
In fact, there are a number of reliable portable camping toilets available that you can bring on your camping trip to make the bathroom experience more decent.
TYPES OF CAMPING TOILETS
There are a number of different camping toilet options you have to choose from.
There are portable toilets that use water, dry toilets, composting toilets, toilet seats for buckets, WAG Bags, or just good old-fashioned holes in the ground.
Some people refer to portable toilets as chemical toilets since many of these toilets use chemically treated reservoirs.
These reservoirs help to reduce odors and partially disinfect the waste.
The type you go with depends on your pre-existing setup.
Most of the portable and composting toilets will fit into an RV.
If you’re simply just camping a portable toilet or dry toilet might work best as they weigh less.
If you’re simply just camping then a shower/bathroom tent might not be a bad idea to offer some privacy.
Especially if you’re bringing your wife or girlfriend!
Composting toilets weigh a lot more but are better for the environment and work well in RV’s.
WAG Bags are good for lightweight backpackers.
HOW DOES A CAMPING TOILET WORK
Using a camping toilet is incredibly easy.
You simply sit on one like you would any normal toilet and do your business.
Depending on the type of toilet that you have they all work a little differently, but for the most part, they all collect the waste in a tank below the seat.
Some work where you use water to flush waste down and some toilets are dry.
There are also some camping toilets that use chemicals to break down the waste.
Your camping toilet will no doubt require cleaning and the manufacturers have factored this into their design.
Each toilet will require a process for removing waste from the bottom tank by removing certain latches that connect the tank to the toilet.
There will also typically be a process for deodorizing and disinfecting the toilet reservoir and the bowl itself.
Check your toilets directions for specific instructions.
WHAT IS A DRY TOILET
A dry toilet, otherwise known as a waterless toilet, is a toilet system that works without flushing water.
Simply speaking the dry toilet is just the frame and apparatus of a normal toilet combined with some kind of waste collection tank or reservoir.
These are most often used as port-a-potties, and in developing countries where you’ll find dry toilets hooked into entire septic tanks.
There are newer models of camping toilets coming out like the Laveo Dry Flush Toilet that is battery powered and uses sheets of aluminum to automatically wrap your waste and store it in the attached tank.
Your other option is a composting toilet which collects urine and solids in different compartments while composting the solid waste using proper composting materials.
The composting toilet is a little more labor intensive and heavier than the standard dry or camping toilet but is more environmentally friendly and the resulting compost can be placed back in the ground if you’re in the woods.
For campers who want to poop in a somewhat civilized manner, a dry toilet is a great add-on to your camping setup.
(are we feeling sexy yet?)
For the ultralight backpacker, day hiker, or even car campers just looking to stay as minimalist as possible, a WAG bag is the way to go!
WAG BAGs work great for alpine and winter environments, rivers and canyons, oceans and lakes, big walls and popular trails.
They’re a double bag system that opens up to catch and hold your waste.
Inside the bag, there are crystals that gel your waste and render it inert.
Once complete toss your TP in the bag with the waste and seal the bag nice and tight.
Toss it in the next trash can you see on the trail.
For the crafty camper, you can create a makeshift thrown out tall rocks and the WAG bag below.
TOILET SEAT FOR BUCKETS
Of all the camping toilet options, attaching a toilet seat to a bucket gives you the most flexibility as far as mixing cost-effectiveness with modern comfort.
Some people refer these toilet seats as camping commodes and are incredibly easy to use.
Toilet seats like the simply latch onto a 5-gallon bucket to create a usable toilet solution.
Take it one step further and line the bucket with a WAG bag or any trash bag for that matter for easier cleanup.
HOW TO PROPERLY POOP IN THE WOODS
Right about now some experienced campers might be thinking to themselves, “Why do I need a camping toilet? When I camp I just find a spot and squat.”
That is no doubt a viable way to relieve yourself in nature and how it’s been done since man first started walking on 2 legs.
While a bear can poop wherever he pleases, we bipeds have to obey certain rules to cut down on pollution and keep nature beautiful.
One of the biggest rules to follow is the Leave No Trace set of ethics which break down into 7 core principals that promote conservation in the outdoors. These include:
- Plan ahead and prepare,
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces,
- Dispose of waste properly,
- Leave what you find,
- Minimize campfire impacts,
- Respect wildlife,
- Be considerate of other visitors.
When it comes to pooping in the woods Leave No Trace encourages campers to move at least 200 feet, or 70 BIG steps away from any water source, digging a hole 6-8 inches deep and then covering the fecal matter with dirt.
If you’re in the desert this can be a 4-6 inch hole.
Always remember to pack out any toilet paper you’re using and don’t leave it in the hole with your waste.
Following these steps will help to keep your camping carbon footprint low by
- Minimizing contamination
- Minimizing social/aesthetic contamination
- Minimizing the spread of disease
- Maximizing decomposition