One of the most asked questions for camping, hiking, and the outdoors in general, is what to do when you have to use the restroom. It’s a confusing and private subject, and some readers may not appreciate the bluntness of discussing such a thing.
However, when you have to go to poop, you need camping toilet ideas, and fast! There are few bodily functions that require as much urgency as relieving oneself. Today, let’s talk about how to go to poop when you’re out in the wilderness.
MOST CONVENIENT: USE NORMAL TOILET FACILITIES
One idea is to simply stick to recreational fields that have on-site restrooms. Most of these restrooms will be self-composting, so they won’t be as sparkly, clean, and wonderful to smell like a normal public restroom. They will also have special toilet paper, which doesn’t feel as quality or comfortable as a normal public restroom paper.
These have a tiny learning curve to them, simply read the signs on the walls or doors and you should be all set. Take extra care with baby disposable products and feminine hygiene products, as marked on such instructions. If you’re still not sure, just ask. Most people would be happy to help, even if the question is embarrassing.
What I like the most about these facilities is that I know that all of the human waste is being treated properly and isn’t harming the environment. They also tend to have disposable toilet seat covers, in case you are worried about germs.
However, there are a couple of downsides to these public park restrooms, such as being at mercy of others who have come before you. Not everyone is nice, proper, or clean and sometimes others have left unhappy messes.
They can also be a bit smelly if you aren’t used to it. Lastly, only going where these park restrooms are at limits your destinations to the touristy spots easily marked on the map. You won’t be in the thick of wildlife nor off the beaten trail.
MOST PORTABLE: PURCHASE YOUR OWN TOILET FACILITY
There are many products that you can buy online that simulate the necessities of bodily functions. They tend to look like a toilet but have disposable or composting waste bags. Some of them even have lids reminiscent of a real one.
You can shop for whichever product suits your needs and preferences the best, and this can aid comfort. I recommend reading the instructions for the product of your choice ahead of time so that there won’t be unpleasant surprises.
I also recommend trying this in the privacy of your backyard before you go on your trip – you don’t have to actually use it. Go through the motions to familiarize yourself with how it would work and what else you might need to bring to plan your trip ahead of time. Just remember to tie or knot the top of your used baggie tight so that nothing can escape.
MOST AFFORDABLE: MAKE YOUR OWN CAMPING TOILET
This is one of the camping toilet ideas that requires your hands and a little time. I have an easy plan for you to make your own portable toilet. Essentially, you take a five-gallon bucket and give it a more suitable rim, such as a pool noodle, pipe insulation, or an actual toilet seat of some kind. You can even use the five-gallon bucket lid if you cut a hole in it.
A disposable bag goes inside to catch the waste, but I prefer to double-bag everything, just in case.
The nice thing about this option is that you can take pride in your work, and customize your portable unit to how you feel is best for you. Remember to tie up your baggie tight. The bad part is figuring out what to do with the waste. Read on to know how to handle it.
MOST DESPERATE: DIG YOUR OWN HOLE
When you’ve come unprepared and there are no restroom facilities nearby, then there aren’t any other ideas to resort to than digging your own hole and doing your business. For this, you’ll simply need a shovel or spade of some type. If there isn’t any, perhaps you can find a sharp rock or sturdy stick to dig with. Once you’ve done your business, cover it up with earth.
Hopefully, you have something that you can use as toilet paper. If not, you’ll have to resort to what large leaves are around you. But beware, some leaves can cause allergic reactions, such as poison ivy and poison oak. That’s why it’s always good to familiarize yourself with the camping site that you will be going to so that you know what your options are.
WHERE CAN I DUMP MY PORTABLE TOILET WASTE?
Firstly, see if there are any receptacles or trash containers near you that have signs accepting it. Another idea is to look for bear-proof trash containers. See if there are any RV parks nearby that will accept it. Lastly, when you are truly desperate with nothing around you, you can try to bury it.
WHAT TO DO WITH OTHER SOILED WASTE PRODUCTS?
There are other types of human waste, such as disposable hand wipes, diaper products, feminine hygiene products, used tissues, and others. Simply put them in a double baggie and keep them tightly shut, so you won’t be able to smell them. Dumb them at your nearest trash can.
EXTRA TIPS TO STAY PREPARED AND CLEAN
Remember, always bring extra toilet paper, because you never know which rolls will get lost, end up wet somehow, or be needed to clean up a spill. Bringing disposable hygienic or anti-bacterial wipes are also a good idea as they are versatile for many purposes.
Lastly, don’t forget to bring some hand sanitizer for after you’ve done your business. This keeps your hands clean, especially in a place with other unknown germs and bacteria, and especially around the food that you might eat on your camping trip.