For those who are new to camping but are willing to give it a try, one of the first questions that probably come to mind is about the bathroom facilities. While it is never a fun topic to discuss, it is one of the most important aspects of camping. You must be sure to properly dispose of your waste in order to preserve the campsite for those who will be camping after you are gone. The following are some options to consider:
The "Dig a Hole" Option
The most basic option for many campers is simply digging a hole to use as a restroom. This primitive option works fine for anyone who has no qualms about using the outdoors as a toilet. There are some key things to keep in mind if you plan to use this option.
First, it needs to be a fairly deep hole to prevent any woodland creatures from digging it up and making a mess near your campsite. At least 12 inches is ideal for one time use. If you intend to use the same hole for the duration of your camping trip, you may want to consider digging a fairly large pit using a shovel or pick ax to ensure it is big enough to last. Also, be sure to cover up any waste immediately after with some dirt or dead leaves collected from around the campsite.
You should also never place your bathroom area near a water source, like lakes, rivers, streams, or wells. Doing so can cause pollution to not only your own water source, but also to the animals that visit those areas.
In addition, never have your bathroom area near your camping area. This is not the most sanitary option, so the further away you can get it from your tent, the better off you will be. Also, be sure to fully clean up the site once you leave. Be sure to bury all waste to prevent issues for other campers.
The Bucket Option
Another inexpensive camping toilet option is the five-gallon bucket and trash bags. Yes, it does sound disgusting, but this is a very widely accepted bathroom option among campers. It only requires a bucket, some trash bags, and cat litter if you so choose to use it. You may also want to cushion the top of the bucket so it is more comfortable to sit on. A foam pool noodle cut to the circumference of your bucket is a very cheap way to do this. You can also purchase specialized toilet seats that attach to the bucket and close with a lid when not in use.
When you are ready to use the bucket, line it with two trash bags and use it as you would a regular toilet. Sprinkle some cat litter into the bucket when you are done. Be sure to properly dispose of the waste using a camp dump station to ensure everything remains sanitary.
Portable toilets (such as those from Walters Portable Toilets) are quickly becoming the norm among campers. These are perfect for those who shudder at the thought of using the other options. You can purchase a small portable toilet for your camping use, or you may be able to rent a larger one if you are camping with a large group. You would have to check the regulations of your camping site to see if this is permitted.
Portable toilets are just like those you would find in your home as far as function goes. After use, you simply flush it into an attached holding tank and dispose of it at the dump station or into a regular toilet once you have access to one.