There are many things that people need to think about when they go camping.
Camping toilets are one of them. If you have never used or seen a portable camping toilet, then this article will help you understand how these toilets work and what is involved with using one on your next camping trip.
Table of Contents
What is a camping toilet?
A portable camping toilet often looks like a regular toilet and operates in a similar manner.
The key difference is that, unlike a normal toilet, a camping toilet does not flush the waste down the drain, instead the waste is stored in a removable tank at the base of the toilet.
The size of the tank varies depending on the model and type of camping toilet that you have but, one common factor is that, at some point, it will need to be emptied.
This tank also contains chemicals ( which you need to add ). These chemicals break down the waste and kill bacteria, helping to reduce smells.
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How do you use a camping toilet?
You use a camping toilet in the same way that you would use a regular toilet. The key differences are:
You need to assemble the toilet before use. Most camping toilets come in two parts – the top area which has a tank for freshwater and the holding tank which holds the waste.
You’ll add water to the top tank and chemicals to the lower tank and then assemble toilet.
For actual use well, there’s no real difference to the physical act – the only thing that you’ll find is in the flush system.
Typically you’ll pull a handle out which allows the waste to fall into the holding tank and then you’ll operate a hand plunger to pump water in – acting as the flush.
Do camping toilets smell?
In reality they smell no more than a regular toilet. If you keep it clean then a camping toilet will, in reality, only really smell for a few minutes after ‘the event’ – just like your toilet at home.
If you use an air freshener then any offending odours can be minimised.
Can you poop in a portable camping toilet?
Yes, you can use a camping toilet just as with a normal toilet.
The main thing to remember is that you have a limited storage capacity for waste so the more you poop the more you will have to empty the toilet.
How do you empty a camping toilet?
If you are on an organised campsite then there will be toilet disposal points available where you can dispose of your waste.
You ( or someone with a reasonably strong stomach ) will need to take the lower half of the toilet – the holding tank, to the disposal area.
Once at the disposal point you can unscrew the cap on the tank and you simply pour the contents down the drain.
It can be unpleasant for some people and you need to be careful to avoid ‘splash back’.
Taps will be available that you can use to rinse the interior and exterior of the tank afterwards to make sure that it is clean.
How often should you empty a camping toilet?
Well, this really depends on how much it is used and whether or not Number Twos are common.
Ideally you should empty the toilet once a week, more often if it is subjected to heavy use.
Can you empty a chemical toilet into the normal toilet?
You should always try to empty your camping toilet at a purpose designed disposal point at the campsite.
If you cannot do this then you’ll have no option but to pour the contents into the toilet at home or elsewhere, but, be warned there will often be a lot of waste and you could block your toilet up.
Can you empty a chemical toilet into a septic tank?
The chemicals that you use in a chemical toilet are designed to kill bacteria and they will kill the useful bacteria in a septic tank.
Unless you want problems you should not empty a chemical toilet into your septic tank.
Do you actually need a camping toilet?
If you are going camping and have access to no facilities then you’ll need to think about your toilet activities and how you are going ‘to go’.
Most campsites have toilets and you may not need to get a portable toilet however they can often be a walk from where you are camping and, at night, this might not be attractive.
If you have children then a portable camping toilet is a good idea, particularly for use at nighttime before bed.
Where can I get a camping toilet?
There are lots of options for purchasing a camping toilet.
Used ones are often available on sites such as eBay but you won’t know the history and many people, understandably, don’t want to buy a second hand toilet.
Places such as Amazon offer a wide range of camping accessories, which include chemical camping toilets and there are many different models available.
What is the best camping toilet to buy?
This really depends on your budget and probably the size of your family and how many people will be using it and prices can range from anywhere around $600 down to around $100.
A typical mid range toilet such as the LP-LLL Portable Toilet on Amazon is ideal for family camping trips and provides enough storage for 50 flushes.