Should You Get a Camping Toilet For Your Tent?

There’s nothing quite like using the bathroom out in the forest! Dropping trough and squatting over a hole is never a pleasant experience. Hope you didn’t have that extra bowl of chili.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could bring along your own portable toilet? They actually make portable toilets designed for camping and boating trips. How do they work and should you buy one for your tent?

Do You Need a Portable Tent Toilet?

A portable tent toilet could be really convenient, but do you actually need one? Getting up in the middle of the night to find the facilities is never fun. So should you get a toilet for your tent?

Main Reasons To Get a Tent Toilet

  1. Young Children: If you have young children you need to have somewhere for them to go to the bathroom. Unless you want to walk to the bathroom every hour you’ll need a in camp toilet. This could be a small chemical toilet, 5-Gallon Bucket Toilet, training toilet or basic cathole.
  2. Pee At Night: If you get up to take a pee more than once per night you’ll probably want a toilet nearby. When primitive campsites are close together you won’t be able to pee in the wild. Trudging through the cold in the middle of the night to a bathhouse is going to be a serious pain in the butt.
  3. Far Away From The Bathrooms: It all comes down to convenience. You won’t want to walk all the way to the bathroom if it’s on the other side of the park.
  4. Camp Toilets Are Nasty: I’ve been to a lot of campgrounds throughout my life that only have a basic outhouse or porta-potty. This isn’t a big deal for men, but no woman wants to squat over a nasty outhouse toilet.

Why Did I Buy a Camping Toilet?

Years ago when my children were little I decided that we needed a toilet to take camping and out on our boat. Every parent knows a child can’t go more than 1-2 hours without going to the bathroom.

I went to the store and purchased a small chemical toilet just like this one and it was perfect for my families needs. The kids were able to go to the bathroom late at night without having to venture away from the tent.

Buy Toilet Chemicals

Camping toilets all work basically like a portable porta potty, so you’ll need to buy some chemicals. I always went with the Walex Porta-Pak brand chemicals, because that’s what I found at my local RV store.

There could be better options out there, but these work just fine. Simply toss the little pod in your toilet and your good to go. It automatically deoderizes the tank and breaks down waste/paper.

We Had a Strict No Poo Policy

Doesn’t matter what type of chemicals you use poop is always going to smell nasty. Who wants to bring that smell into your campsite next to where you eat and sleep.

Setup a Seperate Toilet/Shower Tent

Nobody wants to poop where they sleep so your going to have to get a seperate pop up toilet/shower tent. Most of these tents pop up instantly and offer enough privacy to do your business.

Given its low price, this popup tent is surprisingly nice. It’s the perfect size for setting up a bathroom, shower and changing room.

Is There a Cheaper Option?

There are loads of different options on the market, but I would probably go with a simple 5 gallon bucket toilet. Check out this toilet seat designed to go on the top of a bucket. It’s simple, cheap and surprisingly handy.

You can also save some space by going with a portable folding camp toilets(Check Them Out). These are basically just a toilet seat with a plastic bag attached. You’re basically pooping/peeing into a garbage bag for later disposal.

Most Adults Don’t Need a Camping Toilet

As time went on and everybody got older the toilet started to become a serious hassle. It’s heavy to haul in and most adults can hold it until they get to a public facility.

Crowded public campgrounds are the only time I would still consider bringing my own toilet. You likely won’t have the privacy to dig a cathole and heading to the facilities in the middle of the night would be a huge hassle.

What if The Campground Doesn’t Have a Toilet?

While there are a lot of campgrounds that supply guests with a toilet, some don’t have the facilities. Without a portable toilet you’ll just have to dig a cathole and take a squat.

Primitive campgrounds very rarely have toilets and when they do they’re normally a primitive outhouse. You’re almost better off digging your own hole to avoid the stench.

You Probably Won’t Use The Toilet Much

You’ll quickly discover that you probably won’t use a portable toilets as much as you thought. I’m lucky I didn’t get a divorce the way I patrolled that toilet.

You quickly turn into the toilet police when you’re the one that has to clean the thing. My wife wasn’t the one that hauled that tank up to the dump station every other day.

Tanks Fill Up Fast

You really need to keep in mind just how quickly these tanks fill up. With a family of four(two small kids) I was dumping my tank almost everyday and that was without solid waste.

Could have probably pushed it to every 2-3 days but I didn’t want to risk overflow. You’ll also have to deal with seepage as you travel to the chemical disposal site.

Remember you have to either haul that tank behind you or put it in the back of your car. I wasn’t overly thrilled with either of those options.

Emptying The Tank

When your tank finally fills up you’ll have to find a Chemical Waste Disposal Area. Most campgrounds have a designated hole that you dump your tank into.

Just dump your tank down into the hole and hopefully there’s a hose to rinse everything off.

Dumping Into A Standard Toilet

Have you ever seen a “No Dumping” sign in the bathroom? This is to stop people from dumping their tanks into standard toilets. If you see a No dumping sign at a campground there’s probably a designated chemical waste station.

If there isn’t a waste station you’ll have to dump your tank into the toilet. You’ll have to slowly dump your tank into the toilet without accidentally clogging it.

This is going to take a lot of flush and rinse cycles to avoid clogging. Just dump a small amount of waste into the toilet and flush it down. Repeat until you’ve completely emptied your tank.

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