wikiHow to Make a Camping Toilet

You may not have all the amenities of home when you're camping, but you can create a camping toilet that makes your camping trip more enjoyable. A camping toilet is helpful if you're in wilderness far from a bathroom and is easier on the environment than a ditch latrine.


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    Obtain a 5-gallon (18.9 liter) bucket or a milk crate to use as a receptacle. You will put sawdust in a plastic garbage bag that fits into the bucket. The sawdust will absorb waste and suppress odor.
    • Buy a snap-on toilet seat that fits on a 5-gallon (18.92-liter) bucket or a milk crate. Inexpensive, portable plastic toilets with folding legs are also available. Snap-on toilet seats or portable camping toilets are available online, from sporting goods stores and from discount department stores.
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    • Get sawdust from a sawmill or lumberyard or buy sawdust at a feed store. You need enough sawdust to cover the bottom of a plastic garbage bag in a bucket or milk crate 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) deep every time you use the camp toilet. You will cover your waste every time you finish using the toilet.
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    • Store the sawdust in a garbage bag during your trip.
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    Take along heavy-gauge garbage bags for your waste. You need more than 1 garbage bag for waste if you camp for an extended period. Take enough bags to change bags every 2 or 3 days, depending on the number in your camping party.
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    Set up your wilderness toilet at least 100 yards (91.4 m) downwind from your campsite.
    • Place a garbage bag into the 5-gallon bucket or milk crate and tie the bag at the top.
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    • Snap the toilet seat onto the top of the bucket or crate. Or unfold the portable toilet and place a garbage bag into position.
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    • When you are ready to use the toilet, place 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) of sawdust in the bottom of the garbage bag. Transfer the sawdust using a plastic cup or a plastic scoop of the type you use to dish out dog food.
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    • When you finish using the camping toilet, cover the waste with sawdust.
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    • Tie the sawdust storage bag closed when you are not using it so the sawdust remains dry. Set the bag near the toilet so the sawdust is handy when you need it.
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  • Tie the bag or bags containing the waste closed at the end of your camping trip and place the waste bag inside another bag. Tie the second bag closed. Place the bags in the bucket or crate and transport the waste back to civilization for disposal.
  • Keep toilet paper in a sealable plastic bag to keep it dry in case of rain or dew. Keep the toilet paper with you in the tent or your camping vehicle while you are not using the toilet and carry it with you each time.
  • If you find yourself in the wilderness without a toilet, make a latrine by digging a hole about 6 inches deep and several inches long and wide at the base of a tree. Lean back against the tree to use the latrine. Do not dig deeper than 6 inches as the topsoil contains microbes that break down the waste and paper. Cover the waste with dirt when you are done.

Things You'll Need

  • Snap-on toilet seat
  • Bucket or milk crate
  • Garbage bags
  • Sawdust

Article Info

Categories: Sustainable Living | Camping Hygiene