One of the first things and issues that campers run into is how to go to the bathroom. Of course whenever you go camping you commit to leaving your luxuries behind, but does that mean toilets too? Well it depends on your situation and whether you are backcountry camping or staying at an official campground in a national park or a private campground. Here I have put some of my thoughts down about my camping toilet experiences. I will inform you of the many different options to get your business done.

A camping toilet in a national park

When it comes to camping at a national park or private campground there are almost always bathrooms that you can use. This includes toilet paper and sometimes showers, however you should still bring toilet paper with you just in case. It would be very unfortunate to excitedly walk to an actual bathroom on your trip only to find out that there is no toilet paper.


No running water – the sawdust toilet

Now sometimes this means there is not running water in the toilet which can really make it smell. These bathrooms also tend to have an increased amount of bugs which can make for an unpleasant experience as well. With a camping toilet like this there is normally sawdust to throw in after you have used it. It can be handy to take some air freshener with you if you have a sensitive nose. Although this might seem like really nasty stuff it is still better than the other option you have.

A return to nature – dig your own hole

The second option includes not having these standard man made bathrooms whether they are dirty and stinky or not. Instead of using those bathrooms you will have to go to the bathroom the old fashioned way. This actually includes making your own toilet, which not many people expect to do on a camping trip.

  • The first tip is to bring a shovel, and for a lack of better words this shovel is commonly known as a poop shovel. Now with this shovel you are going to simply start digging a hole which will be your own handmade toilet.
  • The next tip is to make this hole behind a fallen log or a stump. This log/stump will act as your toilet seat for you to sit on, that way you are not sitting on a hole and essentially sitting on your own waste.
  • Now you need to remember to bring toilet paper with you of course. However if you run into a jam you could use leaves, but remember “leaves of three, let it be”. The last thing you want to do is use poison ivy as toilet paper, that would be extremely unfortunate.

Remember to cover up and leave no trace

Now once you have done your business, you simply take that dirt that you had dug up and throw it right back where it came from. You will be covering the waste that you just put in the hole so nobody else will know that it even happened. It is also good for animals so they do not mess with it either.

Hygiene when going to toilet

Staying clean is a must when you use the toilet at all times. It more difficult when you are camping or out in the wildness. For me it’s about making sure you are prepared. I normally keep a little zip lock plastic bag with my toilet paper. In my Zip lock bag I make sure I keep hand sanitizer so I can keep my hand clean. For more information on camping hygiene why not visit Rei for more details

Final words

So at the end of the day, most official campgrounds have bathrooms that you can use but you should bring toilet paper with you just in case. Now if there are no bathrooms, you will need to invest in your own personal shovel and dig up your own toilet. Remember to sit on a log, bring toilet paper, and cover it up when you are done. Hopefully this was helpful and enjoy your next camping outing!

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