A GUIDE ON BATHROOMS & HAVING A PORTABLE TOILET FOR CAMPERVAN LIFE
Although, I know this isn’t a luxurious conversation, it is still a part of our biological needs, and so many people have asked about the portable toilet for campervan life and where to go to the bathroom.
Have you ever seen that sticker, ‘Everyone Poops’, well it’s true!
After last week being kind of crappy, I figured this would be the perfect time to transition into talking more about a crappy topic, maybe it’s a little punny, but just a little Ha!
If that joke didn’t give the hint, then let me clarify and say that this article is going to be about going to the bathroom!! (That kind of crap!) Ha!
So, I’ve gone to the bathroom in the van in my toilet setup, establishments, and in nature. In other words, there is no shortage of options available!
WHERE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM
Surprisingly, there are actually quite a few options for places to go to the bathroom, including in the comforts of your own van.
Here are just a few…
Friends & Family
Undoubtedly, family and friends are usually accommodating and offer up their space when hosting, which is a great time to catch up on some hygiene needs!
However, don’t forget to extend out that favor as well, maybe pitch in to help clean or even make everyone dinner for a night. Just don’t forget to show your gratitude.
Rest Stops & Truck Stops
Fortunately, rest stops are consistently available and located almost every 30-60 miles on the main highways. Not only is their location convenient, but they are also open 24hrs, and even offer the ability to sleep there overnight.
Also, for truck stops, they typically have a pretty large bathroom and even private bathrooms that have showers!! Woo-fancy! Ha!
It’s no secret that we should get our recommended exercise every day, so why not use the restroom while we are already at the gym exercising? Plus, they have showers, it’s a total of two for one!
Coffee Shops & Restaurants
Most frequently, full-time travelers visit coffee shops for their free internet but most forget to mention that they are great bathroom spots too. Plus, they are usually kept a lot cleaner than most stops.
Let me start off by clarifying that waste can’t always be buried and also has some specific guidelines to it.
- The location for waste must be located 200 ft/ 70 big steps away from water sources (To avoid contamination)
- The ground must be soft enough to dig a hole (Otherwise the biological makeup of the soil may not be able to fully break it down)
- Dig a hole 6-8 inches deep, excrete waste, wipe, and pack out your toilet paper (As apart of the leave no trace principles) Typically 6-8 inches can be easily measured by the size of your trowel, check out this one here!
Also, once you’ve gone to the bathroom outside following these guidelines while backpacking, you’ll realize it can be applicable to camping and van life as well.
Over time, I’ve come to see a variety of campsites and one that truly stood out to me was a campsite that was filled with piles of poop everywhere!! I mean everywhere!!! Overall, there had to have been 20-30 miles with toilet paper and wet wipes on top.
It’s our obligation to respect our land and to be courteous to others by properly following these guidelines.
In our efforts of being courteous, it can allow others to enjoy the land as well as ourselves in the future.
Let’s face it, being around a bunch of crap smells awful, attracts a bunch of bugs, and runs the risk of stepping/falling in it. Plus, it’s just not a pretty sight, let’s be honest.
Toilet in the van
Having a toilet in the van is a great fallback, especially when in the city or in public areas.
After finding out that so many people had their bathrooms for employees only, they were dirty, or even that they had been shut down for maintenance, having the toilet was such a relief.
Heck, I even had a friend once that was stuck in stopped traffic for 3 hours, and she was so happy she had a toilet, sometimes there are just situations that call for having a toilet.
PS: Once you live in a van full-time, you’ll get in the habit of emptying yourself as much as possible when you’re already somewhere convenient. It saves on time, energy, convenience, and keeps hygiene more maintained.
PORTABLE TOILET FOR CAMPERVAN LIFE VS. A BUCKET TOILET
Firstly, when choosing a toilet, there are a few factors to consider, which are:
What I mean by this is that the toilet required more plastic moldings, more moving parts, and general labor to put together compares to a bucket and toilet lid.
In comparing a portable toilet for campervan life, which is anywhere from $60-100 to a bucket toilet, being around $20-$30, I personally chose the bucket toilet.
Ultimately, I decided that I didn’t really care about having the water to flush everything, I chose an alternative method for disposal. Not to worry, you’ll find out what I mean later in this article.
Comparatively, the weight can become important because it also means extra gas mileage costs, which is especially important considering a van is already heavy enough! (Some over 10,000 pounds!)
I also share more in this article about van life costs here.
So, cutting weight can cut gas costs too!
As far as the weight of the fancy portable toilet for campervan life, it can get up to be about 10.8lb without any water or waste. As for the bucket toilet, it only weighs 2.3lb without waste. That’s quite a difference!
Smell & Sustainability
As for the fancy portable toilet, what’s recommended to be able to keep the smell down with these toilets is to add water or even add chemicals, which is highly unsustainable. Unfortunately, the toilets are jus designed to hold those two elements.
However, with the toilet bucket, there are multiple opportunities for different mixtures. In other words, I had the opportunity to be able to mix a light litter in it to keep it from smelling and to make cleaning up easier.
Here is the most popular “fancy” portable toilet for campervan life…
Compares to a toilet bucket here…
BUCKET TOILET SUPPLIES
There are actually a couple of different options for a toilet bucket set up, one could be to have the bucket and lid already together or to buy them separately, but the rest of the supplies are the same though.
So, think of the litter as a sort of smell reducer that’s essentially better for the environment than chemical alternatives or even the constant water flushing.
Not to mention, this kitty litter is fully plant-based, made out of coconut by-products, and flushable, making it an easy choice.
It’s actually funny because my housemate was using a similar litter for her cat, and I immediately got inspired by the idea and had never seen it done before.
However, it is a very similar process to composting toilets, although just a touch different.
How else would this picture be complete if we didn’t have the scoop to go along with it?!
Seriously though, the scoop actually helps us to cover our waste with the litter, you’ll notice that the smell seriously dissipates and becomes so much more manageable.
Plus, this scoop is completely stainless steel, Yay for the environment and quality!
So, I know what you may be thinking, toilet paper is pretty obvious, right?! Yes, you’re totally right, but did you know that this isn’t just any toilet paper, I’m talking about sustainable toilet paper.
Check out this toilet paper here! It’s bamboo toilet paper, yay ECO-Win! Thankfully, bamboo is an amazing and booming resource that is easily grown, and is easily accessible and an amazing alternative compared to cutting down trees, just to wipe our butt!
Essentially, this loo portable toilet kit already comes together, and you don’t have to buy the lid and bucket separately.
Overall, either one you decide upon is a great option, I had personally just chosen the bucket and bucket lid separate because I got the bucket for free from a local grocery bakery, hence the Chocolate Dip-em Icing! HAHA!
I’ve got to say, I am pretty happy with the result of the bucket toilet, with the litter and scoop and I think you will be too!
Not only is it easy, but it smells better, is more cost effective, and can be a bit more customized to suit your needs.
Lastly, comes dumping the waste. Fortunately, there are actually multiple options for this, and it’s much easier than draining a large trailer’s waste or even a house’s septic system.
That being said, it’s just a small holding tank or bucket that can be easily lifted to where it requires disposal.
A few great dumping options are porta-potties, public toilets, or even dumping stations.
After dumping/flushing, simply just pour water into the bucket, rinse out, and dump the rest.
Afterward, just spray it with vinegar or alcohol, and you’ve got a clean and sanitized toilet! YAY!
So, this app can show dump stations and bathrooms, which makes it super multipurpose and convenient!
Simply, punch in your location and find stops closest to you, or along the way.
PS: Another amazing thing about this app is that it shows showers, Wi-Fi, laundry, and much more!!
For one thing, this app is great for road trips and vanlife alike, knowing where to find bathrooms, whether they require a key or even if they have a fee is incredibly helpful!
Now, if only they had ratings and reviews for these bathrooms! Ha!
I hope this article was able to make you giggle, add some insight, and take away any of those unsure thoughts of portable toilet variations.
HERE ARE SOME MORE ARTICLES ON VAN LIFE YOU MAY ENJOY:
- DISCOVERING THE ECO FRIENDLY ASPECTS OF LIVING OUT OF A VAN
- 10 SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS TO SIMPLIFY CAMPER VAN LIFE
- 6 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BECOMING A VAN LIFE TRAVELER
Check them out! Let me know if you loved this article and if this poop talk helped you open up a bit more to the van life possibilities! (Comment below!)