When you just have to….portable camping toilets

Ask any non-camper why they don’t fancy a tent or campervan and the answer will either be something to do with the weather or it’ll be worries about needing the loo. So, given that some of the Campfire Team have a campervan with no toilet, we’ve squatted to test and spotted the best camping toilet options!

 

First, though, why would you even need a portable toilet? Well, this weekend’s camping gave us three examples.

  1. A campsite pitch too far away from the toilet block to make a night-time trip all that convenient
  2. Waking up too desperate for a wee to put some clothes on and dash to the toilets
  3. Wild camping close to a road where it wouldn’t have been possible to use a bush discreetly
  4. And you can add to the list a few other eventualities such as busy loos in peak season and nasty loos at festivals.

Of course, it’s always better to try to use the facilities provided because, unless you’re carrying a portable composting loo, all other options aren’t environmentally ideal. Going to the toilet in the wild requires some work – you need to be 50 metres away from water and you need to dig a hole at least 15cm deep. You must cover your doings completely with earth and must put toilet roll or wipes into your rubbish bag. You can read more about this subject in the Mountaineering Council of Scotland’s guide. If you use one of the bags we mention below, you’ll be adding to the world’s mountains of plastic waste (unless you go for a biodegradable bag…read on).

Nevertheless, in an emergency, here’s what we recommend.

Portable toilets

Portable perhaps, but too bulky for most campers. These are for caravans, motorhomes and larger campervans without built-in toilets. Some even flush.

Fineway portable toilet

The Fineway portable toilet is essentially a bucket with a seat around it. Easy to empty and very lightweight. It’ll need cleaning out, of course. Also called the Kampa Khazi and the Sunncamp Lulu. A cheap option.

Branq portable camping toilet

Branq’s portable camping toilet is a one-piece bucket with a seat attached. Comes in a 15l and 22l option. Again, simple and made just to empty into a regular toilet.

Thetford Porta Potti Qbe camping toilet

The Thetford Porta Potti Qube has a pump flush and a waste collecting tank at the bottom that you can empty in a loo. A bulky one, but the same height as a regular toilet.

Dometic camping toilet

Similar to the Thetford (though cheaper), the Dometic toilet has a large pipe for easy emptying and a bellows flush. We like their fridges!


The bucket option

Collapsible bucket with lid

Outwell’s collapsible bucket with lid could be a cheap and space-saving option. You’ll need to hover, though, and beware pressing down on the edge or you could end up with a collapsed mess.

Olpro loo to go

Olpro’s loo to go is basically a bucket with a seat. Still quite bulky, but cheap.

bucket with lid for camping toilet

A plain plastic bucket with a lid could be all you need. Hovering required, but the cheapest option if you have space.


Folding toilets

bog in a bag camping toilet

The Bog in a Bag camping toilet has to be the neatest for storing. It’s a stool with a cover that removes to reveal a hole. Fit a bag over the top and you have a toilet. It’s not a large hole, so some positioning is required. Also see our advice on bags in the next section.

 

Biobag toilet

The Biobag folding toilet is great for storing. You just fit a bag over it. Again, see the section on bags. Trouble with this one is that we were sent one to test but there seem to be no retailers. We’ll update when we find a seller.

Popaloo camping toilet

Not really a folding toilet because you have to construct this one from a flatpack. The Popaloo is probably only for campers who’ll set it up in an awning or toilet tent. Takes bags (see below).


Bags for folding camping toilets

Disposa John toilet bagsThe folding toilets above all need bags. The Bog in a Bag and the Popaloo come with their own, but neither are biodegradable plastic. These, and the Disposa John bags do, however, have a sort of crystal-filled ‘nappy’ inside to soak up liquid. We think this is important because a plastic bag filled with sloshiness sounds like a disaster waiting to happen and isn’t pleasant for waste collectors. The Biobags (they come with the folding toilet above and are available separately on Ebay) ARE biodegradable, but don’t have anything to soak up liquid.

There’s nothing to stop you using any biodegradable bag, of course but you’ll want to check it for robustness.

If you’re choosing a folding toilet that needs a bag, our recommendation would be to buy biodegradable bags plus the Peebol or Travel John travel sickness bags described below. Tip the powder from the Peebol or Travel John into the bio bag and you’ve made yourself a degradable, liquid-catching loo.


Bags and portable urinals

There are some bags you can simply wee into without the need for a structure at all. Again, apart from one we’ve found, these aren’t biodegradable plastic so are only for emergencies.

Peebol toiletThe Peebol is a smallish bag with a cardboard rim designed so that women can hold it against their bodies to create a standing toilet. Men, of course, have an advantage here. It works pretty well as the powder inside immediately absorbs the liquid. There’s a knack to positioning it and to holding the cardboard so that you get a tight ‘seal’! Best done carefully over something that can catch spills, just in case.

Travel JohnTravel john urinals make bags with a special plastic top to fit to the body. Very similar to the Peebol, they contain something to soak up the liquid. There are Travel Janes, Johns, Family and Adventure options but they’re all pretty much the same. They also do a travel sickness bag, which is made of strong paper (no body-fitting top), so this is a possibility to use, as it is, for weeing, but also as a source of liquid-soaking powder for use in one of the bigger toilet-top bags. See how desperate we are not to waste plastic!


Weeing for women

When a bush or tree allows for a discreet wee, we women need a little help. Many people swear by the Shewee-type devices, which allow women to wee like a man…almost. I’ve never trusted them (something to do with my much-lauded fast weeing which seems to create too much flow-rate for the plastic tube), but they work for many. Use in combination with one of the Peebols if you’re feeling you need some help with your aim.

The choices are the reusable Shewee, which also comes with an option of an extension pipe (it really does!) and even knickers with a handy hole; the one-wee cardboard Peebuddy, and the bendable Whiz Freedom.

How can you resist something described as a “urine director”. Never did like his films! Whichever you choose, get one with a storage bag or box.

 


And some extras you might need:

Happy Going toilet roll

The glorious Happy Going. A waterproof toilet roll cover with disco lights! We take it along because it makes us smile as well as being useful.

Water wipes wet

We always take a couple of packs of these totally natural Water Wipes. Not dear, either.

Natural air freshener that really works. With 41 essential oils. Expensive but one little spray will do the trick.


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