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…here are the best camping toilet options – tried and tested!
Latest update: March 2020
Why do we need a camping loo?
This weekend’s camping gave us three good reasons for having our own camping toilet.
- A campsite pitch too far away from the toilet block to make a night-time trip all that convenient
- Waking up too desperate for a wee to put some clothes on and dash to the toilets
- Wild camping close to a road where it wouldn’t have been possible to use a bush discreetly
- 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 the natural way!
You need to be 50 metres away from water and you need to dig a hole at least 15cm deep (get a cheap folding trowel with bag like the silver MiniScoop or our favourite multi-use Redcamp). 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 need something more like a real toilet, read on…
Portable perhaps, but too bulky for most campers. These are for caravans, motorhomes and larger campervans without built-in toilets. Some even flush.
The simple toilet bucket option – add a biodegradable bag for number twos!
Remember that if you use a normal plastic bag in these bucket toilets, you’ll be adding to the world’s mountains of plastic waste. Make sure your bags are properly biodegradable (like Green Elephant bags).
It’s better to half-fill the bucket with water and then you can dispose of the whole lot down a normal loo when you reach civilisation.
Another option is to use cat litter in the bottom to absorb liquid and smells, but go for a natural (and lighter to carry) wood-based one.
Bags for folding camping toilets
Many camping toilet bags (and the Travel John bags) 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.
Make sure the bags (or system) you buy are properly biodegradable and preferably home compostable.
The bags we prefer are the Green Elephant biodegradable ones. They’re made from plant-derived resin, vegetable oils, and compostable polymer and have the advantage of a stated length of time – 45 days to decompose (a year’s shelf life, though).
Around £12 for 15 BIG bags suitable for any toilet or bucket.
These Bog in a Bag refills are described as “degradable bags”…we haven’t been able to find out what Bog in a Bag mean by that exactly, but degradable is VERY different from biodegradable.
Manufacturers really need to start being honest about the length of time it takes for the plastic to break down.
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.
Weeing for women
The reusable Shewee, comes with an option of an extension pipe (it really does!).
And some extras you might need
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 (and only £5).
Natural air freshener that really works. With 41 essential oils. Expensive but one little spray will do the trick. Good if you’re toileting inside your tent or campervan!
We love the Qeedo quick-erect tents, so this utility/shower tent is a winner. Up in 30 seconds thanks to the snap-in-place poles. Drain holes in the foldaway floor, pockets, hooks and plenty of room. Head height 2m. Around £85
Lovely design but make sure you peg and guy it well in windy conditions (hee hee). The flexible structure of this £30 Olpro utility tent make it easy to put up, but a bit prone to bending in a breeze.