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: September 2019
Why do we need a camping toilet?
This weekend’s camping gave us three good reasons.
- 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 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 (get a cheap folding trowel with bag). 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 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!
The Bivvy Loo can hold a 23-stone person without collapsing (but don’t blame us if there’s a nasty accident!). Folds up and down in a second and has sachets of powder to solidify your liquids.
A biodegradable bag goes inside. A lid would be good, so we’d still prefer a bucket and lid if you’re happy to squat.
Bags for folding camping toilets
The folding toilets above all need bags.
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 are described as “degradable bags”…we haven’t been able to find out what Bog in a Bag mean by that exactly. 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
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!
Make your own pop-up private loo space with one of these toilet tents – or nip along to our article on tarps and see how easy
it is to make a more versatile shelter. Don’t leave it till you’re desperate to perfect your pitching, though! Great with camping showers as well.
The Quechua pop-up toilet tent for around £30 is a good choice, but it doesn’t have a roof, so better for warm climates. Bag included and 2m tall.