How to Construct an Outdoor Toilet

How to Construct an Outdoor Toilet
An outdoor toilet is a convenient amenity for camping, especially when you're remaining in one place for at least a few days; it provides privacy, some comfort and shelter from the elements.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Making the toilet

Things You’ll Need:
  • PVC oil drum Toilet seat Hacksaw or zip saw Two nuts and bolts Drill Shovel Canvas or another type of fabric Thread and needle Six 7' poles
  • PVC oil drum
  • Toilet seat
  • Hacksaw or zip saw
  • Two nuts and bolts
  • Drill
  • Shovel
  • Canvas or another type of fabric
  • Thread and needle
  • Six 7' poles
Step 1
Before setting out on the trip, prepare for the construction of the toilet by cutting one end off of a PVC barrel. Make sure this barrel is strong enough to support the weight of your heaviest friend without deforming. On the other end of the barrel, cut a large oval hole. Don't make this hole too big, because you'll be affixing the toilet seat over it. It's useful to use the interior of the toilet seat as a stencil: With a permanent marker, inscribe an oval on the top of the barrel, using the interior of the toilet seat as a guide. This will ensure that you cut the right dimensions and position the hole correctly.
Step 2
Drill two holes in the top end, where you will screw the toilet seat to the barrel. Again, using the toilet seat as a guide can be helpful to position the holes correctly.
Step 3
Screw the toilet seat to the top of the barrel, using the nuts and bolts to make the seat secure.

Siting the toilet at the campsite

Step 1
Find a suitable location for your toilet - not too close to the campsite but not too far away. Look for some trees or bushes that can add to the privacy of the toilet as well as disguise it from the casual passerby.
Step 2
Get your spade and dig a hole that is at least 3 feet deep, creating a roughly circular hole about 1/4 the size of the barrel. The deeper you can make the hole, the better the odor control.
Step 3
Position the barrel so that the hole is directly under the hole you cut in the top of the barrel. Make sure the barrel is secure. It often helps to dig a small trench around the hole into which the lip of the barrel will sit. You can use the dirt you brought out of the hole to stabilize the barrel around its outer edge.
Step 4
Keep the remaining dirt you dug out of the hole nearby; you will need this to fill in the hole when you're ready to leave the campsite.

Privacy

Step 1
Use the canvas or fabric to make a partition surrounding the toilet for privacy. Place four of the poles into the ground, in a square around the toilet, to constitute the frame. Wrap this frame with the canvas, making sure you have enough to completely surround the toilet. Attach one end of the canvas (or fabric) to one of the front facing poles and wrap it in sequence. You can tie the fabric to the poles or stitch it in place with the needle and thread (or twine). Remember to end with a flap that will act as the door. The flap should come to reach the first pole if you've measured the canvas and situated the poles appropriately.
Step 2
Use the remaining two poles for the door. One pole should be attached to the very end of the fabric. This should be measured so that, when the door is closed, this pole (which is acting as one end of the door) touches the first of the four poles of the surrounding frame. The other pole should be placed securely in the ground 3 feet to one side and near the last of the four framing poles; this will act as the hinge.
Step 3
A lock can be made with a rope that is fitted around the framing pole and the door pole. From inside, this rope can be tied end to end to prevent opening when the toilet is in use.

Dismantling the toilet

Step 1
All that is required to dismantle the toilet is to take down the canvas, uplift the barrel, and fill in the hole. It may be necessary to hose down the interior of the toilet, but this is unlikely if the hole was positioned correctly.
Step 2
Remember to fill the hole with dirt when you leave.
Step 3
Load the toilet into your trailer and head off to your next campsite.

Tips & Warnings

 
A toilet paper hanger can be made with a loop of twine hung through the canvas. Never ''flush'' with bleach or other chemicals. Be aware of the water table: Digging a hole into standing water can be difficult (although, in certain instances, it may help control odor). When using the toilet, burn a citronella candle. This will help control odor and keep away flies and mosquitoes. Use your imagination! This is by no means a definitive design. There are likely many improvements and adaptations you can make.
 
A toilet paper hanger can be made with a loop of twine hung through the canvas.
 
Never ''flush'' with bleach or other chemicals.
 
Be aware of the water table: Digging a hole into standing water can be difficult (although, in certain instances, it may help control odor).
 
When using the toilet, burn a citronella candle. This will help control odor and keep away flies and mosquitoes.
 
Use your imagination! This is by no means a definitive design. There are likely many improvements and adaptations you can make.
 
If you use a candle, remember never to leave it unattended.

Article Written By Benjamin Williams

Ben Williams is an award-winning reporter and freelance writer based out of Colorado. He has written for conglomerates of newspapers and magazines, supplying news, features, editorial and opinion. While running an Energy Services and Consulting firm, he now writes for multiple websites including the news site, Examiner.com.

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