How to Make a Compact Camping Toilet

How to Make a Compact Camping Toilet
A serious issue for long-term backcountry camping is sanitation. It is often impossible to carry all of one's own waste out of a remote area, and in any situation where a camp will be set for more than an overnight cries out for a stable toilet. Thankfully, making a toilet in the field is really just an easy matter of building a compact, easy-to-haul seat and cover and bringing it along with a shovel.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Plastic crate with solid sides and bottom Buck knife Staple gun Burlap or canvas Marker Camping spade
  • Plastic crate with solid sides and bottom
  • Buck knife
  • Staple gun
  • Burlap or canvas
  • Marker
  • Camping spade
Step 1
Find an old plastic crate with solid walls for the sides and bottom. Hand-holds are OK, but the crate needs to essentially be a sturdy plastic box without a top.
Step 2
Use the buck knife to cut out any errata that is on the inside of the crate, like bottle holders.
Step 3
Cut a round hole that is between 4 and 6 inches in diameter just off-center of the bottom of the box. This is now the top of your toilet.
Step 4
Staple pieces of canvas or burlap to cover up anything like hand holds that might be in the box. Then use a marker to trace the outline of the top of the toilet onto more burlap or canvas. Cut out this section, fit it to the top of the box, and staple it three or four times along one side of the square or rectangle. This will make it a flap for covering the top of the toilet.
Step 5
Carry the toilet into the field by setting it either in the bottom of your backpack, or on the top of the outside of it, whichever proves more convenient.
Step 6
Set up the toilet by digging a hole with your camping spade that is smaller than the width of the box, and at least 1 foot deep. This should be downhill from and at least 50 feet from any possible water sources. Leave the pile of displaced dirt and the spade in a handy spot near the toilet.
Step 7
Throw a little dirt into the toilet whenever it is used, and keep the cover over the top whenever the toilet is not in use. This will prevent flies from going into the toilet, and then coming out to crawl all over both you and your food.
Step 8
Fill in the hole with the remaining dirt when you are ready to dismantle the toilet. Rinse out the interior of the crate before carrying it to a new destination in/on your pack.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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