How to Make a Toilet for Camping

How to Make a Toilet for Camping
A necessary part of backcountry camping is proper, sanitary waste disposal. Great care needs to be taken in selecting a site for the camp's toilet. Precautions must be taken so as not to contaminate the local water supply and to control flies. Slacking off on making a proper camp toilet opens the door to a host of illnesses, and is a good way to ruin the trip.


Difficulty: Easy


Things You’ll Need:
  • Wooden or plastic crate Buck knife Permanent marker Measuring tape Canvas Staple gun Camp spade
  • Wooden or plastic crate
  • Buck knife
  • Permanent marker
  • Measuring tape
  • Canvas
  • Staple gun
  • Camp spade
Step 1
Get an old wood or plastic crate of the right size that it would be comfortable to sit on. It should have solid sides, as any openings on the sides will need to be covered with canvas and this will greatly increase your work. Try to find one that has only hand holds, or better still, no openings at all. A solid bottom is an absolute necessity.
Step 2
Cut away any bottle holders or other such obstructions from inside the crate.
Step 3
Use a permanent marker to draw a round hole on the bottom of the crate, just off center and about the size of a toilet seat hole. Cut that hole out with your knife. With the hole made, the bottom of the crate just became the top of your camp toilet.
Step 4
Measure, mark, and cut lengths of canvas to cover any openings in the sides, including the hand holds. Fasten that canvas with a staple gun.
Step 5
Measure, mark and cut a section of canvas to serve as a cover for the toilet. It should be sized to cover the top of the crate, and stapled three or four times across one side, so it can be drawn aside like a flap.


Step 1
Strap the crate to the top or bottom of your pack so it can be carried around. As it is hollow and wider than your hips, it should fit easily around the pack.
Step 2
Choose a sanitary spot and dig a pit latrine with the camp spade. This should be downhill from any local water sources, and at least 50 feet away. The hole should be at least a foot deep, and preferably deeper.
Step 3
Place the crate over the hole. Leave the camp spade by the pile of dirt that was displaced when you dug the pit latrine.
Step 4
Take the spade and put some dirt down the toilet whenever it is used. Leave the canvas toilet cover over the top whenever the toilet is not actually in use.
Step 5
Remove the crate and rinse it out when breaking camp, and fill in the pit latrine with the remaining dirt before leaving.

Tips & Warnings

It is important to cover all openings of the crate when it is not in use, since that is a critical fly control measure. It keeps them from going first into your camp toilet, and then into your food.

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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