Guide to Portable Camping Toilets

Outdoor portable bucket type toilet.

Not all portable toilets are created equal; this guide to portable camping toilets will help you pick the one that best fits your needs.

Portable Toilets

A portable toilet is any type of toilet that can be easily transported in your vehicle, so you may want to consider adding one to your list of things to take camping. Having a toilet on your camping trip will make the trip much more enjoyable because you won't have to go off behind a tree when the need arises. Portable camping toilets are not just for camping. You might find owning a camping toilet beneficial in the following situations:

  • On long car trips where you may not come across a public restroom very often
  • If you are traveling with small children and they can't wait until you locate the next public restroom
  • For someone that has an illness and can't walk far to the toilet
  • To keep by the bedside for nighttime use, especially for the elderly or children who are still wetting the bed
  • For parks, fairs and festivals where there may not be suitable toilet facilities
  • For the most common use… camping

Guide to Portable Camping Toilets

Not all camping toilets are created equal. When you are doing research to find the best camping toilet you should consider the following:

  • Price: A good camping toilet may cost you more, but the ease of use and the ability to keep odors at a minimum may be worth it.
  • Portability: Does it fold up small and not leak?
  • Ease of use: Does it set up and take down quickly? Are you able to empty the contents easily with little mess?
  • Stability: Will the toilet tip over when you sit on it? Is it comfortable?
  • Odors: Does it keep odors to a minimum?
  • Cleanliness: Can you keep it clean easily?
  • Self-contained: Does the waste go down into a separate enclosed container?

Types of Portable Camping Toilets

This guide to portable camping toilets categorizes toilets into three major types. Within each category there are variations as well.

Bucket Toilet

The simplest and least expensive camping toilet is the bucket toilet. Basically it is a toilet seat that you put on top of a specially made bucket or a 5-gallon paint bucket. The bucket toilet is fairly sturdy; it doesn't tip as easy as some portable camping toilets. It is tall enough for an adult to sit comfortably on, but possibly too tall for small children. You won't be able to flush it and it won't have a lid. It will smell fairly pungent and should not be kept inside the tent or trailer. You should use biodegradable toilet paper and toilet additives to eliminate the smell. There are removable liners available to make cleaning and disposal easier. You might need a strong stomach to empty this type of toilet.

Other names for the bucket toilet are:

  • Luggable loo
  • Commode bucket
  • Bucket potty
  • Potty pail
  • Toilet bucket

Collapsible Toilet

This camping toilet has legs that fold together or underneath when the toilet is not in use to take up the least amount of space while traveling. When you get to your destination you unfold the legs and place the toilet either over a hole in the ground or use a bag to catch the waste products. Most of these collapsible toilets are three legged and not sturdy. The smell can be pungent, and therefore the collapsible toilet should be kept far from your tent or trailer. The bags that hold the waste may have an odor eliminator added which is nice, but when the bag is full it may be very tricky to remove and may prove quite messy. You should have a strong stomach to empty this type of toilet.

Portable Flush Toilet

A portable flush toilet is the deluxe model of portable camping toilets. They are usually very comfortable and sturdy to sit on. Some of these toilets are shorter than others and might need to be set up on a pedestal to be comfortable for taller persons. You are able to flush the toilet just like a normal toilet. The waste goes down below the toilet into a contained area that is usually easy to dump. You are able to put chemicals into this type of toilet, so the smell will be minimal. This toilet might be considered self contained, which is a benefit and requirement for some campgrounds.

Make A Wise Choice

You might feel it best to get the least expensive camping toilet, but if you go back and read this guide to portable camping toilets you will find that having a toilet that is comfortable, easy to use, clean, and odor free will make your camping trip much more enjoyable.

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Guide to Portable Camping Toilets