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What is a Camping Porta Potty?

What is a Camping Porta Potty?

Spending a few days enjoying a backcountry primitive campsite can be a great way to take in the nature around you. Rarely do you have access to an established bathroom facility while using primitive campsites.

So, what options do you have when a different kind of nature calls?

Today we are looking at what it is like to utilize a camping porta potty and see if it’s a good option for your next trip. 

What Is a Camping Porta Potty?

A camping porta potty is a personal portable toilet. These camping toilets allow you to safely and sanitarily use the restroom no matter where you are.

They especially come in handy when boondocking or backcountry camping when there are no established restroom facilities. Camping porta potties come in many different styles and sizes. That allows you to choose the one that makes the most sense for your situation. 

What Is In a Porta Potty?

The interior of a camping porta potty varies slightly depending on what style you choose. The most basic of these include a bucket and a bag. This system has no real working parts and virtually no learning curve. Some basic camping toilets also use absorption aids such as similar materials used in kitty litter. 

Surprisingly, camping porta potties are a bit more involved in the interior. The flushable camping porta potty options work similarly to a standard RV or camper toilet. They have a freshwater holding tank, a waste tank, and a pump to move the water. 

Camping chair with a hole in for using the toilet in the forest.
Going to the bathroom in the wilderness isn’t easy for everyone. A camping porta potty can help!

How Does a Camping Porta Potty Work? 

Just as the styles of a camping porta potty vary, so does their functionality. With a basic bucket and bag system, simply place a set upon a bucket, such as a standard five-gallon bucket with a bag placed inside. The user does their business directly into the bag, and when finished, the bag simply lifts out to be discarded. 

There can be internal plumbing for the more complex camping porta potty systems. A flushable camping toilet is not that different from an RV toilet system. There is a freshwater tank that functions with a built-in water pump and a lower waste holding tank.

The camping porta potty works by pumping water from the freshwater tank into the top bowl, depositing waste. Once the user has finished, a lever allows the waste to move to the waste tank. When the waste tank is full, it is emptied into the appropriate receptacle, similar to an RV or camper van. 

Pro Tip: Save some money by using these tips on How to Make a DIY Camping Toilet.

Can You Poop in a Portable Camping Toilet? 

Yes, you can poop in most portable camping toilets. While pooping in a portable camping porta potty can make things more complicated, you can deposit solid waste in these systems.

There are bags specifically designed for this purpose. They contain a powder lining allowing waste to gel and absorb odor. 

Where Do You Empty a Portable Toilet?

It is important to empty portable toilets responsibly. It is unsanitary, inconsiderate, and illegal to dispose of waste improperly. Those looking to empty their portable toilets can do so by locating a septic system such as a dump station in a campground. If a dump station is unavailable for use, disposing of the contents into a standard toilet can also be done.

Contact the local government officials if you are unsure of the appropriate location to dispose of your toilet contents. 

Toilet paper on post at campsite.
Don’t get stuck having to dig a hole in the woods with a portable camping toilet.

Do Portable Camping Toilets Smell? 

When used properly, portable camping toilets should have very little smell. The trick to avoiding strong odors is to create an airtight barrier between the waste and the air. It is important to create a proper seal when using bags by tying them off tightly. Using bags with an odor powder can also help eliminate an odor. 

Using a flushing camping toilet will ensure a good seal leading to the waste holding tank. It’s also essential to keep the bowl area clean and clear of any debris left behind. A build-up of leftover waste is sure to create a smell. 

Pro Tip: Wanna make your bathroom breaks more enjoyable? We uncovered What Is a Squat Pot?

Can I Use Kitty Litter for a Portable Toilet? 

Using kitty litter is a common occurrence in portable toilets. You can put a small amount of kitty litter into your waste disposal bag, and it will help absorb liquids and curb the odor. Kitty litter provides a budget-friendly way of managing the mess and odor, making for a more pleasant experience. 

How Are Porta Potties Cleaned?

You must clean camping porta potties regularly to avoid excess smells and bacteria. When it comes time to clean your camping porta potty, spray or wipe down the entire unit with fresh water. After cleaning the toilet, you can use a light detergent or disinfectant to sanitize it. Be sure that, as you wash and sanitize your portable toilet, you’re at least 100 feet from any natural water source and your food. 

Depending on the type of portable toilet you are utilizing, you may choose to use a holding tank treatment commonly used in RV and boat black tanks.  

Is a Camping Porta Potty Worth It?

Simply put, emptying our bladders is an inevitable part of life. No camping preparation will curb the urge to go when nature calls. Thankfully, you can be prepared with a camping porta potty, making using the restroom a sanitary and legal option. If you spend time camping in areas with no restrooms a reasonable distance from your site, bringing along a camping porta potty is worth it. 

Do you take a camping porta potty with you during your adventures? Drop a comment below!

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Richard

Sunday 20th of March 2022

We use a porta potty, and use horse bedding pine pellets. They are dust free, highly absorbing and pleasant smelling.

What is a Camping Porta Potty? - VanLifeAdvisors

Sunday 20th of March 2022

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clrobinson

Sunday 20th of March 2022

Good article but I would like to add a few things:

1. collapsible toilets- Easier to store than a bucket & work that same way. Prefect for back country if you don’t want to dig a hole. They cost about $40.

2. cassette toilets- When full you simply remove the cassette & dump it at a dump station, or into a toilet. They start at about $150. Little campers like Merkeet and Happier Camper include one in their trailers.

3. composting toilets- You can make your own or buy one. The really good ones are expensive. Starting price for a good one is $1,000.

4. dry flush toilets- They use a bag system that ties itself after each “flush”. You can put anything in them and don’t need to worry about what kind of toilet paper you use. Also don’t have to clean anything but the seating. Prices for the toilets cost about $700 - $800. Bags are $45 for, I think, 150.

Love you content. Always great information.

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