The 10 Best Camping Toilets
This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in February of 2016. Just because you're roughing it in the great outdoors, doesn't mean everything has to be difficult. One of these compact and portable camping toilets will let you enjoy at least one of the comforts of home wherever you roam. We've included basic off-grid designs light enough to carry on the trail, right up to flushing models that wouldn't look out of place in a fully equipped bathroom. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best camping toilet on Amazon.
April 12, 2019:
When evaluating the best camping toilets, we chose to include choices for a variety of comfort levels.
The bare bones Green Elephant Comfort Chair is little more than a toilet seat that you put plastic over, but you do get a comfortable height, and it takes up no space in your trunk. If it had been offered at a better price, it would have ranked higher on the list.
The Serene Life Outdoor was placed at the top for offering a more home-like experience, a large enough capacity that you could go an entire weekend of camping without cleaning it, and holding the waste in a separate tank to control odors.
How Do I Choose The Right Camping Toilet For Me?
Toilets with detachable holding tanks allow for simple - and sanitary - removal, whereas a lot of rudimentary models tend to be a little more involved.
That being the case, the first thing you'll need to consider is where you plan on using a camping toilet.
More often than not, buying a camping toilet comes down to finding an appropriate compromise between comfort and roughing it, so to speak. There are camping toilets that have been designed to remain sanitary and provide comfort, and then there are camping toilets that are really little more than a fold-up frame attached to a disposable liner.
That being the case, the first thing you'll need to consider is where you plan on using a camping toilet. Family camping trips are much different than, say, fraternity camping trips, for example. Beyond that, it helps to determine whether the camping toilet will be a one-and-done purchase, or whether the toilet will accompany you on regular hunting trips, hiking trips, or to outdoor music festivals.
Next, you'll want to consider how you plan on transporting a camping toilet. If you're traveling by compact car, for example, then your options may be limited to a toilet that is lightweight (i.e., 3-10 lbs) and collapsible. If you're driving a truck or a camper, you'll have more space for storing a toilet with an automatic flush and a holding tank underneath.
Assuming you're interested in an upscale camping toilet, you'll probably want to compare how each model flushes (certain models require batteries), how resistant each model is to bacteria, and how easy it is to dispose of each model's waste. Disposal is important in that most campgrounds maintain strict regulations regarding waste removal. Toilets with detachable holding tanks allow for simple - and sanitary - removal, whereas a lot of rudimentary models tend to be a little more involved.
How to Properly Clean Your Camping Toilet
Regardless of what type of camping toilet you own, the fact remains that every camping toilet needs to be cleaned from time-to-time. The good news is that cleaning a camping toilet can be easy. All it requires is adhering to a straightforward process, while following a simple set of rules.
Regardless of what type of camping toilet you own, the fact remains that every camping toilet needs to be cleaned from time-to-time.
When it comes time to clean, put on a pair of rubber gloves, and then remove any associated liner, tank, or detachable parts from the commode. Be sure to dispose of any waste in an appropriate fashion, depending on the local sewage laws. Once that's done, lean all of the parts (including the open toilet) against a flat surface, and hose them down. Ideally, you want to remove - or at least loosen - any areas of concentrated dirt by focusing the hose's spray.
You'll want to set up a separate area for scrubbing so that you won't have to stand or kneel on any patch that's drenched from hosing. Move each part of the toilet over to the scrubbing station, and then spray it with some septic-safe mildew remover. Once you've done that, scrub the toilet and its parts with a non-abrasive pad, and then a toilet brush (for cleaning hard-to-reach areas). Follow that up by wiping everything down with a disposable rag and some soapy water.
Spray everything with a hose one final time, and then leave the toilet open and outdoors to dry. It should go without saying that any gloves, cleaning pads, rags, and towels should be disposed of immediately, and that you should wash your hands and arms thoroughly as soon as you're done.
A Brief History of The Camping Toilet
The earliest portable toilets were 1-foot. wooden cubes that were used by military men, hunters, and sometimes poor villagers throughout India and Africa. These commodes, which originated as far back as ancient Egypt, were commonly referred to as "thunderboxes". The only difference between a thunderbox and a chamber pot was that a chamber pot was generally relegated for use inside the home.
Newer models benefit from advanced features including battery-powered flushing and collapsible designs.
Portable toilets remained essentially the same until the 1920s, when a British chemist by the name of Ephraim Louis Jackson patented a metal toilet that was capable of killing bacteria and preventing odors. Within five years, Jackson's toilet company, Elsan, had begun fulfilling orders for both stationary and portable toilets on an international scale. Jackson sold his company during the 1930s, but he went on to produce an entire line of portable toilets for the British Military during World War II.
American manufacturers began developing portable toilets, which were often referred to as "porta-potties," during the 1960s. As demand grew, so too did the range of styles. Companies distributed full-size toilets that were housed inside of closets, as well as handheld toilets with detachable tanks for use on boats and during outdoor excursions. By the 1970s, portable toilets had proven so viable that camping toilets were effectively becoming an industry of their own.
Half-a-century removed, camping toilets are still a thriving product. Newer models benefit from advanced features including battery-powered flushing and collapsible designs. The demand for camping toilets remains consistent thanks in large part to a consumer interest in hiking, mountain-climbing, and multi-day music festivals (among other things).
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