Therefore, when an article gains my attention, I sometimes bookmark it for later study. After having set aside two articles on the topic of what "accomodation" to use when natures calls, it's time to report. One article is from a 28-year-old woman at Interstellar Orchard, who hit the road in 2012 at the age of twenty-eight and hasn't looked back. She writes the pragmatic article "Teardrop Trailer Bathroom and Kitchen Solutions." Another article was posted by a composite website called Curbed, entitled "RV toilets: Why I'll never have a bathroom in my camper." Curbed is a large site that states that its editorial purpose is "to advocate for the places where people live, by celebrating, chronicling, and explaining everything you need to know about homes, neighborhoods, and cities." The Interstellar Orchard writer, Becky Schade, traveled for years with her Casita trailer but in September of this year has picked up her new home, a 2018 Hiker Highway Deluxe, by Hiker Trailer. Curbed staff writer Megan Barber is based in Denver and camps with her family in an RV 4x4 Sportsmobile Sprinter.
As general background information, here in Iowa, the only place to camp is at designated campgrounds unless you own or know someone who owns private land. There are very few opportunities for boondocking because the land is either privately own or state owned and regulated. Therefore, camping includes access to a flush or pit toilet. Most issues for my wife and me center around middle-of-the-night excursions because of a full bladder. For nighttime urination, for me when alone I just use an empty juice or milk jug (one advantage of male plumbing). When camping with my wife, we use an outdoor utilitent and a portable toilet. During the day we use the campground's facilities. I have camped at sites with pit toilets, but my wife prefers a flush toilet (and so do I, actually). We both agree that cold weather has a positive effect on pit toilets by lessening smell and insects.
Luggable Loo but hasn't used it yet. She boondocks and takes her foldable shovel out into the woods to take care of business. Becky does mention that there are federal and state guidelines for this practice, so I'll list her article again so that you can reference them (Bathroom Solutions). Megan Barber camps the American West with her family, and she also advocates the folding shovel approach, saying the following: "I think it’s a life skill to know how to pee and poop in the woods, and I’ve passed that down to my kids. When we’re in the backcountry, we grab a shovel and head to gorgeous vistas and serene forests." Barber mentions the "middle ground" of a portable toilet instead of the shovel or built-in toilet options. In my opinion, boondocking with miles of unpopulated space does open the possibility of grab-the-shovel option. However, with maintained campgrounds, campers need to use the facilities or bring their own portable solution, at the very least for solid wastes.
Portable toilets are discussed in my original article, "Toilet or No Toilet," and Becky Schade references the website Camp Addict, which reviews RV products, and to its toilet page. Megan Barber provides a couple of links, one which contains information and photos of a portable, compostable toilet for a van.
Camco 2.6 gallon portable flushing toilet. It is much like what is used at home, and we usually clean it at the campground dumping station. I do that job and bring some rubber gloves and a small bottle of general purpose disinfectant for the last rinse of the holding tank. We have yet to use the Camco for anything other than liquid waste.
This fall, though, we moved into weather that was freezing, so we felt that we needed another option besides a water-flushing portable toilet. After research, we decided that the Cleanwaste Go Anywhere portable toilet was best for us. The waste bag kits are a little pricey, but the system is easy to use (not as easy as the commode at home, but, hey). I am experimenting now with bio-compostable plastic bags and kitty litter/pet wood chips to find a cheaper nighttime pee solution.
Here are Megan Barber's positive points for not having a camper with a bathroom.
- Save a lot of space to use for gear and living
- Cut down on maintenance and hassle
- Fewer opportunities for things to go wrong
- A chance to explore
I think we must all find our personal level of comfort and ease regarding camping and our physical needs. It will differ from person to person because of life experience, personality, and how spry we are. Importantly, though, I also believe that camping takes us outside our habitual lifestyle. What is novel or even uncomfortable initially can become the "camping norm" after a few times out of the house and into the world of campgrounds and tiny campers. Whatever style of camping we choose and howsoever we arrive at meeting our comfort needs, there is a piece of equipment on the market to make the process easier, whether it be a shovel, a portable toilet, or a full-on bathroom in your camper.
From my research, I believe most tiny trailer campers are seeking that "middle ground" that avoids blackwater tanks and winterizing procedures yet is an accomodation more refined that a squat in the woods. That is the course my wife and I took just by asking ourselves what we needed and wanted. Portable toilets require a bit more initial set-up when camping, but the knowledge that no sewage is connected to the camper is a source of lasting satisfaction.