Can I get some advice on portable toilets / showers? (1 Viewer)

East

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Sep 27, 2013
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I've been looking around and noticed there are a ton of portable toilets available, not sure which ones people favor for van living/which ones are easier to clean and flush, that sort of thing. This is for just a normal cargo conversion, not a full camper. Maybe that will come sometime in the future.

As far as the toilet most of them seem small and easy to store/suitable for emergencies but I'm not sure what is best. The showers are mostly for trips out in national forests and that sort of thing. I know the majority of the time I won't need either where I'm going but it's nice to be prepared.
 
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K

Kim Chee

I deleted myself
Thank you for considering the proper way to handle your waste. This subject doesn't seem to get enough attention.

I bought an australian shower to use in the military and backpacked with a solar warmed bladder/w shower nozzle. I always resorted to burying my waste or depositing waste in a bag and depositing the bag in a place where it would go to a landfill. I would try to use dumpsters which were not dumpsters frequented by divers.
 

creature

plastic wingnut in a microwave
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folks who know me have my #.
for myself i usually handle solid waste by either deffing in a hole dug with a garden trowel & covering it up, or if i need to be discreet, crapping on a pad made with a double layer of paper towel, then enclosing the waste & putting the entire used pad into a paper bag. In fact, i buy brown sandwich bags just for this -- yeah, yeah.. lunch jokes, i know... ; ) unless your crap is exceedingly liquid, it works like a charm, and the bag can be buried, or if absolutely necessary, placed inside a small plastic bag, tied tight & disposed of appropriately.

as a guy, i also carry a piss jar in my vehicle, usually a 1/2 gallon resealable container.
you can deduce the rest.

for bathing i use the two container method, and can bathe well (almost squeaking clean) *and* shave (head *&* face) with about 2 liters of water less if i forgo a full shave...( this method assumes you have something to carry the 2 liters of water in, so unless you have a 2 liter jug to start with, it's 3 containers.. if you have a 2 liter container, then it's 2.. see below for the milk jug comment..)

-- & if there is a reasonable abundance of fuel, H20 & space, i can take a pot bath that is damn near luxurious...

there is also a straight 1 container method, but a bit trickier.. it requires a single ~2 liter metal container.
both methods require a sponge, although a washcloth is serviceable.. the sponge, of course, holds water more effectively & creates greater flow.

the basic bath requires two containers, one being about 1 liter & metal, in which the hot water is made and another that is 2 liters to hold the mix.
if you are rubbertramping and can afford the space, then use something bigger.. when i am using just my pack gear, i use a cut off 1 gallon jug to mix my bath water & rinse water. in any case:
1) heat 1 quart to about boiling in the hot vessel & use it as a reservoir, then pour into your warm/bath vessel to heat the rest of the water...
2) dip the sponge into the bath water, then apply soap *after* you remove it.
3) Lather well... when done lathering, squeeze out the excess soap, then *pour* fresh water *onto* the sponge & apply soap to lather up again... repeat a few times.
4) squeeze out the excess soap one last time & pour fresh water into the sponge until about 1/2 full. squeeze & repeat 2 or 3 more times to eliminate most of the soap.
5) soak sponge fully, *inside* the bath container, & use the sponge, now *sopping* with fresh water to rinse.
6) if you need to shave, pour some of your bath water *back into* the hot water vessel before bathing, then when you are done bathing, you can use the bathing vessel as a shave basin.

also, if you find a place with good hotwater in a restroom, you can fill up a one gallon jug & put in in yer pack, as however stealth will allow..

that's how i do it, & if i'm carefull, even though my van is a shitty conglomeration of screws, plywood & heavy duty plastic bins, i can stealth bathe inside, when i absolutely need to.

hope this at least gives some decent suggestions..

peace,

jn
 
K

Kim Chee

I deleted myself
...but more than one time I have brought cardboard onto a boxcar just to poop on it and slide it out the door:)
 
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East

East

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Everywhere
Thanks for the input guys, all very useful. Sold my last conversion van for $800 to a buddy.
So here is the new rubber in question:
http://i.imgur.com/8HJGQeS.jpg

Thinking about doing something like this:
http://i.imgur.com/Tr68FiK.png

Ended up taking a chance on this and uh, just in case, though I doubt we will have to use it
Edit: Not sure why my links are defaulting to odd media tabs but yeah lol.
 

Sameer

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Southwest
A 5-gallon bucket is a good option. But the best is just digging a cat hole. I've owned three porta potties and they all ended up in a dumpster. They are disgusting and stink! Then you have to empty them out and clean them. I couldn't get it together in my head to actually empty any of the porta potty that I owned. They are not cheap either. Just take a crap in a 5 gallon bucket and get rid all of it quickly. It's the easiest way! I don't know why anybody wants to keep it in their van in any form. Unlike what most people think about their own shit... My shit stinks.
 
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mouse

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Oct 22, 2017
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Dallas
Catholes are not always allowed, and sometimes are physically/geologically impossible (frozen ground, desert pavement).

Properly maintained dessicating toilets like the C-head or DIY units linked above are not chemical port-a-potties, do not stink, and are not unpleasant to empty.
 

wanderlovejosh

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Hebron, Ohio
Yeah the C-head is basically a modified 5 gallon bucket, which then filled with a dry medium of choice, peatmoss, cedar, pine, aspen bedding, whatever you choose, and it has a separate urine diverter, that goes into a basic water gallon jug. This separating method minimize terrible odors. Emptying them is simple, depending on where you are, just pour your urine out. With your bucket, when it gets full just toss it in a trash bag and throw it away, unless you are somewhere that you can add it to a compost pile.
 

Sameer

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Catholes are not always allowed, and sometimes are physically/geologically impossible (frozen ground, desert pavement).

Properly maintained dessicating toilets like the C-head or DIY units linked above are not chemical port-a-potties, do not stink, and are not unpleasant to empty.
Living 6 years in a van space and open space is very important...
Building the devices you mentioned or purchasing them would be out of the question as they are very expensive. I am not carrying around human feces in my van under any circumstances!
If a rock pick cannot dig the necessary cat hole then I will take a dump in a bag and throw it in the nearest dumpster. I am a nomad so I am never anywhere where the ground is Frozen. I can assure you that most people carrying porta potties have become nose blind, their Vans smell like a public toilet. Everyone has to do what makes them happy!!
 

mouse

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Dallas
Building the devices you mentioned or purchasing them would be out of the question as they are very expensive.
The DIY model I documented is about $20.

I am not carrying around human feces in my van under any circumstances!
Irrationality is expensive. But it's your van.


I can assure you that most people carrying porta potties have become nose blind, their Vans smell like a public toilet.
As I have said before (and will stop saying now), dessicating toilets are not port-a-potties in design, use or function.
 

Sameer

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I don't know how long you have lived in your van, but I have lived in mine for 6 years squatting on public land.... The cost of a c head composting toilet is $600. You cannot DIY anything today for twenty bucks. As I said before, space and open space is very important to someone living in a van. There are many times that weather, Monsoon rains and wind prevent you from going outside so open space is a goal for me. The original poster is just starting out and like many who choose to live in a van they think that they must put everything inside the van that they would have in a Sticks and Bricks. Even the shower setup that he chose is only practical during warm weather. And he will find that a spit bath out of a plastic tub will also do the job of keeping himself clean. Most people take a dump once a day and like most long-term vandwellers the tendency is to do it the easiest way which is a taking a crap in a cheap bucket. Believe me when I say.... Taking a crap every morning will be the least daunting task you will encounter while living in a van. It is not irrational to not one human feces in your living space whether it is composting or sitting in a plastic porta potty. It simply is not healthy. The original poster will make lots of changes as he begins his life of and dwelling. I hate to see anyone go to Great expense and decide later that they are going to throw whatever they have purchased into a dumpster. I know many long-term vandwellers and every morning they are taking a crap on a bucket. IMG_20171209_130329_562.jpg
 

mouse

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{editing to fix formatting}

The cost of a c head composting toilet is $600.
I mentioned that (in post #9) before you joined the thread.


You cannot DIY anything today for twenty bucks.
Hyperbolic and demonstratably untrue.


As I said before, space and open space is very important to someone living in a van.
Agreed. I chose my van platform with that in mind.


It is not irrational to not one human feces in your living space whether it is composting or sitting in a plastic porta potty. It simply is not healthy.
{edit: removed snarky comment} It is irrational because disease transmission doesn't work that way.



I know many long-term vandwellers and every morning they are taking a crap on a bucket.
"Composting/desssicating toilets" and "bucket toilets" are not mutually exclusive. The C-Head is literally based on a common bucket, slightly trimmed to fit the separator. The DIY composting toilet is based on a common bucket.

This is getting tiresome so I'll let you have the last word. I encourage onlookers to do their own research, drawing on reason and evidence instead of instinct and FUD.
 
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Jerrell

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I..da....ho?
Been watching this thread, shitty as it is, and have been wondering how many pounds a 5-gallon bucket can hold.
I plan on just getting one of those toilet seats and using trash bags.
I have always found 5-gallon buckets to be great tools for stowing gear, I used to keep one in my sea bag while traveling to keep things better organized even.
I've sat on an upside down bucket many times when fishing, camping, etc., but I assume some integrity is lost flipping it upright.
 

mouse

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Oct 22, 2017
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Dallas
The bucket itself will hold a LOT. The handle is what usually gives. To answer your question, it is common for 5gal buckets to hold 80# of the original contents. I carry 50# in them regularly (ie, full of water).
 

roguetrader

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Oct 24, 2015
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Exeter, United Kingdom
@Sameer - I cannot believe that you repeatedly admit to putting human shit into a dumpster especially the 3 porta potties that you filled but couldn't get your head round to empty - I know you've only been living in a van for 6 years but man in my book that is disgraceful behavior - it is your responsibility to dispose of human waste in a manner which exposes no one but yourself to YOUR waste - personally in your situation out in the middle of nowhere I'd bury it nice and deep.... I used to live in Southern Spain where the ground is rock hard but always dug a proper hole even if I had to use a pick.... nowadays after 25 years on the road I've got incredible bowel control and never defecate in my own vehicle, it's either a hole or wait for a public toilet....

also whether or not one can DIY a toilet with only $20 is down to the ingenuity and cunning of the individual - the style of crapper that @wanderlovejosh refers to is pretty simple, you just channel the pee to one reservoir and the shit to another making both much more pleasant to empty (for those that can deal with their own waste products)

It's good that we are discussing these issues, people need to realise that crapping in a plastic bag is about the worst thing you can do with it
 

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