1. Composting Toilets
One of the most popular, cost effective, and environmentally friendly of DIY toilets, a composting toilet is a great way to make the most out of all that poo. It works by using the natural processes of decomposition and evaporation to recycle human waste (that’s science, baby!). Set-up is a breeze with this build guide. Plus you can customize your toilet with some pimped-out decorations or create an outhouse throne fit for campsite royalty (check out the Hipcamp Toilet Awards for some inspiration).
Quick Tip: Collect that saw dust from other DIY projects on your land for campers to scoop after their poop. A cup of sawdust quick-starts the odor-hampering decomposition process. If you are short on sawdust, check your local forums before purchasing it. A lot of farms and woodworkers offer it for free.
Pros: Fertilizer freebie! Just don’t use it on edible plants (yuck!).
Cons: If it isn’t maintained properly, a composting toilet can get quite fragrant.
Recommendations: If you’re up for a quick weekend project, try this step-by-step DIY Build Guide that takes 45 minutes or less.
2. Porta Potties
Quick Tip: Honey bucket or Johnny-on-the-spot, whatever you call your porta potty, it’s simple and fast. Plus, this option is hands-off for hosts. You won’t have to service this porta-loo yourself. Porta potties are a perfect first-timer toilet to add to your campsite before you consider building a more permanent structure.
Pros: Great for hosts with poop-phobia. You won’t have to service this jon.
Cons: Servicing can become pretty pricey. Especially if you are renting, take time to research up-front cost, delivery, features, and service charges for your location.
Recommendations: Check with your local sanitation service provider for recommendations of porta potty companies. National companies like United are often willing to provide service to rural locations.
3. Portable Toilets AKA Camp Toilets
Like composting toilets, portable facilities can come in all shapes and sizes. But unlike composting, portable toilets require the proper disposal of human waste after use. Set-up is usually pretty easy, often with no assembly or large footprint required. Plus, they are pretty portable, hence the name, so a lot of times you can pack up the toilet to the size of a briefcase and transport it to a new location on the property.
Pros: Portable toilets can be set up in minutes and offer stability in small spaces or even uneven terrain.
Cons: If you want a camping toilet with a flushing mechanism, power and water are required. These types of more permanent, camping toilets can also get expensive.
Recommendations: The most discreet of models, the Fold-to-Go toilet collapses for easy transportation and can hold up to 300 lbs of weight. The Camco Portable Toilet would be a more permanent—yet still very portable and affordable—option.
4. Separating Toilets
These are fancy, compostable toilets that separate feces from urine. Great for RVs as well, the urine goes through a diverter to a trap or hole in the ground, while the feces is collected in a separate bucket.
Pros: A little messy than composting toilets, separating toilets keep the liquids and solids separate.
Cons: If you’re already building a composting toilet, this is a little more fuss than it’s worth.
Recommendations: If DIY excited you, it’s pretty easy to create a urine diverter when you build a composting toilet (yes, you can even find tutorials on Pinterest). DIY isn’t your thing? No problem! This waterless toilet comes with the diverter already installed.
5. Toilet in a Bag
Because when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go! This all-in-one method is a great option or backup for any site. Bags are the best for campers that need to unload discreetly and quickly. Low maintenance, leak-free, and effective, wag bags will turn waste into solid (much like cat litter) in a matter of seconds.
Pros: Economical, easy clean-up, and keeps your property unadulterated by cat holes. Did we mention an indefinite shelf life? …Before use, of course.
Cons: First-time campers may be a little turned off by pooping in a bag. Also, you’ll need a place to dispose of the bags; we recommend as far away as possible away from the campsite. Alternatively, you can ask that campers #LeaveItBetter, and take their bags with them when they leave.
Recommendations: Used by campers, climbers, and construction workers alike, Metolius bag kits can be found at any of your favorite outdoor supply stores.