5 Camping Toilets That Will Elevate Your Campsite

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How to build a composting toiletHow to build a composting toilet
A composting toilet is a simple, effective option. Learn how to build one in 45 minutes. // Photo by Hipcamp Sr. Art Director Julian Bialowas

Hipcamp Toilet Tier A

Composting toilets are one of the most popular, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly DIY toilets you can offer. It works by using the natural processes of decomposition and evaporation to recycle human waste. (That’s science, baby!) Setup is a breeze with this build guide, and you can even customize yours with some decorations to create an outhouse throne fit for campsite royalty. Check out the Hipcamp Toilet Awards for ideas.

Quick tip

Try collecting saw dust from other DIY projects for campers to scoop after their poop, as a cup of sawdust quick-starts the odor-hampering decomposition process. If you’re short on sawdust, try checking your local online forums before purchasing—a lot of farms and woodworkers offer it for free.

  • Upside: Fertilizer freebie! Just don’t use it on edible plants (yuck!).
  • Downside: If not maintained properly, a composting toilet can get quite fragrant.
How to get started

If you’re up for a quick weekend project, try this step-by-step DIY composting toilet build guide that takes 45 minutes or less.

A campground porta-pottyA campground porta-potty
A campground porta-potty. // Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Katie Corley at Animal Lover’s Paradise, CA

Hipcamp Toilet Tier C

The loo, a Honey Bucket, or a Johnny on the Spot—whatever you call your porta-potty, it’s a simple and fast solution. They’re a perfect first-timer toilet to add to your campsite before you consider building a more permanent structure.

Quick tip

Servicing is typically included with a contracted porta-potty, so this option is hands-off for Hosts.

  • Upside: Contracted porta-potties are great for Hosts who want to keep their hands clean. You won’t have to service this john.
  • Downside: Servicing can get pretty pricey. If you’re renting, take time to research costs, delivery options, features, and service charges for your location.
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How to get started

Check with your local sanitation service provider for recommendations of porta-potty contractors. National companies like United are often willing to provide service to rural locations.

A simple portable camp toiletA simple portable camp toilet
A simple portable camp toilet. // Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Anna Claire Beasley at Living Rock Natural Lodging, TX

Hipcamp Toilet Tier A

Like composting toilets, portable facilities come in all shapes and sizes. But unlike composting, portable toilets require the proper disposal of human waste after use. Setup 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.

  • Upside: Portable toilets can be set up in minutes and offer stability in small spaces or even uneven terrain.
  • Downside: 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.
How to get started

The most discreet of models, Reliance’s Luggable Loo and Fold-to-Go Portable Toilet allow for the simplest transportation. The Dometic SaniPottie (from $120) can be more permanent—yet still very portable and affordable.

A cozy camping toilet space. // Photo by Robyn D. at St. Croix River Sweet Spot, MN.

Hipcamp Toilet Tier A

These compostable toilets do the extra work of separating feces from urine, making them great for RV campers. The urine goes through a diverter to a trap or hole in the ground, while feces is collected in a separate bucket for separate disposal.

  • Upside: A little messier than standard composting toilets, separating toilets keep liquids and solids separate.
  • Downside: If you’re already building a composting toilet, this may be a little more fuss than it’s worth.
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How to get started

It’s pretty easy to create a urine diverter as part of a DIY composting toilet. (You can even find tutorials on Pinterest.) DIY isn’t your thing? No problem! This waterless Separett Privy Kit toilet comes with the diverter already installed.

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Brittany Stepp in Washington.

Hipcamp Toilet Tier A

Because when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go! This all-in-one method is the simplest option—or a great backup—for any campsite. Known as wag bags, these are best for campers to go discreetly and quickly. They’re low maintenance, leak-free, and effective by turning waste into solid (much like cat litter) in a matter of seconds.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>