Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The Indelicate But Necessary Discussion: Portable Toilets For Trailers
When it comes to practical accessories for your vintage trailer, here's one that deserves its own post: the portable toilet.
This is a must-have for anyone whose sweet old trailer has no built-in 'facilities,' and this would include most older trailers that are less than 15 feet long. (Something to make note of if you are just beginning the foray into shopping for a vintage trailer.) If you're someone who makes regular middle-of-the-night bathroom trips at home, then you'll probably need and want a place to 'go' when camping, without having to get dressed and hunt for the campground toilets in the dark.
Your choice of receptacles and amount to spend is completely up to you--we can't think of anything more private than this particular need! Here's a rundown of your options:
* Free and extremely basic: 3-lb. coffee can with lid. This, you will discreetly empty every morning and flush into a campground toilet.
* Next step up: Vintage chamber pot with lid, of the sort that Great-Grandma may have had. This, too, requires an every-a.m. disposal of contents into a campground toilet.
* Newer, and relatively inexpensive (under $20): Go to a sporting goods store, like Cabela's, and buy a Luggable Loo toilet seat with lid that fits onto a lined 5-gallon bucket. You can either buy plastic liner bags made for the Luggable Loo, or simply use two heavy-duty kitchen trash bags as the liner.
* For absorption and odor control, you can: Buy pre-treated disposal bags (costly over time); place a layer of kitty litter at the bottom of the lined bucket; or, use a large-size, heavy-absorbency disposable diaper. My favorite solution: Pour 2 cups of stove pellets (manufactured as wood stove fuel) into the lined bucket. They're made of compressed sawdust that absorbs 20x its weight in liquid, and cost about $5 for a 40-lb. bag; find them in the heat/fuel section of any big-box store. One bag will last you a very long time; keep it in your garage and use a small container to hold enough pellets for a trip. (Two cups per day is plenty.)
* Fancier variation on the Luggable Loo theme (about $35): Look for a portable camping/boating toilet, such as the Reliance Hassock, shown in the photo above. These have a toilet seat under the lid, and can be used with either the Double Doodie (double-lined, odor-absorbing) waste bags made to go with them, or with the method outlined above, for the Luggable Loo. Dispose of contents the same as you would with the Luggable Loo.
(Handy hint for either of the bucket-type methods above: Find a collapsible, wide-bottom laundry hamper to hold the bucket and disguise it. Set outside your trailer, set a basket or plant on top, and mum's the word about what's inside!)
* Costliest: Buy a chemical, flushing, standard Porta-Potty ($65 and up): These aren't quite as simple to rig up and use as the bucket methods, but some gals prefer them as being, shall we say, less primitive. With these, liquid waste is flushed into a separate chamber that has odor-treatment chemicals. Some campers empty at the RV dump, and others empty and clean after they get back home.
Not the most delicate of topics, we know. We prefer to keep it real, though, and besides--who else are you gonna ask besides good ol' Girl Camping Girl?