No bathroom? No problem!

Discussion in 'Boondocking' started by dbhost, Mar 10, 2021.

  1. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    I know this has been answered in a variety of threads, but I haven't seen a consolidated thread like what I have in mind here so I am making one, hoping to get folks to post up their solutions to the issues...

    So here goes...

    As we all know, many pop ups, and smaller campers just don't have space for a bathroom of any sort, and we also know that we want privacy when nature calls, and a good hot shower at the end of the day is like a gift from heaven.

    So how do we achieve this off grid, boondocking?

    Well, in my case, there are some components to make sure we have.

    First and foremost, is the shower shelter. Pick one that fits your needs, and budget. For me, for now anyway, and likely the forseeable future, I have an old Cabelas Deluxe Shower Shelter. Not the Instant Setup model, but the old collapsible steel pole type. It is tough, rugged, BIG, and, old. I bought it new and used it from 2005 on. Just recently I noted the spring tethers sort of like shock cords in it no longer hold the tension they once did, so instead I am opting to toss a small roll of black duct tape into the bag that I use one quick wrap at each pole segment joint to keep them together for assembly. Of course it is 16 years old now, and if I had to do it over again, I would likely pick a 2 room instant setup model, if I could find a large one. The Cabelas I have is very roomy, Just shy of 5' wide and 5' long, with a 7.5 foot ceiling height it's BIG. Most of the 2 room models are only 3.5 feet wide so I am leery of giving up my old one...

    Secondly you are going to need to decide on a toilet system. Do you want a bucket / bag toilet system like a Reliance Luggable Loo? My wife said absolutely not on that, and insisted on a flushable toilet. So a Jaxpety 5 gallon portable model. Which leads me to this advice. Select a model that fits your space, budget, reliability needs, and if you are a larger person, your weight requirements. The Jaxpety fit all of my requirements, and was considerably less expensive than other models with fancy exteriors and electric pumps that are known to fail. Those same failing electric pump models apparently have replacement manual pumps avaialble. I will let owners of those chime in. You know who you are. Certainly a more finishied less utilitarian look!

    You are going to want a hot shower. This requires a water supply, in my case I have 4 Reliance AquaTainer 7 gallon water cubes, and a 5 gallon bucket. More on that later.

    The next component of a hot shower, is a way to get the water hot. This can be done over a stove or campfire in a pot, or percolator, or whatever you have, or in my case, combining this need, with the next, a means to pump and spray the newly heated water, I use a Zodi Hot Tap instant hot shower propane camp shower.

    The Zodi is awesome for the job, but requires use of 1lb disposable propane cylinders, or some fancy hose setup and hanging the device to operate. My long term goal is to have a Flame King 1lb refill set, and a couple of their 1lb refillable tanks... But my views on the green 1lb disposable bottles are far from universal which I understand and respect.

    Other MFGs are out there that offer instant hot shower / water heaters. Just make certain if you are buying one, buy one that includes a pump! That is vital to the operation of these things...

    Now the Zodi, and honestly most of these shower pumps that I am aware of, won't fit the pump part down into the AquaTainer, thus the need for the 5 gallon blucket. I keep the Zodi stashed in the bucket in a corner of the tent while not in use. The toilet centered. TP is in the included waterproof TP holder.

    I have a shaving mirror (Coghlans) that hangs in the tent, along with wash cloths, my soap, shampoo and conditioner. And this is where we get sketchy.

    Some folks say regular soap and sanitation items are fine, some say only use stuff like Camp Suds. Check, or make sure you capture your gray water. These tents allow the runoff from the shower onto the ground.

    Of course when you are done using the toilet, you need to wash your hands right? Well the shower shelter came with one of those 5 gallon solar shower bags that nobody in their right mind wants to hoist over their heads. Set up to heat up in the sun, and let gravity do its thing, the shower bags can be set up to be great hand washing stations. Hung on a low branch or simply tied off to a tree trunk and allowed to hang you can have good hot water hand washing for the family on the go. No need for a fancy sink that some folks use...

    So that's my solution at this time. What's yours? Do you capture your gray water, and if so how, and where do you store it until you can dump it?
     
  2. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    When we first bought our TT I was researching online about black tanks, dump stations etc. and DW said I was obsessed with poop.

    I think the torch has been passed. [LOL] [LOL] [LOL]
     
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  3. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member

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    True hand washing needs a foot (i.e., hands free) activated water pump
     
  4. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    I think I can guess, but can you explain your train of thought?
     
  5. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Well, I guess it comes with getting older. And really the interest isn't so much in the positive, but rather I loathe campground bathrooms. That springs from spring break camping trip we took with friends a few years back. Needles everywhere in the bathrooms, let the camp hosts know about it, nothing done. And add to that addressing my wifes concerns and her uh.... sensitivities...
     
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  6. maryloucb

    maryloucb Member

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    Baby wipes and a trowel :smiley:
     

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  7. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    We have yet to set up an outside shower, although I have a pump sprayer from Reliance (the same folks that make the water jugs we use) to try this year. It was luxury when we bought the first popup and could do basin baths inside, with a stove to heat the water, and a gray water pail. We had a folding toilet to use too and wipes (baby or now, unscented cleaning wipes I found, which work even better) that worked for "bathing" or just getting hands clean if the outside soap set-up wasn't in place. We actually have a wet bath, we just don't use the shower - too small, and too little gray tank capacity.
    I will admit to having learned to use "go" outside when I was a kid, and have done plenty of hiking and backpacking over the years where that's just a fact of life. (Some places, though, now require the use of "wag bags" so carry it out means more than just trash. My friend who is more poop-sensitive than I am was not amused to have to tote her wag bags for a few days on a long backpack. I do like having my own flush toilet and running water, and a hot water tank, these days - last year, if we hadn't had those, my broken ankle would have canceled both of our major trips (3 weeks total).
     
  8. davido

    davido Well-Known Member

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    My popup has a Thetford shower/toilet. It works great. I capture the gray water into a 7-gallon jug that I can dump in a restroom, sewer hookup, or behind some bushes if we just used biodegradable soap in a more permissive camping setting.

    I also have a built-in outside shower. I imagine it's there because the Thetford shower/toilet was an option for my popup, so it would be useful for those that didn't opt to have the Thetford. If I were using that for showering, I would get a shower tent and either a wash basin tub to catch the water, or just a small wood pallet to keep my feet off the mud, in campsites where graywater disposal isn't as restricted.

    If I didn't have the Thetford shower/toilet built in, I would also just get a PortaPotty. The large size; five gallon holding tank, I think. With those, you just dump them into the campground toilet, which is exactly how I would empty the Thetford Shower/Toilet's blackwater cassette, too. The PortaPotty can be placed in the shower tent, or inside the popup if you can find space. I don't see much point in messing with buckets with removable seats, or other contraptions. Porta-Potties work so well, it's a solved problem.
     
  9. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    While I have this listed under the classifieds here, I am posting this up here. Please consider this video for the 2 purposes I made it. #1. Yes as a here it is if you want to buy it, but also #2, as a demo / walkthrough tour type video. I am posting this here for, if you will excuse the refernce here considering this is about a bathroom... purpose #2...

     
  10. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    A warning note for those 5 gallon portables. They are heavy, so if you have a medical or strength issue you may want something a bit lighter. Having a portable with a shelter is great. We still use ours with the HTT. We set it up next to the outdoor shower so we have a place to wash our hands (with biodegradable soap). It's also a great spot to pre-rinse a couple boys the may have gotten really dirty playing.
     
  11. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Well-Known Member

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    I think I might get into some trouble here, but here goes. I only boondock camp, and generally by myself or maybe just my 50 year-old son. There would be nobody around for miles. On one of our camp trips I felt the need to shower. Mark, my son, has a hot water heater and outdoor shower on his slide-in camper. I just went behind his camper and stripped off naked. Who's going to see me? It got a little chilly when the wind picked up, but that was okay. I have a privacy tent, but it is too much trouble to put up.

    On another trip, this time by myself, I used my small sump pump shower kit and did the same thing. Hot water in a bucket, stripped off naked and took a shower. But being totally honest here, since I am mostly by myself, I will go three or fours days with only a sponge bath to tidy up the necessary body parts. If it is really cold out, I will go a week. Or at least until the birds all drop dead and the leaves start falling off the trees. They blame the dead trees at my former camp sites on the Bark Beatles, but really it's just me.

    Toilet facilities. Now for the gross... er part. If I am by myself, I use a Port-a-Potti. Again, I'm boondocking way out in the forest or open desert with nothing but trees for miles around... generally. Before I leave for home, or when the holding tank get full, I will go far out in the trees or bushes where I know nobody in his right mind will want to dig for gold and dig a big hole in the ground. I will then empty the tank in the hole and cover it up. Why not? Burying bodily waste in a hole in the ground was the way it was done for thousands of years. I do mark the site with rocks for future reference. If by chance there is a Vault toilet within Quad riding range, I will take it and dump it there.

    Sometimes my other son, Joe, and his family will go on a trip with me. That is a whole new can of worms... or hole of flies! We will go out far enough away from camp in a down-wind direction and dig a big hole. Again, we are always boondocking in the trees with nobody else around but us. My son always brings a post-hole digger for just this purpose. We put a toilet seat apparatus over the hole and put a black bag in it to act as a guide for what is to come. A privacy tent will go up around it for obvious reasons. The increasing smell is much like a camp ground Vault toilet, and the hole in the ground is much like my grandma's house outdoor toilet when I was a kid visiting her in the 1950s. I always thought of my grandma when I was sitting in there. If it is just an overnight stay and the need arises, I take a small shovel and go far away and did a hole behind a tree. Have I lost any friends yet?

    A word on the Fireking refillable propane kit and bottles. I have one of the filling devices and three bottles. It works great. Get one and stop buying those damn expensive green disposable bottles.
     
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  12. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    Some folks prefer the larger portapotties because they're taller. Just remember that you don't have to fill them before you dump them if weight is an issue. :p

    True handsfree washing with a foot pedal? I'd like that. I have several foot-activated faucets at home, but it's more to save water.
     
  13. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    If you recall my earlier posts, I have degenerative disc disorder and sciatica, so yes, lifting heavy weights and bending / stooping are NOT my friends.

    I use one of those folding office dollies, like you see sales people using to haul presentation materials around. The one i have is 275lb capacity. If I have to haul out instead of dump in the campground dump station or toilet With EXTREMELY rare circumstances, we rarely go over 50% full, which isn't too bad.

    You learn, to adapt and adapt your gear, yes, but you also know your limits. It is FAR easier for me to dump at a dump station, than to dump at a toilet. I can simply dump down the drain instead of lifting to dump down the toilet... It DOES require care not to spill, but it works...

    As was mentioned above, if you have spinal issues that cause the weight to be an issue, bending too deeply is likely to be an issue as well, thus you want your toilet to be taller, Residential height if not taller like a toilet with one of those accessible seats.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2021
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  14. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    I understand, my L4-L5 is toast. As long as I stay within my limits I do fine, exceed them and I pay the price. Just wanted people to be aware of the weight. 5 gallons of water is over 40lbs. That is at my limit just for lifting and beyond what I want to manage dumping in a toilet. Our portable is a shorty Thetford. Unsure of the model number, it came with a PUP we had. The capacity is fine, but I've thought of putting something under it to get it a little closer to toilet height. The camper stays so much cleaner since we started using the portable.
     
  15. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    This bit disturbs me somewhat. :)
     
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  16. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    Two boys don't think to wipe their feet before going inside when they are excited. Last trip to OBX was so windy the instant shelter was basically not usable. We sweep enough sand out of the camper to fill a sandbox that week. Sweeping was a constant thing to the point DW lifted the public bathroom quarantine for use of the urinals only. Really wish they would plant some wind break trees or at least shrubs around the campground. I asked last year and was told they were prohibited due to being in a preserve.
     
  17. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    Ahhhhh context is everything.

    I pretty much just give up on the floor in the popup and deal with it at home. (Or when I get ready for the next trip. Oops.)
     
  18. Zephyr

    Zephyr Active Member

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    We have an outside shower and use a shower tent. Even on a hot day in the mountains, the breeze is chilly on a wet body without something to block the wind. If we get the shower tent set up early, any sun hitting it will warm it up a bit, especially nice in spring or fall.

    Our tent came from Cabela's on an end of season sale. It's not the deluxe model, but similar in design with steel poles. The original covering was made of that plastic-y tarp material, which doesn't pack very tightly. Once the tarp stuff started to fail, I made a new covering of nylon supplex, dark green for the walls and a light tan for the roof. The lighter roof acts like a skylight, so not so much like a cave inside now. I added a zipper opening to the side next to the trailer so we can access the shower controls. (The next time I feel like modifying it, I'll add a second opening on the opposite side so we also have the option of facing the door to the front of the trailer.)

    I also made a tub-shaped floor from nylon cordura and added a bulkhead port to attach a hose. We can use the floor to collect the gray water, pull it out like a big bag and then drain it where desired. OR, we can attach a hose and let it gravity feed away from camp. But most times in the boonies, we just put down a foam mat to stand on and let the water soak into the ground.
     
  19. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    L3 - L4, and L4 -L5 are more or less gone. When my wife and I married I was 2" taller than I am now...

    The orthopedist is talking about some sort of gel infusion shot that is supposed to repair the disk. Not a 100% thing, but an improvement. My brother already had this done. No lie, it worries me. But giving it some SERIOUS thought...
     
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  20. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    So far I've only shrunk about 3/4". My older brother is worse, he is scheduled for some kind of procedure next month. He's been out on disability since late last year.
     

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