“REALLY?… You want me to do WHAT?”
“Are you SERIOUS? You’ve got to be out of your #@%&*X mind if you expect me to… obviously, you must be thinking of some else to do this with!”
Ah, the two most feared words to most female camping/fishing enthusiasts (at least initially)… unimproved area! Translated means no bathroom accessibility nearby. Images brought to mind equate with digging holes (ugh), leaves (double ugh), and critters where you don’t want them (don’t even go there).
However, all is not lost! Thank goodness for modern, portable solutions to this dilemma. Available at everyone’s disposal and for every budget. Yes, you’ve guessed it… the portable commode that comes in all shapes, sizes, and materials. And some even have their own accessories. Beat that! However, the following may contain graphic description and may not be suitable for all audiences. Discretion is advised.
(NOTE: If you camp in a fifth wheel, pop-up with amenities, or a pull-behind with all the comforts of home, then this article will be irrelevant and probably not worth reading. And if you are of the mindset that the only way to experience unimproved areas is without some sort of comfort, then be my guest… you are a better woman that I. For the rest of us, read on.)
Prior to further discussion of portable commodes, there are some basic essentials that one SHOULD consider acquiring, to use with the commodes, to prevent the unimproved camping/fishing experience from becoming THAT EXPERIENCE in an unimproved area.
Waste Disposal Bags
Just what you wanted to read about. But these are invaluable! These self-contained, heavy-duty bags are offered at various locations that offer camping supplies, i.e., from BIG BOX stores to family-run sporting goods. They are even offered online for convenience.
Why use these products? First of all, the bags themselves are extremely heavy-duty; usually have a ziplock-type closure, and a powder inside that helps with containing odors and minimizing waste. The ones recommended is a two-bag system. The interior bag is securely wrapped around the commode seat, while the outside bag is used to enclose the interior bag when full. CAUTION: From experience, do NOT use regular heavy-duty garbage bags to save expense. You will only do it once and regret being a penny-wise and a pound foolish. Been there. Done that! Had to burn the t-shirt.
Outdoor Shower/Commode Tent
This item also available as noted above and online. Similar to tents, but smaller. Has enough room to place/store/hang hand-sanitizer, TP, towels, etc. Usually has an open mesh floor in case you use it as a shower (water drains into ground).
This is not for everyone’s budget, but if affordable, well worth the expense. Otherwise you can set-up the portable commode inside a regular tent or in the bed of a truck with a cap.
Separate Bucket to Hold Waste Bags
Word for the wise, don’t keep the waste bags in standard garbage bags or in the same area as the commode-the odor can be over-powering. Recommend a small metal pail with a lid that secures tightly.
Now for the ” Featured Presentation” – COMMODES!
1. Basic Commode
The most basic commode consists of a plastic, clean 10 gallon plastic paint bucket, that is outfitted with a toilet seat. One can actually see how to put them together online. Simple. Economical. But doesn’t work well if the ground is uneven. Think about it. How many times have you sat on a bucket or similar item at tailgate parties or what-not, only to tip and fall off. Also, have seen these using a standard garbage bag, which has already been discussed in previous paragraphs-ugh!
2. Standard Camping Portable Commodes
These set-ups are better than the bucket but they also have a draw-back —not suitable for uneven ground. Most offer a seat w/lid, arms, TP holder, and either a solid base or stationary legs. If the legs are not adjustable, they are not any better than a solid base or bucket.
3. Handicapped Portable Commode w/ Adjustable Legs
Highly recommended. Found in most drug stores, BIG BOX retail outlets and online. Most expensive, but the adjustable legs are invaluable. How often do you find a camp site or fishing location where the ground is perfectly level? NOT in unimproved areas generally. The adjustable legs offer the ability to adjust for slope while keeping the sitting area level. You can’t ask for more than that. Oh, yes you can… to have a real bathroom with HOT running water!
Ya’know… men have it fairly easy when it comes to the call of nature. Always envied their ability to proceed with the normal course of things in just about any environment… behind bushes and trees, along side a vehicle with a door open… even in a coffee can on a boat. But now, with a bit of expense, am able to experience what unimproved areas are all about and offer – camping/fishing on the water’s edge, wild horse roaming through your camp site… this is the ultimate in outdoor living!
by Kristi Dutcher