We hear it every day, “Where is the bathroom?” And we have to tell folks, you’re still going camping and no, we aren’t going to build a bathroom for you in your van.
Why would we not put a bathroom in your van?
- You can usually find somewhere better to go than the same place you’ll be eating and sleeping at least 95 percent of the time. And for the other 5 percent –there are emergency options.
- Introducing plumbing takes a simple camper van and turns it into something that requires regular maintenance and attention. You can deal with plumbing problems at your own house or apartment, why pack up your problems and take them on the road with you?
But we’re still human, and we have many easy solutions to our Wayfarians’ #1 (and #2) concerns. Here are some solutions that will suit your needs when you’re looking for relief on the road:
There are a plethora of toilets you can use while traveling. Think of all the road trips you’ve taken in a car – some ideas here:
- Rest stops
- Gas stations
- State parks/ National parks/ Town parks / Dog parks
- Visitor centers
- Fast food establishments
Go (responsibly) in the great outdoors
If you are camping in remote areas, and no public toilets are available, here is your next best option.
- For #1 business
- Find your spot: preferably downstream from your friends, away from small bodies of water, and off the trail.
- Women can use a pee funnel for ease and privacy. If “Shake it Off” isn’t your favorite Taylor Swift song, a reusable, washable cloth can be used for wiping, such as a Kula Cloth. If you do use TP, practice Leave no Trace and pack it out.
- For #2 business
- Scout out a spot at least 200 ft (70 big steps) from a water source. Dig a hole 6-8” deep.
- Squat and do your thing
- Pack out toilet paper until you can flush it or throw it away elsewhere - a dark-colored Ziplock bag does the trick for us.
- Re-fill the hole with dirt
Pack an emergency option
In case of emergencies, the following options are temporary solutions to helping you out when nature calls. Whether you are uncomfortable going outside or are unable to find a public restroom, here are some solutions for you!
- Unisex emergency pee bottle ($9). This is a budget-friendly solution, with a mess-free design. If you don’t want to leave the van in the middle of the night to go #1, or you’re on a long road trip with no bathrooms in sight. This is a quick fix to needing to go ASAP. Once you do find a restroom or remote area, you can dispose of it appropriately. If it’s a big enough emergency, you can get creative too – any bottle with a sealable lid becomes an option.
- Clean Waste toilet ($81). Let’s be frank, sometimes you’ve just got to go. Whether it’s #1 or #2, this toilet is the perfect solution for any emergency bathroom need. It is a foldable compact toilet, you can use one bag multiple times and the chemical reagent solidifies all waste, allowing for easy disposal in the trash. This is recommended as an emergency solution, since using this toilet full time would require going through several bags and needing to throw them out, which is not a sustainable solution. This is the only toilet option that is carried in our retail store.
Let’s say that you would rather have a toilet to use full-time while you’re traveling in the van. You are willing to take on the responsibility of emptying and maintaining it because you want the convenience of not needing to find a toilet or scout out a place in nature. This next option is for you!
- Thetford Porta Potti (~$150). This is a toilet that is both easy to use and clean, that feels very similar to using a regular toilet. You can buy one of the models that can fit into the bench in your Wayfarer build. Or if you’d like to opt for a larger model, you can get a carrying bag to store in your garage space, underneath your bed. If you go this route, you can expect to dump 1-2x a week in a public toilet or an RV dump station. You’ll also need to make sure your van have a reliable heating system to keep the interior of the van above freezing, or Add RV antifreeze to the fresh water and waste holding tanks.
Now that you are well informed of all the easy ways to do your business, get out and explore!
Lucy Pullan writes about full-time travel in a camper van. She has been on the road for a year and a half in her self-built van; with her partner, Jon, and their very energetic dog, Teton (named after her favorite national park). Learning to navigate this unique lifestyle along the way, she loves sharing the tips, tricks, and solutions to make your camping trips worry-free! Lucy is passionate about hiking, biking, and constantly exploring new places and doesn't see herself leaving this lifestyle anytime soon. You can follow her adventures on Instagram @ajucyadventure.