Where do you go to the bathroom?

Surprisingly, one of the biggest questions I get asked is how do we go to the bathroom when our teardrop trailer is clearly too small to have one. Just like the shower post I wrote, we use whatever we have around us: campground toilets, public and restaurant restrooms, pit toilets and Portapotties and even the great outdoors. Actually, some of the outdoor places I've...um...squatted have had the most beautiful views.

 Can you believe that I was going pee when I looked up and saw this view? I had to to take a photo.

Teardroppers are big fans of clean, well-maintained bathrooms with sinks, warm water and mirrors. After you've been camping for a few days, some warm water and a mirror is a pleasant detail that should not be overlooked. In town, we take full advantage of these bathrooms in fast food restaurants, gas stations, caf├ęs and coffee shops – before or after making a purchase.

Many campground bathrooms are more basic, but they are clean and fully stocked with toilet paper. Most campgrounds we've been to in the West only have cold water faucets and some don't have mirrors. These are fine, but not as nice to use as a restaurant's bathroom.

Pit toilets are usually located at dry campgrounds and day use areas. These have improved over the years and are usually clean and have good air flow to reduce odors. Just remember to follow the rules of the pit toilet by not throwing trash or feminine supplies down into the pit. Also, please close the toilet lid to keep flies and smells out of the toilet shelter. Most of the time, these types of toilets are not designated male/female, so you will be using the same space as the opposite sex. Check that toilet seat, ladies!

For these more basic toilet situations, it might be a good idea to have your own "bathroom kit" packed into the teardrop. This kit can include personal wipes, extra toilet paper, a small towel, your own soap or some hand sanitizer and maybe a small mirror. A small flashlight is also handy for those nightly trips to a pit toilet with no lights.

 Some teardrop campers will bring along a portable potty while camping. These small potties can be tucked away in a camping shelter or under the teardrop. You are safe from random, possibly dirty toilet seats and your toilet is always close by. Most of them can hold up to about 2-3 gallons of waste and can be cleaned and flushed out with water.

If you are going to go to the toilet in the outdoors, be considerate of other campers and hikers as well as the cleanliness of the local area. Go to the bathroom 100 yards or more from a water source and dig a deep cat hole for your solid waste. Use biodegradable toilet paper and be sure to bury that as well. For more information on pooping in the forest, get the wonderfully titled "How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art" by Kathleen Meyer.

Photos by tyle_r, greenthumb_38, MiguelVieria.


  1. So true.We keep 2 kits with us a toilet kit and a bigger shower kit,bag.It is handy to have everything together in one bag.

    1. Thanks Gary. Yes, I finally got a kit together when I would end up in the pit toilet at night without a flashlight.

  2. Great tips for all travelers, but especially teardroppers!

    Nice article; thanks for sharing.


  3. I have found Pett toilets to be a nice alternative to traditional porta-potties.


  4. Here is the Leave No Trace (LNT) guidance for disposing of human waste in areas where there isn't toilet facilities: deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.

    More on the 7 LNT Principles at http://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

  5. while we haven't camped dry yet, we keep a 5 gallon bucket with a luggable loo lid on it. We put two or three inches of wood pellets, and keep it in the side tent outside my wife's door. the pellets take care of any liquids and leave no smell. then we burn the pellets in the fire. camp bathrooms are for #2.

  6. Here you go