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Camping toilets after the grid goes down

If and when the grid goes down, many of us will have to block our sewer lines to avoid sewage backup. Will it be outhouses or camping toilets after the grid goes down?

Camping toilets after the grid goes down

If the grid goes down and you are sheltering in place (bugging in), you’ll probably want to continue to use the bathroom indoors. In a time of so much change and strife, the nature of sitting down, indoors and relieving yourself will be a welcome luxury.

What! No sewer system, and no indoor toilets?

The sewer system will likely not be functioning as needed. This means you either dig an outhouse in your home (gross), or utilize camping or composting toilets.

There are 3 main style of camping or portable toilets:

  • Bucket toilets
  • Portable Toilets
  • Composting Toilets

Bucket toilets

Bucket toilets are, believe it or not, buckets with toilet seats on them. They are typically, but not always, lined with a bag of some form. This bag makes it easy to empty the bucket with a minimum of cleaning. As you can imagine without the bag lining, it would be really gross to scrub out this filthy bucket.

This would be smelly, requiring you to use soil, lime or sawdust after each use to help keep the smell down. If you use bags, you’re going to have to find a place to dispose of your excrement filled sacks of goodness, and eventually you’ll run out of bags, so you’ll be pooping in a gross bucket.

These are ok for camping, but this is really a last resort in your home. It makes sense that these are probably your cheapest option.

Portable Toilets

Portable Toilets are a step in the right direction. A toilet, typically with a holding tank for human waste and a reservoir for water to flush with.

These normally have seals and gaskets to contain odors. These seals and gaskets also prevent spills, when you are hauling the waste tank out to a safe dumping area.

I’d recommend putting “yellow” paper from the ladies into a trash can and burning it, instead of discarding it into the tank. This will help prevent the tank from filling up so fast. Also consider using grey water (from dishes or bathing) for for the flushing reservoir instead of clean drinking water.

You’ll still have to clean this tank out. Maybe swirling around some bleach water in the tank after emptying it.

These are more expensive than bucket toilets, but not nearly as expensive as composting toilets.

Composting Toilets

Composting Toilets are very expensive, and some of them even require electricity. They typically use a minimum of water and have some pretty ingenious methods of venting the odors (solar vents). These are making a big play currently in the boat and camper arenas.

If you find one that doesn’t require electricity and uses easy to find medium (dirt, newspaper or cardboard) to aid in composting, these might be the way to go. Most composting toilets require peat moss or stuff like coconut fibers as a medium.

You may want to start researching and saving up for the perfect Composting Toilet, one that uses a composting medium that is readily available and makes sense in your area. In the meantime, investing in a Portable Toilet and keep a couple Bucket toilets as standbys would be a smart move. This way you’ll be familiarized and ready to use camping toilets after the grid goes down

I’ll be honest with you, my dear readers, it was all I could do to not call this post “The Scoop on Poop”!

See Related Post Grid Down Sanitation Plan


  1. And, then there are things like slit trenches and “outhouses” when you don’t have all the modern goodies available to you.

    Hangtown Frank

  2. Bucket Toilets work fine with a perfumed plastic bag, and after each ‘Deposit’ sprinkle some sawdust or moss, or bark mulch over it, dispose of this in a shallow ditch where it can aereate, and compost further. This has worked for me.


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