It’s finally time for that long-awaited camping trip you’ve been daydreaming about for months. You’ve got your tent, sleeping bag, and hiking boots ready to go. But in between packing your s’mores ingredients and bug spray, it dawns on you – what do you put in the bottom of a camping toilet?
If you’re new to camping, you may not realize a standard portable toilet requires some prep before use. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. As an avid camper, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get your camping bathroom ready.
Going to the bathroom in the woods is one of those not-so-glamorous realities of roughing it in nature. But with the right toilet supplies, you can keep your portable potty sanitary, odor-free, and functioning properly throughout your trip. In this article, I’ll share tips on camping toilet accessories, liquids, gels, and treatments so you can use the facilities in the great outdoors with confidence.
No one wants to deal with unpleasant surprises when nature calls! By the end of this post, you’ll be fully prepared to camp hygienically and hassle-free no matter how remote the location. Your camping crew will be grateful for a clean, working portable toilet. So let’s get into the nitty gritty on what you need to put in the bottom of a camping potty to keep things pleasant.
The most important item you’ll need is…
Why Put Anything in the Bottom of a Camping Toilet?
Portable toilets for camping have a removable tank that holds waste. Unlike your home toilet, nothing touches the bottom to flush away waste with each use. So you need to put products in the bottom tank to:
- Absorb waste – Products like gels solidify the waste into a manageable form.
- Control odor – Chemicals or enzymes treat the waste to reduce unpleasant smells.
- Sanitize – Disinfectants kill germs to keep the tank hygienic for multiple uses.
- Prevent leaks – Gels or liquids thicken waste to avoid leaks or spills during transport.
With the right combo of products in the bottom before use, you can manage waste and odor until time to empty at proper disposal sites.
Supplies to Put in a Camping Toilet
Here are the key items to put in the bottom tank:
RV and Portable Toilet Treatment
These specially formulated chemicals disinfect waste and control odor. Look for treatment made for holding tanks of portable toilets. Popular brands are Thetford Aqua Kem and Camco TST.
Before a trip, measure the tank size and pour in the recommended amount of treatment. Follow exact directions to avoid overuse. Refresh for every few days of use.
Gel or Liquid Holding Tank Deodorizers
These thicker deodorizers help further control odors and solidify waste to limit leaks. Common options are formaldehyde-free RV holding tank deodorizers from brands like Walex or Happy Campers.
Pour in the recommended amount after treatment chemicals to better solidify the waste. The thickened sludge is less prone to leaks.
Biodegradable RV Toilet Tissue
Since waste sits in the tank, use a rapid-dissolving, RV-safe toilet paper. Standard household TP won’t break down fast enough and could clog parts. Choose a septic-safe, single-ply that disintegrates rapidly.
Avoid scented, lotion-infused or quilted varieties which won’t dissolve well. Stock up on several rolls per person for the length of your trip.
Portable Toilet Sanitizing Wipes
It’s smart to wipe down the toilet with a sanitizing, bacteria-killing wipe after each use to control germs and odors. Look for wipes made for RV and portable toilets.
Wipes prevent the spread of illness in shared camping bathrooms. Discard used wipes in a trash bag, not the toilet.
Disposable Trash Bags
Line the tank with a trash bag before placing any products inside to neaten waste removal. Look for leak-proof bags made to fit holding tanks, such as Camco Heavy Duty or Thetford Aqua-Kem bags.
When time to empty, tie up the soiled bag and dispose in designated RV dump stations. Replace with a fresh bag.
Water Treatment Tablets
If your portable toilet allows you to flush with water, use purification tablets in the flush water reservoir. This prevents contaminated water from backing up into supply lines.
Follow all safety instructions when handling water treatment tablets to avoid accidents.
How Much Toilet Treatment Chemical To Use
Follow the exact usage instructions on your chosen toilet chemical brand and holding tank size. In general though, for a typical 5-gallon portable camping toilet:
- Use around 1-2 cups per week for RV holding tank treatments like Aqua Kem.
- Add 1/4 cup every 2-3 days of thickening gel deodorizers.
These are just guidelines – always defer to the product’s directions for proper dosage to avoid issues.
When to Add More Treatment
The frequency of adding more toilet chemicals depends on usage, but typically:
- Add more holding tank treatment after 5-7 uses if hosting a large group. Solo campers may go 10-14 uses.
- Top off with more thickening gel every 2-3 days of frequent use. For light use, 5-7 days may work.
- Periodically spray or wipe toilet with sanitizing wipes after each use to control germs and odors.
Regularly check tank levels and replenish chemicals earlier if odors arise before expected change intervals. Tank deodorizers lose strength faster with constant heavy use.
Step-by-Step Process to Prep a Camping Toilet
Read all safety precautions before handling toilet chemicals! Then follow this process:
- Line tank completely with a leak-proof waste bag.
- Measure out the correct amount of holding tank treatment for the tank size. Pour into bottom of lined tank.
- Add the recommended quantity of thickening gel deodorizer.
- If needed, place any water purification tablets in flush water reservoir.
- Insert tank back into the toilet. Secure in place.
- After each use, spray or wipe interior with sanitizing wipes. Discard wipes in separate trash.
- Replenish chemicals at regular intervals to maintain performance.
- Remove full bagged waste at proper disposal sites as needed.
FAQs About Camping Toilet Prep
Here are answers to some common questions on prepping a portable potty:
Can I just use regular household bleach?
No, avoid bleach. Only use RV/holding tank products to properly treat waste in confined portable toilet tanks.
How often do I empty the tank?
Empty the tank when it nears full capacity – typically every 3-4 days for 2-4 people. The chemicals are not a substitute for proper disposal.
Where can I legally dispose of waste?
Only at designated RV dump stations, rest stops, or certified waste disposal sites – never illegally dump!
What if I don’t want to use chemicals?
Some alternative options are enzyme treatments, baking soda, borax, or sawdust – but chemical solutions tend to control odors and leaks better.
Can I just put in toilet paper?
No, TP alone will not properly treat waste and odors. Use required chemicals plus rapidly dissolving TP designed for portable toilets.
Enjoy Your Camping Trip with a Clean Portable Toilet
Using an RV or portable camping toilet requires some prep, but with the right tank chemicals and supplies you can easily maintain a sanitary, pleasant bathroom experience even out in the wilderness. Just be sure to use the correct dosages, replenish as needed, and empty at proper intervals and locations.
With this complete guide to prepping your portable potty, you can focus on having fun under the stars instead of dreading going to the bathroom off the grid. And your camping companions will thank you for providing the comforts of home away from home!
Let me know if you have any other portable toilet questions. I’m happy to share more tips for hassle-free camp hygiene.