DIY Camping Toilet

If you are like most people, then the thought of having to “go” on a camping trip is not a pleasant one. Thankfully, there are ways to make the experience less unpleasant and even somewhat enjoyable. One way is to build your own DIY camping toilet.

Building a camping toilet is quite simple and only requires a few materials that can be easily found at your local hardware store. The first step is to find a suitable container for your “toilet.” A five-gallon bucket with a lid works well for this purpose. You will also need some sort of seat or lid for the bucket, a small piece of plywood, and a ventilation system.

Let’s take a look at how to use these items to make a DIY camping toilet:

Items Required

Toilet Paper Roll
  • Pool Noodle
  • Five-Gallon Bucket
  • Trash Bag
  • Utility Knife
  • Toilet Paper Roll


Create a Ventilation System

The ventilation system is important as it will allow the user to “go” without holding their breath. The most common type of ventilation system used for a DIY camping toilet is a simple hole drilled in the bottom of the bucket. This hole should be covered with a piece of mesh or screen to keep insects and other critters out.

Make the Toilet Seat

You can do two things for the toilet seat: Buy one online. You will easily find a toilet seat that sits perfectly over the opening of a five-gallon bucket. The second option is using a pool noodle. Cut the pool noodle open from the middle with a utility knife and fit it over the bucket. Make sure the cut is not too deep, or you will feel the edge of the bucket cut into your skin.

As for the store-bought seat, attach it to the top of the bucket. This can be done with screws or nails.

Making the False Bottom for Better Ventilation

Once the seat or lid is in place, you can add the plywood piece to the bottom of the bucket. This will serve as a false bottom and keep the contents of the bucket from coming into contact with the ground. Finally, line the bucket with a trash bag.

Attach the Toilet Paper Roll

Remove the bucket’s handle and slide the toilet paper roll in it. Attach the handle again, and you will have your holder for the toilet paper roll.

Toilet Covering

The last step is to add a cover to the top of the bucket. This can be a lid, a tarp, or even a piece of plywood. The goal is to keep rain and other elements out of the bucket so that the contents do not become wet and nasty.

How to Eliminate Camping Toilet Smell

If you have ever used a porta-potty, then you know that they can be pretty stinky. In fact, the smell of a porta-potty is often one of the most offensive things about them. The same stands true for a DIY camping toilet.

Thankfully, there are ways to eliminate the portable toilet smell so that you can enjoy your next camping trip without holding your nose the entire time.

Using Essential Oil Spray

One way to eliminate the foul odor is to use an essential oil spray. All you need to do is add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a cup of water and then spray it around the inside of the porta potty. The essential oils will help neutralize the odor-causing bacteria and leave a pleasant scent in the air. Do this before and after using the toilet.

How to Make Essential Oil Spray

Items Required

  • 1 cup of distilled water
  • 30 to 60 drops of your favorite essential oil (Lemon, Rosemary, Lavender, and Orange)
  • A spray bottle


  • Add the distilled water and essential oils to the spray bottle and screw on the lid.
  • Shake the bottle well to mix the ingredients.
  • Spray the inside of the portable toilet with the mixture.
  • Repeat as necessary to keep the portable toilet smelling fresh.

Using Vinegar

Another way to eliminate the portable toilet smell is to use vinegar. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and will help to kill any odor-causing bacteria. Simply add one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle and spray it in the portable toilet after use.

Alternative Ways to “Go” While Camping

If you are worried about the smell of a DIY camping toilet, you may consider alternative ways to “go” while camping.

One option is to use a portable toilet that is designed for camping. These toilets have a built-in ventilation system that helps to eliminate odor. They are also easy to set up and use.

Another option is to use a chemical toilet. These toilets use chemicals to help break down waste and eliminate odor. They are more expensive than a DIY camping toilet, but they may be worth the investment if you are concerned about smells.

A third option is to dig a latrine. This is basically a hole in the ground that you can use as a toilet. It is important to dig the hole at least six inches deep and 200 feet away from any water source. You will also need to line the hole with a garbage bag.

What NOT to Put in Your Camping Toilet

One of the most important things to remember when using a DIY camping toilet is what NOT to put in it. The following items should never be put in a portable toilet:

  • Food waste
  • Diapers
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Hazardous materials
  • Paint
  • Motor oil
  • Batteries
  • Gasoline
  • Other flammable materials

Putting any of these items in a portable toilet can create health and safety hazards. If you are not sure what can and cannot be put in your camping toilet, then it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid putting anything in it that could potentially cause problems.

Disposing of Camping Toilet Waste

Once you have used your camping toilet, it is important to dispose of the waste properly. The best way to do this is to dig a hole and bury the waste.

If burial is not possible, you can also bag the waste and bring it home to dispose of properly. Do not leave the waste behind in the woods, as this can attract animals and create health hazards.

Final Thoughts

A DIY camping toilet can be a great way to save money and avoid the hassles of renting a portable toilet. Just remember to use it properly and dispose of the waste correctly.

Once you have followed these steps, you will have a fully functional DIY camping toilet that will make your next camping trip much more enjoyable. So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your DIY camping toilet today!

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