Where to go when ya gotta go
  |  First Published: August 2003

The success of most camping trips can be attributed to many influences, but if the comfort and convenience levels of those in the party are not met, then mutiny can and usually does occur.

This is really relevant to just who is in the camping party. If it is just the blokes out for a heavy weekend, then a walk in the bush with the old shovel may suffice. However, if there are women in the camp, chances are that unless their needs are catered for, the outing could really be their last.

The journey from home to camp or camp to camp usually involves fuel stops, which is when comfort stops are taken. Once off the highway, they become a different matter.

With the introduction of toilet/shower tents, the comfort levels of all in camp can be catered for. There is a vast array of shower arrangements available, from hanging solar water bags to very sophisticated devices which attach to the vehicle’s radiator system to heat the water and pump it to the waiting body.

There is an equal number of products on the market that cater for the toilet needs of campers. Some are environmentally friendly and others are not, so the choice really does become a personal one.

The original shovel and hole in the ground has taken on a new perspective with specially-constructed toilet seats designed to take a plastic liner or to be placed above the hole in the ground. There are the new plastic buckets designed to take shopping bags as liners which are then disposed of. This is usually done by burying but unless you add a dry chemical compound, it will take an eternity to decompose. There are now several styles of buckets that can be used. My favourite is the one that has the toilet roll holder in the lid so that supplies are always at hand.

Portable chemical loos have been available for quite a long time and are probably the best to use if staying at one site for any length of time. They can be charged with environmentally-friendly chemicals which will break down the contents and leave no nasty aromas.

There are several styles and brands in the camping stores, but the Thetford brand of Porta-potti is the only one that I have been able to find spare parts for, something to keep in mind when considering a purchase. As the name suggests, they are completely portable and are ideal for camping, construction sites, bedside use for the incapacitated and there is also a pump-out system available, which makes them very user friendly for boating.

They vary in size and each model has its own features. The number of times that they can be flushed ranges from 27 to 57, depending on the size of the holding tank.

There are special chemicals for use in these portable loos and some are not at all environmentally friendly. The chemicals which are used in portable loos can be bought from most camping stores and also from some supermarkets and department stores, so there is no need to run out.

Aqua-Kem Green Liquid is a strong, non-toxic, non-formaldehyde deodorant which does break down very slowly in the bottom tank. It is the only one that can be used when emptying the unit in natural bushland and caravan park sullage systems.

Aqua-Kem Blue Liquid is safe to use in a holding tank but the liquid has a formaldehyde base so it is not suitable to be emptied anywhere that other chemicals may be being used for septic or effluent draining systems. Aqua Rinse is a freshwater tank deodorant which flushes away nasty smells, protects rubber seals and adds a protective coating to the toilet bowl surface, helping in rinsing of the bowl.

Aqua-Kem Green is also available in powder form for use in luggable loos or the Hassock toilet, or any form of bucket arrangement which suits your needs.

When travelling we always take a portable loo because there is never any guarantee that there will be a clean convenience when you stop. Even at the roadside parking areas along the highways, there have been many occasions when we have used our own loo in preference to a smelly pit toilet. Taking your own loo and using the supplied shelter is usually far more hygienic.

Camping Country Superstore at Belmont supplies all the products mentioned above and can provide assistance for any camping needs. Information on most products is available at www.campingcountry.com.au



Hassocks toilet can be used with or without a liner and has the paper holder cleverly contained in the lid on the outside, so that there is no searching for the essentials.


Porta Potti provides the next-best loo to the one you left at home. The flushed contents are held in the sealed holding tank.


Chemicals come in varying sizes and a choice of strengths.

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