Camp comfort stops
  |  First Published: November 2003

The Success of most camping trips can be attributed to many influences, but if the comfort 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 the old shovel out the back will suffice. But if there are women in the camp then chances are that unless their needs are catered for, the outing could really be a non-event.

Our individual personal habits differ greatly and our environment determines our needs as occasions vary. The journey from site to site usually involves fuel stops, which is when comfort stops are taken, but once off the highway it becomes a different matter.

With the introduction of toilet/shower tents, the comfort levels of everyone 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. The toilet needs of campers are also well catered for these days. Some are environmentally friendly and others are not, so the choice really does become personal.


The original shovel and hole in the ground have taken on a new perspective with specially constructed toilet seats designed to take a plastic liner or to be placed above that hole in the ground. There are the new poly buckets designed to take plastic shopping bags as liners which are then disposed of. This is usually done by burying it in a hole in the ground, but unless you add a dry chemical compound it will take an eternity to decompose and is one of the least attractive options of all. 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.

Chemical portable loos have been available for quite a long time and are probably the best form 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, so this is 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 for 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.

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

The Aqua-Kem Blue Liquid is safe to use in the 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 and also protects the rubber seals and adds a protective coating to the toilet bowl surface, helping the rinsing of the bowl once it has been used.

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 long distances 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 which 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. Advice on most products is available at www.campingcountry.com.au

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