How To Choose The Best Portable Toilet & Shower?

Love camping, fishing, 4WDing, hiking and festivals but hate the bathroom situation? Having your own portable toilet and shower is awesome when the ones on offer are a bit iffy, too far from your tent, or have long queues. You'll feel clean and can use your portable shower for other things too - the washing up, hosing down your gear and washing the dog.

What's the best camping toilet and shower?


Everyone's different, and like many things in life, what's best for one person might not be best for the next. The best portable bathroom for you depends on your particular needs:

  • Where you'll use the bathroom (near water and people or in the middle of nowhere?)
  • Who you'll camp with (now and in the future - how many people and how big they are)
  • How easy you want using the toilet and shower to be (refilling/emptying frequency?)
  • How often you'll be camping and for how long (on weekends only or for a few weeks?)
  • How long you want it to last (for a few short trips or for many years of camping?)

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What portable toilet and shower should you buy?


Working out which shower and toilet to buy is easier when you go through these six steps:

How To Choose A Portable Toilet & Shower - Basic

1. Use


First, think about where and how you'll use the portable toilet and shower:

  • Water - will you have access to a tap or need to take all the water with you?
  • Campers - how many people will be using it every day, and for how many days?
  • Frequency - will you only use them for a few days here and there, or for weeks?
  • Portability - will you set them up in one spot, or need to move them around a lot?
  • Privacy - will you be camping somewhere private or around lots of other people?
  • Rules - are you allowed to use a portable toilet or shower where you're camping?
How To Choose A Portable Toilet & Shower - Outhouse

2. Size


Next, consider what size shower and toilet will suit your particular needs:


Capacity

  • The bigger the water and/or waste capacity is, the larger and heavier it will be.
  • Think about how many times you can use it before you need to refill the water.
  • If it holds more water you get more/longer showers before you need to refill it.
  • The bigger it is the less often you need to refill or empty it (but it'll be heavier).
  • The smaller it is the easier it is to carry (but you'll need to refill/empty it more).
  • Some showers have a flow adjuster (a more powerful flow uses water faster).

Weight

  • If you're doing a 14-day wilderness trek you won't want to carry anything heavy.
  • When you look at it's weight, keep in mind that it will be heavier when full.
  • Are you strong enough to carry it alone when it's time to refill or empty it?
  • Will you be able to lift and hang up the shower bag when it's full of water?

Height

  • Really low toilets or basic bucket toilets require more squatting when using.
  • A taller toilet is better for tall people and men (less splashback when standing).
  • A toilet that's lower to the ground is better for shorter people and kids.
  • If you're using the power of gravity for the shower, what will you hang it from?

Seat

  • The size of the hole in the toilet seat needs to suit the people using it.

Dimensions

  • It needs to fit within your campsite dimensions (along with everything else).
  • Only 4WDs and caravans will fit larger toilets and showers (and all your gear).
  • You'll also need enough space for all the water you'll need to run it (if no tap).
How To Choose A Portable Toilet & Shower - Flushing

3. Comfort & Convenience


A pop-up tent that you put your portable toilet and/or shower inside gives you:

  • The convenience of having a bathroom right next to your tent.
  • Complete privacy when you're camping with other people.
  • A way to keep odours outside (even if a toilet would fit in your tent).

One toilet and shower tent or two?


You'll just need to peg the toilet/shower tent to the ground so it's secure in the wind.


Showers


Some shower tents have:

  • Pockets for your toiletries.
  • A place to keep your towel dry and clean.
  • A floor or mat to keep your feet clean.

Shop Camping Showers


Toilets


Some toilets have:

  • A basic bucket design.
  • Disposable plastic liners.
  • A seat you can sit on.
  • A lid to contain odours.
  • Luxury comfort designs.
  • A manual flushing system.
  • A battery-powered flush.

Shop Camping Toilets

How To Choose A Portable Toilet & Shower - Canvas Shower

4. Types


What type of portable loo is best for you?


A portable toilet collects your waste so doesn't affect the environment. They can be:


Basic toilets

  • A simple squat-and-go scenario.
  • Bog bags you use once and then dispose of (like when you walk the dog).
  • A bucket that temporarily stores your waste then you empty and clean it.

Outhouse toilets

  • A glorified bin with a loo seat and lid, and a disposable bag underneath.

Chemical toilets

  • Use liquid chemicals to keep the toilet clean and break down waste.
  • Are more hygienic to use and and manage waste than basic toilets.
  • Are better suited to longer-term camping trips.
  • A blue chemical breaks down the waste, covers up odours and reduces gas.
  • Flushing toilets have a pink chemical too that keeps them hygienically clean.
  • The containers need to be emptied every day or two.

Shop Toilet Chemicals & Accessories

Flushing toilets

  • Are a much fancier, more comfortable toilet experience.
  • Have a built-in water tank that creates a flushing system.
  • Manual flushing toilets have one of the following flush mechanisms:
    • You push a bellows tube repeatedly until there's enough pressure to flush.
    • You pump a piston until there's enough pressure to push the flush button.
    • You pull then push the piston pump once (or as many times as needed).
  • Powered toilets have flushing systems powered by a battery or electricity.



Which camping shower is right for you?


Portable showers have two or three parts:

  • A soft bladder or hard plastic container you fill with water.
  • A showerhead or hose that sprays the water onto you.
  • A power source that heats the water and creates water pressure.

Camping showers can be used with:


  • Cold water - the shower's water vessel is filled with tap or bottled water.
  • Warm water - that's generated in one of two ways:
    • The shower is filled with cold tap or bottled water then heated.
    • Cold water is heated on your camp stove/fire before it goes in the shower.

The way the shower heats and pumps the water tells you what type of shower it is, so think about which of these you'd prefer to use:


Powered shower

  • The water is heated by a power source.
  • The power source creates water pressure too.
  • A battery, gas bottle or generator is needed.
  • The fastest way to heat water for a hot shower.
  • These showers create the best water pressure.

Pressure shower

  • Doesn't need to be connected to a battery or to power.
  • Manual pressure or a pressure chamber pushes water down the hose.

Solar-powered shower

  • The sun heats the water bag then you hang it from above (on a tree or pole).
  • Gravity propels the water from the bag down the hose and onto you.
  • On cloudy days when there's no sun you won't have any warm water.
  • On blazing hot summer days, the water can be boiling hot so be careful.
  • Light and easy to carry but will take a few hours to warm up the water.

Won't have access to water or going hiking?


Sea to Summit Wilderness Wipes are:

  • A great way to wipe off the day's grime, sweat salt and odours.
  • Gentle on skin and pH balanced thanks to the extra thick viscose non-woven fibre.
  • Readily compostable after use so they're gentle on the environment too.
How To Choose A Portable Toilet & Shower - Power Hub Shower

5. Powered by

  • Powered showers and toilets have different power sources with different benefits. Think about what's important to you and how you'd prefer to power them.

Electricity

  • Toilet flushing systems can be powered by plug-in electricity (or a generator).

Battery

  • A lithium ion battery or 12V car battery can power some toilets and showers.
  • You can control the water temperature for the perfect camping shower.
  • Heats shower water fast but they're big and heavy so suit long-term camping.

Gas

  • An LPG gas bottle heats the shower water (same kind used for a camping stove).
  • The shower water is pressurised by a battery or plug-in power.
  • Great for showering on big family camping trips and 4WDing.
  • Heats shower water fast but they're big and heavy so suit long-term camping.
  • You'll need lot of gas for lots of people showering, long showers or long trips.

Solar

  • Solar showers are compact and light so can be easily carried.
  • They need to be left in the sun for hours to heat to the water.
  • The bigger the shower water bladder the heavier it will be to lift and hang.
  • Solar showers don't need batteries or power, just sun, so can be used anywhere.

Shop Hot Water Heaters

How To Choose A Portable Toilet & Shower - Toilet Range

6. Quality


When you're weighing up which toilet or shower to buy, think about quality versus cost:

  • Battery and gas-powered showers more expensive than solar-powered showers (but heat water faster).
  • Plastic shower water bladders don't last as long as fabric bladders.
  • Brands offering ongoing service can help you with potential future issues and parts.
  • Toilets that flush manually are cheaper than powered toilets (but less convenient).
  • Models with water and waste indicators are more expensive but more convenient.

When it comes to how much you should spend on a toilet or shower:

How much are portable toilets and showers?


Anaconda has a range of:

  • Showers from $16 (solar) to $550 (gas), and the majority are $100 to $400.
  • Toilets from $20 (buckets) to $280 (flushing), and the majority are $50 to $200.

When you go to the camping toilets and showers section on the Anaconda website, you'll see tick box filters down the left hand side of the page. Using these filters makes working out which shower and toilet to buy easier and faster because you can choose to filter the showers and toilets you see by their:



Other Camping & Hiking Essentials


Check out Anaconda's range of Camping & Hiking products available online or visit your local store.


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