20161107 – How to Properly Use a Pit Toilet

With an upcoming car camping trip planned for this month and with some of you never having camped before, I thought I’d go over a subject that few others would probably talk to you about. It’s not that it isn’t important, it is very important but some of these things come automatically and some are learned over the years. The first thing to remember is that a pit toilet is your friend. You may not think of it but without that pit toilet you may well be faced with some of life’s crueler options to relieve oneself… the port-a-potty for one… and the field toilet, bag in a bucket as another. For me personally, digging a hole in the ground is much preferable to either one but after being in rural China and seeing the concrete ditch with no walls option, I am happy with a pit toilet. That being said, it is a gamble every time you approach one of these concrete bunkers… Is this a pristine, rarely used but regularly maintained toilet? Or is this a heavily trafficked and disgusting pit of human suffering? You can never tell… pittoilet

So here are eight things to remember when visiting your friendly neighborhood pit toilet:

  1.  Look down but don’t linger… it’s good to take a quick look down to make sure it’s not flooded or overflowing. Getting splashed by that brine of human waste would certainly ruin your day but no need to stare, you won’t find anything of value down there, trust me…

    Are you going to go down and get it?
  2. Lock the door. This may seem like a slam dunk but with all the nervousness of trying to remember the 8 items on this list you might forget and if you do you’ll certainly ruin someone else’s day as well.keep-calm-and-lock-the-door-2
  3. Check for toilet paper. Or even better, bring your own! I always carry toilet paper in the car for just that reason, just as an example, on our last group camping trip we managed to go through all five rolls that were in the toilet at the beginning of our trip. If you didn’t bring any, even though I strongly suggested it, you may have had to go begging among your fellow campers.imag2995_thumb3
  4. Secure your belongings… Don’t sit down yet! Make sure that all hats, glasses, cameras, cellphone, etc are secure and won’t tumble into the ever after, and if it does, well that leads us to the next item…

    This here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness!
  5. Don’t throw trash down there. Most likely there will be a sign stating just that, don’t be an idiot, don’t do it. Everything that goes down there must be brought back out via a huge vacuum and trash can stop up the process. Imagine the work needed to UNSTOP that trash that’s now stuck in the vacuum. I’d rather not think about that… blogpittoiletsign
  6. Breathe through your mouth and take shallow breaths. I shouldn’t have to explain that you are sitting on a mountain of human waste and taking deep breaths through your nose would be an exceedingly bad idea. This is not the time to compose an Instagram post, be efficient and get out of there, especially when you have others waiting to use the same toilet!texting_on_the_toilet_bathroom_without_my_phone_was_weird
  7. Put down the cover. Again, this might seems small but I’m disgusted every time I enter a pit toilet and the lid is wide open. Keeping the lid closed keeps the odor of a thousand bowel movements somewhat contained and it also keeps the number of flies down. Yes, that same fly that just landed on your sandwich… Gross? Yup! so CLOSE THE LID!2fe3053900000578-3388799-image-a-10_1452179741419
  8. Bring hand sanitizer. If you are using a pit toilet you are most likely in an area that does not have running water so hand sanitizer is an essential item. Occasionally there is a dispenser of sanitizer there by the door but about half the time I find these are empty so it’s better to bring your own.dirty_hands

There you have it, that wasn’t so bad was it? Now you are fully prepared to take on the pit toilets of the world and be a little more appreciative of their existence. Thanks for reading and remember to find your adventure where ever you may wander!

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