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Van Camping and An Indelicate Question

While I wait for my bank account to suddenly and magically contain tens of thousands of dollars out of nowhere so that we can buy our preferred pop-up (ish) camper, we'll be using our minivan as a camper (when the kids are at their grandparents and we can get away for the weekend). An easy 10 minute transformation from family transport to camper and then back again as needed.

*I* am fine using shared bathrooms in a campground because, as a guy, with some planning I can do everything in a "contactless" way. LOL  My wife doesn't want to use a ground's shared facilities.

So I am going to buy a 5 gallon flushable toilet and privacy shelter. But if we inadvertently find ourselves in a spot that's close to other tents/campers/etc.,  would it be weird or awkward to set it up? Do we run the risk of being "those people"?

This is a brand new area of camping for me. I've always used the established washrooms at a campground or a cathole if hiking. I just want to make sure my wife has as positive an experience (as do the people around us).

How do you handle this situation? Or how would you want the people beside you to handle this?

Thanks for your insights and guidance!

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

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1 Reply

@Dad_Aint_Hip Thanks for a great question!

When we lived in Alaska we did a lot of off the grid camping on open BLM and State Forest land. Facilities were non-existent and, with two small kids and often camping near to sources of water, I wanted to have a bathroom option that didn't involve putting waste in hole in the ground. What we went with was, essentially, a portable outhouse that was a combination of a couple of items:

  1. Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Portable Toilet Seat 
  2. Kelty Blockhouse Privacy Shelter 
  3. Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Toilet Kit Waste Bags 

While not 'flushable', I did not find using this system to be much more 'indelicate' than using a public outhouse or pit toilet. We didn't use the Kelty Blockhouse, but rather an REI shelter with walls, but the idea was the same. This option is particularly functional if you're at a camp site with a place to dispose of garbage right away. We had a separate sealable five gallon bucket that we used to pack our waste out of the camp site. 

Hopefully this helps give you some ideas, thanks!

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