Camping is one of the most popular pastimes. It is a chance to get closer to nature. But that doesn’t mean that we should leave behind every modern facility. If you’re a new camper, you’re probably wondering about the shower and toilet status of camping grounds.
Almost all campgrounds have showers and toilets. Smaller campgrounds tend to have only one comfort station or standard bathroom. Larger campgrounds will have a few. These bathrooms are similar to public restrooms as there are bathroom stalls next to the sink line.
Do Campgrounds Have Showers and Toilets?
As campgrounds are meant to connect us with nature as much as possible, there’s a debate on what sort of bathrooms should be available in such an area. There are two groups of thoughts in this matter.
- Primitive Bathrooms- this type of campground toilet has been designed for nature junkies who want to completely immerse themselves in everything natural.
- Standard Bathroom- this type of campground toilet is for people who want to be surrounded by natural settings but still enjoy a few luxuries of modern life.
So, what’s the difference between these two? Primitive toilets have no running water meaning there are no showers or basins. They don’t have your typical sit-down toilet. Instead, they have something called ‘Pit Toilet’ or a plastic tub-like seat over a ground hole. These toilets are all outside rather than inside. You need to use your own supplies, including carrying water.
On the other hand, we have the standard toilet. These are the bathrooms that we are more used to as they have running water, sit-down toilet, and sink. They are also known as comfort stations. Most campgrounds have this type of bathroom for the convenience of the campers. The more extensive campgrounds may even have shower and washer facilities.
Benefits of Campgrounds Having Bathroom
Having showers and toilets in a campground can be a blessing. As much as we love camping to get closer to nature, we are still used to certain facilities, such as showering and running water. Camping in campgrounds is advantageous because you get some of these modern facilities while being amidst nature.
While you can sleep on the ground or cook using a self-made fire, nothing can beat the necessity of a toilet when it comes to calls of nature. Camping in an area with working showers and toilets is beneficial. Some benefits that I can share from my own experience,
- If you have working toilets near you, you will be less worried about your sanitation and focus more on the camping experience. Sometimes we underestimate how much we need a bathroom with running water. They are a fundamental part of our lives. So, don’t compromise on this criterion.
- Generally, people cook their own food while camping. If things go south and you have a bad reaction to your food, having a toilet with running water can be a saving grace.
- Camping for a few days in nature means that your body odor won’t be the best. Instead of tolerating the bad smell, you can clean yourself properly. The entire experience will be more refreshing this way.
- If you go on camping trips as a family, showers, and toilets are vital. Little children are unpredictable, and they don’t like remaining dirty for an extended period.
- For people with physical issues, having good bathrooms are a must. It’s not possible to use the ground or forest as an alternative. Sit-down toilets and showers offer great comfort in this case.
- Some more extensive and luxurious camping grounds have private bathrooms with changing rooms as well. You get to enjoy the best of both the rustic and the modern.
Drawbacks of Campground Showers and Toilets
While camping grounds with showers and toilets are beneficial to our camping experience, certain disadvantages cannot be ignored. The first issue is the one that every camper has faced, long queues. A camping ground is an area for camping, and there will always be many visitors. These places don’t have a high number of bathrooms, and this leads to long lines.
This leads to our next problem, hygiene. Since so many people use the bathrooms continuously, these toilets and showers are not as clean as one would like. While they are cleaned every day, there are still issues of bad smell and dirt trails on the floor. Primitive bathrooms are worse in this case since they are not so well taken care of.
Campground toilets and showers might always be crowded. The bathrooms may be clogged, the sinks may not work well, and much more technical issues. There is always a chance that sinks, showers, toilets may stop working when you’re using them.
Moreover, supplies aren’t always secure. Don’t expect to see toilet paper, handwash, soaps, paper towels, etc., all the time. This is why you need to carry your own. Primitive bathrooms don’t have soaps or handwash since there’s no running water.
We all have experience with public restrooms. Camping area bathrooms are just the same. You have to share with many people, and there is always a worry about hygiene. Plus, most camping grounds, except the larger luxurious ones, do not offer private shower stalls. Most of the time, you will find a communal shower place.
What to Do If There Are No Campground Bathroom?
Before you go camping, always check if the facilities you want are available or not. Sometimes we want to camp away from everything and end up choosing a place in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps the bathrooms at your camping ground are not working. There are so many what-if scenarios, but you have to be always prepared.
First, check if there are any hotels, motels, or restaurants nearby. Anywhere you can walk or take your car to is a good choice. These places usually have toilets which you use to get fresh and come back to the camping ground.
If that does not work out, you can try the age-old method. It’s known as the cat digging hole method. You just have to dig a hole on the ground when you need to do the business.
Ensure the place is far away from the place you’re camping and is not near water sources. Places with loose dirt are good choices. Always carry your own toilet paper and sanitary products. Try to use biodegradable toilet paper and waste bags.
Alternatives to Campground Restroom
As we mentioned before, you need to carry your own supplies and always be prepared for the worst-case scenarios. Suppose you are planning on going to a campground without toilet and shower facilities or a place that isn’t a campground. In that case, you can use some of the tricks given below.
If you’re camping for a few days and there’s no bathroom near you, portable or campsite toilets are a must-have for you. This product is exactly what it sounds like, a toilet that mobile or travel friendly. They are sanitary and hygienic as well since only your camping group will use them.
Camping for a few days or with a large group of people, especially children, can be challenging if there is no sanitary option. Portable toilets are easy to carry and easy to use. They work just as toilets in our house.
The tank at the top has fresh water for flushing and disinfectant for cleaning the bowl. The tank at the bottom is the waste tank to which you need to put in some eco-friendly chemicals. It helps to break down waste and paper materials.
When the tank gets full, the indicator on the outside will signal you. You just have to disconnect it from the unit and hold it by the rear clasp. Make sure to dump the waste in a government-designated dumping ground. If you can’t find one, find a place far away from water bodies and the camping place and dig a deep hole there to dumb the waste.
Cost: there’s no doubt that a product like this will be a bit more costly than other camping gear. The average price is around 200 to 250 dollars. Some brands have portable toilets that are 150 to 160 dollars as well.
Portable Water Heater
When it comes to showering when camping, you cannot compromise. We all heard stories about people who used water from an unreliable source to bathe and got sick. You always need to be careful about the water you use to bathe, cook and drink.
With a portable water heater, you can heat up water for a good shower, for cooking, and even for drinking. Camping can be grueling sometimes, and every day, you will be covered in dirt and whatnot. In moments like those, a warm shower can be a blessing.
Portable water heaters are small, easy to carry, and extremely useful. They are powered by LPG gas and batteries. You can power them through your car battery. You can connect them with the primary water source or use a bucket to fill them. Once they are activated, they will light a signal, and you will get warm water on the spot.
Cost: Even the smallest size, aka the portable ones, are pretty pricey. They cost around 300 to 400 dollars.
Camp showers can come in handy during camping. Nobody likes being covered in dirt, especially when you’re trying to have a good time. These camp showers let you clean yourself without much fuss.
They are basically a hanging bag with a small water tank. You can hang it from a wall, a tent, or even a tree. Even though the water flow is relatively weak and only runs for a few minutes, they are still an excellent alternative to campground showers.
Cost: these showers are relatively cheap. They cost somewhere around 18 to 40 dollars.
5 Tips for Using Campground Showers and Toilets
If you’re going to use campground showers and toilets, it’s better to follow some valuable tips that will help you.
Plan Your Toilet Trips
There’s no set time when one has to go to the toilet, but it’s better to know some general time that you want to go. That way, you can scout out the toilet’s situation during those times. You can find out if there are too many people there or not.
Long lines for toilets and showers are entirely normal. Some people won’t follow the unspoken rule of ‘hurrying when using public services. You have to make do with what you get, unfortunately. Early morning or early evenings are more suitable as most people don’t use bathrooms during those times.
Check Before Using
Since these are public restrooms, you need to check everything before using them. There always could be an issue. First, check the sinks. Use the one that is draining the quickest. Test the water tap as well to see if it is working or not.
Then, check the stall and the shower. Search for toilet paper and see if there is enough for you to use or not. Oftentimes you will find that toilet papers have been used up and no longer available. After the toilet paper, you must check the toilet. See if it has been flushed by the previous person or it is draining correctly or not.
Always be Prepared
As we mentioned earlier, there is a chance that toilet paper might not be available. Situations like these are common, so you need to be prepared all the time. There’s also a question of hygiene when using public products.
Carry an essential toiletries bag with you when you go to the restrooms. The bag should have handwash, toilet paper, paper towels, soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer, and whichever toiletries you use.
Lock the Door
Always lock the door when using it. It doesn’t matter if it is a stalled or private bathroom; you need to lock it before using it. There’s always a chance that someone will try to push the door to see availability. If there is no lock or you feel unsafe, have a friend stand near your stall.
Before you use the toilet, see if there are any warnings by the camping ground management regarding any technical issues. Always be aware of your surroundings. Since campgrounds are public areas, you never know what sort of people might be there, so being alert is necessary.
Hopefully, now you know whether campgrounds have showers and toilets or not. Despite their availability status, you always need to be ready for the worst-case scenario. Always check if your campground of choice offers these facilities before going.
Some people might not be too keen on going to a place with toilets and showers, but they forget how necessary these two are to our daily lives. You can try to be near to nature as much as possible but comprising good hygiene is not safe.
James is a true outdoor enthusiast with a passion for nature and a love of the great outdoors. He started Outdoor Fun Mag to introduce people from all walks of life to everything the outdoors has to offer and hopes that you’ll find something that excites you every time you stop by.
When not exploring nature James works as an Electronics Engineer — a job that gets him thinking and makes sure he pays attention to all those fine details. This means that when he leaves work for the week, there’s no better contrast than the calmness and serenity of the natural world. By giving James the chance to switch off and relax, his time spent camping hiking allows him to feel refreshed and relaxed unlike anything else. His dream is for you to be able to share the same sensations and experiences so that you can live a healthier and happier life.
In the future, James plans to explore new areas and corners of the world with nothing more than a backpack and a tent. It’s an authentic way of seeing new places that allow him to de-stress and enjoy life, and his dream is for you to make the most of it too.