This is the question I always wanted to ask those who live in vans or campers without toilets. Some people always stay in places with facilities. Some have special “cassette” toilets that look like potty training toilets. Some can afford compost toilets. Others use a 5 gallon bucket filled with cat litter, topped with a veritable toilet seat. Some just use public toilets and then dig the old 6-inch hole when they’re in nature and nature calls.
We originally wanted an old VW, a Westafalia or a Vanagon. Something the cool kids ride in, something discreet. But then we asked “how the f**” are we going to go to the bathroom, discreetly, realistically? In a city? In the middle of the night? Inebriated?”
That’s why we started looking at class Bs, like the Roadtrek. But most Roadtreks have the toilet closet in the middle of the van right across from the stove. Then the aisleway becomes a shower… It looked complicated.
That’s when we came across the Airstream b190. Definitely not a discreet, “stealth” van. But, there is a toilet and a shower tucked away in the back. Airstream rearranged it a bit over the years, but by far it was our favorite layout. The “bathroom” is separated from our “kitchen” by an accordion door. So you can pretend you really are in a different room.
So far, we have mostly been using bathrooms at the places we stay. This helps to use less water. But when bathrooms are unavailable, we use our little Dometic toilet. We pee in it quite often.
In regards to pooing, we have only used it a couple of times so far. We have an extra ceiling vent/fan near the back where the AC once was, so any bad smell exits pretty quickly. Also, the non-pooer leaves the van so the other one can have some privacy.
I’m not averse to digging holes though, and I’m sure we will be doing that once we boondock in the wild. (And of course away from any water sources!) I had to read a book called How to Shit in the Woods for my Honor’s Backpacking course. I shit you not. I am indebted to that author for writing the adult version of the book Everybody Poops. It makes me feel better about writing this.
We wholeheartedly recommend to anyone with a toilet, whether in a van, RV, house or apartment, to get a shataf. Or as it is disgracefully marketed in the US, a “diaper sprayer” or a “handheld bidet”.
A shataf is like one of those kitchen sink sprayers but it’s mounted next to your toilet. You use it to for wash your bum and your nether bits. It is by far our favorite thing from the Middle East. They use it in Asia too.
Europeans have a whole separate bathroom fixture to do the same job, the bidet. It’s the size of a toilet and is like a mini bum-bath. The English and the Americans are comfortable with toilet paper sticking to their ass all the time.
A shataf is cheap, easy to install, helps save on toilet paper, and makes you feel as fresh as a daisy down there in just a few sprays. If you have ever had a period, diarrhea, or sweaty underwear, you can begin to understand how wonderful this thing is.
Boondockers, this is a must. If you can’t take always take showers but you are afraid of contracting swampass, if you want to use less toilet paper, if you want clean your toilet more efficiently, get one.
We ordered a $17 one off of ebay, as the ones for the US market are very expensive and too bulky for the van. Ours is plastic and was made in Italy for the Arab market.
As our toilet is in the back, we can also pull our hose out through the doors. So it doubles as an outdoor shower!
Don’t worry, I’m not sitting on the toilet as I write this, all excited about the sprayer. Don’t poo-poo it; just piss off if you don’t like it! 💩