but portable toilets are a must if you don't have plumbing or an outhouse at your cabin or lodge, or if like us, you drain your pipes and disable your plumbing for the winter, but still like to use it on occasion during the "off" season.
This is, perhaps, not a topic people like to spend a lot of time discussing. However, it's an important one.
You may choose not to have regular plumbing or it may be something you have planned for the future. If you don't have "services" you will need an alternative.
On the other hand, even if you have plumbing, depending on where you live, come late fall you may drain your water system and say goodbye to lodge living for the winter. But often there are still opportunities to use the place, if only there were toilet facilities. For some, the great outdoors becomes the facility. But that only works for one gender part of the time!
In the not too distant past, most country homes had an outhouse, often even if there was indoor plumbing. However, environmental concerns have meant the phasing out of outhouses. And certainly the decision to install an outhouse must be taken with careful environmental considerations. Indeed, many jurisdictions have implemented considerable regulations surrounding this.
Cabin owners need to find other solutions such as portable, composting, and chemical toilets.
Let's start with portable toilets. These are designed for occasional use when camping, RVing, and yes, cabin use. The concept is simply to provide a toilet in situations where there isn't a "standard" toilet available.
Out first consideration when it comes to a portable toilet is disposal of waste material... can it be done with minimum fuss (and yuch factor) when you can't flush?
The next consideration is comfort... factors to consider include the seat height, stability, and overall construction.
Finally you want to ensure that portability means just that... if you need to actually carry it with you, is it truly portable?
Our favorite toilet that meets these criteria is the Pett (Portable Environmental Toilet).
As can be seen in this picture, the unit folds into the size of a brief case or computer case and has a carrying handle. It opens up with sturdy tripod legs with the seat at normal toilet height. The manufacturer says it can support a user weight of up to 600 pounds!
Other features include individual clean up using disposable bags. The bags contain a powder that gels waste and acts as a odor neutralizer.
Versions of this toilet have been around for a quite a while... my mother-in-law says she and her husband had a "toilet suitcase" when they first had an RV some 25 years ago.
If you don't need to carry a toilet with you, an alternate solution is something like this Bellows-Flush Porta Potti Portable Toilet that can be purchased with various sized tanks from about 2 gallons to 4 gallons.
These units have both a fresh water tank and a holding tank. The toilet has a hand pump to activate the flushing action. The holding tank detaches completely for emptying and cleaning.
While you can conceivably carry this unit with you, it is obviously not as compact as the PETT unit mentioned above.
This is a good solution for occasional or off-season lodge or cabin use.
These solutions generally have a tubular frame to which a seat is attached. They use bags to contain and dispose of the waste.
The advantage of these is the light weight and, in the case of the combo unit, it's easy to carry.
As you can see from the above, there is a range of options. The important thing is to carefully consider your intended use, your willingness to engage in cleaning the unit, budget, and so on.
But there are some excellent options that will let you enjoy your cabin or lodge without plumbing.