Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Potty training

While avidly following everyone's progress during the Missouri 340, a post-race entry from Brian (Capt'n of the 'O' Dark 30) caught my eye, where he described landing at the Coopers Landing checkpoint:

"My favorite story is our visit to Cooper's Landing. But first I must talk about the bucket toilet I made for the cruiser. A 2 1/2 gallon bucket with a bagging system which would allow us to use the "head" while underway in the cruiser. As our plan was never to get out of the boat during the MR 340. Good idea gone bad and never tested... Anyway, Mark was pretty clear that he wasn't going to use the bucket "head" ever... and then we arrived at Cooper's Landing. After a short walk to the bathroom at Cooper's, Mark returned to our campsite: "Dude, where's the bucket?" Let's just say the bucket was the best option."

Having a wee fetish for better, more environmentally sensitive ways to s#@t in the woods and on water, I asked Brian to describe his home-made bucket head. Here's his response, kindly reprinted with permission (in fact, his exact response was: "Quote away, sweet cheeks... no pun intended... :-) Go a"head" and enter on your blog. I feel a bit "flush" over the topic!!! :-))

The "Bucket Head"
created by: Brian Weber

Goal: Create a potty system that is simple to use, and cheap to build. A system that can be serviced while moored or underway or ashore in a variety of conditions.

Our Needs: We needed a potty system that would allow us the ability to stay in our craft for extended periods of time, without the need to go ashore. In a craft that normally would not offer the convenience of an onboard head... a canoe. A Kruger Cruiser expedition canoe, to be specific.

Construction Materials:
3 gallon plastic bucket with lid - acquired at a bakery for $1.00.
5 gallon scented garbage bags - acquired at the dollar store for $1.00
4' section of a/c foam pipe insulation - acquired at the hardware store for $1.29
1 roll of duct tape - used on bottom of bucket for non-slip for $2.59
1 container Wet Wipes - free
Total cost: $5.88

Bucket used as the holding tank
Bags used as sanitation system - ease for disposal
Foam pipe used for comfort on the rim and holds bags in place.
Duct tape used as non-skid on bottom of bucket - reduces slip and slide
Wet wipes used for hygiene
Double bag for re-assurance of system non-failure

Strengths of system:
Easily used ashore at camp, in wooded area or van. Cheap to build and very easy to use. System can be used on board in a stable craft like a Kruger Cruiser expedition canoe.

Weaknesses of system:
Privacy in a canoe. Stability while underway. Storing of Bucket Head and access when fully loaded and unsupported on an expedition or challenge event like the Missouri 340. Takes up usable space.

Personal performance of system:
We never had the need to use the system underway. Though in a high traffic area with poor bathroom facilities, the Bucket Head was an outstanding choice offering privacy and a clean environment while ashore.

Over-all rating: 1-10 - 10 being highest rating. All things being considered:
Rating of Bucket Head - 6: met our needs and was cheap to build - goal met. (Flush toilets rule.)


Capt'n "O" Dark 30 said...

hey-- i made your blog!!!! sweet!!

Michael said...

I suppose that explains why most day-hatches are offset from the centerline in kayaks. It prevents a similar use being made of them by expedition paddlers too lazy to stretch their legs ashore. And I agree, double bag a 'honey pot', by all means!

Capt'n "O" Dark 30 said...

"offset -day hatches"... now I get it! I was wondering why I always tipped over. :-)

Noel said...

Never done it myself, but I have heard of people covering up with a poncho to provide "privacy" when using an open toilet on hiking trips.

I can see myself using this technique on a boat, would feel weird but not as weird as using a toilet made of one way glass.

Bill said...

A sawdust toilet might also be an option:

Kristen said...

Thanks for that link, Bill - what science and what a terrific article!