An Uncomfortable Topic In An Uncomfortable Situation

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No matter how much or how little you eat, it all eventually has to come out somewhere.

Most of the time, you hold it until you get to the next available restroom. Then you do your business, and all is right with the world again.

Unfortunately, in any type of grid-down situation, no matter how much you jiggle the handle, it’s not going to flush.

So what exactly are you supposed to do?

Stay with me now.

I know this is an uncomfortable topic, but it is one that you need to hear.

When a toilet is not an option, you need to make sure that you have an alternative way to contain and get rid of any waste.

Even a small amount of exposure to human waste can turn already uncomfortable situation deadly.

Aside from digging a hole, what can you do?

Growing up, I did a lot of work with my dad as a painter over the summers. It was terrible: long hours, hot days and, most of the time, no running water.

If we were lucky, the home we were working on was near a gas station or even a patch of woods.

Most of the time, we didn’t get so lucky.

In those cases, we were forced to use a big orange bucket from Home Depot — not exactly the most graceful thing to try to use.

I wish we had known back then about toilet seats that fit on 5-gallon buckets.

If you own a home, odds are you have a few extra 5-gallon buckets siting around gathering dust.

I have two 5-gallon buckets in my garage with these little “toilet toppers,” and I have used them on camping trips in the past.

I will tell you that, being a larger guy, going about my business on one of these is much akin to trying to use a child-sized toilet.

It takes a bit to get used to it, but is a good deal better than the “squat and hover” method from my childhood.

The great thing about these is that you can make an entire self-contained bathroom kit that is ready at a moment’s notice.

If you don’t already have at least one of these hanging around in your garage, I recommend you get one as soon as possible.

A few other necessities that you need to make sure are inside your emergency toilet:

  • Toilet paper (You don’t know how important it is until you’re stuck without it.)
  • Heavy duty trash bags
  • Air freshener
  • Wet wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • You have a couple of options when it comes to absorbing moisture and odor:
    Clumping cat litter
    Sawdust
    Peat moss
    Untreated, unpainted, heated, no-dust pine shavings
    Cedar chips

Just put a layer of whatever material you choose into the bucket after every use. If you make sure you keep the lid tightly closed, smell shouldn’t be a problem.

Like I said, this is an uncomfortable topic. But a little extra preparation can make it much more bearable in the long run.

–Joe Marshall

P.S. Another option you may want to look at, and one that I actually keep in my garage, is a Honey Bucket Kit. These come with the bucket, toilet topper, a few other  basic toiletries and an entire 72-hour kit inside them.

These are a great option if you are just starting out your preps or if you want a quick, ready-made option.

 

Joe Marshall

A little about 'Above Average' Joe. I am the managing editor for Survivallife.com. I am just an average guy with a passion for learning. Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals; all with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive no matter what this world throws at us. For more articles like this please subscribe to my biweekly newsletter or feel free to follow me on Facebook.

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  • independent thinker

    I have seen the seats designed to fit on a 5 gal. bucket on the Sportsmans Guide web site in the past.

    • Quester55

      Go to Academy Sports & Outdoors, They get a Load around Hunting Season. By the way, Wood Seats in the Wild, are Germ Carriers & S.T.D. Transmitters, User Beware!

    • Quester55

      Go to Academy Sports & Outdoors, They get a Load around Hunting Season. By the way, Wood Seats in the Wild, are Germ Carriers & S.T.D. Transmitters, User Beware!

  • Anonymous

    Powered Lime (for gardens) is very useful for a improvised toilet. Sprinkle it on top of everything to kill odor.

    • Quester55

      Another use is it’s Cousin QUICK-LIME, But Us it ONLY in a Pit or Trench Privy! Just Dig that Hole or Trench 6 to 8 Feet Deep, if your going to be making a Base Camp for longer than a Night or 2.

      • dan

        bwahahhaaaa…for those of us who have actually done some digging with a shovel and not a backhoe :
        don’t make your pit deeper thaan you canclimb out of or wider than you can straddle.

        • Max_Rebo

          ;)

        • Max_Rebo

          ;)

        • Quester55

          Dan, If your Near the woods, Chop down a New 4 to 5 inch tree that has a Fork in it’s trunk, once down, trim the fork and dig a hole under it. instant toilet.

    • Quester55

      Another use is it’s Cousin QUICK-LIME, But Us it ONLY in a Pit or Trench Privy! Just Dig that Hole or Trench 6 to 8 Feet Deep, if your going to be making a Base Camp for longer than a Night or 2.

    • Bill

      Anon,
      Your standard outhouse has a bag of lime and plenty of reading material. So make sure you put in a window for reading light.
      When it was real cold, I used to put the toilet seat on the wall behind the wood burning stove. So, when it became time for the “call of the wild”, I would take my warm toilet seat to my cold outhouse and life was wonderful

      • Michael Hudson

        My Grandfather had a three holer built on a bridge over a gully outside of Stone City Colorado (this was probably about 1935). Anyway, every time a good rainstorm would happen runoff would end up in the gully and nicely clean up underneath the outhouse. Thus giving us the phrase “gully washer”. My granddad was quite the inventor. In about 1955 he had an electric, self powered lawn mower that even collected the clippings.

        • Bill

          Hi Michael,
          Your grandfather sounds like quite a guy. Continue his legacy by knowing how to be self sufficient and not having to rely on anybody.
          Remember, life is tough, it is even tougher if you are stupid

        • Quester55

          Isn’t it wonderful to have lots of memories of our kinfolk, seems like an lost art, these days, just to use your brains & not one of these computers. If You Ever get a Chance, Go to a Re-sale Book store or yard sale in the Hills of your state. Look for ” Foxfire Folk lore & Living ” books, They are Great & Tell you many of the Lost arts of Wood-crafts, Soap making, home & Shelter building, Well Digging, Animal Keeping & Gardening! And if you’ve haven’t found it yet, try going to Backwoods Home, A great site & even Archive of past publications! See Ya.

      • Quester55

        Bill, Lucky you! My Dad, Had out Seat Screwed to the Out-House Hole, & In the winter, You never take the time to read, Especially at 10* Below, Course, that only happens when the Chamber Pots got to Full.

        • Bill

          Quester,
          Thank you for the nice remarks, I know I have made sarcastic remarks to you in the past but I am a truly self made man and I can’t tolerate whiners.
          When I was a young man, I was the caretaker of an historical mining camp for a Hollywood movie family. I lived for 7 years with no electricity. I obtained a wrecking contract for a building in town, took it apart piece by piece and hauled it one pick up truck load at a time to the mines.
          I proceeded to use hand tools and I built my own caretakers cabin. Heat was a wood burning stove, I hauled in my own propane tanks for the refrigerator (Servell) and stove, kerosene lamps were my light and a gravity flow spring provided the water.
          Prior to that my life’s mentor was a concentration camp survivor who gave me a good perspective on what it’s Like to have a bad day
          My beliefs are libertarian and I post on this site because I can’t understand why people would want to take this most wonderful society of every opportunity in the world and turn it into an oppressive society where everyone is poor.
          Abraham Lincoln said “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left from those who hustle”.

  • Anonymous

    OOPS I meant “POWDERED” Lime, not powered….

    • dan

      I believe it’s used to buffer the acidity…which makes planting an apple-tree practical when you move to the next hole….
      I sometimes marvel at beauty the orchards planted
      just outside of back doors

  • Anonymous

    OOPS I meant “POWDERED” Lime, not powered….

  • Toy Pupanbai

    http://www.oldandinteresting.com/earth-closet.aspx

    It’s absurd that countries with little water and no infra-structure don’t resort to th Moule dry toilet system. we had them when i lived in the country and i read that a school changed to the system as Latin primers clogged the W. C’s!

    • Quester55

      Try Working as a Custodian in a Warehouse in Houston TX. Those Fresh Latino’s Throw their T,P. in the trash can or on the Floor, Talk about Dangerous Work Places? & this Fad isn’t limited to Warehouses, I’ve see the same thing in Computer Centers & Stores, as well as some County Hospitals. Then the rest of those Leftest Wimps don’t know where all of these new viruses are coming from?

    • Nadzieja Batki

      Everything takes money to buy. So it means you don’t think.

  • Toy Pupanbai

    http://www.oldandinteresting.com/earth-closet.aspx

    It’s absurd that countries with little water and no infra-structure don’t resort to th Moule dry toilet system. we had them when i lived in the country and i read that a school changed to the system as Latin primers clogged the W. C’s!

  • KG

    You don’t know what hung is until you get hung up on one of those 5 gallon bucket toilet lids. Unless you weigh less than 180 lbs. The best thing to do is to vote Democrat and strengthen Labor Unions and you will never have to worry about taking a crap on any thing less that a real porcelain pot.

    • Bill

      KG,
      So, the answer to crap is more labor unions. Astounding analogy, KG

    • independent thinker

      More useless drivel from the KGB sector.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      cagey, you are still wrong and your little bunch will be ones who will bring about the shortages of porcelain thrones. You haven’t thought things to their end.

  • KG

    You don’t know what hung is until you get hung up on one of those 5 gallon bucket toilet lids. Unless you weigh less than 180 lbs. The best thing to do is to vote Democrat and strengthen Labor Unions and you will never have to worry about taking a crap on any thing less that a real porcelain pot.

  • Quester55

    Do any of you Timid Sheep, know what The, ” Filthy Rag Was”, That was Spoken of in the Bible? Here’s a Hint, They Didn’t have toilet paper back then!
    Yet Everyone Had one Wrapped around their BUTTS if they where Lucky. or used their Best Tools, If Not! Oh , Their Tools, Most of you have 2 sets of 5 tools each!
    This is where a Diet of Figs, Dates & Cheese with Heavy Breads, Serves you just as good Going in, As it does Coming Out!
    It Also Gives you the Reason why the Disciples where Naked While Fishing, The Day when JESUS Walked on the Water!
    Get Real, If You Squat, You can pass Poop, And when you think about it, why are You So Grossed out in the First place, It’s only the same food you just ate a few hours earlier, & IT WILL NOT Harm you in any Fashion if you wipe yourself with your Fingers!

    • dan

      …I hadn’t given the subject as much thought…
      but I’ve always kidded people about drinking water
      after fish have done what fish do in it…
      hence the popularityof fresh ,flowing springs

      • Quester55

        Hi Dan, Many People don’t get the Joke, in-fact, Many of those City-people, Think Water comes from processing Plants like Ozarka@, Alpine@, Or some other water bottling co. They’d Die if they ever knew the truth! For Fun, I Teased my kids about where MILK came from, After that, I saved a small Fortune on Ice-Cream, for about a year or two! I even reformed several VEGANS From pushing their ideas about ALL Organics, are Chemical free. After showing them Histories of those so-called organic Farms. They Never seem to Learn the FACTS of Farming & Land Management. Like how the Weather can Change an ORGANIC FARM, into a Chemical Waste dump, From Simple Minor Flooding in a thunderstorm or the Winds can Carry Chemicals for Miles in a Storm or a Tornado. Once those Chemicals go into the Ground, There goes your Pure Organic Farm, But That’s Just between you & me, No since scaring the plant Eaters with these Hidden Truths! As for Tricks of Trapper’s, Rubbing Animal poop on the lower trunks of trees & weeds, can help insure a Loaded Trap, later. For your own Survival, the best Fish Line I’ve ever found is, ” Spider-Wire@ “, Line. That stuff is stronger than it looks & coupled to a S/S stringer or Tie-line, and a Dead-fall choker trap, well you know. good luck.

    • rhcrest

      Are you kidding? If you wipe yourself with your fingers you will have ecoli on your fingers and ecoli is deadly. Yeah this is how they lived before. Well maybe that is part of the reason why their lifespans were so short?

      • Quester55

        RHCREST, I take it that you’ve never had any real survival training, have you? If you think about it, your poop, started with the food in your mouth, went down your throat & into your stomach. Most, but not all of that food was broken down by your stomach acid & went into your system. Finally reaching your large intestine & rectum! So Please tell me, where along the way, did your body pick up the dreaded,” E coli virus ” ? By the way, common since would drive you to wash your hands, if you have water. If your short on water, Dirt or Sand will do the job nicely. If your the Adventurous type, You can grab a hand full of leaves (if any are near) or weeds, and use them as T.P. even fresh breach-bark will work if any is around! Tell you what, If your too timid to Clean yourself off with anything other than paper Products, Chances are, you’ll not Live long enough to Die from E-coli!

        • dan

          perhaps you’ve heard of the three sea-shells ?
          …the polynesian ones,not the Judge Dredd variety
          (i’ll let you google because the you tube might embed)

  • Quester55

    Do any of you Timid Sheep, know what The, ” Filthy Rag Was”, That was Spoken of in the Bible? Here’s a Hint, They Didn’t have toilet paper back then!
    Yet Everyone Had one Wrapped around their BUTTS if they where Lucky. or used their Best Tools, If Not! Oh , Their Tools, Most of you have 2 sets of 5 tools each!
    This is where a Diet of Figs, Dates & Cheese with Heavy Breads, Serves you just as good Going in, As it does Coming Out!
    It Also Gives you the Reason why the Disciples where Naked While Fishing, The Day when JESUS Walked on the Water!
    Get Real, If You Squat, You can pass Poop, And when you think about it, why are You So Grossed out in the First place, It’s only the same food you just ate a few hours earlier, & IT WILL NOT Harm you in any Fashion if you wipe yourself with your Fingers!

  • dan

    An essential topic for reasons of public health….dysentary is the real
    killer in war and peace. Don’t forget to make provision for washing your hands !

  • Bill

    What’s wrong with a good old fashion “Out House”

  • JimH

    When the paper runs out, and you use leaves, just don’t use the leaves that are in groups of three.:)

  • JimH

    When the paper runs out, and you use leaves, just don’t use the leaves that are in groups of three.:)

  • BTL

    Joe, I don’t get what you mean when you imply that you can’t flush a toilet when the (electric?) grid is down. Unless you have a more modern toilet than most of us, it’s strictly mechanical. Of course, once flushed, if you don’t have more water to fill the tank, then you are out of business. On the other hand, most city/town water systems have backup pumps (diesel, usually) so a few days of power outage is unlikely to be a problem, water-wise. If you have a well with an electric pump, you should (invest right now!) have a good sized tank with a working (!) check valve so the tank won’t empty back down the well if the power fails. That much water (typically 30-50 gallons) won’t allow for life as usual, but can provide some drinking water and a few toilet flushes. Once that’s gone, well…

    I have a friend who says that during the winter, you can do your business onto some newspapers, roll them up and toss it into the wood stove (his outhouse is a fair distance from his house, and he lives in NH where they don’t kid around about winter. Brrr.). Good use for the NYT or the WaPo.

    • Michael Hudson

      Too bad MSNBC doesn’t do hard copies!

    • FreedomFighter

      If you are not prepared for a disaster, well…life gets hard, people die. If your family is not ready and trained to adapt to a situation they will use the toilets without thinking or thinking it will be ok…its not. Get everyone ready so you and they know what to do.
      Laus Deo
      Semper FI

  • FreedomFighter

    WARNING: Civil Unrest In America 2013-2014http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6K3aBKW6fA
    Get prepped, ammo, food, water, TP…
    Laus DeoSemper FI