DIY Camping Toilet Bucket





Introduction: DIY Camping Toilet Bucket

About: - I am 'that' Karl

How to build your own portable toilet to use while camping...

Alternate title - How to poop like a superstar in the woods...

Step 1: Gather the Items You Will Need

To build your own DIY camping toilet you will need the following items:

- 5 gallon bucket with a tight snap on lid (more on this later),

- A piece of plywood (big enough to cover the toilet seat),

- A toilet seat from your favorite hardware store.

- some glue, fasteners (staples, nails, or screws), caulk, and paint.

Step 2: Modify the Toilet Seat

First take your perfectly good toilet seat and remove the lid screws and hinges and the bumpers. I have found that the wooden toilet seats work best (they also happen to be the cheapest ones you can buy). When you are done, your toilet seat should look like this.

Step 3: Trace the Bucket Top Onto the Plywood

Take your piece of plywood and turn your bucket upside down on the plywood and trace the bucket outline onto your plywood. Make sure to leave enough room on the plywood to cover the seat (in a future step). Drill a hole inside your pattern circle big enough for a scroll saw blade to fit thru.

Step 4: Trace the Toilet Seat Onto the Plywood

Carefully cut out the circle you traced from the bucket with a scroll saw. Cut on the OUTSIDE of the line.When you are done, you should have a piece of wood that looks like this.Check to make sure you are happy with the fit of the bucket in the circle hole.Next place your toilet seat over the plywood. Center the hole in the plywood with the hole in the toilet seat, when you are happy with the placement, trace the toilet seat onto the plywood.

Step 5: Cut the Plywood Into the Correct Shape

Carefully cut out the outside of the pattern you just traced using a scroll saw or band saw.Make sure to cut on the OUTSIDE of the seat pattern you traced.

Step 6: Fasten the Plywood to the Toilet Seat

Apply a layer of glue to the plywood and place the plywood on the bottom of the toilet seat.Making sure the plywood is lined up with the toilet seat the way you want, fasten the plywood to the toilet seat. I use an air stapler to fasten the plywood to the seat.Whatever you decide to use as fasteners is fine, however MAKE SURE THE FASTENERS DO NOT GO ALL THE WAY THRU THE TOILET SEAT.

When you are finished you should have something like the seat in this picture.

You could say you are finished at this point, but ultimately you want to impress your fellow campers, so a little finish work will really give you some bragging rights...

Step 7: Sand, Caulk, and Paint Your Project

Caulk and paint your plywood to match your seat and you will be the envy of all the other campers...

Step 8: Some Final Thoughts...

When you have finished your seat and the paint has dried, you should end up with a pretty nice place to sit...Beats squatting or sitting over a tree branch any day!!!

You can choose any bucket you like, but what better bucket than an empty chocolate frosting bucket...

Although the idea of doing your 'business' in a bucket may seem a little unpleasant, the fact is, if you camp long enough, eventually you will need to do it somewhere... To make the experience more pleasant, before you use the bucket for the first time, place a layer of sawdust in the bottom of the bucket. After each use, sprinkle a layer of sawdust over your 'creation' this will help to eliminate odor and moisture. When you are done camping you will have to decide what to do with your bucket contents. You can dispose of the contents in a bag somewhere or bury it. Do not bury plastic bags...

Remember that part about a tight fitting lid for your bucket? If you are going to transport this bucket and contents anywhere, you will now realize the importance of the tight fitting lid...

That about wraps it up... Good luck & have fun...



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    17 Discussions

    Once I figured out why you suggested the chocolate frosting bucket, I "got it". Very ingenious idea. A suggested idea for the toilet seat lid is just attaching the lid of a lightweight plastic toilet seat to the plywood (use strips of plywood attached to the main plywood so you can screw the lid down).

    Depending upon availability, you could dispose of the bucket contents in a plastic bag in municipal organics bins, if you use some sort of cat litter like the corn, wheat or pine based litters. I'm suggesting those since they are lighter to carry than clay litters. Check the local municipality waste disposal rules, first though.


    1 year ago

    I love your choice of bucket.


    2 years ago

    Rather than carting sawdust about - you can get pine pellets which are great for fires as well as cat litter. Once peed on, they turn into sawdust and absorb the entire lot, turning into sawdust as they do. No odour, no icky!

    Thanks for the great tutorial!

    Just awesome! Light n fluffly LOL chocolate..... very creative!!! Thanks a lot!!!!

    Hey bro you and I share the awesome hairdo. OK on to business. I have been using a similar system for several years and here is my insight. Choose a bucket with the thickest walls you can find, my fat ass collapsed my first turd-bucket. I use a 7 gallon bucket instead of a 5 gallon for a more comfortable sit down. My 7 gallon bucket came with a screw lid, very important if you are in transport mode. Finally I use a scented kitchen trash bag in my porta-throne. And second finally instead of sawdust I but the cheapest cat litter I can find which cost about two bucks for a big bag. Cat litter keeps the smell of cat in check, it will work even better for human waste. You made a excellent instructable dude, not a piece of crap at all.

    Keep the sunny side up.


    1 reply

    One more thought, a roll of toilet paper fits well in the medium size coffee can. Snap the lid in place and your butt wipe stays dry.

    Sports stores like Academy sell a seat with lid for 5 gallon buckets if you don't have a seat laying around like I did. The a dirty dark woman loves an in - tent toilet vs. port-a-john down the road! Need the lid for in - tent for the smell lol. Love your guides....keep them coming!

    Some of these buckets are a little low --even for SHORT people==-so making a sturdy box that you can place UNDER this to raise it up is never a bad idea! Can use it to haul other crap--;like toilet paper!!! and your saw dust or cat litter-----on your trip. And they sell a $30 pop up tall single "tent" for showers etc that I think would be awesome for something like this--think CampMor etc.

    I made a simpler version to take camping with me (to avoid late night trips to the portapotty, lol). Five gallon bucket, lined with two garbage bags. Take a pool noodle, cut a slit in it lengthwise, and fit it over the top of the bucket. This provides a cushion-y seat (that isn't cold, either!) and also holds the garbage bags in place. Before or after "going", sprinkle a little clumping cat litter inside. (I found a cheap clumping litter in a small two gallon container at the dollar store). It was easy, it worked, and inbetween camping trips, every thing stores inside the bucket, then snap the lid on. Mine is labeled "commode".

    I really like this idea. I think it would be simpler if you traced the outline of the toilet seat on the plywood first, then position the bucket evenly between the lines for the toilet seat. Great tutorial and photos.

    Great idea! Couldn't you cut the plywood a bit larger toward the back of the seat to accomodate the lid? It seems like a lid could come in handy.

    1 reply

    I did that on a previous version. However the seat tended to fall off the bucket when i flipped up the lid.

    What a great idea! I love the clean finished look after you painted it! I much like you find the chocolate fosting bucket very fitting!

    1 reply

    yeah I was kinda disturbed with the "light and fluffy chocolate" label on the bucket haha