Introduction: Ruggedized Overland Camp Potty
Someone close to me really doesn't like wandering far away from our tent in the middle of the night to do their business after a night of drinking beers around the campfire, especially at big group camp events. Some camp areas it's really better to pack it out. I was cool with the idea of getting a Porta Potti but had nightmarish visions of the thing busting open in my truck bed going down some washboard road. That and I'm really big on strapping everything down pretty securely. So I did a bunch of measuring and identified an army surplus Hardigg case that would be a close fit for the toilet, easy to strap down, and would contain any unfortunate failures of the potti on rough roads. I had a couple of 'doh moments getting it to all mesh and work the way I wanted. We've been using it for two years now and it's been down plenty of rough trails with no failures.
Military surplus Hardigg case 18"x18"x16": price varies but around $50+shipping, can be found on ebay or mil surplus stores, I get them from https://www.military-tent.com/hape18.html
Thetford Porta Potti 135: around $75 https://www.amazon.com/Thetford-White-92860-Porta-...
6" Kayak deck hatch: $15 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0752DFSJ3/ref=p...
4 pack 1" anti-skid pads: $2.50 https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-1-in-Heavy-Du...
1" cam buckle strap, this gets cut to length so 4' or longer will do: $2-$3
1/2" #8 screws x4
3/4" #8 or #10 screws x4
1/2" Plywood 14"x15.5
Weather resistant wood finish of your choice, I use exterior house paint.
APPROXIMATE TOTAL: $150ish assuming you have scrap plywood/screws/paint laying around your shop and you can pick up the Hardigg case locally, add $20-$30 shipping if you order the case online.
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Step 1: The Mounting Plate
The first step is to make a flat base for the potty to set on in the Hardigg case and also to facilitate a strap to secure the potty inside the case during transport.
Cut a piece of 1/2" plywood to 14" x 15.5". The 15.5" side will run front to back inside the case.
Use a straightedge to draw an X from corner to corner to locate the center of the board.
To make the slots for the strap use a square to draw a horizontal line across the center of the 14" side, measure in 1.25" from each edge along this line and mark with an X. Measure vertically .75" above and below these X's and mark with an X. Using a 1/2" drill bit drill through the center of the top and bottom X's on each slide. Use a jigsaw to cut out the material between the sets of holes.
To locate the ant-skid bumpers measure out and mark 6" from the center mark along the big X towards each corner. Drill pilot holes then mount the 4 anti-skid bumpers using 1/2" #8 screws. These will center the potti and keep it from slipping around.
This is a good time to test fit the potty.
Step 2: Attaching the Mounting Plate to the Case
The bottom of the case has two raised ribs, the mounting plate is attached to these using 3/4" screws running outside-in.
The center of the raised ribs is 3.75" from the center of the case, on the plate mark 5.5" from horizontal center both directions on each rib center.
Place mounting plate inside the case and center it, I find it easiest to measure from the inside of the case to make sure there's an even gap from left to right and even gap top and bottom. Definitely measure twice on this step because you're about to drill holes into a kinda pricey box!
Holding the plate firmly in the bottom of the case drill pilot holes through the plate and the case at the 4 marks.
Tilt the case on it's side. Holding the mounting plate in position, drive the 3/4" screws in from the bottom of the case. I find it helpful to use short pieces of bailing wire through two of the holes to position the plate while getting the first two screws in.
Test fit the potty, it should be pretty well centered in the case.
Step 3: Prep and Finish the Mounting Plate
Remove the mounting plate from the case and remove the anti-skid bumpers.
Sand the edges of the plate smooth. Sand the strap slots smooth.
Apply weather resistant finish of your choice. I prefer to use exterior grade house paint.
Step 4: Install the Deck Hatch
While the mounting plate finish is drying mount the deck plate.
When I was making my first ruggedized potty one of the big 'doh moments was when I placed my potty in the perfectly sized case and realized it couldn't be flushed while inside the case. Sure I could just remove the potty from the case to use it. But if there's one thing I hate is unnecessary spread of my camp gear and the less steps to packing up camp the better. After a little bit of head scratching and searching on amazon I came up with the solution of using a kayak deck plate for a hatch to allow the potty to flush.
Measure up 6.5" from the case's bottom along the center line and mark. Center the gasket that comes with the hatch around the mark, it will be just about centered between the strap indent and the bottom of the lid (see pic). Trace the inside of the gasket with a marker, this will be your cut line. Drill a 1/2" hole inside of the cut line then cut out hatch hole with a jigsaw.
Place hatch in hole oriented so it opens down, mark pilot holes for mounting screws using hatch. Drill pilot holes then mount hatch (sandwich gasket between hatch/case) using #8 screws.
Step 5: Wrapping Up
After the finish has dried on the mounting plate reattach the anti-skid bumpers then mount the plate in the case. Slide the strap through the slots and place the potty inside the case. You are now ready for some serious business in the woods ;)