By Travis Birch
When my wife and I decided to prepare for a life lived off the grid, away from the crowds that collect in town, we started off simple. The amenities that we became accustomed in our family home had to be brought back gradually to the life we were building in our cabin. So we went the cheapest route available until we could afford to upgrade accordingly to where we stand today. The first facility we built was our outhouse, but this wasn’t your grandparent’s accommodations.
You may have images of a nice sized building, downwind of the cabin, with a hole dug deep and true. A crescent moon may be top and center to allow ventilation. In actuality, we built something that looked like a shower stall out of pallets from work. Plywood nailed to the outside provided some privacy. A simple lean-to was built to act as cover during inclement weather, and there was no hole in the ground. Our first commode was a compost toilet created from a 5-gallon bucket, 5-gallon bucket, something that we always have plenty on hand. I think if you follow the basics of this instruction you can have a good cheap place to sit and do your paperwork, as a temporary means of doing your business.
When we first built ours, a pool noodle was cut to fit the rim of the bucket. Today you can affordably attach a toilet seat built to a 5-gallon bucket. This makes a world of difference. You may opt to save a few dollars, but once you try a pre-fab seat, toilet seat, you’ll think it to be a sound investment.
First, find or build a well-ventilated area to keep the makeshift toilet. The stall we built was rudimentary, you may want something with a little more privacy. Next, bring in two 5 gallon buckets. The first is for depositing your business, the second is hold sawdust. The sawdust will aid in the composting, and help disguise the smell. Line your depositing bucket with newspapers. Enough to cover the bottom and allow you dump your accumulation with relative ease. Attach the pre-fab toilet seat, and then layer the bottom with sawdust. If you are living out in nature you will find that you’ll have plenty of sawdust on hand. It seems to grow in conjunction with everything you build. If not, a local do-it-yourself hardware store will have garbage cans full of it by their custom-cut saws, and they are usually happy to let you out there refuse to good use. After each deposit put a good amount of sawdust over it to cover the sight and smell. After a couple of days, dump your bucket in a composting pile.
Your compost pile should be sectioned off to allow you to rotate the piles. One side should take your refuse, and when it becomes full, 4-6 months later, start filling the second side. Work the first section,compost aerator, letting nature assist you with breaking it down. Always work one section while contributing to the next section. You will want gloves, work gloves, and disposable respirator masks, respirator mask, to make this task a bit more tolerable. That’s it. You add the accommodations you want to make it a better environment.
You can order chemicals, toilet chemicals, and barriers,toilet waste bags, to this function to try to kill the smell and break it down. But that is more expensive, it’s not natural, and quite frankly it doesn’t always make a big difference, but it is always an option. In the end, the most important detail to follow is making sure that you place your facility downwind.