5 Mistakes People Make When Using a Vault Toilet

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One of the worst feelings is when nature calls, and the only space available is a vault toilet. Desperate times call for desperate measures, especially when there aren’t any alternatives.

We won’t sugarcoat it for you; these are typically the least preferred toilets for most campers. However, there are some common mistakes you can avoid making to ensure you have a pleasant experience when using a vault toilet.

Today, we’re sharing five mistakes people make when using a vault toilet. Hopefully, these tips will help you avoid a dreadful encounter when answering nature’s call. Let’s get started!

How Does a Vault Toilet Work?

A vault toilet is a toilet sitting over a large sealed container you bury in the ground. You would place a small building with a toilet over the container.

It’s crucial to know that, unlike residential bathrooms, there’s no bottom to the toilet bowl. Anything that goes into the toilet bowl drops into the buried tank. Trust us; this is a crappy way to lose a cell phone, sunglasses, or other valuable items.

Where Can You Find Vault Toilets?

You usually find vault toilets in places where water is not readily available. Places like campgrounds, parks, recreational areas, and other public spots will typically have vault toilets.

They’re a much cheaper and more effective solution for restrooms in places where it would be cost-prohibitive to run water lines or maintain a bathroom facility during harsh winters. 

Is There a Difference Between a Vault Toilet and a Pit Toilet?

While vault toilets and pit toilets look and function similarly, there is a significant difference between the two.

A vault toilet sits over a buried tank that you will eventually need to empty. Generally, a professional service will need to empty the tank.

On the other hand, a pit toilet sits over a hole in the ground and uses a combination of natural moisture and bacteria to break down the waste. Amoebas, earthworms, and other organisms thrive living in the soil surrounding the pit toilet.

These creatures will help expedite the waste’s composting process as it forms a natural compost pile at the bottom of the pit. As long as the moisture levels stay appropriate, pit toilets are a natural and sanitary method for waste disposal.

How Do Vault Toilets Get Emptied?

Tanks for vault toilets can range from 750 to 13,000+ gallons. However, once a vault reaches its limit, a large tanker truck will come and empty it.

The operator will connect to the toilet’s tank and vacuum its contents to transport it to a waste facility where they can properly and safely dispose of it.

Depending on the frequency of use, a service may come to empty the tank on a schedule or an as-needed basis.

Keep in Mind: Avoid RV Toilet Paper! You’ll wish you had tried these Alternatives instead!

5 Mistakes People Make When Using A Vault Toilet

While there are times when it’s okay to make a mistake, you’ll want to avoid making them while using a vault toilet. Here are five common mistakes people make when using one. 

1. You Don’t Bring Your Own Toilet Paper and Hand Sanitizer

You can’t trust that a vault toilet will have toilet paper available. Even if it does, would you want to use it? It will likely be the cheapest and lowest quality one-ply toilet paper available.

It’s best to bring a wad or two of toilet paper when camping, to hike, or in any area where restroom facilities will be hard to find.

It would be best if you remembered that vault toilets don’t have access to water. Therefore, you won’t be able to wash your hands.

Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that only 19% of people globally wash their hands after using the restroom.

So bring some hand sanitizer and use it once you exit the toilet facility. You don’t want any germs or bacteria you may have picked up on your hands to live longer than necessary.

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2. You Don’t Close The Lid

Another significant mistake vault toilet users make is not closing the toilet lid. Keeping the top closed as often as possible can help ensure nothing falls into the toilet.

We’ve heard countless stories of cell phones, watches, and other valuables falling into vault toilets, never to be seen again. However, that’s not the only reason you might want to consider closing the lid.

You want to keep the toilet lid closed as often as possible to help vent the gasses in the vault toilet tank.

The tank has a unique venting system to reduce the smells inside the toilet space. Leaving the lid closed allows these gasses to exit the tank through a vent.

However, leaving the cover open allows the gasses to expand and fill the entire toilet space. In this situation, you’ll be greeted by the tank’s odors the instant you open the door. It’s not a good first impression!

3. You Use It As a Personal Wastebasket

While a vault toilet holds human waste, it’s not a waste basket. You should avoid putting any trash into the toilet.

The only things that should go into the tank are toilet paper, human waste, and feminine hygiene products. A vault toilet is not the place to dispose of your half-empty water bottles or other trash. 

A trash-filled vault tank can be extremely challenging to empty. These workers already have a tough job; help make it a little more manageable by ensuring your trash goes into the nearest trash can. 

Keep in Mind: Poo in private on your next outdoor adventure with these Portable Toilets for Camping!

4. You Forgot to Check for Insects

You’ll want to do a quick look around when entering any vault toilet. You don’t want to discover a creepy crawly bug or a swarm of bees when you’re in the middle of using the restroom.

Take a few seconds and save yourself the embarrassment of running for your life from the facility with pants around your knees.

5. You Don’t Close the Door After You Leave

More than likely, you weren’t born in a barn. So ensure you close the door when you finish using the vault toilet.

This helps prevent insects and other critters from getting into the toilet or the facility. The last thing most of us want to do is use the toilet and discover a snake or other animal inside.

Now You’re Ready to Use a Vault Toilet the Right Way

While even the nicest vault toilet likely won’t be the same as a residential toilet, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

Avoid the mistakes we discussed today, and you can survive using a vault toilet while on an adventure or in a rustic campground.

Don’t let it stop you from answering nature’s call while you’re making memories in the great outdoors.

Have you ever used a vault toilet? 

Last update on 2024-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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