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Our Outdoor Latrine

Our Outdoor Latrine

Sweeping outside our little latrine

In Little House on the Prairie books you never read what they did about important matters like going to the bathroom.  Don’t tell anyone, but I’m going to show you how we made a bathroom on our recent family wilderness adventure.

We like privacy, so first we made a small shelter.  This time we used a tarp strung over a piece of Paracord tied between two trees.  The back wall and entrance were palm leaves (use fir branches, etc. in other climates).  A person entered by pushing a branch aside, or lifting the front corner of the tarp.  No one was allowed to hang around the front entrance when someone entered the shelter.

The most important part of this latrine is a long deep trench extending from the rear to the front inside the shelter, with the dirt piled near the trench.  The rear of the trench was used first, placing a foot on each side of it and hunkering down, facing the entrance.  Liquids absorb into the ground at the bottom.  Solids must be completely covered with dirt from the nearby pile.  The trench is gradually filled up from back to front.
Our Outdoor Latrine

The trench near the beginning of our adventure, with the folding spade and tp nearby

We keep a folding spade close by to move dirt when needed, using the handle as a toilet paper holder.  We’ve noticed there is absolutely NO odor present once the dirt is applied.  It’s a good thing, because we like our latrine close to our sleeping shelter for nighttime convenience.

There, I told you our deepest, darkest secret!  Once the children learn how, it works fairly smoothly.  And there is no problem with someone sitting too long tying up the bathroom!!

Our Outdoor Latrine

The trench near the end of our adventure, nearly filled

Our Outdoor Latrine

Our Outdoor Latrine

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2 Responses to “Our Outdoor Latrine”

  1. Great Post! How deep was the trench dug?

    • Rose Petal says:

      My hubby says it was about 8 inches deep and 6 inches wide. That was about as deep as we could go that time because of the roots of a nearby tree. Twelve inches would be better, in our opinion.