Camping Tip #237: Certified Safe Outhouse Use

Canada has really clean outhouses. Notice I didn’t write “really, really clean.” Any outhouse has it’s innate germiness. I have used more outhouses in the past four weeks than maybe in the last decade of my life. However, because I’ve been camping since before I can remember, I’ve used a lot of outhouses. You have to do it a certain way to not throw up every time you go. I thought I’d share my wisdom in this area for those who might need a little instruction on this very delicate, but very important, topic.

Certified Safe Outhouse User Procedure:


If the seat is down, use a tiny bit of toilet paper to lift it up. Cover the seat with two strips of toilet paper, plus one along the back of the seat if you’re feeling extra squeamish. If the floor is wet, first pull up your pant legs over themselves all the way up to your knees before lowering your drawers. Sit down in such a way that you don’t have to squirm around on the seat a lot and knock the toilet paper strips into the hole.

(P.S. Take your phone out of your hip pocket before you sit down, so it doesn’t fall into the drink. Eww. Need a new term for that…so it doesn’t fall into the abyss. Yes, you could drop a phone into a flush toilet, too, but it would be a million percent more distressing to think of your beloved technology slowly sinking into…well, you get the picture.)

While you are sitting there (thinking, as people do in the outhouse), force yourself to think about something besides mice and spiders crawling out from under the seat and onto your bum.

When you finish your business, use as much toilet paper as you want to, because there are no pipes to clog. Use a tiny bit of toilet paper to put the lid down (as all the signs remind you–out of courtesy for the next person–but don’t think about how many people have used this one toilet–sheesh). Before it closes all the way, catch the edge of the lid with the back of your opposite forearm, toss in the toilet paper, then let the lid go.

On your way out, use hand cleaner (provided in every outhouse I’ve used in Canada). Don’t forget to clean the back of your forearm. Lower your pant legs, and you are go to go until next time you go.

You are now a certified safe outhouse user.


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