KEYWORDS: water, toilet, ground, car, have, tent

Have Faith--Will Camp--Part 9--Water, Pee-Pots & Portable Toilets

David Berg


1. SO‚ IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT THE DRINKING WATER‚ YOU'D BETTER BOIL IT or sanitise it in some way with chemicals. They have chemicals nowadays that you can use to purify drinking water, & one little tablet in a pot of water is supposed to kill all the germs.—Even a little chlorine or Clorox in your water can kill them!—And you too‚ if you use too much! Read the directions!—Or boil your drinking water vigorously for ten minutes, & that usually kills all the dangerous bacteria that might otherwise make you sick or cause you to get typhus or cholera or several other diseases that you can get from contaminated water, usually because of poor sewage disposal in the vicinity of the source of the water, such as a spring or lake or a river that may not be clean, into which sewage is poured, & out of which you are drinking! Because you will find that water is the most precious commodity that you have when camping.

2. YOU'LL NEVER REALISE THE VALUE OF WATER UNTIL YOU GO CAMPING! It's important for nearly everything—not only just for drinking, but for cooking, & for washing yourself & your pots & pans & dishes & utensils & clothing, & bathing, & even for sewage disposal!—Water is absolutely your most vital & essential need! You never dreamed how much water you use for so many things until you go out camping & you have to haul it all, especially if you have to carry it very far in jerrycans, or the heavy 5–gallon cans that we used to use.

3. NOWADAYS THEY'VE GOT VERY NICE LIGHTWEIGHT PLASTIC WATER JUGS‚ 5 & 10 litre jerrycans that are easier to carry, even plastic lightweight expandable jugs! These, when not full of water, shrink up into a very small jug, only about a foot square & 3 inches thick. But when filled with water, they expand several times their dry width. Therefore they are very small & convenient to store when empty, but carry a lot of water when full, & are very light & easy to carry. They are also very cheap to buy.

4. YOU WILL USUALLY BE IN SITUATIONS WHERE YOU CAN'T HOOK UP TO A FAUCET & monpolise it with your hose all the time, like for running water in your trailer. If you are a tent camper, of course, you never have running water‚ unless you happen to have a tap in your tent area, which is rare! Usually you have a community faucet that everybody gets their water from‚ or several of them, & you have to carry your water in some kind of container to your campsite, & sometimes it's quite a distance from your campsite.

5. SO IT'S GOOD TO HAVE AT LEAST TWO 5-GALLON OR 20-LITRE PLASTIC JERRYCANS, similar to the cans that they used to carry gasoline in on the old jeeps in war time. But instead of those heavy metal cans, they now make them of light plastic, about the same size & shape, but much lighter & easier to carry. It is good to have two of them because you can carry them like two suitcases, one in each hand, balancing each other. It is easier to carry two than one, because they balance each other by carrying one in each hand, & it also saves a lot of extra trips. Get the kind with a tap at the bottom!

6. WE USUALLY HAD AT LEAST THREE SUCH WATER JUGS, so that we could always have some water on hand, with the third can in use while we refilled the other two. Everytime somebody has to walk to the restroom or to the faucet or to go to the toilet near the water source‚ like the public wash-house or toilets, you can carry along one or two empty cans to refill & bring back with you. Because you'll use a lot of water, & you'll find it very, very necessary‚ one of the most valuable things that you have, & you cannot camp out without it!

7. I WARN YOU, DON'T TRY CAMPING OUT SOME PLACE WHERE THERE'S NO WATER, unless you have an awful lot of full water cans with you! Because you are going to get awful thirsty or awful hungry, because most kinds of cooking require some water, & your dishes are going to be awful dirty, or you are going to be awful dirty‚ if you don't have some source of water nearby.

8. SO WATER IS ONE OF THE MOST VITAL ESSENTIALS FOR CAMPINGyou must camp somewhere where there is a source of pure, clean, uncontaminated water‚ for drinking, cooking, washing & everything—preferably some place to also bathe or swim. If there is not a lake, pool, sea, stream or pond of some kind, then hopefully your campground has showers! Maybe it's only cold showers, but in hot weather you don't need a hot shower—but sometimes they don't even have a cold one!

9. SO WITH 125 OF US ON THE ROAD, WE USED TO HAVE A PORTABLE SHOWER-RIG that we set up for our campground. It was interesting for the boys particularly, because the shower curtain didn't close well sometimes when the girls were taking their showers. We'd take a big 5-gallon can & had it rigged so it sat up high on a platform, or we'd hang it from a tree limb or three crossed poles, & it had a little spray nozzle that hung down so we could take a shower—one 5-gallon can per shower, & that was it! But we usually tried to park somewhere near a body of water in which everybody could go swimming—that's the best & easiest way, & lots of fun besides, part of your recreation, your exercise.

10. SO BE SURE YOU'VE GOT PLENTY OF WATER WHEN YOU ARE CAMPING OUT! Also, if you are car-camping, tent-camping, trailer–camping, or whatever‚ always carry along some water in case you break down or have to stop where you didn't expect to, or maybe in a picnic ground that doesn't have water, or someplace where there is no water nearby. You should always carry constantly when travelling at least one good-sized jerrycan full of water, especially if you have a family with children—for drinking, cooking & a minimum of washing, if necessary, until you can get to a source of water.

11. ALWAYS CARRY AT LEAST ONE BIG EMERGENCY JUG OF WATER! You should have at least some water always with you, even car-camping. Even when travelling in only a car with a bunch of kids, we never were without a jug of water to carry right in the car with us. Because kids are always getting thirsty, or you're needing milk for the baby, or water to wash their filthy hands or something—even for an overheated car radiator!

12. WE ALSO ALWAYS HAD IN THE CAR WITH US WHAT WE CALLED THE "PEE-CAN", because we couldn't always find a place to stop & go!—(to the toilet), and we didn't always want to stop when we were in a hurry, & one of the kids was always having to go to the toilet. So we had a little pee–can, if it wasn't a serious emergency. The kids used to say, "I need to go to the toilet, Daddy."—I'd ask them, "Is it anything serious?"—That meant a BM or doo-doo—then we would have to stop at a filling station or somewhere. But if it wasn't anything "serious‚" they could use the pee-can.

13. BUT BY ALL MEANS DON'T ATTEMPT TO DUMP THE PEE-CAN OUT THE WINDOW AT FULL SPEED, or you will get a shower, & it won't be a clean shower! You can hardly even dump it out the window at slow speed. If you don't get showered, the car behind you will get showered‚ & they're not going to like it! The best way to dump it is to slow down near or off the side of the road‚ hand the pee-can to Mama, & she can open her door & hold it right down near the bottom of the door near the floor & the ground, & pour the can out right onto the ground, with the door open just a few inches. Even if you have the door open only three or four inches, you can safely pour the pee-can on the ground at slow speed or almost stopped—but never out the window at any speed!—Or either you or the car behind is going to get a shower!—And if that happens, you're going to be sorry, & they're going to be sorry, & everybody's going to be sorry! We did that just once & that was the last time! One of the kids tried it. We really didn't realise how much difference the wind made, but even a slight breeze makes a sad difference!

14. SO‚ WHEN YOU'RE TRAVELLING‚ A PEE-CAN IN THE CAR IS A HANDY THING TO HAVE WITH A FAMILY OF CHILDREN. Be sure it's big enough to hold it all, & preferably something that has got a lid, because you don't always have enough water available to rinse it out, & it can smell! Those large powdered milk cans make good pee-cans. They usually have a lid that fits tight, & that way the kids can even use it several times before you have a chance to stop & wash it out.

15. A PEE-POT'S ALSO A VERY HANDY THING TO HAVE IN YOUR TENT AT NIGHT if you have no toilet nearby, so that if anybody needs to go during the night, they can use the pee-pot. And this you can just dump out in the morning up at the public toilet nearby. Of course, if you can‚ if you are wearing pajamas or a nightie or have a robe or towel around you, you can run outside the tent & into the bush. But sometimes that's not always possible in the middle of the night, especially with little children or in crowded camps. So it's handy to have some kind of pee-can or potty to carry‚ even if you are just car-camping or only travelling in your car. Once in awhile I even used it myself while still at the wheel in the driver's seat, because I did not want to stop, & it worked just fine! Then I would hand it to Mama & slow down & she would pour it out at the bottom of the door on the ground off the side of the road.—It's safer too, than to stop in some lonely spot!

16. OF COURSE, IF YOU CAN GET ONE OF THESE LITTLE PORTABLE CHEMICAL TOILETS‚ they are very handy. The smallest & cheapest unfolds like a camp stool with a hole in the seat & a little plastic bag underneath to catch things. I made one out of an old wooden chair for one of my first trailers. I made a hole in the seat, & set a potty on the floor under the chair‚ & that worked just fine.—Or you can make a hole in the seat of a canvas fold-up camp chair & put a potty underneath it.—Either that, or sit right on the potty, although it's a little difficult sometimes for adults to squat on a pot, or even for a wee tot. Do you remember when a wee wee tot, they set you down on a cold, cold pot, & made you go whether you wanted to or not?! Well, you may have to do that when you're camping, even if you are not a wee, wee tot! So, Praise the Lord! All of these are nice little hints about camping that you will find very important, & maybe nowhere else but here!—Ha!

17. YOU WILL HAVE NEVER REALISED BEFORE HOW IMPORTANT WATER IS, & HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO HAVE A PLACE TO GO TO THE TOILET! When we had our big mob of 125 on the road, of course we usually tried to find campgrounds with enough toilets to accommodate us all. But a few times we just camped out beside the road at wayside rest stops or picnic grounds or vacant fields, & even if you stop for only a few minutes for lunch or anything, a whole bunch of people out of 125 have to go to the toilet! There is no problem for the boys & the girls both to go back into the woods to merely pee-pee or urinate. But quite a few people always had to go BM or doo-doo‚ especially after some of that chicken-feed we ate, or bad water! Some poor people had the runs & what not, so that was a problem. The Bible instructs you that if you do have to ease yourself when out in the field‚ you must dig a hole with your paddle or spade, go in the hole, & then cover it up. That's Bible sanitation, the proper sanitary way of taking care of the awful offal—or doo-doo, dung, BM, shit, whatever you want to call it. Anyhow it's not right to leave it lying out on the ground uncovered. It's not sanitary, & it's not right for the next camper. It's not right to just go out & do it on the ground someplace in the woods & not cover it up.

18. SO WE FINALLY DEVELOPED A PORTABLE TOILET—in fact we had two—one for the boys & one for the girls.—And anyplace that we were going to stop for any length of time where they didn't have toilets nearby we ran back into the woods & set up our portable toilet. We had a toilet team who quickly dug a good-sized hole in the ground, at least a foot wide & a couple of feet deep‚ then they set this special seat over it that had a hole in it. If we were going to be there any length of time‚ like a day or two or more, we pitched a little tent over it, so that it would be private & sheltered from rain for anybody that would need to use it, boys or girls. Sometimes there was quite a line-up waiting! If it was woodsy enough, we didn't have to have a tent to protect them from public view. But of course, if there are different sexes in the line & various sexes had to go to the toilet in an unenclosed spot with nothing but trees & bushes around, it was a little embarrassing for some of the girls & boys, so we developed this little tent idea. Sometimes we would just drape a canvas around three or four trees around the seat. All you need is three or four trees, & you can string a canvas tarp around'm, & you've got a private toilet—but no roof!—Lots a fresh air!