Until COVID-19 changed our plans, porta-potties would be lined up for county fairs and other outside events. For some, this would be their only experience with outhouses.
While they share the same function, they don’t have the same, shall we say, ambience.
Some may never have experienced the “thrill” of clearing cobwebs especially when the spider suddenly appeared while you were making a path. Then watching for other critters including snakes before using the “facilities.” I was fortunate to grow up with indoor plumbing, but have my fair share of outhouse experience.
More rustic outhouses are made of wood and contain one or more plain open holes over the collecting chambers. Cold in the winter and twice as smelly on hot days, only a dire need to use them was required. The last time I used a similar outhouse was on vacation in Alaska. We flew north in a (very) small tour plane above the Artic Circle to Wiseman Alaska and toured a community that thrived living off the land. After touring and learning about their lifestyle, I needed to find a bathroom prior to reboarding our plane. Visitors used the public outhouse in town during their visits. It was a larger one person structure. There were no criters or webs and a toilet seat covered the hole. What I didn’t anticipate was that the boards used for the walls had cracks between them. Intentionally, I think, for ventilation.
A few years ago while in Thailand, our mission team was serving several remote mountain villages with medical, dental and vision clinics.
At one of the villages, I had occasion to use their public bathrooms. Rather than rustic wood, this toilet was in an updated stall with tiles.
This village provided a squat toilet. I was used to “western toilets,” so this was a new skill to learn. The orange jar next to the toilet was for “bucket flushing.” If you have ever lived with low water pressure, you may be familiar with that term. I know I didn’t need to be shown what to do with the bucket.
Yet, with my vast experiences with outhouses, I was unprepared for my most recent experience on rural property. My son purchased property with the intent of hunting and eventually building a house. They have been clearing brush, bringing in water and power. So far, they have a shed and picnic supplies for work days. They needed and outhouse – for obvious reasons.
My son is an architect, so no ordinary structure would do. He wanted something unique, and fun, and one I would happily use when I was out there. (I actually don’t know if that last one was actually on the list.) He succeeded. And, in doing his research, he structured it to be without the standard outhouse fragrance!
Fun structure aside, there is a western seat and working sink! The water hose hooks to the back to provide running water. There are even solar lights attached for night use.
… in my experience, this is the best little outhouse…anywhere.