Portable Toilet Cleaning

The worst part of a whitewater river trip is the take-out. Typically it’s where the entire world seems to congregate at the exact same time to load up for the trip home. It’s hot, dusty, and no one wants to be there.

rocket box
20mm rocket box containing an eco toilet

To make matters worse, there’s a job that needs to be done that can be downright nasty. Remember that nice portable river toilet you’ve been joyfully pooping into for the past couple of days? Yeah, it’s full of the entire trip’s poop, and it needs to be cleaned…guess who’s been elected for that job? YOU!

Scat Machine to the Rescue

Fortunately, this nasty chore has gotten much easier with the advent of scat machines. Most popular multi-day river trip takeouts have these little gems of engineering marvels.

Gone are the days you had to transport your poop over the pass to your home town hoping the methane build up in the toilet system wasn’t getting to explosive levels. (I’ve seen someone almost lose their arm when they flipped the latch and the can exploded…nasty)

You no longer have to drive around town hoping to find an RV dump site that will allow you to dump your can of shit. Now the whole dump and cleanup can be done at the takeout. It’s easy, fairly sanitary and best of all, your done, done, done.

The system i’m most familiar with is the scat machine. It’s a large contraption that’s built in the unlikely town of French Glen, Oregon by the French Glen Blacksmiths. The operation is simple and only requires 1 dollar to operate. (I spend an extra buck and do it twice)

The directions are posted on the machine itself and are pretty self explanatory. I have a few tips though:

  1. They want you to strap down your box to the cleaning surface. The straps you use are in the cleaner when you close the door and come out wet. I don’t think those straps are sanitary after that. So my suggestion is to use specific straps for the job, the poop straps. 2 footers work great. 
  2. Wear a pair of rubber gloves during this entire process. When you open the contraption after the washing, you have to reach in there and unstrap your can. Everything is dripping wet, it makes me feel better to have some rubber between my skin and the wetness.
  3. Spend an extra dollar and send the pooper through the cycle twice. This assures you get every last drop of pooh. Spend the extra buck to avoid any tenacious bits.
  4. Be sure you have dollar bills packed somewhere on your trip. There aren’t generally cash machines at river takeouts and the scat machine doesn’t give change, only dollar bills and quarters are acceptable.

These machines truly are great. They make the whole poop cleaning ordeal much easier.

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