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The Stansport Pop-Up Privacy Shelter is an instant portable privy shelter that works well for off-grid camping away from camp grounds and outhouses.
I’ve been using the Stansport Pop-Up Privacy Shelter for years, primarily for off-grid family camping trips.
While you can change clothes or even shower in a portable privy, we use the Stansport Pop-Up Privacy Shelter primarily as an instant bathroom. Of course, you need a portable toilet for this purpose — I’ll recommend a couple of toilet options below.
The biggest question is why do you need a portable privy? Why can’t you just use the woods?
Don’t Spoil Great Places
Every outdoor adventurer has been out in the pristine wild, enjoying life, when all of sudden they stumble upon human feces and toilet paper remains. Yup, it’s gross every time. I generally find myself becoming annoyed at my fellow humans, in which case I start thinking dark thoughts, the lightest of which is that they’re a bunch of stupid, self-centered semi-domesticated animals who are going to ruin everything for the rest of us.
Then I try to remind myself that maybe they’re just trying to have fun outside . . . and maybe they’re just woefully inexperienced. (Sometimes these more charitable thoughts work and sometimes they don’t.)
One way to help the situation is to publish a big feature photo of a privy and write about an affordable, easy-to-use privy on Man Makes Fire. So here we are.
Number Two Solutions
Moving on, most backpackers take along a small trowel, which they use to dig a hole in the backcountry, which they then poop into and bury. If this makes you squeamish, you should stay out of the backcountry and only go to hotels for your vacations. Or you can buck up, buttercup, and keep reading for an off-grid camping solution.
Trowels and holes tend to work best in the backcountry where the people density is lower. In off-grid camping locations on public land, there is often not enough places to dig holes that can handle the volume of people visiting those locations.
You need a portable toilet.
If you are really starting to plan ahead and are thinking about this, you’ll also realize that you might need some sort of privacy screen. Maybe your friends and family are different, but nobody I know likes to use a toilet out in the great wide open when other people are within eyesight.
The Stansport Pop-Up Privacy Shelter uses four curved rectangular sets of springy metal hoop-like sections sewn into fabric to create four walls. The ingenious design lets you fold up the sides, fold the floor over to the ceiling . . . and then twist it all into a tidy circle, which you can pack into an included bag.
When it’s time to set it up, the shelter unfolds. When you pop the four corners out, the Pop-Up Privacy Shelter stands upright and supports itself. As you might imagine, if there is any wind, you’ll need to stake down the shelter.
One major benefit to the Stansport Pop-Up Privacy Shelter is that it’s taller than many competitive pop-up privacy shelters. At 84″ high, most adults can stand up inside without needing to crouch.
Stansport includes a 4’x4′ tarp that clips inside the shelter to use as an optional floor (or you can stake it down if desired). This is handy to help tidy up the experience and use as a moisture barrier if the ground is wet or you’re showering inside.
The door is big and wide. You get a rear screened window for ventilation and a hanging net pouch that can hold toilet paper, wet wipes and hand sanitizer.
The Stansport Pop-Up Privacy Shelter is water-resistant, with a built-in roof, but it’s not technically waterproof. For our summertime camping trips, it’s held up to rain well enough — but if you plan to use it in truly rainy conditions, you might want a heavy-duty alternative.
Stansport includes 8 tie down loops with stakes and guy lines for anchoring the shelter. Unfortunately, the stakes are pretty small, so you might want to upgrade those with a few extra tent stakes that will work better and make setup easier.
The Importance of Bold Colors
Stansport offers the Stansport Pop-Up Privacy Shelter in two colors: Blue and Red. If you buy a portable privy shelter, you want a dark fabric that’s not translucent in any way. The last thing you want is for anyone to be able to see a shadow of a person outlined while they go about their business.
Lets Talk About Quality
The Stansport Pop-Up Privacy Shelter is a fantastic privacy shelter . . . but it’s also an inexpensive, lightweight privacy shelter. The biggest benefit is how quickly and easily it sets up. A secondary benefit is its affordable price point. The biggest drawback is that it is lightweight and won’t be able to handle any serious neglect.
That said, our shelter has stood up to hundreds of uses by kids, adults, and even moderately inebriated adults without fail.
Not the Best for Showers
The Stansport Pop-Up Privacy Shelter is not great for showers because it can’t support a portable shower bag . . . or support a shower head. Some competitive privacy/privy systems include frames that offer support or have openings in the roof to allow a suspended shower head.
Bass Pro Shops Eclipse Camp Privacy Shelter — The biggest benefit to the Bass Pro Shops Camp Privacy Shelter is its rugged steel pole system. The poles are strong enough to support a solar shower bag on the inside. The primary drawback is that it takes a bit more time to setup.
Green Elephant Camping Shower Tent — The Green Elephant Camping Shower Tent’s primary benefit compared to the Stansport Pop-Up Privacy Shelter is that it has an opening in the top for a shower. Plus, you get a rainfly. We also appreciate the four included sand bags, which can be filled with sand, dirt or rocks in case you need to stabilize the tent on ground that doesn’t support tent stakes very well.
Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Privacy Shelter — The biggest benefit of the Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Privacy Shelter is that it sets up quickly and is more stable than pop-up style shelters like the Stansport Pop-Up Privacy Shelter. We also appreciate the exterior flaps on the bottom of this shelter because you can stack rocks on them to help anchor the walls when you’re in rocky areas that don’t take stakes well. The biggest drawback is the higher price point.
When you can’t find the additives you want, it’s also possible to use standard kitty litter to absorb moisture. Some toilet systems are meant for simple heavy-duty plastic bags without any additives to absorb moisture, but if you’re the person who needs to manage the bags, I recommend you avoid that outcome at all costs.
Dometic SaniPottie Toilet — This flushable style of portable toilet comes in two hollow sections. The top section is the seat and the interior walls hold water. You flush the system to drop waste into the bottom, detachable container. The benefit is that it’s very stable and flushes. The drawback is that it’s bulkier and once it’s full, it has to be emptied into a real toilet or into an RV dump station.
The Verdict: Just Get One
If you’re off-grid camping — or even day-tripping with friends or family members who might suddenly need to go — you can make calls of nature easier while protecting the outdoor spaces we all share. One way to do it is with a portable camping toilet and a privacy shelter. The Stansport Pop-Up Privacy Shelter is fast and affordable. Very highly recommended.