The Portable Toilet: Refined, Sexy and Biodegradable

A Chinese student invents new way to pop a squat. Could this be the end of blue bags and cat holes?

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WAG bags are so out of style, man. Blue bags? Hah! Those are as passé as the bad hair, Rubik’s cubes, and Molly Ringwald flicks of the 80s. It’s time to welcome the new kid on the block: the 100% biodegradable Portable Toilet. You know, for when you’re stuck on the side of the mountain and that fiery Southwestern recipe your tent buddy cooked up is attempting to mariachi its way out of your bowels (not our fault—you could’ve gone to our trusted Trail Chef instead).

If you can’t be bothered with digging a cathole, or find bagging your leavings too coarse, the Portable Toilet could allow you to leave-no-trace with relative opulence. Essentially taking the best traits from both techniques, you can fool yourself into believing you’re in the privacy of your own thrown room by taking care of bid’ness in this recycled cardboard toilet, burying it, and letting nature take care of the rest.

Invented by Dang Jingwei of Central South University in China, the portable toilet was originally conceived for impoverished people who needed a new method for doing their business in a clean, environmentally friendly way. In fact, the walking john is even filled with soil and coal ash, effectively preventing any possible leakage. Genius, I say! The only thing that seems to be missing is an attachment from which a moist towelette could be pulled.

We foresee a few problems with the Portable Toilet, of course: No one wants to imagine a mountainside strewn with improperly buried PTs, and packing them out could turn into a seriously cumbersome proposition. In fact, unless you want to reuse one and carry it with you, you’d have to pack in a whole lot of toilets to cover a weeklong backcountry trip. Suddenly, digging cat holes or packing blue bags doesn’t sound so bad after all.

But while the first model isn’t the lightweight alternative to bagging that serious hikers might be looking for, compared to bags, it’s still the luxurious Bentley of transportable thrones. One can only hope the 2010 edition will have substantial renovations (moist towelettes!). After all, the world’s first mobile phone wasn’t exactly anything to write home about. No information on where to buy this bad boy yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know if we find out.

-Quincy Moore

Portable Toilet (Yanko Design)

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