Six tips for surviving the outhouse

Nature calls, and despite the fact that at camp, all of nature is there to answer that call, we prefer to keep the call contained to a three-foot by three-foot outhouse. I have to say, the outhouse is pretty lux. It’s stained a shade of cedar inside and out, has two small windows, a step to accommodate those of us who aren’t six feet tall, and toilet paper covered by an old coffee tin. Still, there are some tricks to successfully and comfortably using the outhouse.


If you leave the door unlatched from the inside while in the outhouse, and the outhouse is level, a gale-force wind could come along and whip the door open while you sit on the wooden throne, leaving you exposed to camp.


If you leave the door unlatched from the inside while in the outhouse, and the outhouse is not level, the door will slowly swing open out of your reach while you sit on the wooden throne, leaving you exposed to camp.


Check out that beautifully stained outhouse! This particular outhouse found it’s place at home base, but we used the leftover stain to class up the trapline outhouse.


Upon approach to the outhouse, but no closer than 10 metres from the outhouse, ensure the outer lock to the outhouse is engaged. If it’s not, you could be headed for an embarrassing (in more ways than one) encounter with your camp-mate.


I own three. One was gifted to me last Christmas as I mentioned here, and I picked up two fire engine red, wool blend numbers thinking they were two-piece thermal underwear at a going-out-of-business sale from a store in Flin Flon. When I opened them and saw they were onesies, I was dubious, but figured I’d make do. It turns out these things are king when it comes to cold winter nights. Gotta go? -25 outside? No problem! Just unbutton that butt flap and do your business in cozy comfort.


Tried it, loved it, and now I’ll never give up my red wool onesie!


On the lake, the water table is high, so outhouse holes are shallow. Ingi had intended to dig a new hole earlier in the year, but it just didn’t happen, and the ground was covered in about 20 inches of snow when we arrived. The existing hole was quickly full, so we found ourselves outside one cloudy afternoon, shovels in hands, struggling to break the frost-ridden ground. We eventually dug it out, moved the outhouse, and covered the old hole successfully. A new hole is a beautiful thing.


Sit on the wooden throne in style and keep your cheeks warm with a styrofoam seat. I can’t say enough about this brilliant concept, which Ingi discovered on a book run to the Yukon and brought back to Neso Lake and the trapline. I beveled one out back in May, and I wasn’t convinced it would truly add to outhouse comfort, but there’s no doubt in my mind, now.


I cut and bevelled a styrofoam seat for the outhouse at home base back in May. The styrofoam seat was a lifesaver any time it was below 0 degrees on the trapline.

Spend a lot of time outdoors? Have your own tips for using the outhouse? Share below!


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