When the S**t Hits the Fan

I have often joked that heads on small boats are designed to make airline lavatories seem nice. But when you gota go, you gota go. So most small boats incorporate some form of "facilities". As I mentioned in a previous post I had laid out a small porta potti for Bolero. That idea failed rather miserably so we needed to come up with an alternative that was still legal.

After some googling I came up with two. One to replace standing on the taff rail and one for the more serious business. These two option are the Travel John Disposable Urinal and the PETT Compact Dry Toilet.

These systems will be used based on our needs. For liquid waste we will use the very portable Travel John and for solid waste we will set up the PETT Compact Dry Toilet.

Travel John Disposable Urinal

Urinal Bags provide a safe and sanitary means of satisfying personal sanitation needs when permanent facilities are not available. Travel John is convenient, sanitary, discrete, and compact. The key ingredient is LIQSORB(TM), a combination of an exclusive, patent pending, biodegradable non-woven fabric pouch containing a biodegradable polymer substance that immobilizes bacterial growth quickly - absorbs the liquid waste and turns in into an odorless, spill-proof gel bag that is non-toxic and waste disposal safe. The unisex adapter makes it easy for anyone to use while standing or sitting, and a spill guard prevents back flow during use.

Men, women, and children, in virtually any place imaginable, (including airplane cabins and cockpits), can use Travel John with no mess or fuss. Its unique design prevents any leakage whatsoever in the event a full bag is dropped.

  • Designed for use by men, women, and children
  • Odorless and spill proof
  • No clean-up necessary - simply throw away
  • Compact and lightweight for optimal ease-of-use with convenience in storage (pocket, purse, flight bag, etc.)
  • Can be used while standing or sitting
  • Hygienic, non-toxic and waste disposal safe
And here are some reviews:
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Great benefit to travelers
by Phil Kelley from Asheville NC

Pros: Excellent product for travelers
Cons: Does not zip closed.
Review: I'm a pilot and I travel a lot. This product is a lifesaver for men, women and children. I buy it by the case. When you finish using it, just fold the top over and hold it for a few seconds for the gel to work. Then dispose of it in a trash can. If in a plane, just put it at your feet or in a seat pocket until you leave the plane. One thing is for sure, for the price, it cannot be beat.

Thursday, January 03, 2008
Woman's point of view
by Pilatus gal from CA

Pros: Great fit for gals
Cons: Does not absorb all urine if filled to maximum fill line.
Review: Transcontinental flight for this big water drinker. The cup fit snugly, no leakage. However, stop urine flow well before the 28 oz maximum line as it will not absborb the last four ounces.

Saturday, December 08, 2007
When others are waiting
by A Customer from Birmingham, Ala.

Pros: Fits well in pockets and can be deposited easily in waste cans.
Cons: none
Review: Not being able to use "squat" toilets in China, I resorted to using the few of these a friend had given me years ago for something else. It alleviated a lot of worry and provided the kind of aid for moments when a line of people were behind me and muscles were beginning to lock up.

Sunday, November 04, 2007
by Brian from Chapel Hill, NC
Review: This product works okay, although I thought before purchasing it that you could ziplock it closed, however if you really fill it up it will gel up, but you have to sit there and hold it until you de-board the A/C. Although better than nothing in a pinch.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004
by A Customer from Indialantic FL
Review: a lifesaver in a pinch, beats a coke bottle any time!

What surprised me most about this system is how well reviewed it is. Once my wife and I got of the weirdness of the concept this idea really seemed like a good one.

PETT Compact Dry Toilet
  • Easy to use. No assembly required, sets up in seconds
  • Same Height and Size as a Standard Toilet
  • Folds into Briefcase Size with Dimensions of 19" x 14" x 5"
  • SANITARY: Utilizes degradable waste bags (WAG™ bags) that gel
  • Waste, neutralize odor and begin the decay process, which make this system spill proof and hygienic.
  • Special design of seat flange keeps outside of waste bag clean
  • STABLE: Three-leg design for stability on uneven terrain
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: Weighs only 7 lbs.

This system is a porta potti replacement. We already know, or hope, that this toilet won't get much use. During our normal day sails it will be stored behind the watertight forward bulkhead. I only anticipate using it when we are overnighting. It is a bit early to know for sure but I think that this toilet could be set up in the cabin for privacy during the day or in the cockpit for use at night.

Both of these systems work on the same principal. They both use a dry a non toxic biodegradable powder that forms a solid gel when exposed to liquid. After use they will break down in the landfill in less that a year. In many ways this seems ideal compared to the idea of a porta potti and carrying around and disposing of liquid and solides in the waste tank.

Time will tell but we have pitched the porta potti and I am not looking back.