An Introduction to My Toilet & Portable Washing Machine

Nature calls!

I was born in December 1961. Do the math and you’ll understand that nature calls more frequently for someone MY age.

So to deal with this inevitable problem, I have a little container that I use for #1’s. This container fits between my knees perfectly when kneeling in bed in the back of Mitzi. It holds quite a bit, so can be used several times before it needs to be emptied.

This might be too much detail for some of you, but in the rare instance that I have to do #2, and there is no real toilet available, and no other suitable location to dig a cat hole or crouch behind a rock with my bag, I can line it with a biodegradable bag and do the deed in the privacy of my vehicle. It’s not easy, but its doable. Errr… lets move on.

So my toilet has other uses. I use it to spit into when I clean my teeth, and I use it to gather dish water and other gray water to dispose of in a more environmentally friendly manner when the opportunity arises, or gather some river water to wash my windshield etc. I also use it as a mini washing machine.

Yep…you read it right.

One important thing to remember when turning your toilet into a washing machine, is to ensure that the lid fastens tightly, and can’t pop off. Mine has four clips on it that hold the lid in place, as well as a good seal. I learned my lesson the hard way one time when I had a toilet with a press on lid. As I drove over a windy mountain pass, the change in elevation caused the lid to pop off, and I ended up bleaching the carpet in the back of my vehicle (back then it was a Subaru).

The other important thing to remember is to wash it out with bleach first.

Washing your clothes this way is simple; put in your dirty, pre-treated item, add water (warm or hot if you wish) and soap, snap the lid closed, make sure it is in an upright position and can’t tip over, and drive away. While you are driving down the road, your socks, top, and undies, get sloshed around as though they were in a washing machine. (If I had more room I’d have a bigger container or bucket with a lid, then I could do an even bigger load of laundry).

At some point later you can dump the water,  add fresh water to rinse while driving, or just rinse by hand then wring your clothes out. hang to dry on your antenna, or side mirror, and hey-presto, clean clothes for free!

You can actually make a limited number of clothes go for a long time between Laundromat visits this way.

Goodness, that reminds me… I have to go and rinse my hiking top now so it will be dry for tomorrow.


**** Update ~ In February 2016, my toilet, previously named ‘Tinkles’ has now been re-named to….wait for it…. The Badwater Basin.




Happy laundry day…

Roxy ~ a Nomad for Nature

7 responses to “An Introduction to My Toilet & Portable Washing Machine

  1. I am loving all your good ideas. I wish I could be as minimalist as you are. I saw a video of you doing your hair a while ago. I admire that so much! Maybe some day I will be brave enough to try it. 🙂


  2. Pingback: Building a Bed for Studley Van | Nomad for Nature·

  3. Hi Roxy,
    Thanks for all the great info and inspiration on your site! I am getting ready for a road trip in my minivan and want to use a pee bucket like yours. Could you tell me what brand and size it is?
    All the best,


    • I bought it in Walmart, and it’s basically just a food storage container that I don’t think they sell any more. If you want to do it my way, just go and look for something you think would be comfortable for you to pee into, sit on or whatever, while kneeling, with a very secure lid. I think it’s an individual thing, because it has to fit our unique bodies and needs and the space we have for storing it or setting it aside at night. If you want to try some other things I recommend visiting he has tons of toilet suggestions on his blog. He’s been a nomad for as long as myself, and has had his blog running longer, so he has a lot more information than I, I’m still building mine up. I hope you keep reading my stuff though and following me. Good luck with your road trip, it’s guaranteed to be an interesting experience. 🙂


      • Thanks so much for your input!
        I’m a long time fan of Bob’s site and that’s how I found you. Your low tech, minimalist approach is how I hope to travel. It’s very encouraging to me to see another woman traveling like this solo. I’m going on the 1st practice trip this weekend (the big trip is in Sept). So exited! Been planning and saving for 18 months.


        • Jeannie – Good luck with your practice trip. Don’t expect everything to fall into place immediately, it takes time to adapt. Come back and let us all know how it goes and remember to savor the journey. 🙂


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