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Toilet in Your Pocket

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A photo of the inside of Carlsbad Cavern, taken and licensed by Daniel Mayer
It’s not what it seems. Sure, the title conjures up images more akin to toilet in your pants, but this is different. In fact it’s actually a preventative for that unseemly concept.

I spent a holiday weekend this year exploring Carlsbad Caverns National Park. It’s truly a wondrous subterranean world of stalactites and stalagmites. We hiked in from the surface and traveled about three miles underground, marveling at the amazing formations. There’s a portion called the King’s Palace and another called the Queen’s Chambers… interestingly, however, it’s very hard to find a throne inside. There are only two restrooms—one at the top in the visitor information center, and one at the deepest point of the hike to the bottom.

The Biffy Bag
The Biffy Bag
So what would a person do to solve a toilet crisis in a place like this? On a tour of some of the less-traveled areas of the Park, I learned of a product that the park rangers carry specifically for such an occasion, the Biffy Bag. According to the product’s web site, “It has everything you need for a sanitary, discrete and comfortable experience. It truly is a Biffy in a Jiffy.” It’s a portable toilet that fits in your pocket, complete with TP, absorbent solidifying powder, and a chemical deodorant—all built into its own disposal bag.

The ranger mentioned it at the beginning of our tour in case anyone should need one along the way. It seems that the only other thing a person would need is a little privacy, but luckily, utter darkness is something in plentiful supply down there (a welcome reassurance, despite the inevitable awkwardness of finishing the job in the pitch black, or for that matter, managing a flashlight in the process).  I can imagine why they don’t want people making stalagmites of their own in the cavern—or dare we call them “stalag-shites?”

Fortunately, I was nowhere close to needing a Biffy Bag on that outing, thanks partly to the fact that I was clever enough to not eat my lunch until we reached the picnic area located near the real restrooms. Regardless of whether we’re flared up or not, it strikes me as the kind of thing that every IBD patient would want to carry. Even if it never gets used, it might be nice to know it’s there, just in case.

I have also discovered a couple of other amusing products over the years. There’s the Luggable Loo, for example, a toilet seat made to fit the top of a standard 5-gallon bucket. It’s a simple yet clever and practical concept. For the deluxe approach, there’s also a trailer-hitch mounted toilet seat called the Bumper Dumper. Add a trash bag or bucket, and the optional privacy tent attachment, and…presto! Instant outhouse. Now that’s what I call a tailgate party!

photo above: The Carlsbad Caverns, courtesy of Daniel Mayer (CC By-SA 3.0)

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Tags: Supplies/Accessories/Equipment , Travel

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About the Author

Andrew Tubesing is an acclaimed advocate and humorist on the subject of inflammatory bowel disease.

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