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There are many good reasons to enjoy a vacation in a converted van. First and foremost is certainly the feeling of freedom and independence, to go off and do what you want - no matter where. Just pack your bags and off you go on your next adventure.
This year, too, the van lifestyle is enjoying great popularity when it comes to planning the next vacation or even just a long weekend. Just get in the van and go - that's often the ideal idea of many, to be able to quickly escape from everyday life. Unfortunately, we have experienced firsthand that it doesn't happen that quickly. Preparation is the key word. In order to be able to enjoy the vacation or trip with the van also really carefree, there is much to consider and one must be prepared for some things. Things that are taken for granted, such as a toilet, can be appreciated anew, especially if, like us, you don't always want to stay at a campsite, but also in the great outdoors.
Vanlifestyle - a sense of independence and freedom
Anyone who has converted a van into a homey place knows the feeling of freedom that comes as soon as you take your seat behind the wheel, the tingling in your fingertips when you get going. The excitement of all that is to come. Stopping wherever you please and being completely independent. For many, their own van reflects their own lifestyle. For us, it's another home. The home that can be taken anywhere and accompany you on your way. You are your own master, you can just stay in bed in the morning, look at the open sea and enjoy your breakfast at exactly the same place. You can be for yourself and yet never be alone - thanks to the huge community and the feeling of being able to share this lifestyle. And yet you decide where you want to be. We love that feeling.
That the kitchenette becomes a bathroom, the door a wine rack or the bed a breakfast table is not considered negative by many, but let's be honest: Who would rent an apartment where the pantry has been converted into an outhouse with a simple dividing curtain right next to the refrigerator in the kitchen? Probably the least - and yet it bothers no one at the van. You adjust, organize, and learn to use every millimeter of the available space, and you just feel great.
And here again, preparation is a crucial point. What am I actually preparing for? What do I actually need on the road? What goes without saying? What has to work and how? What do I only miss when I'm already on the road? These questions are somewhat in contrast to what we actually want: Just drive off, travel spontaneously, see where it takes you without planning everything in advance. For us, this usually results in the most beautiful moments - simply letting ourselves drift. However, we only realized after a few trips that we can really enjoy this "drifting" when we are well prepared. The feeling of complete freedom and independence only overwhelms us when we can say with a clear conscience: I am well prepared, I don't have to worry about case X, I have a solution up my sleeve - no matter what. Prepared spontaneously is what I would affectionately call it. Maybe some of you can understand this without throwing your hands up in horror and thinking "What control freaks".
The first experience
On our first trip, we were also super prepared - or so we thought at first. From quick-drying towels, the gas cartridge, foldable water canisters, outdoor power cable to mini dishwashing liquid to the ladle, we had everything with us. Until, at some point, we were enjoying the sunset in the middle of nowhere and had a few beers. After a few beers - actually, there were two for me - but then it was already time: I had to pee and urgently! No problem - off we went and quickly looked for a quiet place in the bushes. While I listened to the crickets and the noisy splashing, I was suddenly aware that we had underestimated the toilet factor. Sure, it is no problem at all to look for a little spot in nature, but we also have a comfortable mattress to sleep on, although one could also sleep on the ground. Without hesitation, the mattress was one of our first purchases - for the necessary comfort and the desired cap of sleep. Why didn't we have the same thought about a toilet right away? The subject of toilet was somehow natural for us, something you just have. But if you think back to your wild festival days, you'll immediately know how valuable it is to have your own good-smelling - or non-smelling - toilet that you can use anywhere. But to what extent is "everywhere" actually possible?
Something is in the air here
I have dealt with the topic of toilet admittedly very after our first short trip, because I wanted to travel in the future like even more independent and at the same time more comfortable. Not always on the lookout for the next restaurant or parking space, in the evening not to have to take the last opportunity for a fixed toilet and not to have to keep if just no quiet place is findable or you have to suddenly big times. Not to mention the fact that I felt taken back to my early childhood and recalled before my eyes how I used to be with my parents on a campsite and was always admonished at the age of six to never go to the chemical toilet available in the caravan, because it firstly stank and secondly had to be laboriously emptied again every day. Since one has always preferred the sanitary facilities of the campsite. For this reason, a chemical toilet was out of the question for me, apart from the fact that chemicals are used here. Due to the large amounts of liquid, frequent emptying is mandatory. The thought that the solid excretions are also mixed in this broth, provided again for less enthusiasm.
During my research, I finally came across the principle of a dry composting toilet. As the name suggests, no water is needed to use the toilet. That excited me first, because you are so on the road even more independent and the already valuable water supplies are not consumed even further. Currently, there are already a few pretty models on the market that do not look directly like a bucket with a lid - of course, you also have the option - but we wanted to invest our money in something pretty that also gives you the feeling of sitting on a toilet. If the edges of the bucket press you in the butt and you have to spend his business then again in the squat, we see simply no added value, but of course everyone must decide for themselves. =)
The right way?
While researching for a suitable dry toilet, I came across the principle of the composting toilet: Here, too, no water is needed and there is a separating insert inside the composting toilet, which collects the liquid and solid excretions separately from each other. Thus, the substances are not combined and odors are automatically avoided. The urine canister can be emptied separately and the solid container must be filled after the big business once additionally with a litter - imagine it approximately like cat litter - so that the excretions dry. The main advantage to this principle is that the solids don't stay moist and therefore don't continue to stink. This was a big plus for us. (Everyone knows the dog poop on the terrace, which smells bad when fresh, but after 1-2 days is completely odorless). That you can also dispose of the excrement sustainably, came closest to our idea of a self-sufficient and mobile toilet.
Because of this overall package, we decided on the model of the composting toilet. In addition, the dimensions and appearance were a great fit for our van, which definitely fueled our decision. We were not disappointed until today and the composting toilet is now an integral part of all our trips with our van. The use is super simple as well as the emptying of the containers. By separating and saving water, you also do not constantly run back and forth to empty the containers, because you have a larger volume available overall. Even though I was initially skeptical about emptying the solids container, I must admit that my concern was completely unfounded: you use bags similar to a trash can only compostable to dispose of the excrement later in a suitable place. So if you do your business in the bag or container it can be covered directly with the litter, dry quickly and thus no longer cause odor. So I can take out the filled bag at any time and dispose of it together with the household waste.
No matter where we are now, we always have our composting toilet handy and enjoy the comfort and feeling of a real toilet, just on the road. Even though we didn't worry about a toilet beforehand, and I always have to smile on this subject, I wouldn't want to miss it anymore. It has raised our vanlife to a new level. We are now even more carefree prepared for everything that comes ;-)