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Thread: Greenfield toilets

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Greenfield toilets

    We're off greenfielding for summer camp this year, and I have a greenfield permit, as do others, but it's
    a) been a few years since I last did any
    b) always useful to cast the net wide
    c) you lot talk s***e enough, so

    My question(s), you have a field and a tap...

    How do you do your toilet facilities?

    What are the pros and cons of how you do it?

    How would you deal with "all that" on a camp with 50 Explorers in one corner, 20 scouts in another, and 20 cubs in another? For up to a week?

    I could expand the question out to cover showers and washing if you fancy bonus marks.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
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    I haven't greenfielded with those numbers for a while... We also never usually stay in the same place, we're moving constantly so always passing somewhere with toilet facilities.

    But...

    I'd be looking to use chemical toilets and a pee screen with wet and dry pits. I'd probably pitch a shelter (lightweight or not dependant on your style of camp) with some basins and a dresser (or table if you're not feeling up to building something...) Obviously facilities can be segregated as you please.

    Equally, if you don't want to carry chemical bog paraphernalia, then you're into putting up some kind of screening over a trench with a perch of sorts.

    We always went the chemical route... This has the added advantage of offering an unpleasant activity which leaders can delegate to the youth/s who have displeased them the most over the course of the camp...

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    In the past we've dug a trench and pitched a tent over it. The spoil is left (with a small spade) for filling in after each visit and there is a frame that sits over the trench on which sits a chair with a hole cut in the seat. There is even a toilet roll holder (gadget wood and sisal) and an rustic engaged / occupied sign on the door. We normally use two for a week long Scout camp and dig new trenches as required. These work very well if used properly and stay pleasant. Downsides are you have to do a lot of digging and they can get a bit unpleasant if not used correctly (some Scouts seem to struggle with covering everything).

    Last greenfield camp had a chem loo disposal point so we took small chemical loos and those small but tall tent things to put them in. Less effort in some respects but cleaning out the loos isn't pleasant. We had a couple of chem loos with marginally complicated flushing mechanisms which seemed to perplex some Scouts (there's a theme here..)

    This year no disposal point and we fancied an easy life so we're hiring porta loos for the week. We'll see how it goes.

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    Reading Simon's post there...

    I've just remembered - and I have no idea why its even still with us... But... We had handed into our jumble sale a second hand commode. I'm sure they wiped it with a cloth or something... I'll see if I can find a picture...

    IMG_20180427_212408.jpg

    In the spirit of Scouting, we'd be happy to let you borro- Actually, do you know what? You can have it. NO! WE INSIST...

    Pitch a wee tent round it... You can leave the bucket in or remove as you see fit, and dig a hole - comes with ergonomically designed seat... Its reusable (as confirmed by the kind soul who donated it to our sale...)

    Go on, you know you want to...


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    AESL & AGSL shiftypete's Avatar
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    We don't greenfield with those kind of numbers, if we did I think we would just hire in some portaloos if at all possible.

    How we do it for our camps of around 30 people is
    2 x double toilet tents with 1 large chemical toilet in each (we use double toilet tents as a single toilet as then you actually have some room to manoeuvre in there). The toilet tents are located somewhere out of the way in the field well away and down wind from any food storage or prep area (preferably down wind of the whole campsite). a couple of small foldable tables with washing bowls and liquid soap outside the tents
    Then we dig a very large hole relatively near the toilet tents but not so near as to risk people falling in it when going to the toilet in the dark (making sure we are far enough away from any watercourses)
    The toilets toilets are then emptied periodically (usually works out at about once a day) into said big hole and a layer of soil is put on top after each emptying to try to keep the smell and flies down.
    At the end of camp one of our last jobs is filling in the large hole and carefully replacing the grass sods leaving them raised up and inch or two to allow for sinkage

    The trick is judging the size of hole you need to accommodate a weeks worth of waste, you do not want to go too small as then you have to go to the effort of digging a second hole when the first one fills up, but you also don't want to dig a hole much bigger than you needs as its usually hard work digging big holes using just a couple of spades (and an entrenching tools actually).
    Last edited by shiftypete; 10-05-2018 at 02:53 PM.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    I'd also consider the pros and cons of using a services site with those numbers.

    Not sure if Blair Atholl still runs as a back to basics type camp. They have a couple of thousand people (including leaders) - last time I was there, they had tents with trenches for toileting and showering. To be fair, they had 'indoor' plumbing of sorts too...

    We've been to some pretty basic Scouts sites that had toilet blocks and nothing else... Its that whole argument about 'being prepared'. Part of that is deciding not to make life too difficult by using a serviced site.

    Years ago we camped on the banks of Loch Lomond, we shared the field with some French Scouts who were using the woods willy nilly as a latrine. Collecting fire wood was a bit of an eye opener - you'd wander round a tree or bush loaded up with fire wood and stumble over a squa-

    Anyway, you get the idea... It was a long time ago, but there was a fair bit of mon dieu'ing going on.


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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I'd also consider the pros and cons of using a services site with those numbers.

    Not sure if Blair Atholl still runs as a back to basics type camp. They have a couple of thousand people (including leaders) - last time I was there, they had tents with trenches for toileting and showering. To be fair, they had 'indoor' plumbing of sorts too...

    We've been to some pretty basic Scouts sites that had toilet blocks and nothing else... Its that whole argument about 'being prepared'. Part of that is deciding not to make life too difficult by using a serviced site.

    Years ago we camped on the banks of Loch Lomond, we shared the field with some French Scouts who were using the woods willy nilly as a latrine. Collecting fire wood was a bit of an eye opener - you'd wander round a tree or bush loaded up with fire wood and stumble over a squa-

    Anyway, you get the idea... It was a long time ago, but there was a fair bit of mon dieu'ing going on.

    TBH thatís why I canít be bothered with greenfield. There are enough campsites out there with basic facilities.

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    We use old metal chairs with the seat replaced with a loo seat in a double loo tent over a trench and a trowel to cover the waste and sometimes a bucket of sawdust to help (about 4 for a camp of up to 60) + an old gazebo frame surrounded by hessian with a pit in the middle to pee in
    Also one chemical loo for the first aid tent the GSL seems to head in that direction on occasion ?

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    Must admit (at the risk of going off on a tangent).

    I struggle to see the point of this type of greenfield camping. I mean, we usually avoid staffed camp sites because you're then beholden to other people rules - which can sometimes be a bit daft. However, there are a number of campsites that just have toilet blocks and maybe a couple of showers - other than a daily alfresco poo, I don't understand why you wouldn't favour these sites?

    That said, if you find a site that is outstanding in terms of its natural beauty, then fair enough... Gone are the days of camping in a field for the sake of camping in a field...


    (We still have that commode though... Its here waiting... I have bubble wrap and everything... )

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Gone are the days of camping in a field for the sake of camping in a field...
    Are they though?

    Maybe there's a little bit of hippy in me that fancies living off grid for the week (well, when I say off grid, barring the mains water, Sainsbury delivery, minibuses to activities, gas powered fridges, battery packs for phones, at least 3G data...)

    Anyway, how else are we supposed to prepare the youth of today for the zombie apocalypse?

    We *could* hire portaloos, but I kind of like the idea of being a little more self-sufficient, the answer to all questions being "we'll buy that in".

    It's in a nice bit of the country, good view of Corfe Castle, and the field is free, so that's probably saving £30 a head, enough for another activity, or the difference between a £180 camp and a £210 camp.

    I genuinely think the price being under £200 has brought a few more explorers in for the ride.

    We just thought we'd try proper greenfield this year as a cycle of different sorts of summer camps so if Explorers come to three or four they'll get three or four different experiences.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
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    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Are they though?

    Maybe there's a little bit of hippy in me that fancies living off grid for the week (well, when I say off grid, barring the mains water, Sainsbury delivery, minibuses to activities, gas powered fridges, battery packs for phones, at least 3G data...)

    Anyway, how else are we supposed to prepare the youth of today for the zombie apocalypse?

    We *could* hire portaloos, but I kind of like the idea of being a little more self-sufficient, the answer to all questions being "we'll buy that in".

    It's in a nice bit of the country, good view of Corfe Castle, and the field is free, so that's probably saving £30 a head, enough for another activity, or the difference between a £180 camp and a £210 camp.

    I genuinely think the price being under £200 has brought a few more explorers in for the ride.

    We just thought we'd try proper greenfield this year as a cycle of different sorts of summer camps so if Explorers come to three or four they'll get three or four different experiences.
    I think I'm just getting old.

    I mostly agree with you, but there is a wrinkly side to me that just thinks - book a hotel...

    Well, maybe not as far as that. We're always telling the kids, okay, there are things we do that we perhaps don't have to do - why cook on an open fire when you can get a deliveroo etc. So we tell them about the 'train hard fight easy' ethos (I think its an SAS thing...)

    I suppose I'm conflating greenfield with wild camping - then all of that with expedition camping, which is a lot more lightweight. We just couldn't bring frames with bog seats attached or chemical toilets... Its a packet of handy Andy's and a hole in a quite spot.*








    * For Explorers, leaders are in a hotel...

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    For those wondernig why... the reasons we greenfield camp are:

    1. The sense of achievement turning an empty field into home for the week
    2. The independance. No site rules to follow (other than common decency and any requests of the farmer). No need to fit around other's timetables. No shared facilities to worry about.
    3. The secluded feel. We aim to find a site that's in its own secluded valley, with a special feature (in this case 5 mins walk to beach and waterfall)
    4. Noise. No neighbouring groups to wake us when we want to be asleep. No issue blowing a bugle to wake the Scouts at 7am.
    5. Space - with a few exceptions most campsites cannot guarantee sole occupancy. Those that do tend to be small. By going greenfield we can spread out, giving our patrols some independance from HQ.
    6. Cost - this year's site is costing us nothing (we'll buy theo wner a nice bottle of something).

    I guess the question is, are you camping as a means of accommodation to facilitate activities, or are you camping for camping's sake. We are doing the latter. Yes, very old fashioned i know.

    For toilets, we use chemical toilets, inside toilet tents. Emptied into a pit. Pretty simple and straightforward. Quite a lot of work on day 1 digging the pit but then fairly straightforward throughout the week,.

    At work we currently have what would be classed as a greenfield site in Scouting (although should have water sorted fairly soon, and we will be using portaloos for the foreseeable future)
    Last edited by recneps; 12-05-2018 at 06:52 PM.
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    Back when we used to do big greenfield summer camps...

    We were the same, making a home from home (heavy weight camping) and most importantly, being able to make our own rules - a campsite with full time wardens was total and complete anathema to our camping ethos.

    However, laterally (back when we were still doing big summer camps), the kids we were getting started to take themselves to bed at half nine (say), and actually go to sleep. Our site was quite buy 10:30pm.

    We'd become that which we'd eschewed...

    Changed days...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Back when we used to do big greenfield summer camps...

    We were the same, making a home from home (heavy weight camping) and most importantly, being able to make our own rules - a campsite with full time wardens was total and complete anathema to our camping ethos.

    However, laterally (back when we were still doing big summer camps), the kids we were getting started to take themselves to bed at half nine (say), and actually go to sleep. Our site was quite buy 10:30pm.

    We'd become that which we'd eschewed...

    Changed days...
    By the 3rd or 4th night our kids are off to bed pretty early too...

    but then we do a relatively early start (7am) - may as well make best use of the daylight.
    Dan Spencer

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