Adding a Toilet to a Subaru Forester for SUV Camping

A very common question from people who want to camp or live in their SUV is how/where they are supposed to go to the bathroom. There are a number of different ways to address this problem, and ny personal toilet solution has 3 components:

  1. I use public toilets whenever possible. This includes toilets at Walmarts, gas stations, grocery stores, fast food restaurants, libraries, visitor centers, trailheads, etc.
  2. I have a pee bottle for when I need to pee inside of my vehicle and don’t want to leave. This can be due to privacy concerns (e.g., there are other people camped nearby) or weather concerns (e.g., it’s cold or rainy outside). I use a green Nalgene bottle.
  3. I have a small, portable camp toilet that I made. I use it in conjunction with a privacy tent when I need to poop and there are no public restrooms around.

Excuse me while I get a bit graphic here, but I’ve never pooped while inside my SUV. I’ve never really needed to, and the idea of pooping and creating unpleasant odors in such a small space has never appealed to me. That said, different people have different priorities. For some, the best solution is to rig up a toilet inside of their vehicle so they can use it discretely without having to leave the vehicle. A few months back, SUV RVing reader/viewer Rainwood sent me a couple of photos of the toilet she built into the sleeping platform of her Subaru Forester:

A toilet installed in a Subaru Forester.
A toilet installed in a Subaru Forester.
Looking at the toilet from the other side. Note the "drawer" that makes the most of the space under the flatform.
Looking at the toilet from the other side. Note the “drawer” (a basket/bin) that makes the most of the space under the platform.

First, Rainwood removed the rear seats. And then here’s what she had to say about the toilet and how she made it:

“Since I want to be able to sit on my toilet, I found an old crock from a crock pot at a second-hand store. It is just the right height and fit where the back seat was. I found an RV toilet seat on line and built it in. Like I said, I’ll use plastic bags (they fit well) and kitty litter. I got the back windows tinted and am going to put curtains in for privacy.”

If being able to go to the bathroom while inside your SUV is important to you, Rainwood’s design looks like a great one to emulate.

She also had this to say about removing the seats:

“When I took out the back seats I had to add some foam to fill the space below the first wooden frame. Before placing the foam, there was a lot of noise from gasoline splashing around as I drove.”

And here are some pics of the seats removed and foam she added:

The rear seats removed
The rear seats removed
"Seat backs off, foam padding in deeper contours"
The seats and seat backs removed with foam padding placed in the deeper contours
The second layer of foam padding
The second layer of foam padding

Thanks for sharing, Rainwood!

Another option for adding a toilet to your SUV is to simply put a bucket toilet on the floor behind the front seats. I show that in this picture here (this is the toilet seat I bought):

A bucket toilet inside of an SUV
A bucket toilet inside of an SUV

Pictured is a 5-gallon bucket, but you could certainly get a smaller one if you wanted more headroom.

If you’d like to share some pics of your SUV camping setup with the SUV RVing community, get in touch using the form here.

[Note: This article contains Amazon affiliate links for products that I use and have paid for myself.]

4 thoughts on “Adding a Toilet to a Subaru Forester for SUV Camping”

  1. Great examples for a concern I had as well driving a Honda CR-V. Sometimes you just can’t “make it” to a public bathroom or maneuver with a pee bottle (for some ladies). These are great options for emergencies.

    Thank You

    1. I agree. I thought this was a really clever solution to the problem, and Rainwood’s built-in solution really doesn’t take up much space. Like you said, it’d be great for emergencies. Better a stinky car than soiled pants!

  2. Good idea if you don’t mind stinking up your car… Poop is just like cigarette smoke, it stays in your car forever.

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