What Is A Groover Toilet And Why Won't You Likely Install One At Home

A groover toilet may sound like a new high-tech bathroom accessory, but you won't see this toilet in your local big-box supply store. Instead, a groover toilet is a portable toilet, indispensable as well as required on river tips, per the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). When you're in the open wilderness, there's often not a restroom nearby, so a groover toilet lets you take care of business. Groover toilets aren't connected to plumbing but instead consist of a can, receptacle, and a toilet seat, hence why you likely won't install one in your house. However, in certain scenarios at home, this type of toilet may be handy to have.

So why is this toilet called a groover? The term originates from the "grooves" left on the skin when a user sat down. The original groovers began as ammo cans without a toilet seat, so users would be left with the can's indentation, or grooves, on their backsides when they got up. Groover is now a catch-all term that refers to any portable toilet, and consumers have their pick of groovers to buy, as options range from a simple 5-gallon bucket with a seat to a specially-made river toilet. 

How is a groover set up?

A groover is set away from the campsite or living space for privacy reasons. It may be hidden down a trail or behind brush, depending on the location. As a general rule, the spot should be discreet yet easy to access in the middle of the night if nature calls. While it's a rustic setup for your business, it's also typical to have hand sanitizer or a hand-washing station plus toilet paper nearby. It's up to the individual or their camping guide to determine how to indicate that the groover is occupied. An object like a paddle across a path is often used to designate the groover as "in use," or a bag with the toilet paper can act as a "bathroom key." 

It's important to note that a groover is only meant to be used for solid waste in most whitewater rafting or camping situations, as the liquid can cause the bucket to be quite heavy. There may be a separate bucket used for liquid waste. Further, in certain areas, people are urged to urinate in the river to avoid contaminating the landscape. Maintaining the area you're visiting is also the main reason why a groover toilet must be used instead of doing your business in a hole in the ground. While a groover isn't likely to be your pick for bathroom remodel ideas, it may be a practical choice for some situations. 

When can a groover come in handy outside of camping and rafting trips?

A groover toilet could be useful in scenarios at home where you may have limited access to plumbing. For example, if you decided to live "off grid," perhaps on a homestead, a groover might be a good way to handle waste. It could also help you do your business if you follow the van lifestyle, especially since you may travel through rural areas with limited access to bathrooms.

You may also find a groover to be useful during your preparation for hurricane season or another type of extreme storm. In the aftermath of bad weather conditions, experiencing disruptions in water service is common. Plus, some storms may affect your home's plumbing if there are widespread power outages in your area as the water treatment plants reduce water pressure. In these rare scenarios, a groover toilet may be useful to have, so those who experience frequent storms may want to purchase one for emergencies. While you likely won't be buying a groover as a new toilet for your bathroom, it certainly comes in handy for camping, disasters, and for those who follow the off-grid movement.