I want to talk to you about poo.
It’s not the sexiest of subjects (if you think it is then you need help) but we all do it. Even the Queen drops the kids off at the pool, although she’ll have people on hand to talc One’s Royal Derrière afterwards.
Andy has already taken a look at the Bog in a Bag and now I want to discuss the Shit Box portable lav. Which I’ve tried. For real. It’s important to test these things thoroughly, y’see… although I really wish I hadn’t.
Let me describe it – the Shit Box is a flat-packed cardboard box which you assemble according to instructions printed on the lid. It takes a minute or two to work it out if you’re new to such things, but once done it’s very sturdy and feels like it’ll support much more than my athletic 13-stone frame.
This is good because one of two things you don’t want the Shit Box to do is collapse at the moment of release.
The only other part to this is a biodegradable plastic bag which you suspend securely inside by its loops, hanging from a tab on either side of the hole. The idea is that you drop the used bag into a dog waste bin or dispose of it in some other hygienic and environmentally-friendly way. If you’re at a festival you certainly shouldn’t be lobbing it into any mosh pits. Okay?
As an aside, have you ever felt the weight of your own poo? I guess not many people have, but it’s scary.
Anyway, having larked about in a Welsh field pretending to evacuate in front of our fellow campers (oh, how we laughed… we almost had to call an ambiwlans) I then chose my location to take it on a proper test drive. The problem with our campsite was that the cubicle doors in the toilet block had a huge gap at the bottom, meaning that anyone soaping their armpits or plucking their nose hairs would have seen exactly what was going on and would probably have called the police.
So I had no choice but to use a spacious shower cubicle, for which I feel I should apologise. Read on though – this was a good idea in the end.
I won’t go into detail for obvious reasons but I folded out the box, locked the supports in place, hung the bag and did what came naturally.
Now then, remember when I said there are two things you don’t want this product to do? If one is collapse what do you think the other thing is?
That’s right – you certainly don’t want the bag to leak.
My bag leaked.
It leaked a lot.
I later told a horrified Mrs Muz and our queasy fellow campers that it was like piping melted chocolate through an icing bag, but in reality it was just a liquid leak, if you see what I mean. All over the bottom of the cardboard box. And when I removed the bag it was still dripping.
The next few minutes were without doubt some of the darkest moments of my life because I had to plan a way to get to the site’s dog poo bin – carrying a leaky bag of my own crap – while disposing of the soggy box in a skip and thoroughly swilling the shower room floor.
Despite it being mid-morning and prime teeth-cleaning time I somehow managed all of this without being detected but my therapist says the mental scars will probably stay with me for the rest of my days.
Worried that I had done something wrong or that the faulty bag was a one-off, I seconded one of our thoroughly amused camping pals to video camera duty and poured some water into a fresh new bag. It also leaked. In fact it piddled out. The rest of the bags went in the bin.
I have since spoken to Michael Fels, from brilliantly-named manufacturers Brown Corporation, who sounded (understandably) horrified and assured me he had only ever heard of this happening once before despite selling more than 10,000 units a year. He said it was a very, very rare event. He even used the word “fluke” – it’s in my notebook and everything. I have to say that I have absolutely no reason to doubt this and as you’ll see from the oh-so hilarious video below the replacement bags have passed the test – with 3.5 litres of water in. Nevertheless Michael says they’re going to bump up quality control to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
So how the hell do I end this review? Well, the Shit Box is a great idea and for many could mean the end of those hellish pulsating festival ‘toilets’. In a tent there are obvious issues with using it inches away from your sleeping partner’s head through the divide, but that aside it’s a very handy thing to have around – if a bit uncomfortable.
When flat-packed it’s a little big because of the size it needs to be when assembled, but once up it can double as a seat if you’re so inclined and you can also buy a waterproof cover so you can leave it outside with your muddy boots. It also comes with a drawstring bag – complete with the company’s not-so-subtle Little Jack logo.
But there are two things it shouldn’t, under ANY circumstances, do.
At least it didn’t collapse.
SUMMARY: A good idea which should never, ever fail. The Brown Corporation may have said this was a fluke but that won’t pay my psychiatrist bills. This is either a zero or four-hammer review but I’m far too damaged to make my mind up, so I guess that’s for you to decide.
Incidentally, the book I was reading in the picture was Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. And that was shit too.