Okay, so some people may say it’s not proper camping if it’s in a van but here we go! After the wonderful Covid-19 reached us last year and myself and Connor realised going on holidays abroad wouldn’t be achievable for a while, we went and bought a van! Our first adventure was to Bellingham in Northumberland for two nights where we explored the local two pubs and spent the wettest day of the year (which in the North means it’s very wet indeed) walking down Hadrians Wall (we aren’t the greatest at planning around the weather). As we live in the Lake District for the next few months in local lockdown we were lucky enough to visit some local places and sights we had never seen, despite living here for 24 years.
Last weekend we expanded our horizons and visited the North-East for 4 nights! We travelled to Bambrough, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Alnwick finishing the trip with a visit to Ikea. At the minute due to the restrictions campsites aren’t allowed to open their facilities, toilets included, and you must be self-sufficient. So off we went with our fancy shower (a plastic bag to hang off the back of the van) and a nice porta-potty! I was very thankful for the bag this weekend, I don’t mind the odd nature wee but I’ve done enough nature poos to last me a lifetime.
Some tips for camping with a stoma (especially when no toilets):
- pack PLENTY of supplies! We were away for 4 nights, so I packed 10 bags (two per day and a couple extra in case of emergencies). Some may say that is over the top as I generally change my bag once every 2/3 days, but it’s always better to be prepared and they take up no room.
- Air freshener! My bag smells like any normal persons poo (although Connor disagrees and says it’s worse) and even though I wasn’t emptying it in the van, I do change my bag in there which doesn’t actually smell as bad.
- Black bags!! These are vital! with no toilets, and definitely no number twos allowed in the porta-potty I empty my bag into a black bag, tie it shut, bin it and no-one needs to know.
- Headtorches! As a few points above, I don’t empty my bag in the van and I do empty it in to a black bag which can get quite messy at night! I keep a head torch handy for through night so I can keep both hands free for bag emptying!
- Use public/pub toilets at any chance. Out for food or drinks, even if your bag is only partially filled, you might as well empty it while you have the luxury of a toilet!
Thankfully my stoma behaved massively, the weekend was a success! I ended up changing my bag every day in the morning, and this also just helped me not have to think about emptying. we walked for miles and not once was my stoma an issue. Two years ago the thought of going away camping without a toilet would have killed me, I just physically could not have done it.