A Tale of Two Privies (Part I)

If you’re anything like me, the word privy probably evokes images of a nasty little outhouse with a stench so staggering you’d rather hightail it to the nearest bush — in other words, a place you’d prefer to avoid except in the direst emergency.  That’s why, when I come across one that’s decent, I figure it deserves a shout out — especially if it somehow manages to make me smile. So today I’d like to present my top two choices for Best Privy on the A.T., Mid-Atlantic region.  Because I’ve got so many pictures, I’ll divide this into two parts.


Tumbling Run Shelter


One of the clotheslines.

Runner up: Tumbling Run Shelter in southern Pennsylvania.  This is one of the nicest shelters I’ve seen to date.  It’s a spacious place consisting of two separate buildings connected by a covered picnic area.  It’s clean and well-maintained, and has lots of hiker amenities, including fire pits and tent sites, a couple of clotheslines behind the shelters, and special metal inlays in the picnic tables so the stoves don’t scorch the wood.


Stove inlay.

There’s also a good spring nearby — and I do mean nearby, not requiring the usual half-mile scramble through steep terrain . Even better, there’s a state park with year-round city water just a little bit farther south.

It does have one drawback — its proximity to a paved road, which probably draws the locals when the weather’s good.  What I like about it, though, is that the builder obviously had a sense of humor.  The dual shelters, for example, are marked with amusing signs.



I liked the privy for the same reason.  The outhouse itself is nondescript (and could definitely use more ventilation), although the path leading to it is nicely marked.  Inside it is stocked with toilet paper (several rolls) and hand sanitizer, a nice perk for anyone who forgets to bring his own.  But what elevated this privy to runner-up status, in my opinion, was the light switch, presumably meant to “activate” the tiny skylight overhead.


So kudos to the builder for humor.  The privy still stank, but the attempt at levity made it slightly more bearable.  Next up: my top contender, a privy with a view.  Stay tuned!


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Comments 4

  • TBR : Oct 24th

    That’s one well-built shelter.

    But the “Snoring,” “Non-Snoring” signs are not humorous … that’s vital information!

    • Gail Barrett : Oct 24th

      Do you think people abide by the signs? As a non-snorer, I’d sure love it if they did!!!

  • Maybelline : Oct 25th

    I love this! On my attempted thru I joked about writing a book reviewing every privy on the trail.

    • Gail Barrett : Oct 26th

      I had the same idea, Maybelline! I’m not sure there’d be much demand for a book like that, but you never know:). Maybe someone with a good camera will do just that. Are you thinking of attempting another thru-hike?


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