Monday, April 15, 2019

In praise of WAG Bags

On my last boat I had a conventional holding tanks system, and properly maintained and designed, I believe it is the best answer for most cruisers. I've done lots of research, used composting heads, and have no reservations about this recomendation. But with my new boat, the right answer is WAG bags.

WAG (Waste Alleviation and Gel) bags are widely used by the military and FEMA in situations where conventional sanitation practices aren't practical. For example, I used antifreeze in the toilet of my PDQ in the winter, and that worked well, but carrying a portable toilet on an icy dock from my F-24 seemed pointlessly dangerous. So I investigated WAG bags as a winter alternative.

A heavy duty bag and a gel very similar to that used in diapers. Pretty simple. We have a portable toilet, but we don't put solution in it anymore. These are simpler.

Not pleasant, to our western sensibilities. But think of the plus sides:
  • Light.
  • No head to clean.
  • No odor once off the boat. 
  • No pump-out station, no lugging the portable head home to clean and refill.
I'm not saying they are for everyone. We hardly ever use the head on the boat. We hit the shore side toilets before heading out, and if we drink some beer, that goes over the side. I doubt we use more than one bag a year.

But even when cruising, I would have kept a box onboard for emergencies, had I known of them. They can be laid right in the head (drain and clean first, obviously) or used over a bucket, no mess.

Not pretty, but darn functional.

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