Striking Starlink-ready outhouse reinvents pooping in the woods
If there were ever a product begging for improvement, the porta-potty would have to be quite high on the list. The classic toilet tiny house of outdoor event and construction site fame has a notorious reputation for claustrophobia, unmentionable floor puddles, thick odors, inexplicable stains and swarms of pests reveling in all of the above. Jupe looks to free the world of that all-too-common set of tribulations with the all-new Portal. In contrast to the living nightmare that lurks within the average porta-potty, the fully off-grid Portal is designed to support an off-grid bathroom break so refreshingly different, it might just prove worthy of an Instagram.
Since introducing its unique off-grid nomadic shelter concept two years ago, Jupe has further capitalized on the glamping trend by installing Jupe sites at natural draws like the California Redwoods and Colorado Rockies. As it turns out, when enjoying a room like the one above, you can't very well be expected to scurry off and drop trou in a filthy, drafty shit shed, or trowel a cat hole behind a bush. The Jupe is basically a high-end one-room hotel and needs a toilet to match.
The Portal is built to the task. It's a portable self-contained toilet room that delivers a glamping-like experience immersed in its greater environment. Three walls wear a semi-reflective wrap, helping the unit blend with its surroundings. The two-way mirrored glass window stands the full height of the front wall to let users take in the scenery while still enjoying privacy. A retractable blind hangs at the ready to further lock that privacy down.
The Portal is designed to offer three times the interior volume of a standard portable toilet structure, so goers need not ever touch an atom of skin or fabric against the bare interior. The combination of front glass and over-toilet skylight further opens things up and brings in natural light to prevent the space from getting too dark.
For a particularly welcoming nighttime experience, Jupe offers a power package with 200-Ah battery and 200-W standalone solar panel system. The battery powers wraparound LED lighting recessed into the edge of the ceiling, and the package is even Starlink compatible, presenting the possibility of scrolling through Facebook while tackling a particularly challenging "business" trip.
Oh yeah, and there's a toilet, too. Unfortunately, while nice enough for a toilet, and raised up like a real throne, it appears to be the weak link of the whole contraption. As far as we can tell, it operates like any other porta-potty or vault toilet, a glorified bucket in which urine and excrement spill and tumble down to store in a simple holding tank until a cleaning service comes by and sucks it all out. Jupe suggests weekly cleaning.
We fully expected to see mention of a sealed black tank and perhaps a fresh water tank for flushing, but the Portal feature list has none to offer. And without any form of flushing or otherwise disappearing of waste to prevent the odors and accompanying problems that are the bane of every other vault, pit or portable toilet experience, the Portal becomes just like a regular porta-potty when and where it really counts.
Jupe does include a passive venting system in the base Portal and an always-on exhaust fan in the powered model, but unless you happen to slide in shortly after a cleaning, we wouldn't expect the Portal to smell nearly as nice as it looks. And we fear that no matter how posh crews of glampers consider themselves, someone, sometime, is going to miss ... and start the sure-to-grow-quickly collage of bone-chilling stains and puddles that further deteriorate the Portal experience.
At $4,995 for the base model and $8,995 for the powered version, the Portals are also many times more expensive than a basic porta-potty — a quick search shows you can get one of those bright, tall toilet boxes for under US$1,000. Still, we can see how a few strategically placed Portals would be quite preferable to a line of loudly colored plastic toilet cells, especially for off-grid operations that count aesthetics as a critical part of the business plan. Beyond pairing perfectly with the Jupe room or multi-Jupe site, the Portal seems like a natural solution for glamping properties of all styles, outdoor activity retreats, and music festivals and other fashionable outdoor events.
Jupe says the first production run is already sold out and plans the next for early 2023. It is working on a Portal rental operation and urges potential customers to register interest through the Portal website, linked as the source. It's also working on a waste-composting model it plans to launch in late 2023 for $10,995.
Source: Jupe Portal