When Nature Calls ... use a plastic bottle


March 25, 2013

When Nature Calls is a makeshift toilet roll holder made from everyday objects; designed primarily for hikers and campers

When Nature Calls is a makeshift toilet roll holder made from everyday objects; designed primarily for hikers and campers

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"When nature calls" – it's something we all have to respond to, and it can make outdoors adventures a tricky prospect for those used to life's little luxuries such as quilted toilet paper and something more than a hole in the ground. When Nature Calls (the proposed product, not the saying) solves the first issue, though there's little anyone can do about the second.

When Nature Calls is the work of Amy Pon, Sarah Jensen, Janet Molchanko, and Morgan Smith, all students at the Alberta College of Art & Design. They were tasked with creating something that "generates social or economic value" using a 2-liter soda bottle. The result of their brainstorming and design sessions is a simple storage device for toilet paper.

The soda bottle becomes a toilet paper dispenser, with the addition of a resealable bag keeping the whole thing waterproof. The hypothetical product is completed with "reflective tape, silicone, twine, and recycled paper." With a few additional items it can be hung in a handy place and have a light attached so that night-time toilet visits are made more tolerable.

If When Nature Calls ever becomes an actual product the students plan to donate the profits to the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. However, as all of the materials used are reclaimed there's nothing to stop anyone else making their own version for free... though I'm sure the CPAWS would appreciate a donation all the same.

Source: Behance via Knstrct

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Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix. All articles by Dave Parrack

Geared at hikers? This is a funny idea, but a horrible one if ever "marketed." Plastic and trash are a lot more threatening to the environment than urine and feces are. Making more reasons to bring plastic into the environment does not add social value, although perhaps short-term economic value to people too squeamish to realize that feces and urine are being cycled continually in the great outdoors, and that they too are a part of that system.

Alonzo Riley

As someone who has spent -considerable- time camping, hiking, and generally out of doors, I question the design. Particularly the use of the resealable bag. Though my criticism comes just from what I can detect by looking at the pictures.

The plastic bag has a hole in it to let the tp out. I surmise that is sealed with the cap of the bottle when not in use. However there is going to be a gap between the edge of the bottle and the bag at the top. Water WILL get in there, as it gets everywhere. There is no place for that water to go. So now you are faced with drying the unit out before you ever replace your tp, and or having a pool of water when you need to take the cap off the bottom.

Would be better to reuse the bottom of said plastic jug somehow.


Alonzo, Yeah - I agree. But it would be a decent design and idea if the plastics issue could be addressed. Something more biodegradable.


This would be a great product for limo drivers and others that need relief with privacy. Hurry up and get it produced. I could use it! NOW

Jerry Hyer

You're kiddin' me, right? Talk about engineering the unnecessary.

Gregg DesElms

I dont think the plastic is intended to be left behind, unlike your feces and urine, so not sure why people would complain about that.

Also im pretty sure the bag is sealed to the bottle, so no water getting in. It doesn't say exactly how its made so we can't be sure, but it looks like the bag is under the brown label.

I don't think this thing has tremendous amount of value, but it has some value and seeing the simple materials its made from, some being recycled, i think its a good idea and a good effort at trying to make something useful out of a 2-litre bottle.

I just dont see it being much better then putting a TP roll in a ziplock bag.


The toilet paper makers should have special winds for this type of application. Something similar to boxed electrical / Ethernet cables ( not spooled) that feed from the centre. Paper would feed much easier without the whole spool having to roll within the confines of the cutout bottle.


This system has been used to keep the paper dry in yachts for many years. Screw the the top part of the bottle upside down to a bulkhead with the paper coming down out of the bottle neck, and cover the top with the base of the bottle. Pull the cardboard core out of any roll and the paper feeds nicely.

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