Festival with an Ostomy: Tips for Managing in Dirty Toilets and Changing Bags in Tents


Hi, I'm 18 y/o and have a colostomy. I've been asked by friends to go to a festival in the summer, where we'll be camping for 5 nights, and I really want to go.

However, I know the toilets will be disgusting and muddy by probably the second or third day. I'm just wondering if any one of you out there have been to a festival? How did you cope? Is it a good idea to change my bag in my tent? (I only need it changed once every morning then it should last the day)

Thank you, looking forward to many replies :-)


Probably the best idea, under the circumstances. The toilets are always vile, aren't they? Hence this:


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Hello josh.

You go and enjoy the festival. From my experience you will not be the only one who has problems toiletting at such events. The way I see it you have a great advantage over people without an ostomy in that you don't have to use their disgusting toilets take a supply of doogy poo-bags or, if you are with a good supplier of stoma gear they might well supply these disposal bags free of charge. I'm with Charter Healthcare and they always send me complementary disposal bags with every order I place.

Best wishes and have a great time.  You're only young once  so make the most of it!



If I share a tent with friends, should it be okay to change in the tent with the disposable bags, of course, in the morning, and just ask them for a bit of privacy?



Hello josh.

You are going with friends. I'm sure they will understand your needs if you explain it to them. In my experience friends are likely to be  interested in you and your problems so they might be more curious than you really want them to be. Maybe a chance for you to educate them into the wonders of stoma life. 

The key thing when dealing with other people is to have confidence in yourself. In the unlikely event that they don't want you changing in the tent, then simply find a convenient spot somewhere outside. nobody is going to question you and it's not as if you are flashing your penis for all to see. There is absolutely nothing that anyone could object to if they see you changing your bag. The problem will be how you feel about it yourself. If you look guilty then you might attract hostile attention. However, if you have self-confidence nobody will bat an eyelid.

Think of all the women who breastfeed their babies in public. Those with confidence have very little problem, whereas those who look furtively around as if they are doing something wrong seem to attract the sort of people who want to cause trouble at any opportunity. 

As long as you use the poo bags and don't leave a mess for other people to clean up what's the problem?  Anyone who walks a dog responsibly will tell you that   there is nothing wrong with it defecating but it needs to be picked up and disposed of appropriately. 

I still say - go and enjoy yourself and don't worry about it beforehand. 

Best wishes


Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Thanks Bill, most of my friends don't know that I have a stoma yet...any advice on going about telling them? And to help them understand? Btw, we're a large group of friends - about 10 of us that's going, so I'll be looked after haha :D

I'm pretty sure I'll be given the privacy to change it every morning in the tent and then dispose the bags :)

Thanks Josh


Hello Josh.

That's quite a large group to try and inform if you are not used to that sort of thing. If it were me I think I would pick out just one of your more understanding friends (maybe two) and put  have this conversation with them. Explain your operation and the stoma and ask them for advice about how to manage it amongst the group. I think you will find that people are very good when they are asked for advice and help. It makes them feel 'special' and gives them a sense of doing something good for someone else - who appreciates their efforts. Sharing your problems in this way would probably result in your selected friends doing most of the communication and education of the rest of the group on your behalf. which is where the saying comes into play -- 'A problem shared is a problem halved'.

Good luck and enjoy!

Best wishes



Thanks so much Bill for all advice!

I'll do exactly that and tell the two I'm closest to to begin with. I can't wait for the summer haha!




Also, is there anyone out there in a similar situation or who has been to a festival with a stoma and would please share their story with me??? Thanks


Well, I've spent a week in semi-desert conditions some years ago when I lived in Abu Dhabi. I took more supplies than I needed....PLENTY of wet wipes and disposable plastic bags......made a hole and emptied the bag in that....then covered the hole up well, felt like a cat!!! Lol. Loads of tissues too! I managed VERY nicely and had a great time. Why do you have to change your bag every day? Don't you use drainable bags? I only have to change every 4-5 days as I use a superb BOMB-PROOF bag...lol


  I think this is great advice, but by all means GO! Don't let this stop you from doing the things you enjoy....take extra supplies, change when you need to, at least you're here to do so. I drag race and some events are days long...hot days in the pits & port potties here and there, I have even changed a bag with the door of the truck open, just standing there...it's more of an issue to you than anyone else...


Hi Teddiee

The reason for changing the bag every day is I don't use drainable as it's not loose stool :) so changing a one-piece bag every morning suits me better.  


Hi Josh

It's a shame you can't use a drainable bag. Many ostomates who have a colostomy do use them successfully. I guess you have tried them? If you could manage to empty it, it would save your skin and negate the need for you to change every day (I couldn't be doing with that). All the very best, Josh. xx


Thank you for the replies, guys!!

Yes, I have tried drainable bags, it just doesn't work for me :)

Any experience to share??


Hi Josh,

My name is Marsha, and I'm 67 years old, with a 50-year-old ileostomy. You didn't say if you're irrigating your colostomy or not, but changing alone has never been an issue for me. I went to camp with my ostomy back when I was 16 and used the dark, dank bathrooms to change. Not pleasant, but it worked. I did tell several close friends, so they knew where I was when I changed "off hours". I also hiked and camped... dug a hole to empty my pouch. Back in the day, the supplies were minimal, so you're really lucky today. Since then, I've traveled extensively, snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, used the holes in the ground in China, Greece, walked the wall in China, went on safari in Africa, and rode an elephant. My one fiasco was swimming in the Dead Sea in Israel, where my pouch fell off, leaving me with a horrible mess. But even then, I managed. I just took plenty of supplies, wipes, tape, and tried to think outside the box. Odor is a big factor for me, and I now use Na'scent, which is excellent... and will obscure/eliminate odor if you need to change in your tent. The best advice is to be prepared. Sometimes, changing outside is easier than being cramped up. I've done that too. You might also want to find out if there is an office available... that you can use if needed.

This is a time for you to explore new places and experience new things, so don't let managing your ostomy get in the way... There's always a way to cope... Best of luck to you.



Thank you for sharing your story, Marsha! Feel more confident about going already :) The things you've done in your life are awesome, let's hope you can carry on the same way :-)

Any more experience to share about camping or especially festivals in general? Thanks in advance :)


I used to go fishing a lot - sometimes there were no blue rooms or other facilities. A bread bag became my friend. I have also used one of those plastic coffee containers (Folgers I think) with a screw-on lid. It was good for safe containment and fairly odor-proof. Since I have an ileo - I have to empty more often, and this has worked for me - sitting in the car.


Josh, I do hope you go to the festival. I've never been to one, but I'm pretty sure you'll do great!! My friends know all about my ostomy. I couldn't care less if they know. It's part of me now and it's going to be with me until I die.

Have a good time. I'm kinda jealous, but please let us know all about it when you get back!!


Have fun, Josh! It sounds like the festival will be an awesome time. Don't forget to take lots of spare products, just in case. Can't wait for you to post your great time when you return. LH