Each year, 2 million to 3 million people hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia. Nearly 4,000 people attempted to hike the 2,181-mile trail in its entirety in the 2017 season.
When you’ve been hiking for hundreds of miles, a campground with showers and a state-of-the-art restroom facility is a highlight of any day. That’s what Devils Backbone Camp in Roseland, Virginia, offers.
The 73-site campground, located just a few miles from a crossing point of the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park, is owned by the Devils Backbone Brewing Co., which offers varied beverages and food at two Virginia locations. For many Appalachian Trail hikers, the chance to get cleaned up and enjoy a good meal at the nearby brewpub is a much-appreciated one.
Devils Backbone has been working with Tectonics II, a design-and-build company also in Roseland, for years. Last year, Tectonics II was asked to help with expansion at the campground — including a bathhouse. The plumber, Jeff Howard, president of Madison Heights, Virginia-based Grassfield Plumbing, suggested a fixture package to the Tectonics team for the bathhouse that included Viega in-wall carriers.
“We hadn’t used Viega before; Jeff brought us a newer skillset and these new fixtures that are appealing,” says Justin Crandall, vice president of Tectonics II. “The finished fixtures were sleeker than what we typically use. He assured me they would stand up to the use in the bathhouse, look good and have easy cleanup. It’s very simple while looking good.”
Each side of the bathhouse has four toilets (the men’s side has two toilets and two urinals). All have Viega in-wall carriers. There are also four showers and three sinks on each side. Howard believes the in-wall carriers would look good, save space and save money.
“I traveled to Europe last year and we saw this type of system everywhere,” he notes. “Everywhere I went, from hotels to restaurants, they used the carrier toilets. So I asked my supplier if there was something comparable here in the States and they sent me information from Viega. When [Tectonics II] asked for carriers, I thought this might be a good option.”
By installing Viega flushing technology, the bowl is moved off the floor and the tank inside the wall. This makes a bathroom easier to clean and more hygienic for users, as well as creating more space in the bathroom. Maintenance of the carriers is easy with access through the flush plate. The plumbing manufacturer also offers a wide variety of flush plate options — including touchless models — to suit all styles and frequency needs.
Howard likes the space-saving aspect of moving the tank inside the wall. This frees up at least 6 inches of space in the bathroom. Additionally, the ability to use a smaller-sized pipe coming into the toilets without compromising on performance was attractive.
“Normally you use a valve that requires a larger pipe,” he explains. “With this type of system, you can reduce the pipe size dramatically and still get the same flushing action from these toilets. So, you’re saving money by reducing the pipe size.”
Viega lent a hand with this project. Tim Schmidt, product manager for flushing and drainage systems, and Kevin Ashworth, technical manager for flushing systems, provided on-site training and support in installation.
The entire expansion project at Devils Backbone Camp was completed in 2018, with the carriers going in during the hiking off-season. With the bathhouse now open to campers, Crandall notes that, so far, the facilities have been well-received.
Kristen White is a senior content marketing manager for Viega.