How to poop when wild camping? Yes, that is a serious concern inside your plan in camping especially when you are new to this. As you are comfortable in a world of flush toilets, pooping in the woods may be a little frustrating. Believe us, this needs proper knowledge and skills.
It is essential to poop at least 200ft (60m) far from water bases, tracks, roads, and also campsites. Plus, you can use pit toilets, outhouses, and other facilities at any time. And you can bury your poop in a cathole (should be at least 6-8″ /15.2-20.3 cm deep), but remember not to bury the toilet paper.
Thankfully, there are different options to poop when you are wild camping. What would fit the best?
Practice and experience can help you with how to poop when wild camping. You can choose from using a camp toilet, a “wag bag” or even a cathole to bury your waste. But that depends on various facts. As this is an essential part of camping in the wild, we aim at answering your top questions. Though this sounds quite disgusting, campers must know these facts to make camping great.
Start happy pooping!
Is it fine to poop in the woods?
Pooping is natural and that does not care whether you are home or far away from home. But if it is far from flushing a toilet, you may feel like it is fine. Yes, it is fine even to poop in woods but respecting the outdoor laws.
To lower the impact on the natural environment, there are certain guidelines you need to follow. Simply, there are some areas where you are allowed and not allowed to dispose of human waste. When it comes to camping in the wild, it is important to go through the facts that are tied to different recreation areas. Hope these would be of importance to you.
Laws and Red Tape to note when pooping in wild
How you should dispose of human waste is under certain rules when it comes to publicly-managed lands like state/ national parks, forests, etc. But from place to place, these would vary. So we put you some common rules most of the land managers display.
- Poop at least 200 ft (60m) far from water bases, roads, trails, and located campsites
- Whenever you are accessible, use pit toilets, outhouses, and other chosen services
- Bury you poop in a cathole which should be at least 6-8″ (15.2-20.3 cm) deep (do not bury your used Toilet papers)
- Pack your Toilet papers and menstrual hygiene products in the zip-lock bag with your Poop Tool Kit
Some popular recreation areas in the USA are following strict rules when it comes to disposal of human waste.
For example, you can find more rules on main rafting rivers, like the Colorado in the Grand Canyon, and on Denali, Mount Rainier, and Mount Baker like popular mountains. And even for some national parks, like Canyonlands, you meet rules on this. So hikers and other backcountry travelers should strictly obey the rules to spend quality time there.
In these areas you should pack the human waste in “wag-bags” which are specially designed to control the impact of human waste on the environment. So follow the right waste disposal rules every time you visit even if you feel like this is something to carry extra in mind.
Do not break “Leave No Trace” Principles
As we said above, local rules and regulations of disposal of human waste can be varied. And in addition, the Leave No Trace center (LNT) specially stands for outdoor ethics, and shows some guidelines to outdoor fans to follow up in every journey.
Principle number three is for dispose of waste properly. So pooping in the wild should also consider the following in addition to the local rules.
- Always find a location at least 200 feet (60m) far from water sources, trails, roads, and campsites, when digging a cathole 6-8″ (15.2-20.3 cm) deep (this is for forests and other related areas)
- Make sure you thoroughly cover the cathole with soil when finished
- Do not burn or bury your used toilet papers, menstrual hygiene products or other garbage. Make sure you pack them back with you. Even though LNT said you can bury only a small amount of toilet paper, you are not recommended for that too
- Highly consider on portable camp toilets and latrines (especially when you camp in a large crowd)
- Pack all your human waste on paddling and climbing in most visited areas
How to poop when you wild camping?
Our poop is a non-natural part of the environment and that is because of what we eat today including medicine we take and so on. Human waste carries diseases that are not carried by animals and that makes us aware of the importance of not leaving anything behind where you camp including poop.
If you want to poop like a pro, you need to follow the steps in an orderly. We start from a simple cathole toilet system which is the most used method when wild camping.
Step 1: Getting your Poop Tool Kit ready
You must have the right poop tool kit to easily poop in wood. Start with a small shovel which can also be called a trowel. You can pick an ultra-light one and keep it in a zip-lock bag. Together you need Toilet Paper (TP) and Sanitizer with you. And another zip-lock bag is essential in the kit to take back your used toilet paper separately.
You have no clues when nature calls you. So have the Poop Tool Kit ready in your pack even for shorter hikes.
Step 2: Getting your Cathole ready
For a cathole, you first need to look for the right spot. Consider on
- Totally set apart and off the trail
- Look for a location at least 200 feet (60m) away from water, tracks, or the established campgrounds
- Deep soil to make the cathole effortlessly
- Choose a sunny location to speed up the decomposition
When you find the right poop spot, you can dig about 6 inches deep to make your cathole ready. This is important to speed up the decomposition, protect the water supply and cover the smell.
Step 3: Poop in the Cathole and cover it well
Now it is your time to do it well. (we hope you can enjoy the view!) Now use the trowel and fill the cathole. And do not forget to place a rock on the top of the cathole to make sure no other is going to dig the same place twice.
Step 4: Pack your things back
This is an important step to carefully do as some used to throw away the used toilet papers just being selfish. So pack your used toilet papers in the zip-lock bag with you and use sanitizer in your hands. Make sure you have extra toilet paper to properly pack the papers used and mask the smell.
What are more methods to poop when you wild camping?
Wag Bag to pack it out
Sounds weird? But in some incidents, this is the only option you have. Simply, a wag bag is a bag to which you can poop into and seal it to carry out human waste. Wag bags are popular among those who are camping with pets. But this is originally designed for human use.
Thanks to numerous companies, you can now have super quality wag bags in the market with more sanitary and easier processes. A quality wag bag kit should take,
- A spill-proof/puncture-resistant bag, one-use toilet paper, a liner bag, and sterile wipes
- Should also include a non-toxic chemicals that absorbs securely, deodorize/ neutralize solid human waste in a way that solidifies the waste to dispose in a trash can (landfill approved)
Portable Camping Toilets to poop when you wild camping
Using a portable camping toilet is the most fitting method if you are in your comfort zone even when in wild camping. This can bring the comfort of your toilet at home. And thanks to numerous companies, you have a wide-ranging choice here to pick the best that fits you.
There are simple models like only the toilet seat which you can attach with a wag bag and collect your poop easily. Also, you can try a budget-friendly 5 Gallon Bucket Camping Toilet option. This is a normal 5-gallon plastic bucket connected with a toilet seat.
If you want more comfortable and high-privacy options, you can try self-contained portable camping toilets that can flush and get sealed with a waste section.
If you are highly privacy concerned, you can also choose a shower tent/pop-up privacy when camping. This can work the best with the combination of a portable camping toilet.
Some more consideration on poop when you wild Camping
- Weather: Wild camping in snow or rain will not be the same as camping on sunny, dry days. It can put obstacles in many activities including pooping. If you have a chance of bad weather, a portable camping toilet is more recommended. Or you can use wag bags but not the cathole method
- Hygiene: Following Leave No Trace principles is very important to secure hygienic aspects. You have a responsibility to prevent the spread of bacteria and diseases. And this is how you can contribute to that.
Make sure you follow the proper waste disposal methods and clean yourself. Wash your hands with soap or use sanitizer after toilet needs.
- Pets: If you love traveling with your pet, you should properly manage your pet’s waste. By preventing the impact on native wildlife, you can have to pack out with a wag bag or can bury it properly in a cathole
- Protect wildlife: All toilet paper you use should pack back with you. If you put them around, it destroys nature and may also attract animals to your way. It says animals are attracted to feces and may cause dangerous wildlife encounter
Pro Tip for Peeing while camping and hiking
Just like you follow the rules for pooping, you need to pee in the right order. For males, this is simple to handle. But for female campers, you find some troubles. Do not worry; there are accessories and smart tricks to make things easier.
Regardless of gender, follow up the right practices to spend easier times outdoors.
- Follow Leave No Trace rules and find a spot 200ft away from campsites, trails or water sources
- Find a private location and hope you can get a good view
For females, using a fine female urination device is a perfect fit to manage to pee when you wild camping. There are various options to buy these devices and they can be worn by both adults and kids. Find a perfect one comfortable and easy to clean.
This is not the favorite part of your outdoor adventure for sure, but this is very much important to make your overall experience great. We hope we have covered everything essential for you to poop happily.