How to Poop in the Wilderness when Bathrooms Aren’t a Luxury

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No bathroom up here…. and there shouldn’t ever be

You gotta go. I mean really gotta go. You’re 10 miles in to a hike meaning your 10 miles away from the pit toilet at the trailhead and you’re definitely not going to make it.

It happens to everyone who has spent any good amount of time wandering through the woods. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

We should all know about Leave No Trace. It’s bad to leave your poop laying around, uncovered, waiting for someone to stumble upon it. Maybe just cover it with a rock….

But then, what if someone sees that rock you previously covered your poop with and wants to pick it up and take a look? Now they have your poop all over their hands.


I’m painting this scenario because apparently it has become an appropriate way to deal with excreetment. We all nod our heads talking to rangers and fellow outdoor lovers when Leave No Trace is discussed. But what’s that really mean? How do you actually poop outside…. responsibly?

  1. Walk far away from water sources and trails. Not just behind a tree next to the river, I mean far away – 200 feet is the absolute minimum which is around 80 steps.
  2. Use your trowel (or rock, stick, or any other shovel like device if you didn’t come prepared) and dig a hole at least 6-8 inches deep. I measure the hole to about past my wrist if I put my hand in the hole, fingers straight.
  3. Hover over your hole and poop. Sometimes digging your hole next to a natural balance stabilizer is nice such as a rock or tree if you’re new to this experience.
  4. Use toilet paper as necessary. If you’re in a pinch and came unprepared, you can use nature’s toilet paper such as bark or leaves, just know what you’re wiping your butt with if you know what I mean…
  5. WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THE USED TOILET PAPER? You DO NOT bury it, you DO NOT put it under a rock, you DO NOT decorate the bush with it. Toilet paper takes over 1 month minimum to disintegrate.  So what do you do?
    1. Take a Ziploc sandwich size bag and put TP inside
    2. Put said Ziploc in a designated “TP” bag (dark colored doggie bags work great for this so you don’t see everyone in your group’s dirty TP)
    3. Hike on your merry way. It’s that easy.

Some environments are extremely sensitive to human influence such as heavily trafficked alpine areas and deserts. In these areas, it is protocol to use a WAG Bag. Check with the nearest ranger station, a lot of times they have WAG Bags for free. There is no excuse for improper disposal of YOUR $#!+. Own it, laugh about it, and enjoy the view!

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Let’s keep these places beautiful. No one wants to see toilet paper in the river reflection.

Want to follow along as we endlessly explore The American West? Check us out on Instagram for more snaps from the road!


21 thoughts on “How to Poop in the Wilderness when Bathrooms Aren’t a Luxury

  1. Another important message, dear Becca and Alex! Will share it in my ‘other beautiful posts’ of this week. And I am with you on the There is no excuse for improper disposal of YOUR $#!+.” Humans can be so ignorant, a-social when it comes to disposal of, well of anything…I just don’t get it, I truly don’t.

    Like

  2. What a gorgeous reflection. Stunning.

    ….and such an important subject to discuss with all us nature lovers 😀 (even I didn’t know it takes a month for TP to break down, although I would have thought regular hikers would take re-cycled environmentally friendly TP these days).

    I had to smile when I read about a potential hiker picking up a rock you might use to cover your poop with. I could picture this scene so vividly 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The picture is more appealing than the subject eh? Ahaha. It really did disturb us by the amount of crap papers floating around the land this year. Can’t tell you how many piles we burned! Even had our climbing rope fall in human poo…

      Like

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