Pooping in the Woods
Summer is upon us and everyone is spending time outside. The time is going to come when you will need to poop outside, maybe on a hiking trail or at camp, or perhaps you will be on a long stretch of highway and just have to go. There is a fine art to pooping outside while attempting to leave no trace. It’s a crappy subject but it must be discussed!
First of all, you will need to prepare yourself a traveling poop kit. Very simple to do. Get a large ziplock baggie and collect your tools to put inside. Your tools will include a small shovel or trowel, toilet paper, extra baggies, and hand sanitizer. If you are a hiker, keep this kit in your hiking backpack. If you are always on the road, keep your kit in your vehicle. Always be prepared in case of an emergency, there may not be a restroom nearby when you need one.
Steps for Responsible Pooping:
- The proper way to poop outside is to dig a hole first and go in the hole! The hole should be at least 6 inches deep, so start digging before you really need to go! Make sure your dig site is off the trail and away from campsite areas. Be aware of rivers and water supplies, stay at least 200 feet away from any water sources.
- Once you dig your hole, go ahead and take care of business. The hole then needs to be filled back in with dirt. Try to be careful not to touch anything with your shovel since it needs to go back into your kit baggie. It is best to cover up the hole with a big rock if there is one available, this will help to keep the smell down.
- Leave No Trace – Pack it in, Pack it out! Some people also bury their toilet paper, I personally pack it out. Use one of your spare baggies to store the used toilet paper in and dispose of it properly when you get home. I have also used biodegradable doggy poop bags for this. Either way is great, just leave no trace in any way possible. Some people also carry baby wipes for emergencies, please pack these out also.
- Use an ample dose of your hand sanitizer.
There are also other options to pooping outside. Some travel with a portable toilet for camping and traveling, and it is more like a comfort of home than a log is! Lots of people are also now purchasing special bags and packing out their poop so as not to harm the environment. Some names of bags you can purchase are Double Doodie Bags and Go anywhere Bags. Local towns and National Parks would appreciate the latter method since someone will be assigned the job of cleaning up your poop is not buried!
There are more people than ever before traveling to visit our National Parks and state campgrounds. Please be mindful when having to relieve yourself outside. We must take caution and protect our precious environment and beautiful lands. Have respect for towns and parks and clean up after yourself, please. Even if you just have to pee, be aware of where you are going and pack out your toilet paper. We must all be cognizant of our behavior to protect our environment. Enjoy your summer, and stop when you see a restroom!
AUTHOR: CINDY SHAFFER