How To Poop In The Wilderness

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First Let’s Cover How to Pee in the Outdoors

Peeing outdoors is much easier than pooping. You should ensure you have privacy if you are at a busy hiking trail or an area with lots of campers around.

You should avoid peeing on animal life, plants and near or in small bodies of water whenever possible. You should be 200 feet from water sources before you pee.

The exceptions are extremely large rivers or lakes. If you are rafting or boating on a large source of water, you could pee in the water when you are unable to reach land easily.

You need to take care when hiking or camping on high elevations with mountain goats. These animals may be salt deficient.

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This will attract them to the salt in your urine. Due to the sensitive vegetation, find a solid rock to pee on whenever possible.

Although your pee will not damage the vegetation, the goats will dig it up to access your urine. You can also use camping toilets, containers, and bottles. Men can use a bottle much easier than women. Nowadays there are solutions for women too – some manufacturers are selling funnel-like devices that make the job easier.

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How to Poop in the Outdoors

The key is being prepared. Make sure you have the correct supplies and understand the proper techniques. Carry your supplies at least seventy steps or 200 feet from the water source, campsite or trail.

Be aware of your surroundings so you can find your way back. Find a sunny area with rich, loose soil. This will help your waste decompose faster.

Use a rock, stick, trowel or your bootheel to make a hole six to eight inches deep and four inches wide. If the ground is rocky or hard, lift a rock and poop underneath. Put the rock back once your have finished.

You can also use a bag to carry out your waste. Make an effort to use biodegradable plastic bags.

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Some good advice from China

Be Prepared

You should always bring hand sanitiser and a trowel stored in a ziplock bag. You can also include toilet paper, of course.

If you don’t have your supplies with you when the urge strikes, find a spot far away from the trails, water sources and camps. Once you arrive, look for wiping materials.

Look for large leaves, sticks and smooth rocks. If you find mullein, this is your best option.

Leaves with a waxy coating are not good wiping material and are often poison oak or ivy.

Once you have everything you will need, you can use the koala bear technique. This is when you hug a tree while dangling with your legs at precisely a ninety-degree angle.

Let everything go, use your chosen wipe, put everything in the hole that you dug previously and then cover it all up. Mark the area with a design and some sticks so others will know this is not a good place to stop before returning to your friends.

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What to Include in Your Outdoors Toilet Kit

In addition to the previously mentioned items, bring sealable plastic bags because you need somewhere to put the toilet paper you have used to decrease your impact on the area. 

You can use aluminum foil to line your bag to hide the contents. Cover it with permanent designs in marker or duct tape. Find a lightweight camp trowel for digging your holes.

Bring solid waste containers or bags because certain areas will require you to pack your waste. You have several different options.

If you are wondering how to poop while camping, consider simple plastic bags referred to as blue bags. There are also bags with a double layer containing a gel for better absorption and sealable bags. But as we mentioned before, try to make an effort and find bags that are made from biodegradable plastic.

Use your pack to carry out your bags. It is a good idea to place your bag inside another bag even though they should be leakproof. If you are river rafting or vehicle camping, you can carry bigger gear.

You can make an inexpensive and portable toilet by using a large compostable bag to line a bucket with a closable lid.

If you’re overlanding, you have the luxury of carrying either a porta potty type toilet, or your can fabricate one yourself. This is what we’ve done.

You can even use a privacy or shower tent, to add to your comfort.

Hygiene Recommendations

Not washing your hands can cause issues after your trip. Carry wipes you will need to pack out or hand sanitizer gel.

Use soap and water whenever it is available. During your backpacking trip, you should wash your hands a minimum of once each day.

Use a rubbing motion to ensure your hands are clean. Use a different bandana or towel than what you use for drying your dishes.

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Step-by-step Guide: How to Poop While Camping

Step One: The Poop Tool Kit

Pooping is easy when you have the correct tools. You need a small shovel referred to as a trowel. You can choose from ultra-cheap or ultra-light.

Step Two: Keep your trowel, hand sanitizer and toilet paper in a ziplock bag

Step Three: Digging a Cathole – Location

Your pooping spot should be a minimum of 200 feet from the water source, off of the trail and private in deep soil where it is easy to dig. You can speed up the decomposition by pooping in a sunny spot.

Step Four: The Depth of The Cathole

Your cathole needs to be a minimum of six inches deep. If you are unsure if your hole is deep enough, dig a little more. A deeper hole hides the smell from the local wildlife, helps with decomposition and protects the water supply.

Step Five: The Urgency

Do not wait until pooping is urgent or you will not have just the few minutes necessary to dig your cathole.

Step Six: Pooping in Your Cathole and Covering It

After you have taken care of your business, cover everything up by using your trowel to fill in your cathole. Make certain your trowel does not touch the poop or it will be contaminated along with the bag you are using for storage.

Step Seven: The Rock

Place a rock over your cathole to help prevent other campers from digging in the same spot.

Step Eight: Packing Up Your Hand Sanitizer and Used Toilet Paper

Your last step may sound a little strange, but you need to pack your used toilet paper. This will keep everything private because nobody else will be able to see or smell your poop.

Alternatively, you can use the best biodegradable toilet paper and bury it together with your waste.

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Step by step guide on how to poop outdoors or while camping

Waste Disposal Methods

Use the least amount of toilet paper you possibly can. You can decrease the amount of toilet paper you are using with natural objects including large leaves to wipe yourself off.

Make certain the leaves are not poisonous. You can even use snowballs or smooth stones. Find what you are going to be using before you poop.

how to poop in the wilderness

Place any natural items you used in your hole. Your toilet paper should be put in a waste bag for packing out. You can occasionally use pre-moistened wipes, but you need to pack out any wipes as opposed to tossing them in your hole.

Cover all of the waste you are not packing out using the dirt you dug out of the hole. Make certain your hole is completely covered.

Use your foot to tamp down the dirt. Use a branch or rock to cover the area to discourage any critters from digging. An upright stick will discourage the next rooftop-tent campers from using your spot for their hole.

Use your sanitizer on your hands. Make certain you rub vigorously and do not miss your fingers.

Why It Is Important and How to Protect the Environment

How to poop outdoors correctly is important because you can cause health and aesthetic issues. If your poop finds a way into the water source, it can cause diseases including Giardia and hepatitis.

If anyone drinks water tainted with poop, they will have diarrhea. The cycle can become vicious. There are four basic guidelines for leaving no traces of your poop outside. These are:

• Minimizing the spread of diseases

• Maximizing decomposition

• Minimizing the odds of polluting the water

• Minimizing your aesthetic impact

Your catholes should always be deep. You also need to use biodegradable paper and bags to help protect the environment.

Useful Tips for Women

There are techniques women can use to make peeing outdoors much easier. One of the best methods for women is squatting.

This will minimize any splashing. Your squatting stance should be wide to make certain your boot laces and pants are not in the way.

You can help prevent splashing by finding a spot with pine needles or soft dirt to absorb your urine. Always pee using a downward slope. This will ensure your urine runs away from you.

It is helpful to find a rock or a log to sit on while peeing.

If you can find two rocks or logs close together, you can use one for sitting while setting your legs up on the other one. You can try pulling the crotch of loose shorts to the side and simply let your pee fly.

A (FUD) female urination device or a lady’s pee funnel makes peeing while camping a lot easier. You do not need to use your FUD every time you pee while hiking or camping.

When you are in a crowded area, it will make everything much easier. If you are unwilling to leave your tent during the night, you can even use a bottle to pee into.

You will need to practice a little to learn how to use a FUD. You can try practicing at home while you are taking a shower before you actually go camping.

A lot of women prefer to bring a bandana with them for a pee rag. Simply rinse it out with some water then tie it outside of your backpack so it has a chance to dry.

Useful Tips for Children

Camping with the kids is a lot of fun. It can be hard if there are no toilet facilities or bathrooms available. Younger kids are not going to be able to use the methods for packing out or digging a hole all by themselves.

The simplest solution is a camping toilet or making a bucket toilet yourself. There are other options when you are unable to carry around your camping toilet.

This is when a ditch latrine system is so effective. Dig a ditch approximately six inches deep, wide and long. This will be your bathroom the entire time you are there.

Your kids will take care of business beginning at the end. After they have finished, they can throw dirt on top to completely hide their business.

They will continue down your ditch whenever they need to go. This should last for your entire camping trip. This is also a good option if you are camping with a lot of friends not interested in digging a hole every time they need to go.

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How Can You Make It As Comfortable As Possible

For privacy, how to poop outdoors means using the underbrush. Keeping toilet paper in your bag to use in small amounts will increase your comfort even further.

Whenever possible, use a big compostable bag to line a bucket with a closable lid for your own private and inexpensive toilet for solid waste. If you are sleeping in a nice warm tent or hammock, you will most likely not want to go out into the cold.

Try using a bottle for this purpose. Women can use a pee funnel.

Once you have finished, just close the bottle and put it right outside of your tent. You can dump it the next morning in the bushes away from your camp.

If you do not have any privacy, use a light sarong, hiking skirt or towel while you squat. Just wrap your chosen garment lightly around yourself.

If there is someone with you, ask them to serve as a lookout so they can let you know if any hikers are approaching.

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How to Poop in the Winter (or other extreme weather conditions) in the Outdoors – How to Leave No Trace

The best tips for pooping and peeing outdoors in intense sun, snow and rain are detailed below.


If you are expecting a lot of rain while camping, your best option is setting up an area for your bathroom with a separate shelter. You can create a rain shelter by hanging up a tarp.

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Make sure your bathroom is the right distance from where you make camp. This will eliminate the need to go to the woods in the rain. When nature calls, you will be protected from the rain.


Camping when there is snow on the ground is another good time to create a bathroom shelter. Your best options are a wag bag or a camp toilet.

If you have no other choice, you can dig a hole in the snow to bury your business. It may not be fun pooping in the cold, but it is often necessary. Whenever possible, dig your hole in the soil.

It is difficult work digging through several feet of snow. The snow may also be hiding rare and fragile vegetation.

Vegetation recovers slowly due to the harsh climate and short period of growth. You may damage something unknowingly by digging in the snow.

Every environment has a different decomposition rate, but it is extremely slow in the cold. Remember, people may cook or drink the snow you peed on.

This can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Set up areas for your latrine and toilet on rocks whenever possible and away from the camp.

Intense Sun

The rules change when you are camping under intense heat or in the desert. Your hole only needs to be approximately three inches deep.

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How About Your Pets?

Disposing of your pet’s waste while camping is no different than at home. Carry poop bags to store the waste. Pack it and dispose of the waste when you reach a suitable location.

Final Thoughts

There are always different options for peeing and pooping outdoors when you are camping or overlanding without a bathroom being available. You can use a portable camping toilet or make your own, dig a hole for your poop or pack it out in a bag.

If you are lucky, you will have a bathroom built into your camper or RV. Following the information above will ensure you are not harming the environment while you are having fun.

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Ferenc Elekes has been a devout Overlanding enthusiast for many years. During that time, Ferenc has explored 75 countries on six continents, with overland travel involved in 40 countries on three continents. From his trusty 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with a roof-top tent, he’s blogged about experiences that can only be found in the remotest regions on Earth. Along the way, he's gained in-depth knowledge of the novel challenges overlanders encounter and practical ways to meet them. On his website, he shares informed opinions about everything from the best overland gear to how to get a vehicle unstuck. Ferenc has also written for Ih8mud, the Expedition Portal, the Overland Journal, and he is often invited as a guest to outdoors-related podcasts.
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