How to Poop While Camping

If you’re new to the outdoors, knowing how to poop while camping is probably one of your top priorities (or it should be!)

With a few supplies and some know-how, you’ll be ready to go in no time. Like a bear out in nature.

What you’ll need for your adventure

  1. A camping trowelShovel in the ground
  2. A Ziploc bag (for any waste that needs to be packed out)
  3. Wipes

As you can see, there’s really not much you need. Your camping trowel will make digging your hole (referred to as a “cat hole”) much easier and faster. Pretty self-explanatory for that one, right? The Ziploc bag is for taking any waste that isn’t biodegradable with you, such as wipes and toilet paper.

A lot of wipes boast being biodegradable, but actually aren’t and can last for years! This can also be true for wipes meant for household use and end up clogging your plumbing, just a heads up.

How to take care of business

  1. Find a spot at least 200 steps from any water source
  2. Dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and bury human waste
  3. Pack out used toilet paper

The above is the guide from the Leave No Trace website, a set of practices designed to preserve the outdoors for future generations.

To add on my personal experience here, whenever I’m looking for a spot to poop outside, I like to find a place that is isolated and has a decent view. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re not in total brush or encroaching on any wildlife’s habitats so you can do your thing in peace.

From there, I take out your trowel and dig the cat hole. If the soil’s too tough then I’ll move to a better spot. Once it’s dug, you’ll get into a deep squatting position (not very different from squat toilets common in Asian countries) – it doesn’t hurt to work on your flexibility for this position, since it doesn’t come naturally for most folks.

After completing the job, clean up and pack out any wipes and materials that would be left behind. This is one of the most crucial parts of the entire process. You can dispose of these things in the garbage after you get back to camp.

Wrapping it all up

A lot of times, I find going to the bathroom outside is more of a mental hurdle for new campers than anything. Like most things, once you’ve done it for the first time, it’s no big deal. I find it really relaxing and there’s nothing like some quiet time in nature! Especially when it’s at dawn and everything is still relatively silent.

One crucial mistake to avoid: go when you feel the urge and don’t hold it. It sounds silly, but I’ve had people on trips wait until the last second to go to the bathroom and it’s never pretty. That could end up forcing you to go in less than ideal conditions, which isn’t good for anyone.

Bathrooms are usually pretty scarce at best unless you are camping in the most crowded parts of campgrounds. Knowing how to poop while camping some of the most basic, important knowledge to have.

Now you’re ready to be more like a bear in the great outdoors and do your business the right way!


Leave No Trace Principle 3: Dispose of Waste Properly

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