3 Ways to potty in the woods

By Shelby Kisgen

Camping is a blast; pooping in the woods, not so much. There are multiple ways to remain hygienic, sanitary, and polite when taking care of digestive needs in the wilderness. From simple to complex, here are 3 ways to potty in the woods.

 

  1. Dig a Hole: If you are going on a day hike and nature calls in the metaphorical way, it is silly to try to build a lean-to porta potty or find the nearest public service station. Instead, move away from prying eyes and dig a hole. Use a stick, claw up the dirt, or pack a shovel, whatever works just make it deep enough that it will not be easily unearthed if someone unknowingly steps on it. Answer nature’s call, then cover the hole with dirt, leaves, and twigs. Pack out toilet paper; do not bury it. Yes it will decompose, but it is better to leave no trace. Wrap the soiled toilet paper in clean tissue, seal it in a bag and pack it out. Remember to apply hand sanitizer afterward.

  1. Pee Party: When you need to pee but not anything else, just find a hillside and remember to always let it flow down. Make sure you are not mooning anyone, or peeing near a water source. Natural run-off in that sense is a very bad thing indeed. Use hand sanitizer after!

 

  1. Build a Bathroom: For a while Build-a-Bear was the chicest present to give a kid. Building a porta-potty is not so fun, but far more useful. When doing an extended camping trip, packing out waste is much easier on the environment. To build your own inexpensive portable toilet, you just need a few items.

– 5 gallon bucket or milk crate

– Seriously heavy duty garbage bags

–  A snap-on toilet seat

– Tarp and rope or bailing twine

 

Make sure you set up your toilet downwind from camp, and a good distance away for sanitation and smell purposes. Place a garbage bag into the bucket or milk crate. Tie it so it does not fall down. Snap the toilet lid over top. Use the tarp and bailing twine or rope to attach a privacy curtain to the nearby trees. Leave some hand sanitizer by the privacy curtain for everyone to use. Change the bag every day if you have a lot of people, or less often if not necessary. At the end of your camping trip place all your soil-filled bags into a fresh bag for further stabilization. Then place that bag inside the crate or bucket to pack out. The last thing you want is any spilling or leaking, so reinforce it as much as possible for peace of mind.

 

It is a common stereotype that women love to journey to the bathroom together. Since we also love camping together, why not combine the experiences? Here’s to doing potty in the woods! Cheers to happy digesting.

 

Blogger & Multiple Contributor at

Shelby Kisgen is an experienced camper and hiker from Wyoming, USA.  She is a true nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing her experiences through freelance writing in her first blog: naturepreserve.me

When she is not enjoying the great outdoors she is duelling her husband in tennis, eating, or reading a book.

Shelby was the first of many to write articles for the Camping for Women website.

She just loves to combine her love of the outdoors with her passion for writing.  Her current blog is https://shelbykisgen.com/

9 thoughts on “3 Ways to potty in the woods

  • April 9, 2020 at 4:39 am
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    Ãll for digging that hole and letting nature decompose it for you. Good tip on the toilet paper though. The few times I had to attempt this, I carried an old newspaper along with a garbage bag. The soiled toilet papers were rolled into the paper and then in the bag which was disposed off. I also, advocate carrying clean water along with the sanitizer. Always helps!

    Reply
  • April 8, 2020 at 8:26 pm
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    Hahaha! Great article – no one writes about this topic! I don’t mind going outside. In the UK many of the hills are very bare so there is nowhere to really hide to do this! Just have to hope no one can see you. Also, I struggle when I am on a hilly slope to keep my balance or accidentally wee on my shoes… oh love the great outdoors haha!

    Reply
  • April 8, 2020 at 8:00 am
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    When camping came to my mind, I always thought of this potty problem and did not went for camping. But now reading your post, gives me relief as there are 3 ways to get this natural call problem resolved too. Digging a hole and then covering up is a great idea. But after all this, keeping ourselves sanitized is also a good advice. I have not done this, but will try out someday.

    Reply
  • April 7, 2020 at 9:04 am
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    It is an excellent article, especially for less experienced campers who are just starting their adventure with camping. I usually dig holes. I never try to build a toilet or bathroom. I think that building a bathroom might be a great idea if you plan to stay in one place for a week or longer.

    Reply
  • April 6, 2020 at 11:39 pm
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    You know what, this is such a useful post! LOL! I’m not a “rustic” camper so I’ve never been confronted with this situation but I have had to make do on a couple of hikes so this will come in handy in the future. Pee downhill….. so much common sense there! Not sure why I never thought of that!

    Reply
  • April 6, 2020 at 6:25 pm
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    This definitely is a first of its kind article. Have been shitting while camping, by doing exactly these things, but it amazes me, that a lot of people aren’t up to the mark with this. They don’t follow the unsaid rules of the game, which disgusts me.

    Reply
    • April 7, 2020 at 10:44 pm
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      What a unique article. I would have never thought of writing one. But my husband was a scoutmaster so he knows all of these rules. But men have an easier time. Building a potty would also be cool!

      Reply
  • April 6, 2020 at 4:46 pm
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    Guys just don’t understand that us women need to do a little planning to meet our needs when camping. Luckily for my hubby, I am usually ok if I can find a bush to squat behind. Good idea to cover the hole up. I have never heard of someone building a portable potty. But that is a good idea if you are staying for awhile. Thanks for tackling this topic.

    Reply
  • April 6, 2020 at 7:31 am
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    I have been hiking the mountains for 15 years but I have never had a problem with this. By the contrary, I feel more comfortable in nature than in the bathroom of a bar / restaurant. Nature is clean and has fresh air. You don’t always find this in eateries.

    Reply

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