When Nature Calls

Hopefully, this hasn’t happened to you. If it has, then you’ve survived one of the most disgusting, disheartening outdoor experiences—an encounter with white blooms of the forest. These polar-opposite-of-lovely paper “flowers” are a sign of incredibly poor woodsmanship.

Whether you’re primitive camping or lost in the wilderness, there is a right and a wrong way to take a crap.

How to prep for pooping without a toilet

In the woods, desert—anyplace sans toilet facilities—the proper toiletries can help make completing your digestion process a breeze.

Shovel or camp trowel. You’re going to need to dig a hole. A garden shovel or camp trowel will save you from tracking down a rock or stick to dig with.

Sealable disposable bag. Sadly, toilet paper really shouldn’t be left behind. Make sure you have enough strong resealable baggies to pack out your used t.p..

Matches, or a lighter. Used toilet paper disposal Plan B: burn it. Unless you’re willing to start rubbing sticks together, you’ll want a fire-starting tool—more on this later.

No seat — no problem

If you’ve ever pondered the invention of the toilet, you probably realized that human beings haven’t always had luxuries such as toilet seats. While there’s a very natural position for expulsion procedures, for some it may be too difficult to maintain. Fortunately, there are options:

Natural seats. While elusive, sometimes mother nature provides the perfect toilet seat, such as two branches low and close enough for you to comfortably perch above your target.

Leaning. Boulders or downed trees can help take some of the weight off your knees and ankles.

Grab a branch. Another way to take pressure off your squat is to hang from a low branch or wrap your arms around a tree trunk.

Squatting. This is the most natural position a human being can assume for releasing used food. It might take some flexibility, but the more you practice, the easier it is on both your legs and bowels.

How to take a crap in the woods

Now for the essentials—where and how to properly make a deposit in the wild soil. The point of all this is to leave no trace. While many humans make it their life’s mission to make a mark on this world, when it comes to off-pavement ventures, the general rule is to leave as light of a footprint as possible.

200 feet away. Count off a minimum of 70 steps from any source of water, trail, campsite, road, etc..

Dig a 6-8 inch hole. Animals, even your cute, clean, face-licking love-puppy, find the human digestion process to be quite…wasteful. Plus, most of us would rather not see your left behinds, so dig down at least 6 inches – deeper if possible. If it’s too rocky, overturning a large rock often leaves a hole – and softer soil for digging.

Toilet paper. Assumably, the step after digging a hole is self-explanatory—this brings us to those white blooms of the forest. While some people claim burying your TP is okay, it only takes one encounter with a squirrel merrily prancing across the forest floor with a soiled ribbon of toilet paper to recognize it as an error. As long as there’s not a fire ban, toilet paper can be burned in the same hole, or in a campfire. Otherwise, you really should pack it out in a sealable bag—wrapping the used t.p. up with fresh t.p. will keep the bag looking clean.

Bury it and lock it down. Know what dogs do when they find a nice pile of human feces? They roll around in it. Burying your deposit isn’t enough. Find a rock big enough to keep a hungry animal from digging up your old meal. If there aren’t rocks around, at the very least mark your spot by sticking sticks into your crap-grave so nobody else digs where you dug.

One last thing: If there are toilet facilities, always use them. Hiking trails and disperse, or primitive, campsites weather more traffic than you probably realize—especially if the Forest Service deemed such facilities to be necessary. Remember, there really is no excuse for not pooping properly.