How To Use The Bathroom

Ok this might sound crazy because obviously you know how to use the bathroom, but pooping while hiking in the wilderness – away from first-world luxuries – does take some getting used to. 

Aside from the most obvious difference of not having an actual toilet, pooping in the woods requires some planning in order to both facilitate the bowel movement and be as least impactful on the environment as possible.

The simple answer to how this happens is: you will be squatting and mindful of your waste

Hiking Bathroom Etiquette

In order to limit your impact on the environment, a simple solution is to limit the amount of toilet paper that you use. 

One of the easiest ways to reduce your consumption is to find suitable leaves and grasses in the area. 

When doing this, be sure that you are not using anything prickly or irritable like poison ivy

A good rule is to use leaves or foliage for the ‘first wipe’ in order to get a majority of the messy stuff. 

Then move on to toilet paper or wet wipes for the final clean up.

Best Position To Poop While Constipated

Squatting is the perfect resting posture. Do I need to quote sources here? Fine.

Squatting is the way people defecated for hundreds of thousands of years, and how most people in the world poop today. We have grown up in a society that is divorced from a practice that is natural and that we evolved to do. 

Although we may call it a throne and think it a luxury, we should also recognize that a toilet is a relatively new way to facilitate one of the body’s core functions. What is convenient isn’t always best in every sense of the word.

To be honest, the use of toilets is such a new phenomenon in human evolution that it’s hard to know the effects of their use on our posture and health! – besides the obvious hygiene benefits.

How To Poop Outside

    • Get at least 200 feet away from the trail and any campsite or waterway.
    • Dig a hole (Protip: look for a decent-sized rock that you can move, as the hole will already be partially dug).
    • Do your business
    • Use a stick or twig to stir up the waste with dirt in order to better facilitate decomposition.
    • Fill up the hole with dirt
    • Cover it with sticks and rocks

Pooping Posture

two bear canistersPooping is a part of life, and posture is a part of how we walk through it. We don’t often think about how we poop or why we poop the way we do. Why are my bowel movements this regular or irregular? Why am I sitting instead of squatting? Ironically enough, a throne may be the perfect place to contemplate a justification for its own obsolescence. 

At the very least, improvements could be made to better promote a healthy posture during a required bodily function that people spend over 200 days doing over the course of their lifetime!

Hiking often necessitates a natural state, i.e. squatting, during a bowel movement because you simply have no other choice. Of course, toilet paper is often only a semblance of the modern pooping experience. One that should be used sparingly and disposed of properly.

From experience, I can say that long term squatting resulted in less stressful and more complete bowel movements.

Camping Hygiene Tips

  • Basically, it boils down to this: keep your hands clean!
    • Use Hand Sanitizer, the number one way that people get giardia is by not washing their own hands after defecating!
    • Wash hands in clean water whenever possible.
  • Wash your toothbrush only with pure, clean, filtered water. 
  • Bring mouthwash with alcohol, as it can also be used as a disinfectant.
  • Only drink water that you have filtered or are 100% sure is from a safe source. If you are anything less than 100% sure, you need to filter that water! 
  • Baby wipes, or some type of moist towelette. 
    • These are controversial for a couple of reasons, (1) they are heavy and require slightly more effort than carrying regular T.P., and (2) they are not necessarily bio-degradable. Some decompose better than others but they have a larger impact on the natural world.

Next time you find yourself pooping outside just remember this article and think about the friendly people over at Wild West Trail!


Author: @carmenrao | Any comments or suggestions? Please leave it below:

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