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Answering The Call of Nature: Pooping Outdoors

Whether it’s Number 1 or Number 2, you really have to answer that “Call of Nature.” Yes, it’s a given fact. Even if you’re out on the wood camping, hiking or biking. It doesn’t need to be problematic as you imagined it to be. Just remember one important rule: Leave no trace. Here are some tips on what you need to know to properly use the wilderness as your bathroom, from safety suggestions to gear tips.

1. The Basics
Let’s start with the simpler issue of urination in the wild. Human urine is generally clean and doesn’t promote disease. The most important factor is making sure you go 200 feet away from a campsite, trail or any other water source. Urine can be hard on some plants, so it’s recommended that you find a rock to relieve yourself.

Pooping in the woods is a slightly more involved, but as with most things, a little preparation is the key. First, make sure to keep the following gear items in your backpack:
  • A lightweight trowel
  • A quarter-roll of toilet paper or a few baby wipes
  • A couple of zip-top plastic bags
  • A small bottle of hand sanitizer
When the time comes, look for an isolated spot at least 200 feet from your camp, the trail and any water sources. Use your trowel to dig a small hole 6 inches deep and 8 inches across.

If you’ve forgotten toilet paper, you can make due with broad, soft leaves or even smooth sticks or stones. Cover the hole, scatter leaves and sticks if available to make it look natural, and put a rock on top to discourage the next person from choosing the same spot for their hole.

Don’t forget to wash and sanitize your hands.

2. Discarding Your Toilet Paper
The long-standing recommendation was to bury used toilet paper in the cathole along with the waste, or to burn it in a campfire. But conventional wisdom now recommends to carry it out with you because often-times it takes longer for the paper to decompose than the actual waste does, and burning it increases the risk of forest fires.

Put the trash in one sealable plastic bags, and then wrap that in another for double protection. You also can use an old water bottle to store the sealed baggie to be extra safe.

The double-bagging method should also be used to carry out all feminine hygiene products, rather than trying to bury or burn them.

Some areas require that you pack out used toilet paper, such as desert environments like Grand Canyon National Park, where there isn’t enough moisture in the soil for toilet paper to decompose.
We hope that these tips help you pooping outdoors or peeing without hesitation. You never have to worry about answer that call of nature again. Observe proper waste disposal, not only your garbage and trash, but also your dump.

More pooping tips while camping? Read more from Active.

Image Source: Allegra