Ultimate guide on how to go to the bathroom in the woods

Share this post

Going to the bathroom in the woods is typical for beginning hikers, backpackers, scattered campers, and van dwellers. Even though you may be miles away from modern indoor plumbing (or even a vault toilet), going to the bathroom in the woods isn’t all that tough. You even have a handful of selections to pick from, which is unexpected. So here’s all you need to know about using the bathroom in the woods.


[ Also read: Our detailed guide on 10 Hiking Essentials for Beginners ]


Table of Contents

1. First Things First

You locate a good quiet, private spot, crouch down, and let it all out. You snap back to reality, completely happy, but only for a minute, and realize the task is only half done. When your only companion is Mother Nature, the comfort of your two-ply godsend is nowhere to be seen, so you anxiously seek about and meet eyes with an innocent plant a few feet distant. 

You straighten up, pull up your britches, and stroll back to your group with a revived feeling of purpose, your organically augmented leaves thrown around you haphazardly. When visiting the wilderness, it’s critical to keep your human effect to a minimum.

Begin by following the principles of leaving no trace. These recommended practices serve as a basis for reducing your environmental effect as much as feasible. In a nutshell, these are the principles.

Travel and camp on durable surfaces by planning ahead of time and preparing. Leave what you find. Minimizing waste disposal properly affects a campfire, and wildlife must be respected. In addition, one should take into account the needs of other visitors.

2. A Close Look At The Principles

The leave no trace principle provides an easily understood framework of low-impact activities for everyone exploring the outdoors. Although leave no trace has its origins in backcountry settings. The principles have been modified to work in various contexts, including remote wilderness regions, local parks, and even your garden. 

They apply to practically all leisure activities as well. Each principle focuses on a certain area and includes thorough information on reducing negative consequences. The principles are well-known and well-established, yet they are not static. 

Leave No Trace reviews, evaluates, and reshapes the principles regularly. In addition, The organization’s Education Department undertakes research, including publishing academic publications in peer-reviewed journals, to ensure that the principles are up to date with the latest findings from biologists, land managers, and other experts in outdoor education.

3. Peeing in the Woods

It’s much simpler to pee in the bush than going to the bathroom. The most critical consideration is choosing a route location, away from the campground and at least 200 feet away from any water sources. Those who must squat to pee should do so on reasonably soft level ground. 

This not only prevents water from running down your shoes but also reduces splashback. Excrement, unlike feces, has no impact on animals, plants, or soil. If at all possible, pee on rocks or gravel instead of plants. Some animals, such as goats and deer, may be drawn to the salt in pee and defoliate plants and dig up dirt to collect it.

For people who prefer to urinate standing up rather than sitting down, deserts and other arid regions with no items to squat behind result in little seclusion.

4. Pooping in the Woods

Things get a bit more complex when it comes to pooping in the backcountry, though it’s relatively simple once you’ve figured out your favorite approach. You won’t have all of the essential materials on hand at any one moment unless you are psychic and can see into the future (in which case, call our office; we surely have a position for you). 

So, as soon as you have that nagging feeling, choose a good area far away from any camp, water supply, or route. Your three major alternatives are a cat hole, packing it out, or bringing a portable toilet.   

If you’re camping at a wilderness campsite with an outhouse, make use of it. Many are designed to be quite efficient compositors and aren’t nearly as smelly as you think. Some even boast breathtaking vistas! When using an outhouse in the wilderness, human waste is contained to a certain region, which is significant. Suppose you want to do it using a Cat Hole. 

You can do it with a trowel to dig a hole at least 6 inches deep (be careful to stay off the trail, out of the campground, and 200 feet away from any water sources). When you’re finished, cover and bury it. Even if the toilet paper is biodegradable, always pack it out in a sealable plastic bag and straight into your backpack. We have made a guide on what is the Best Bug Out Bag which you can use to store your items.

A cat hole is still the preferred option in most wilderness regions, while certain environmentally sensitive and high-use areas require you to haul it out. Most campers use a two-bag system, with the first bag collecting waste and the second bag sealing it within.

A camping toilet is a hefty yet comfortable alternative for going to the bathroom in the woods. Even though it’s little more than a 5-gallon bucket with a plastic top and toilet seat, all of these approaches are effective. We have an amazing Best Cassette Toilet if you do not have a portable toilet yet.

Many people favor the pack it out method. Sure, carrying out your garbage may seem a little nasty at first, but there are so many people hiking and trekking these days that many popular wilderness sites are getting overrun with buried excrement.

Natural toilet paper (leaves, smooth pebbles, snow, etc.) is just as hygienic as toilet paper when used appropriately. Is it the most ecologically friendly option? Depending on the expert or land management you consult. The most serious problem with natural materials is the potential of contamination and the lack of simple access to hot water and soap to clean them. Whatever you do, be sure you properly wash your hands afterwards.

5. What About Pets And Babies?

When going on a hike or camping with your dog, you have the same two alternatives for waste disposal. You have the option of burying their excrement in a kitty hole or taking it with you. 

People bag up their dog’s excrement in the bush since it’s something they are used to doing at home. Just remember not to scrimp on quality. Don’t put off picking up dog bags until later. Put it in your luggage as soon as possible. 

While traveling with the children, it is best to keep extra diapers with you. It’s critical to carefully wrap soiled diapers in a plastic bag when camping with a newborn. 

6. Backcountry Hygiene Tips

Backcountry hygiene requires hand sanitizer or wet wipes. After taking care of business, wipe your hands as completely as possible, just like you would at home. If you’re hiking or backpacking, it’s a good idea to wash your hands with soap and hot water once a day.

Going to the restroom in the woods isn’t as terrible as it sounds. So for your next backcountry camping trip, you now know the ins and outs of this important piece of outdoor knowledge! You enjoy being outside. That’s why you’re out there and why you’re probably reading this. As a result, please preserve the wilderness for future generations.

Jules and Ken

Jules and Ken

We are outdoor lovers, travellers, and writers all rolled into one. You have seen our posts here reviewing lots of different types of outdoor gear, camping equipment, RV equipment, kayaking, to cycling. Our reviews are guided by our years of experience being outdoors. We are happy to share our knowledge with you to make a better choice when you are outdoors.

We hope you enjoyed this article and if you have questions about How To Go To The Bathroom In The Woods or want to leave your own personal comments, feel free to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You May Be Interested

Enjoyed How To Go To The Bathroom In The Woods? Share it with your friends so they too can follow the Outdoormagnet journey.