What To Do When You Gotta Poo…
Ahh, poop. The one thing we all do, yet no one wants to talk about. Ok, yeah it is kinda gross, but also necessary, and when you’re on the trail and nature calls… you gotta answer. But how?! Where?! Do I use a hole?! What do I use to dig it?! What if I don’t have toilet paper?! We’ll address all these curious questions below.
Where Do I Go?
200 feet away, 7 inches deep. Engrave that one in your memory and don’t be ~that~ guy. Find your spot at least 200 feet away from any trail, campsite, or waterway and dig your hole 7 inches deep. I would suggest finding your own, special spot even further away to avoid digging up someone else’s daily deuce.
How and When Do I Go?
You can use virtually anything to dig your hole. There are tools and shovels specifically designed for it, but you can also use a tent stake, a good rock, stick, or even your Spork Chop if you’re desperate - just be sure to clean it before future use. Dig yourself a good hole that's about four to six inches wide and six to eight inches deep, squat and enjoy the ease of release the way nature intended. (Yeah, things actually come out better when you squat rather than sitting… science, man.)
As for when to go… you can’t really control nature’s calls, but if you know you’re a morning or night poo-er, you can plan your route and spot ahead of time. Preparing your hole the night before can help with convenience the next morning and save yourself from rushing and not digging a sufficient hole.
Don’t forget that spiders are active and building webs when areas have low activity, so be sure to carry a swatting weapon with you to avoid the inevitable spider to face when trying to have to a peaceful poo.
Ok, I made it in the hole... now what?
BURY, BAG, OR LEAVE IT? There is quite a bit of controversy over whether to bury or leave your business. Personally, I believe you are an uncultured swine if you don’t bury your doo-doo and leave it for someone else to find… or worse… STEP in when they’re trying to do their own business. BUT since I’m no expert, let’s check with those who are.
The PCT Association has PLENTY of articles referring to the poop pandemic currently being addressed out west on the trail. They say there’s no room for embarrassment about pooping on the trail… and even less room for leaving unburied waste for someone to see, smell or step in.
You certainly don’t have to bag up your business and take it with you, but they ask that you don’t play the “rollover rock” game either - you know, you do your business then place a rock over it like the lazy son-of-a-pooper you are… not only does this stunt decomposing, but it leaves some gnarly sites and smells for PCTA workers to discover when they’re doing trail work.
So there you have it - just cover your poo, people! It ain't that hard, and future hikers who don’t stumble upon your precious gift will be eternally grateful.
When it comes to waste products, it’s good to keep a zip-seal bag for your used waste products and feminine hygiene products, then a clean bag (poo purse, as I like to think of it) to keep your fresh toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and baby wipes if you use them.
Many places have regulations about burying waste products, but let’s just practice “Leave No Trace” and carry it out entirely. But if you MUST leave your TP, wet it completely with water or urine to help with decomposing. (DO NOT bury feminine hygiene products ever - they will not decompose)
“Ahh shoot… I don’t have any toilet paper…”
Lamb’s Ear Plant
Check out these solutions to non-TP wiping.
We Made It!
...I was going to tell you a poop joke but it's really crappy…
If you made it thus far, I'm truly proud. Proud that you could turn off the stigmatizing side of your brain and soak up some much-needed information along with my fecal humor.
Now, it’s time to challenge you to the Super Dooper Pooper challenge courtesy of the PCTA:
“Go the extra distance, at least 500 feet. Dig 7 inches deep, pee in the hole, drop your deuce, skip the TP, stir in the poo with some dark organic dirt if it’s available, then bury well. And, spread the technique to others. You’ll sleep better knowing you left the least trace possible.”