How To: Poop in the Woods

Toilet Paper was a hot commodity a few months ago during the first panic-stricken weeks of COVID-19, but look at us all now. Clean as a whistle. Records show that before we pampered our asses with luxury lotion-infused Charmin, people used all sorts of items. Rocks, leaves, sticks, live muskrats. Ever try to freshen up with an angry fur bearing animal? Then you haven’t lived my friend. In today’s How To Do Stuff we will discuss the modern, more sophisticated method of answering nature’s call while in the bush.

So how do you drop a deuce in mother nature’s back yard without leaving a trace. Good link to Leave No Trace here, but read on for full disclosure.

Black Bear (Ursus americanus) defecating in the woods.

When Collin O’Brady (and separately, Captain Louis Rudd) trekked solo across Antarctica last year, I followed O’Brady’s daily Instagram posts of the torture he endured in the most inhospitable place on earth. Students across the nation followed his progress as well, asking questions about how he was feeling and the daily aspects of such an insane undertaking. One question was asked by a elementary school kid that I had been extremely curious about as well. When it’s -40° and the wind is blowing snow fifty miles an hour, how does one pee, much less take a poo? He informed the world that you must perform the act of peeing quickly as not to incur frost bite. Holy hell that sounds like a nightmare. Okay, I’ve peed in a snow storm so I get that, but what about #2? This was an act he performed in the safety of his tent. Pooping where you sleep? In this case, and only in this case, it makes sense. But what I didn’t know was that he couldn’t just leave it in the snow. The Antarctic is heavily protected so he had to pack everything out including the poo popsicles. And when I say everything, that includes his doo doo. Yep. Bagged it and threw it on his sled and carried it 1,000 freaking miles.

Camp crapping should be taken as seriously, yet we sometimes fail to do our duty. First and foremost, find out if there are any regulations on human waste in the area where you’re camping or hiking. Some high-elevation, sensitive or heavily traveled areas require people to pack out solid human waste.

Step 1. Get to that discreet spot prepared. Bring all the following supplies: Hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and a sealing plastic bag. Shit’s about to get real.

Step 2. Dig a hole at least 6-8 inches deep at least 200 feet from camp, trails, and water sources. Your camping buddies will thank you.

Step 3. Take steady aim at the hole. Squat and try to relax. The Squat Strap might help. But probably not. Other helpful positions here. This is not the same as when you are at the office. Taking your time while looking at your phone isn’t an option in the woods. Best to leave it at camp unless you want trouble. Dropping your phone in a river is one thing. Dropping it in your own feces is the end. Just leave it. Game over.

Step 4. Wipe that ass and carefully place the wipe in the baggy and seal it up tight!

Step 5. Cover up what’s left of your breakfast burrito with the pile of soil you removed and pat it down with the camp spade. Oh damn! You’re going to need a spade! That should be in Step 1. But if you are reading this on your phone while squatting, you are about to have poo on your phone anyway. Might as well just strip naked, walk back to camp, and grab the spade at this point. REI makes some cool spades for pooping.

Step 6. Wash your hands with hand sanitizer gel or soap and water if you have it.

Further information in this fine book if you need reading material.

Congratulations! You just did something terrifying and survived. Now, get out there and start living again. Everybody poops, but you must be brave to poop in the woods.

Published by willbarch78

I grew up in the middle of nowhere Texas. The nearest Walmart was a full two hours away. My family still runs a ranch back home that I grew up on, but at some point in my treasured youth I hung up the idea of becoming a cowboy, and pursued my passion for architecture. Today I still find myself trying to fit in to a life that has treated me with the average ups and downs one can expect after a certain number of years. My wife and I moved to Denver after attending Texas Tech School of Architecture in Lubbock as we needed a grade change from the Llano Estacado. We camp with our three growing girls all summer and into the fall while I write and create and fly fish to maintain sanity. Life is moving fast as our careers and children progress in all areas, so being outdoors with each other keeps us mostly grounded.

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