Guide on Pooping in the Woods

As advanced as humans have become, we still haven’t been able to free ourselves from biological functions, like pooping. It might feel embarrassing to talk about, but everyone’s gotta know what to do when… shit hits the fan. This guide will help you know how to take care of your business when there are no plumbing systems in sight!

As campers, we need to make sure we are keeping our camping sites just like we found it (or better). After all, you wouldn’t want to step into some poop during your backpacking trip, would you? Here’s how to stay environmentally friendly and properly take care of your human waste.

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Image provided by Rei

                                                        Method 1: Bury It

Now, I know you have already thought about using a foxhole to hide your poop, but there are a few things you need to be careful of. Mainly, for the love of God, make sure you aren’t near water. Keep a distance of at least 100 feet between you and the nearest water source. Need I say more?

Secondly, do not bury anything with your feces except for toilet paper, or outdoor wipes. Other items like baby wipes, might not be biodegradable and should not be thrown away or buried.

When digging your hole, aim for a 6-inch by 6-inch hole. You won’t be digging with your hands (I hope), so make sure you have a camping shovel with you whenever the situation arises. My favorite Grizzly Peak Ultra Lightweight 11″ Backpacker’s Trowel (Black & Green).

                                     Method 2: Using a Portable Toilet

If you’re not in an area where you can dig a hole, consider using a camping portable toilet. Camping toilets are great because they let you responsibly take care of your waste and have a minimal impact on the environment. They mimic the home toilet so you don’t need to get into a squat.

Portable camping toilets consist of three main parts: a seat, a prop or base to keep it up, and a catching system. Personally, I hate even thinking about cleaning up my poop, so I’ve tried numerous devices that make things as convenient as possible for me. The travel toilet that I’ve been using for the last 7 years has been the Camco Portable Travel Toilet-5.3 Gallon.

I’ve stuck with this toilet for a couple of reasons. First, it’s light-weight and easy to carry. Its manufacturer has advertised that it can hold over 300 pounds. While I’m can’t vouch for this, I’m about 180 pounds and have never had a problem. Also, it has a 5.3-gallon waste tank, which is more than enough for a few days of camping with the family.

The tank has an easy flush system that allows you to clean it with just water. Finally, it does a ridiculously good job of blocking out odors and preventing leaks. Not once have I ever been worried that I’d have to clean up a mess, or that I’d have to drive home with the smell of shit everywhere.


No matter how you take care of your business, be courteous of those around you. As campers, and even as people, we have a responsibility to take care of our planet. One of the ways we can do this is by making sure we don’t improperly dispose of waste. And always keep in mind that one day someone’s disregard for nature could have you in some really shitty situations.

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