Introduction: Pooping in Paradise (or in Nature) - How to Do It Easily

Picture of Pooping in Paradise (or in Nature) - How to Do It Easily

Pooping in nature seems to be one of those great taboos in the world of great outdoors.

Actually, I think it's even the only one left. Everybody is sooner or later faced with it, everybody is doing it, but weird enough few people dare to talk about it.

'Hmhm' is most of the time all you get if you ask someone 'How was it, bro?'.

Time for a wind of change!

Since I've got no standards at all to keep high I'll start by giving the example. I'll tell you without any fear & timidity about my outdoor pooping behaviour. And since we all, outdoor-people, belong to that poop-group - I'm sure you are - I'll do it the way selfhelp group members do.

So ...

Hi guys, I'm bart. (that's when you all say 'hi Bart!')

I'm pooping in nature. All the time.

You know, when nature calls in the urban environment it's rather easy - there are toilets everywhere. But when it happens outside, IN nature - with billions of potential pooping spots - for a lot of people it seems to become less evident, paradoxally.

I don't know if it's linked to our instinct, to our education or to the fact we all know how cats do it (even big kitties like tigers, digging hughe holes), but we all feel the need for some privacy, and to cover, hide or camouflate the outcome of our corporal relief.

Hiding, digging and pooping seem to go together, for humans in nature. Although it's a very clean way, I mean that digging stuff, I'm not convinced that it's the best way. You know, open air poop desintegrates and disappears a lot faster than burried poop. So whether you want to dig it or not, it's your choice. You should do what seems to be the right thing to you. I even know people who burn it, but here again, I'm not totally convinced that it's the smartest way, knowing that this concept works best in dry environments, that you need quite a lot of combustion material to make that magic tric work, that you don't have exactly the time and that the last thing you want to do is setting the whole forest on fire...

I'm deviating, sorry, because what I want to talk about is not WHAT you have to do WITH, but HOW you can do it without too much discomfort.

In other words: 'What's the most comfortable way to poop in nature?'

I'm Bart. I'm used to poop in nature.

This is my confession.

Step 1: The Ultimate Spot

Picture of The Ultimate Spot

Before entering into the technical side of the topic I'd like to make a few warnings.

The UPS (Ultimate Pooping Spot) is far enough from walking tracks. Not one walker - I'm not talking about a kind of zombie, but about a living person who uses his feet to go from A to B, on a track, in nature - appreciates pooping behaviour from other walkers on or near the tracks. I know this seems obvious, but it's just common sense to keep some distance between you and the track. I'll never forget the night a friend of mine slipped because some moorhen had pooped in the middle of a track on a quite steep slope. For real, I mean it, he almost broke a leg. Yes it made me laugh, but no it was not funny. I'm sure that if my friend found the author at that moment, he would have damaged him severely with his ice-axe...

The UPS is far enough from any water. Running water, static water, water bottles, whatever, stay away from it. Although it might feel comfortable to hear that familiar 'flunsh' when the eagle is landing, it's not a good idea to contaminate your environment. Your poop, and mine, is a playground for germs and you don't want to disperse them for free, knowing that maybe a bit further someone will drink from it. I know, animals don't pay attention to this - Nepali yaks like to do it on suspended bridges, for example - so why shouldn't you? Because you know what you're doing - unless you're drunk, stoned or just insane - and because you have the choice. And because you're omnivorous, while yaks only eat grass, moss & leaves. And backpacks, drying socks and topographic maps. Whatever, water & poop: bad idea.

The UPS has at least one tree. Huh?! You'll see it later, but for this howto you just need a tree. Or, if you are in the alpine zone, a good anchor point - this can be a tent pole from a rival climbing team, for example, or an ice-axe anchored in an icy slope. More trees is good, but rather for privacy than for real use.

The UPS is situated on a slope. Not a steep slope, just a slope. See next step.

The UPS has a diggable soil, enough to dig a hole. Again, I'm not convinced that burrying is better than not burrying (from a decompositional point of view), but let's say we're going to burry our deposits. At least from a esthetic point of view. And hygienic, because like a lot of members mentioned correctly: our poop-group is counting thousands of members, and if everyone is doing that open-air-hit & run our world is going to get quite messy - which seems to be already the case in some pooped-under regions. So, allright, I agree, that's not the way I like it, aha aha. And to avoid double-digging the same spots it might be an idea to put a sign, like a cross or a stoneman, on that small grave. I know, I'm asking a lot, but pooping is serious business that requires great craftmanship. Really.

Step 2: Digging You Will

Picture of Digging You Will

Once you've found a tree, it's time to dig that hole. Dig it at one meter (3 feet) from the base of the tree, one hand deep. Not the way round, aka one hand from the tree and one meter deep - unless you're a giant from a galaxy far away who had no toilet on his spacecraft.

If you can't wait, dig it after the job.

A good knife might be helpful. Or dynamite. Or a spoon. Or better: the spoon of your companion.

Highlighted comment of member druseful:

As a trainee mountain leader in the UK, poo(p)ing outdoors is a big
issue. In certain areas of Scotland (Cairngorm?) it's been banned altogether because it's such an issue! Generally in the mountains, where the bacteria aren't as effective, the approach is either bury it deep, or spread it out thinly. Don't leave paper or sanitary products (animals will dig them up). Make sure you're at least 30m away from a stream or river. And don't bury poo in a snow hole, because it'll just freeze until the thaw... gross! Specifically, if you do intent to carry it out, lay out some paper towels, poo onto that, wrap it up and store it in a solid plastic container.

Step 3: It's All About the Right Angle

Picture of It's All About the Right Angle

Most people squat when they have to go. Squatting is, let's be honest, everything but practical. I'm sure you've got the picture: you 'sitting' there with your buttocks a few inches above earth and doing all efforts of the world to hold back your pants to prevent close encounters between A & B...

No need to feel unconfortable, it happens to all of us.

Well, to be honest, I hate this way to do it. It's just not funny.

So I discovered, one day, that when you stay in 'toilet position' it all becomes a lot better. Your knees and your butt are on the same line, parallel to the earth, and when the eagle is landing your pants are at a safe distance. Just like at home! And you can admire the landscape better, also.

The tricky thing is: how do you stay in toilet position if there isn't a toilet? That's when the tree comes into the show. You can

(1) hold the tree with one hand

(2) with two hands

(3) with a belt wrapped around it and one hand

(4) with a rope, attached to your waist - called 'handsfree pooping' (popular in high-altitude climbing)

Experiment the way that works best for you, and train in your garden. Or in the garden of a friend. Maybe your neighbours might look weird, but they'll get used to it, really. The more you do this at home, the more comfortable it will go on the track. Or better, at a reasonable distance from the track.

Advantage of the slope: the eagle will land further from you, enlarging the safety distance.

Step 4: Leave No Trace

Picture of Leave No Trace

No need to target the hole. If the eagle lands in it, congrats. If it doesn't, no panic, next time you'll be more accurate.

Clean yourself - always have toiletpaper in the upper regions of your backpack - and drop the rubbish in the hole. Use some leafs or branches to guide - NOT THAT SPOON! - and cover it all with soil. Nature will do the rest.

Small remark: use 'higher quality toilet paper' - paper that desintegrates rapidly after contact with water (I've seen tests with 'cheap stuff' where the paper just doesn't change even after half an hour of soaking). Reason: cloth fibres & glue. So at least outside: use the right stuff. Please.

Continue your way. Released & reliefed.

Namaste. I hope your next trip will be great.

No need to post pictures when you click that 'I made it'-button. I'll believe you without them.


bcrocker1 (author)2017-03-19

Learned this at NOLS. A+ for comic relief!

WildOne1985 (author)2016-03-25

"when the eagle is landing"


bricobart (author)WildOne19852016-03-26

Many eagles have landed since then my friend - the skills didn't change, though..

jpaganeng (author)2015-07-15

Gosh, this made me laugh so much. I still giggle when I remember G.I. Joe XD Great info, btw ;)

bricobart (author)jpaganeng2016-03-26

It was a pleasure! Your comment also, btw..

vadams7 made it! (author)2015-02-21

Ummm,:Does "I love your big BRICKS" apply here? You know, the BRICKS in the wall in the background AND he's letting a BRICK go... poor GI Gotta-Go. Yall get the brick stuff, right? Well, they are occasionally called 'bricks' where I come from...


PS & BTW: The bricks in the wall are sooo big in comparison to GI Gotta-Go! Notice his head next the brick behind it. It makes the poor guy seem pretty small. Thanks to you we don't have to view his nether regions to see his brick birthing... and well, let's just say --- ---. (Great poet, aren't I?!)
~No, yall reading this, you DO NOT know what words the dashes stand in place for therefor you can't state I've said anything offensive!~


bricobart (author)vadams72015-02-21

I can confirm that what he was creating that day was not bricks, but mortar.

It's like a kinder egg, we're never sure about the outcome.

Welcome to the club, btw.

ThePurpleBlade11 (author)2015-02-18

FYI pooping in the woods is easy, just pull down your pants and there she blows

safay (author)2014-09-19

Don't you mean "...requires great crapmanship?"

static (author)2014-09-04

Whenever I had to take dump in the wild the need was so urgent there's no time dig a hole. Not even time to stomp down the grass and weeds. You haven't lived until you had a weed tickle your back side when doing your duty.

rexubaub (author)2014-08-20

nice! also and as you've mentioned that many are doing it in nature, i am interested to know - how to tell if that spot in the wild is considered as poop-favorite spot - because seriously i don't want to poop in a poopular spot where chances of stepping on a chocolate of another's is highly likely.

bricobart (author)rexubaub2014-08-21

Smell is mostly a good indicator. Combined with horizontal, semi-camouflaged nettle-free surfaces - the classic spots. If you choose a slope, there's poor chance you'll arrive in chacolatistan!

lucjoker (author)2014-07-18

Very strange nobody knows (not even the author)how to really poop in nature with no paper whatsoever .All the people in the east do it every day ! Did the englishman not learn anything during their occupation of india?

The secret is water .Nothing sticks to water ! If you work with silicone (very sticky) make your fingers wet first and no silicone will stick on your fingers .

So wiping your bum ,you need a (plastic)bottle of water,put some water on your bum "before" your exercise And wipe your ass off with wet -fingers of your left hand ,nothing will stick on your fingers !Of Course you need to do a minute of balancing ,pouring the water with your right hand and cleaning with your left hand .

Learn it first on a (example ) thai toilet ,there is always a hand shower next to the toilet ,especially for this purpose.

In thailand proper toilet paper is only use as tissue on the dining table(also in a restaurant) ,to clean your hands ,never in a toilet !

bricobart (author)lucjoker2014-07-22

That's when that spoon comes into action again.

kSaletta (author)2014-07-18

"Houston we have a problem"

thecapper (author)2014-07-09

I expect this instructable to be quite poopular.

Turtle_Titan (author)2014-07-08

I'm about to go on a backpacking trip and I'm very glad I found your tips! Nature's call has always been difficult when out in nature. Those close encounters between A and B have always made me nervous!

bricobart (author)Turtle_Titan2014-07-08

Glad you'll put this life skill to the test. Have a very good trip!

jarikcbol (author)2014-06-24

I commend your efforts to enlighten the masses as to proper outdoor personal comfort maintenance. My technique, as I live in an area where digging a hole large enough to use would take several days; is to find a small boulder of appropriate size, (basketball or so) roll it out of its spot, leaving a sizable hole, finish my business in said hole, then gently roll the rock back into place as a covering. If i'm traveling in a group, said rock is then marked with a stack of little rocks on top of it, to ward off others from attempting the same trick using a befouled rock.

bricobart (author)jarikcbol2014-07-08

Seems like a very clever way to do it also! Though those lovely stonemen scenes you see everywhere in mountain areas will never be the same again...

paleogirl (author)2014-07-07

That was very helpful. I've pooped a lot in nature myself and in all these years, I'd never have thought to hold onto a tree. That was worth looking at the instructable in itself! thanks for sharing. I also think you're hilarious. That's a great addition to the submission.

bricobart (author)paleogirl2014-07-08

Thanx for this nice comment! Glad the info has been helpful and good it made you laugh. What's been learned in a nice way will be never forgotten... ;)

Eh Lie Us! (author)2014-06-09

Great use of props. So now does the "G.I." in G.I. Joe stand for Gastro Intestinal? Or should it be changed to G.I. go! ?

bricobart (author)Eh Lie Us!2014-06-09

LOL, again!

bigjknudsen (author)bricobart2014-07-01

just thought i would throw in an lmao because thats exactly what im doing. LMAO probably the funniest AND most informative/useful instructable i have ever read. thanks!

bricobart (author)bigjknudsen2014-07-07

Thanx a lot! I never had more fun making an instructable neither ;)

srafique (author)Eh Lie Us!2014-06-12

Should be G I Go

qewt (author)Eh Lie Us!2014-06-12

Rofl :D

Minmin4225 (author)2014-07-05

Very nice! I can't imagine my mother doing it but I will mention it...

bricobart (author)Minmin42252014-07-07

This material is worth to spread around. Even to your mother...

dougbyte (author)2014-06-09

Great Ible A part of the outdoor experience that should be addressed. I remember as a young lad thinking the taboo thought of how the Lone Ranger and Tonto made doody in the out doors. Since then I've taught kids and Grand kids the different ways. I usually started the young ones with getting them to take one leg completely out of their trousers. This action seems to make it easier for them, and gives a bit of confidence. Thanks for tips.

bricobart (author)dougbyte2014-06-22

You're welcome, thank you!

WantToKnow (author)2014-06-21

Well done and well explained. This is a very serious and important matter, yet quite a "delicate" topic. So this had to be said and (no pun intended) You hit the bull's eye.

There are however quite a few books covering more of this. For the responsible outdoor pooper "How To Sh*t In The Woods" comes into mind.

But again this can't emphasized enough: Pooping in paradise is a responsibility and therefore a craft to learn.

Thank you for this instructable.

bricobart (author)WantToKnow2014-06-22

You're welcome, thanx! I always wanted to write this one, but it's so easy to fall in the 'moralizing'-trap. That's why I changed the gun from shoulder and apparently it worked. It has even become the funniest comment-section ever... ;)

Poppy Ann (author)2014-06-08

when i was in the army we were always told to dig and cover it never leave it exposed but that may have been partly so no one knew we had been there, but with reference to the tree i always found it better to put my back against the tree that way no need to hold onto the tree or suddenly falling into the hole when your hands get tired and you let go also you have your hands free to 1 hold your pants out of the way and wipe at the same time.

also never go where you see army tanks at night as they love to light you up with the IR search light and you get a bad case of sunburn to the backside." i was on an exercise where it hapend to a poor young officer"

londobali (author)Poppy Ann2014-06-09

Personally, I choose to dig-n-cover, which i find more dignified than leaving a warm steamy pile just like that.. They are once the food that gives me energy, minerals and vitamins i need to stay healthy.. The least i can do is give them a proper burial.. :D

bricobart (author)londobali2014-06-09

You should invite all your friends to have at least a small ceremony! ;)

londobali (author)bricobart2014-06-16

Yes, especially if it's a mass burial.. :D

Very interesting fact. Got to wonder how many lumens one of those search lights puts out. How far away can you be and still get sunburned?

on the british chieftain tank it had a 1000000 candle power either IR or white light, I have never seen a light as large anywhere else.

JudyC5201 (author)2014-06-11

You mentioned you "not convinced that burrying is better than not burying". A few days ago I was out fossicking with a small group and we thought we were the first ones in that area this year. Within minutes we changed our minds when one of our dogs came back covered in human poop. Timeframe says it wasn't buried. Wished it was. Very unhygienic.

bricobart (author)JudyC52012014-06-13

You're totally right, it is unhygienic. One of the reasons I didn't think about that aspect is that with 'my technic' I'm always looking for the spots no-one looks for: slopes. So I've rarely been in contact with those 'messy areas'. But I agree, you've got a point. I updated the last UPS 'as a sign of understanding and cooperation' ;) Thanx for commenting and wishing you great walks.

clewis21 (author)2014-06-11

Burying would be the best just like some dogs do that little scooping motion with it's back legs, and cats bury, so.... Very funny post!

bricobart (author)clewis212014-06-13

Thanx, so let's use that spoon!

mcshawnboy (author)2014-06-12

I'm unsure what the Eastern Toilet is so I looked it up, but the images were confusing. A humor show I listen to on satellite radio, The Opie & Anthony Show recently received gifts from a company called Squatty Potty that promotes a more natural angle of defecation. Only comedian Jim Norton took his home for use. Maybe somebody will create an 'ible for a similar device?

RonaldoNZ (author)2014-06-08

Just squat, this need for equipment for the most down to earth of things is laughably ridiculous. I'm surprised there isn't an arduino involved to confirm your angle. And as for the not burying/covering...that is just really short sighted poor some more tramping and be overjoyed when you happen upon someone else's that had that attitude, there are 7 BILLION people on this planet now, the days of "I'm the only one that is going to go here" are well and truly over.

qewt (author)RonaldoNZ2014-06-12

Arduino! I will request an ible about this asap. What a nice idea.

bricobart (author)qewt2014-06-12

Someone should make an app for this. Request supported!

RonaldoNZ (author)bricobart2014-06-12

No matter how good such an app may be

it would remain in actuality

a crap app.


srafique (author)2014-06-12

The Eastern Toilets allow a squatting position .. I grew up using that ..It is simply the best way to poop ..Ever tried it ? A 10 min job becomes 1 minute job .

About This Instructable




Bio: I made a beer mug with only a knife & a hatchet. I think that says a lot about me.
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