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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Runner Up in the
Great Outdoors Contest