Bodily functions in the woods can be difficult because no one talks about how to do it. You have to figure it out yourself, in the middle of nowhere. This post may make you blush with its total honesty and inappropriate humor, but it will help you spend all day in the most beautiful places without worry. With a little practice, every time you walk into a gas station bathroom, you will wish that you were in the woods instead.
How to Piddle in the Forest
*If you are masculine, scroll down. This section doesn’t apply to you.*
These are my three favorite ways to accomplish this with minimum difficulty. *A* cannot be done with your pack on, unless it is very light. *B* and *C* can be done with or without your pack on. If you are using a pack with a hip belt, you may have to undo the clasp and choose *B*. The most important thing is to try different variations and find out what is the most comfortable.
How to do Your Doody on the Ground
If you have great knees and the ability to relax specific muscles on command then you can do your doody using position *A* from the piddle section. If that is not the case then I prefer the sit-and-admire-the-view methods.
Go off the trail and out of site, finding a boulder with an almost vertical side and sit on the edge. You may have to prop yourself up with your hands. If there are no good rocks, a dry log that is not too scratchy will serve as a good toilet seat. Whichever you choose, make sure you dig a hole for the poop directly under your butt. Balance on the edge and try to relax.
My best advice if you have a hard time going in stressful circumstances is to eat enough healthy fat in your diet (this will make things go smoother), make sure you wait until right before you have to use the bathroom, and try to enjoy the view. Also, don’t worry if it takes a few times to get used to it.
Important note – Make sure you go 200ft away from any water source so that you don’t contaminate it. Another hiker may be getting their drinking water there.
Should you use the Privy?
When you go backpacking you will sometimes encounter privys. Dark, smelly closets that serve as bathrooms for shelter or primitive campsite occupants. Porcupines love them but most of the time they are just gross. On the NP Trail I encountered a privy that was full to the brim, and the one pictured to the left which offered a great view but no cover. The North Country Trail in Ohio had a luxurious privy the size of a small house where my business was interrupted by a ranger – very embarrassing.
There are different kinds of privys, but the most nose and environmentally friendly kind is a composting privy. You will know when you encounter one of these because they usually have a sign up. Leave the pee outside of a composting privy and when you poop, throw a handful of sticks and leaves down to help with the composting.
You may not have the option of a privy, so be prepared to attempt any of the squatting or sitting methods pictured above. I promise that you will get used to it all.
Cons of using the great green potty:
- You could be interrupted at any moment.
- The pre and post business can be more complicated.
- You can’t just walk up to a sink and wash your hands, so bring sanitizer.
- A little balance is helpful.
Pros of accepting all I have said as inevitable and normal:
- You can go potty whenever you need to, not just when a bathroom is available.
- There is never a line.
- You don’t have to touch anything that someone else has touched (unless you are using a privy).
- You can feel comfortable anywhere. Think of all the places there are to explore.
- The view is incomparable.
Next Post: Toilet Paper in the Woods