Home > Skills, ultralight bicycle touring > Skills: How to Poop in the Woods

Skills: How to Poop in the Woods

Picture this.  You’re struggling up some mountain pass or cruising down some country road when you are overcome by that all too familiar, twisting screwdriver stabbed in the gut pain.  You, dear friend, have got to go potty, and soon!  You frantically look around for a service station or a trusty Mickey D’s, but no, nothing but woods on either side. 

Not to fret, with a little training and some basic equipment you too can poop with confidence in the most primitive of settings.  Called ‘Wilderness Pooping’ by some (or X-Pooping: see ESPN’s 2011 summer X-Games line up), pooping in the woods is nothing new to avid hikers, hunters and the few holdouts for indoor plumbing. 

Without being too graphic, here’s how it’s done.  Find a secluded spot at least two hundred feet from any water source, stream, pond or lake.  Why so far from water?  Because poo can kill ya, or at least make you very ill.  It seems in God’s infinite wisdom, he put deadly bacteria in our gut.  Besides, pooping next to water someone might drink is just nasty.  So don’t do it. 

Next you will need to dig a cathole at least six inches deep.  Similar to what cats do in their litter box; hence the term.  A lightweight but sturdy plastic garden trowel is perfect for the job.  Try not to scatter the dirt.  Make a pile of dirt next to the hole.  You will need it to fill in after.

Now you are ready to poop.  Imagination fades to black. Fade in. Great, you’re all done.  Just cover the hole and walk away.  If a car passes as you’re walking out of the woods, look around innocently, as if you’d stop to bird watch or admire the wild flowers.

Here’s a list of the basic equipment needed:

  • Garden Trowel
  • Bio-degradable toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer (also doubles as a fire starter)
  • Stuff sack

Basic Stuff

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