Major Environmental Concerns: When Camping, Where Do You Poop?

Major Environmental Concerns: When Camping, Where Do You Poop?

In a world ablaze with the issues of pollution and climate change, major environmental concerns aren’t just limited to large-scale industrial actions. Even seemingly harmless activities, like enjoying the outdoors and going camping, can have detrimental impacts on the environment if not carried out responsibly. One of the key concerns, which may appear taboo or even a bit trifling, happens to be a reality of life: when camping, where do you poop?

The topic may be awkward, but it’s a serious one. This seemingly mundane part of our everyday life, if not managed correctly during camping, can have serious implications to the environment, wildlife, and other campers. The natural ecosystem can be thrown into disarray with waste disposal that is unchecked, uncontrolled, and undealt with in an environmentally-friendly manner.

The Problem

Human waste, poop specifically, can be damaging to the environment if left in inappropriate places. Human feces contain bacteria and pathogens that can contaminate local water sources, spread diseases, and cause harm to the indigenous wildlife. Besides, no camper would want to encounter human waste while trying to enjoy the serenity and beauty of the great outdoors.

The ‘Leave No Trace’ Principle and Poop Etiquette

‘Leave No Trace’ is a principle every outdoor enthusiast should live by. The outdoor ethics code guides us to enjoy the natural world in a sustainable way that avoids human-created impacts. Under this principle, the question of “where to poop when camping” takes on an important aspect of camping etiquette.

Firstly, let’s get clear on one thing: You never poop near water sources. This act could lead to severe pollution and disruption of the aquatic life therein. Always make sure to dispose of your fecal matter at least 200 feet (approximately 70 steps) away from any water bodies to prevent contamination.

What To Do If You Must Go?

Mother Nature doesn’t run on our schedules. When you’re outside and you need to go, you need to go. But how can we take care of our personal needs while ensuring that we don’t harm the environment?

Dig a Cathole

One of the most common methods for responsible outdoor poop-disposal is digging a cathole. It’s a little pit, about 6 to 8 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches in diameter, ideally in organic soil. This type of soil, rich in organic matter and organisms, acts as a natural decomposer helping to break down the feces and toilet paper. But remember, the hole should be at least 200 feet away from water, trails, and campsites.

Carry Out Your Poop

In high altitudes, desert conditions, or places with thin soil surfaces, it becomes difficult for poop to decompose naturally. In such terrain, the ideal solution is to use “pack it in, pack it out,” methodology. There are many portable, reusable waste bags, also called “wag bags,” that you can use. These bags often come with decomposition and odor neutralizer materials, making the whole process sanitary and odor-free. After using, you seal it and carry it with you until you can dispose of it in a designated waste bin.

What About Toilet Paper and Feminine Hygiene Products?

When it comes to toilet paper, if you must use it, opt for a biodegradable one. However, you should still pack it out. Toilet paper, even when buried, can take considerable time to decompose and often gets dug up by animals, creating an unsightly and unhealthy mess.

For feminine hygiene products, the rule is simple: Pack it in, pack it out. These products are not biodegradable and can wreak havoc on the environment if left behind. Pack them out in a sealed bag and dispose of them properly once you are back in civilization.

Consider Alternatives: The Portable Travel Toilet

A portable travel toilet can be a great alternative, especially for family camping. They are compact, lightweight, and most importantly, they keep the environment clean. All the waste gets collected in a waste tank, which you can empty in a proper waste disposal facility.

In Conclusion

While the topic of where to poop when camping may seem trivial, it is a significant aspect of responsible camping. Following the ‘Leave No Trace’ principle ensures the continued beauty and health of our outdoor spaces for future generations to enjoy. Through creating awareness and adopting ethical environmental practices, we, as campers and lovers of the great outdoors, can do our part to preserve the natural world.

By Kokoda Gear Uncategorized