When Camping, Where Do You Poop? Health Risks and Safety Measures

When Camping, Where Do You Poop? Health Risks and Safety Measures

Off-grid adventures are indeed exhilarating. You’re surrounded by Mother Nature in all her glory, blue sky overhead, and the sweet melody of bird songs accompanying your hiking trips. However, regardless of the thrill of exploring outdoor wilderness, there’s one decidedly less glamorous aspect of camping where even experienced campers might wrinkle their noses: answering nature’s call in nature. In other words, where do you poop when camping? Let’s discuss this unsung aspect of camping, focusing especially on the health risks involved and the best safety measures to undertake.

Understanding The ‘Why’ Behind Proper Waste Disposal

The great outdoors is all ours to enjoy, but we share it with a myriad of other creatures. The wilderness is their home, and as responsible campers and hikers, we should make every effort to minimize our impact and maintain as natural an environment as possible. Poorly disposed human waste can contaminate local water sources, harm wildlife, and spread diseases among other campers.

The Health Risks Involved

Aside from the obvious ‘ick’ factor that might deter others from enjoying outdoor spaces, human feces can be a potent carrier of diseases. Giardia, E. coli, hepatitis, and other pathogens can often be found in human waste. If it ends up in water sources or is otherwise improperly handled, it can become a source of infection. This sanitary hazard can pose significant health risks to other campers and hikers, as well as the wildlife that inhabit these places.

Different Ways to Poop While Camping

When it comes to handling this delicate issue on your camping trip, there are a few acceptable options.

Digging a Cathole

The most established method in remote locations is to simply dig a hole, often called a cathole. Choose a spot that is at least 200 feet or about 70 adult steps away from water sources, trails, or campsites. Using a small shovel or trowel, dig a hole about 6-8 inches deep and 4-6 inches in diameter. After use, cover the hole with the excavated dirt and place a rock or branch on top to discourage wildlife from digging.

Using a Portable Toilet

In certain places or for campers who prefer more comfort, portable toilets can be an option. These devices range from simple seat and waste bag combinations to more elaborate set-ups with flushing mechanism.

Poop Bags and Portable Toilets

These are essentially plastic bags with chemicals inside that break down waste and kill bacteria and viruses. They come with a bag to pack out your waste. Make sure to dispose of them properly, in a trash can or dumpster, as they should not be buried or left behind.

Toilet Paper and Wipes

Toilet paper should be used sparingly and packed out in a sealed plastic bag, as it does not decompose quickly. You can also use specific camping wipes, which can be kinder to the environment, but they should also be packed out. Under no circumstances should you burn toilet paper or wipes.

Safety Measures to Adhere To

Observing proper sanitary and safety measures when dealing with human waste during camping is paramount. Here are some of the most integral safety procedures you should follow.

Proper Hand Hygiene

Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after doing your business, especially before handling food or communal supplies to avoid spreading germs. If soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer.

Leave No Trace

The ‘leave no trace’ philosophy is key to responsible camping. This means you take out everything you brought with you, including waste. Leaving human waste in open areas or burying it too shallowly can result in contamination of water sources and harm to local wildlife.

Dispose of Waste Properly

If you use a portable camp toilet or poop bags, ensure the waste is disposed of properly at home or at facilities designed for this purpose. Do not leave waste bags at the campsite or along the trail.

In Conclusion

So, there you have it. Camping and hiking are amazing adventures that let you connect with nature on a deeper level. However, being a responsible camper means considering all aspects of your trip, even the less pleasant ones like where to poop. Learning about these practices is vital for the health and safety of oneself, the people you share the trails and campsites with, and the local wildlife. So strap on your backpack, prepare for every part of your journey, and respect the environment you’re temporarily calling home. Happy camping!

By Kokoda Gear Uncategorized