Ten Tips for Going Potty In The Woods
The wilderness is one place to be when you want to get in touch with your green side but what will you do when nature calls? What will you do if you felt those beads of sweat trickling across your forehead and you need to use the toilet yet there’s no toilet in sight? Worry no more and read on. You and your scouts might find these tips useful when venturing into the wilderness.
Make sure you have all required permits to go into the backcountry and ask the ranger about the rules regarding human waste. For example the Grand Canyon allows you to bury the waste, but you must pack out the paper, etc. Zion on the other hand you must pack out the waste, paper... everything. At Zion failure to pack everything out will result in some nasty fines.
1. Be mindful of where you defecate, it’s a matter of below or above the tree line. Basically, it’s rocks above tree line and good soil below tree line. It does makes a difference knowing how to properly and decently defecate while camping. (You’re not some dumb bear to be pooping everywhere). Make sure your 200-300 feet from any running or standing water.
When you’re below tree lines, make sure to dig a hole and cover your poop with soil and put a rock on it when finished. When above tree line, and when you need to poop on a rock, select a good rock. Choose a flat, eastern or western facing rock and do your business there.
Now, as gross as it is you need to smear your poop with a smaller rock over the surface of the flat rock. You’re not playing with it, it’s just that, it’s the best way to make sure that you don't damage other hikers or the environment. The poop will dry in the sun, and flake off when wind comes up. It's the best option for getting rid of your waste when you can't bury it.
2. Before going to the wilderness, be sure that you have biodegradable toilet paper and your hand shovel or trowel. These two will help you when you need to go potty and there’s no bathroom in sight.
3. Despite tip number two of this, there is always a possibility that you might run out of toilet paper. You can ask for some from your companions but what will you do if they don’t have any? Be resourceful! Use the greenery around you. Yes, you got it right! You can use leaves! But be careful, some leaves are poisonous. Be sure that the leaves you’re about to use are safe.
4. If you are walking with your group and don’t have any access to bathroom facilities, don’t cut yourself from the group to answer the call of the wild. Always tell your companions what you are about to do and ask them to wait for you. This will prevent you from being left behind.
5. Once you inform your companions, look a private place yet still within the range of sight of your group.
6. Now that you have picked a place, check the surroundings. You might get in contact with something poisonous such as poison ivy. Not only that, there might be some poisonous snakes or bugs so be sure that you have checked your surroundings carefully.
7. Dig a hole. This hole will be the place where you will drop your poop. Dig the hole same as you would for a plant. This will help level the ground despite of the added amount of substance you have left.
8. After doing your private business, clean the area. Cover your droppings with dirt using your hand shovel. Pack all wiping material in it’s own baggie and the baggie inside a paper bag so you don't see it (don’t bury it; that’s so uncool).
9. Clean your hand shovel. Before putting your hand shovel in your bag, clean it with leaves or your left over biodegradable tissue paper.
10. Now, clean your hands. If running water is not available, you can use hand sanitizers or alcohol instead.
The tips above might be the most useful tips you’ll ever get when camping. Fear not when you feel that you need to answer Mother Nature’s call. Answer it! Drop the bomb and be relieved.