How to Dispose of Human Waste While Camping
Camping is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and to spend time outdoors in nature. However, with camping comes certain responsibilities, especially when it comes to handling human waste. In this blog post, I will explain all the best ways to dispose of human waste while camping in a safe, clean, and hygienic manner and provide tips and advice based on my experience as a father of three and a seasoned camper.
1. Know the Laws
The first step when planning a camping trip should always be to check the local laws regarding disposal of human waste. Many local governments have strict regulations about the disposal of human waste, so it is important to be aware of them beforehand. In some cases, you may be required to use a designated area or a well-known disposal method. Failing to do so can result in hefty fines or even imprisonment.
Additionally, make sure you have the proper permits, if required, for any form of human waste disposal you plan on doing.
2. Plan Ahead
It is always a good idea to plan as much as possible ahead of time in order to make sure you are prepared for every possible scenario. When it comes to human waste disposal, planning ahead is especially important. You should ensure that you have all the necessary equipment for disposing of human waste before you start camping.
For example, if you plan on burying your waste, you will need to make sure you have a shovel as well as any other necessary tools. Depending on the terrain you will be camping in, you may also need a pickaxe or a metal rod.
3. Separate and Store Human Waste
During a camping trip, it is important to separate and store human waste in order to make it easier and more hygienic to dispose of later. For example, using separate buckets or containers for waste materials such as urine, fecal matter, and menstrual pads can make disposing of them much easier.
Make sure they are securely stored away from other camping gear and food to avoid contamination. If you are carrying the waste for a long distance, make sure it is sealed in air-tight bags or containers. Additionally, ensuring they are properly labelled can also help in identifying and disposing of them in an appropriate manner.
4. Disposal Methods
There are several different methods of disposing human waste while camping. These can include:
- Burying waste in designated areas
- Using backcountry latrines (available in some campsites)
- Using portable toilets
- Disposing of waste in bodies of water
- Using composting toilets
Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to weigh all of your options before deciding which one is best for you.
Burying Waste in Designated Areas
Burying your waste in designated areas is probably the most common option for disposing human waste while camping. This method is relatively easy and hygienic, as long as you follow the proper steps. Make sure you dig the hole at least six inches deep and at least 200 feet away from any bodies of water.
When you are finished, make sure you fill the hole back in and cover it up with natural materials such as rocks, leaves, and twigs to discourage people and animals from finding it. It is also a good idea to bring an extra shovel along in case of emergencies.
Using Backcountry Latrines
Many campsites have special backcountry latrines that are designed for disposing of human waste. These latrines are usually located in areas that are away from the main campsite and away from rivers and other bodies of water. They are usually very simple and require no special tools or equipment.
They consist of an enclosure with a toilet seat and a container beneath the seat to store the waste. Make sure you bring a shovel and sturdy plastic bags so you can seal the waste properly.
Using Portable Toilets
Portable toilets are great for camping trips, especially if you are camping in a remote area. They are typically self-contained and come with bags or containers for disposing of waste. All you have to do is place the bag into the container and it will seal automatically when you are done.
Make sure you empty the container regularly and replace the bag when necessary. Additionally, it is important to properly sanitize the area around the toilet after each use.
Disposing of Waste in Bodies of Water
This method is only suitable in certain scenarios, such as in large bodies of water like oceans, lakes, and rivers. Disposing your waste in a body of water is not only dangerous and harmful to the environment but is also illegal in many areas.
Using Composting Toilets
Composting toilets are a great option for campers who are looking for an eco-friendly and hygienic way to dispose of human waste. They work by breaking down human waste into compost, which can then be used as fertilizer in gardens and other places.
Composting toilets are relatively easy to use and require minimal setup and maintenance. The only downside is they are much more expensive than other disposal methods.
When disposing of human waste while camping it is important to keep in mind certain considerations such as your location, the terrain, the environment, and the regulations of the area. It is also important to ensure that the waste is disposed of properly and in a hygienic way in order to protect yourself and the environment.
It is also worth mentioning that if you are camping in a remote area or a remote part of a national park, you may not be able to dispose of your waste in a way that is considered hygienic or safe. In these cases, it is a good idea to look into alternative methods such as burying, composting, or even burning the waste.
Finally, if you are planning on burying your waste make sure you check for any underground utilities and leave marking flags or stones to indicate where the waste is buried. This is important in order to avoid any potential damages or injuries to people who may be trying to locate the waste later.
Disposing of human waste while camping can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the tips and advice outlined in this blog post and exercising a bit of caution and common sense, it can be done properly and in a way that is both hygienic and safe for yourself and the environment.
If you are still unsure about the best way to dispose of your waste, seeking out a local authority or an experienced camper can help you get the information you need to make the best decision.