Mastering How to Dispose of Poop When Camping
There’s really no sugar-coating it: pooping in the great outdoors is an inevitability whether you’re a casual camper or an experienced wilderness enthusiast. As a seasoned camper myself and a father of three, I understand the importance of respecting the environment while also disposing of human waste properly. But how can campers make sure they dispose of their poop when they’re off the grid? Read on for bathroom etiquette and maintenance tips as we break it down for you.
Where to Poop
When nature calls, you can’t always wait until you’re back at your campsite. That’s why it’s important to know where to go to do your business. The number one rule of camping etiquette is to always go a good distance away from water sources such as rivers, lakes, and ponds. Keeping restrooms and water sources separate is important to maintain the healthy ecosystem. Aim to use pit toilets, if available, within campgrounds or parks.
If you’re trekking and find yourself in a spot with no restroom in sight, on a remote trail, for instance, bury your waste. All over a good distance of course, and without going too deep. Nature can help break it down and some animals can even use it as a meal. (Not dogs though, please!) Experts suggest digging around six to eight inches to bury your poop. Aim not to leave any traces.
Pack out the products you use to poop. That includes any toilet paper, wipes, or whatever else you use to clean yourself. This is a very important step to observe when engaging in your “business outside”. The leftover paper products can leave your mark on the environment and pose a threat to wildlife.
The Golden Rule: Leave No Trace
Exploring and experiencing the great outdoors is one of life’s great joys, and part of that joy is the responsibility of preserving nature for future generations. As campers, our responsibility is to leave no trace so that others can enjoy the same breathtaking experiences as us. So, always double check after you’ve done your business and make sure you didn’t leave any trace.
Pack a picnic lunch or dinner to bring along with you the next time you go camping. If packing lightly is not your style, make sure to include all of the essential items for managing your waste:
- A metal trowel (for digging)
- Biodegradable toilet paper
- Antibacterial wipes or baby wipes
- Gallon-sized zip bags (for carrying out used wipes and paper)
- Hand sanitizer
These items will help you to keep yourself comfortable while out on the trail and also help you to manage your poop responsibly.
Even if you think you left no trace, it’s a good idea to use a pooper scooper if you have one handy. This way, you can make sure you get every single bit of your excrement and dispose of it properly. Using a pooper scooper is quick, easy, and helps protect against diseases and the spread of germs.
Practice Safety Awareness
Not every campsite or trail is the same, and some require a bit more caution when it comes to waste disposal. In areas that require a bit more caution, it’s necessary to be aware of your surroundings and any potential dangers. When burying your waste, pay attention to the plants in the area. Make sure not to step on any living vegetation with your shovel or trowel to prevent damage to the environment.
Moreover, try to avoid areas that are frequented by scavenging animals. Even though it’s their natural habitat, it’s a good idea to stay away from potential areas that are easily accessed by them. This will keep your campsite both hygienic and safe.
Dispose of Bags Properly
The last step to Mastering How to Dispose of Poop When Camping is to properly dispose of your bags. The best way to do this is to throw them in the trash receptacle at your campsite or on the trail. If a trash receptacle is not available, then I recommend burning the used bags. It’s the easiest way to keep your site clean.
Be a Responsible Camper
Being an active and responsible camper is the key to ensuring the beauty of nature is maintained for years to come. It takes the collective effort of everyone who visits the great outdoors to do this. So, the next time you go camping, make sure you understand the importance of proper waste disposal and how to manage it properly.
Take a look at the helpful video below to learn more about how to properly dispose of your waste when camping:
It’s entirely possible to enjoy the great outdoors and respect nature at the same time. With a bit of awareness and planning, you can ensure your next camping adventure leaves behind a positive impact and a lasting memory.