When You Gotta Go… Quick Guide To Toilet-ing In The Woods.
We’ve all been there. Even the most experienced hikers have had to go seek a spot off-trail to do some business. And half the time, for dudes, of course this isn’t an issue. But lord knows for most ladies out there, it can lead to a comedy of errors. On the other hand fellas, some of these tips may work when you aren’t sitting to do your business.
But there’s a lot more to it than just ‘how’. What about whether to bury your treasures, or hike them out? What if you do need to squat and have balance issues or something like that? There are all very real scenarios out on the hiking trail, or even camping in the woods. When you gotta go, you gotta go.
Step 1 is picking the right spot. Not only do you want a little privacy, of course, but also make sure you’re not near open water. Considered opinion, according to the BDN, is that you get at least 200 feet from open water, so as not to pose any risk of contaminating the water. Streams don’t need to be full of the 4 Red Bulls you had before you left on the hike.
Also, look for a bare spot if you can. Sometimes your scents will attract animals. Not only do you not want them looking for you, no animal wants a whizz covered salad for lunch. It’s full of salt and other minerals that critters may be on the hunt for. So look for a spot animals won’t necessarily like. Plus… poison ivy. This is a bad time to find that.
Now, this is for the women mostly, but sometimes men might need a quick squat to do a little advanced varsity bathrooming, if you know what I mean. You can do a number of things to prop yourself up better. Maybe grab a tree in front of you, or hang your backside over a fallen log, or go pants around one leg?
All this is to keep you, and your pants especially, from getting covered in unmentionable grossness. For the fairer sex, there are devices you can buy as well like the Go-Girl or the She-Wee. Guys have their own built-in equipment and won’t need a device like that. I have a female friend who camps a LOT, and swears by either device.
The next most important thing is what to do with any paper products your little adventure may produce. In some cases, it’s totally appropriate to dig a hole and bury all your leavings. Any other time, you’re going to want to pack out your trash like any other trip into the woods. Bring a shovel!
And lastly, while it’s ok to use Mother Nature’s papier du toilette, such as leaves or whatnot, make sure you 110 % know what your using as a TP sub. Remember…poison ivy is everywhere. Nobody wants poison ivy in a place that isn’t polite to scratch, right?