QUOTE

WHEREVER SHE GOES, SHE GOES WITH ALL HER HEART.

HOW TO: PEE AND POOP IN THE WOODS

4/14/12

Don't act like that grossed you out! I am not alone in this! WE ALL DO IT!

That being said...

I'm planning a camping trip for one week to Yosemite National Park. We leave in a week or so, and with camping on my mind with no electricity I thought it wise to share a thing or two I've learned from Mother Nature herself. The triplets grew up camping and that's basically just what we do. Period.

Kylie, BFF Rachelle, Megan and Lisa circa 2007 at 19 years old

In the triplet trio, I, Kylie, am known as the professional squatter. Even before living in China and mastering the art to a T, I already had the squat down and was teaching all my friends at girls camp when I was 12 years old. It's a gift. I recall teaching my own sissy, Megs, how to do it - and even though she would often leave a little present for her sneakers later on she has improved with the techniques Master Kylie has taught.
Ya win some, ya lose some - am I right?

The number one quesiton people ask a frequent camper, 
"Where do you go to the bathroom?" My intial thought to this question is, "what a dumb question."
But then I remember a few guidelines won't hurt. So here I am - raising awareness.
You gotta pee? Poop? Both? Something else? Now you're feeling uncertain...where do I go?
Where CAN I go? Will someone see me (how embarrassing!)? Do I dig a hole? Do I bring a bag? Are there rules? What do I wipe with (a leaf?!)? The list goes on and on.
The answer is obvious: go in the woods! 

NOTE: I was caught in the act hiking the Napali Coast by a hippy and although I was mortified he didn't seem to mind... hilarious memory, after the fact. Keep an open mind, people! If this happens to you, try and laugh about it and you'll feel a lot better.

Let me spell it out for you.

1. Pee
Guys, you have it easy. Women, not so much. Here's how we can help.
Think SQUATS. You know, like when you're pumping iron in the gym. When you have to go really bad, you're just going to have to count on getting a workout and have your thighs burning. But hang in there and don't let your legs rest. It's not worth it if you move and wiggle around and have some trial-and-error situations. There's also the "prop" position which can REALLY be useful. Find a secluded spot at least 200 feet from your campsite or any water source with a couple logs across from each other. Sit on one log, and prop your feet on the log across from you. It becomes a natural sitting toilet of sorts. Do NOT forget your TP or hand sanitizer... that would suck.

2. Poop
Essentially the same thing. Pop a squat or pop a prop. The main difference between pee and poo is that you gotta dig a hole for the poo. Don't just leave it out in the open - that's disgusting. Dig a hole at least 6-8" deep and bury it so  no one else has to run into it. Nothing is grosser than that, and trust me, it happens. Be respectful to the environment and other outdoorsmen.

3. Girl stuff
If you're in a situation where you're having an unfriendly visitor of the month, remember this: do NOT bury or burn your feminine hygiene products! That is NOT good for the environment and actually attracts bears. Burning the product will take a SUPER hot fire and basically won't work... and burying it in proximity to your camp site is like setting bait. NO thank you. Wrap it up and double seal it in a ziplock bag within another ziplock bag and store it in your bear box, or wherever all your rubbish is... this is a good thing to know, ladies. Seal it.

4. Hole vs. baggy
It's up to you. Personally, I prefer a hole. Go at least 200 feet from your campsite or any source of water, and dig the hole at least 6" and bury your waste. It's nice because you can disguise your little hole afterwards and try to restore a "natural looking" mound. Be sure to NOT go in the same place twice, because that slows decomposition. If you're required to use a bag, which in some parks or trails you are, fill it up with some kitty litter and keep some plastic gloves on hand and pack it out that way. It's kinda gross but such is life sometimes. We're all animals after all, it seems.

5. Pack in, pack out
Any outdoors guru knows this is the golden rule of the backcountry. Pack out all human waste products and rubbish. This goes for anything rubbish-related in the outdoors. Do not leave any trace behind. It is disrespectful to nature, other hikers, backpackers and campers following the trail.

Kylie, triplet #1, circa 2007 at 19 years old

That's it. That's all. It's easy. 
Pop a squat and hope for the best. 

14 comments

  1. haha i loved this. i quickly learned how to pee like the indians and freely do it on the sidewalk... it took awhile to be brave, but then realized that it's their way of life!

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  2. uuuuuu!! Such wisdom! I'm a young grasshopper at this guru Ky

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  3. A friend gave me a pretty good tip. She brings empty bags of coffee grounds with her camping to haul out human waste. They are really thick, have a strong scent to cover up any icky smells, and often have those little metal bits to secure the fold and keep it closed. Of course, if you're spending multiple days in the woods you might not have enough bags... but for just a quick weekend trip it would work pretty well.

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    1. Oh and if you're up high in the mountains where it's chilly year round, waste does not break down. Make sure you pack it out instead of attempting to dig a hole! A professor at my university was studying the effects of poop left by hikers on mountains and his research topic has always stuck with me!

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    2. ha i love that! i will keep that in mind. i heard that coffee can option too, so many good things we can do to help our environment. thanks jill!

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  4. Hahaha. When I saw the post title, I knew I would love this post. And I was right! I , too, was a bit of a girl's camp legend with the outdoor business-doin'. Had to take some beehives under my wing a time or two. Also, I'm glad you are the kinda person who can talk about this kind of stuff. That's when you know someone's great. I knew I picked a good one when, on a really steep hike, my boy offered to hold my hands behind his back and helped me do some sort of suspended squat thing off the hill to get 'er done. Overshare? Maybe. Buuut. When nature calls, it's FINE. :)

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    1. this is hilarious, love it. glad you picked a good one haha and are a pro!!

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  5. HILARIOUS! you are so good ky, haha. i still suck at peeing in the woods! always peed on my pants! hahaha.

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  6. lol I love this post! Now I feel more confident about hiking and camping! You girls are too awesome :)

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  7. this is so hilarious. I love you girls :)

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  8. I love this, my husband is slightly disgusted by LNT (leave no trace), and gives me a hard time for being so adament about it.

    Have you ever read this book? My favorite page layout is the bathroom squatting illustrations, I never knew how many there were!
    http://www.amazon.com/Allen-Mikes-Really-Cool-Backpackin/dp/1560449128

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  9. This cracked me up! But it is really helpful! I think we all have had awkward experiences out in the woods while tending to personal issues, but such is life! :p I like the kitty litter tip though! Thanks for sharing hehe

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  10. @Kristen. I hadn't heard of that book. I'm going to look for that! I really like the Roam the Woods (facebook) illustrations called "The Art of Peeing in the Woods", which are pretty hilarious.

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  11. I love that you are comfortable enough to share this and it was super helpful. "We're all animals after all, it seems" - Amen to that, sister.

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