How to Shit in the Woods... Like a Lady
No one really likes to talk about it, but everyone poops. And taking a dump in the woods is almost a rite of passage for outdoors people, so I’m here to teach you all how to take a shit in the woods… like a lady.
First, you’re going to need some tools. In order to speed up the whole process, its best to be organized.
Toilet paper (or as we refer to them, shit tickets)
Pack-it-out bag (for used toilet paper, however, you can pack out the entire deposit you’re about to make if you would like)
Remember to always let someone in your group know where you’re going, just in case you don’t come back in a timely manner. There’s nothing worse than going missing because you got caught with your pants down when a bear decided to charge. Well maybe there are worse things. But that’s still pretty horrible.
So now is the fun part. Being a woman, you are probably going to want to get as far away from your group as possible, just in case there’s an off chance someone might seeing you dropping a very unladylike deuce. Head out a minimum of 100 feet from camp or a trail, since some bugs an animals are attracted to feces and you would hate to be the reason they were drawn into camp. So now that you’re good and out of eyesight, make sure you’re at least 200 feet from any water source or dry wash area.
Let’s talk about digging your cat-hole. You will need to get that handy trowel out and dig a hole 6 inches deep. Worried you wont have the aim necessary to get it in the hole? That’s okay. Some people prefer to poop first, and dig later. That’s totally your preference. So where do you dig your hole? Right where you’re planning to shit, that’s where. Lets talk about balance and positions to poop in before you pick your spot.
Now for the tricky part. How the hell are you suppose to stand? Some women prefer to wear a skirt and go commando when in the woods for easy access. That is probably the easiest way because that’s a stop, drop, and plop situation. I feel like I would be helping feed the Alaska mosquito population if I wore a skirt.
If for some reason you find yourself naked from the waist down, there is always the method of holding onto a tree and leaning back as far as possible from your shoes. Its a little unconventional, but I have seen multiple nudist hiking groups out there… so whatever floats your boat.
I like to wear pants, and while I could spent time trying to perfect my balance, I prefer not to squat as it is a constant reminder that I really shouldn’t have skipped leg day the first 30 years of my life. My favorite, and what I think is the most relaxed way to drop a deuce and enjoy your surroundings, is to find a rock or a log and either sit with a cheek supported on said item or on the edge (like its a bench you don’t put your whole butt on) so that everything is aligned to fall neatly (well, after eating mountain house is anything really neat?) into my pre-dug hole.
So now that you’ve completed your mission, what do you do? Well, wipe. There’s no sense in ruining a good pair of underwear. When you’re done, put your toilet paper in your pack-it-out bag (which is normally a Ziploc baggie). I have friends who prefer to burn their used TP in the campfire when we are at places that allow open fires, but be mindful that when you do, you’re basically making your friends watch you burn paper with your shit on it.
So now to dispose of the evidence. Get that stick you brought out here with you. You’re going to use it to loosen some dirt on the edges of your cat-hole around your turd. Next, pretend you’re at home stirring breadcrumbs into a meatloaf and stir that loose dirt into your turd. “But why?!” You’re probably asking me with shame and disgust in your eyes. Because stirring bacteria rich soil into your turd will help it break down faster. Did you know that a turd in the woods can take over a year to break down naturally? So stirring is just good Karma and your fellow hikers and outdoors people will thank you.
Use your trowel and fill your cat-hole back in and tamp down the dirt like you just planted an award winning seed for the state fair. (Which, if you haven’t seen our amazing produce at the Alaska State Fair, I suggest you take time to visit this summer or at least google some of the blue ribbon winners.)
Lastly, recompose yourself and get your clothes back on, use some hand sanitizer if you have it, and proudly march back into camp with a sense of accomplishment and instant weight loss.
That’s it. You did it and kept it classy. If I could give you a merit badge I would.
A few tips my back packing friends would like to add:
Don’t shit in the snow (or on a glacier, for that matter). It looks horrible and the snow will eventually melt and run down with your turd and who knows where it will end up. Find an area with dirt and dig a cat-hole there or pack out your poop.
Smearing Vaseline on your nether-regions can aid in faster and easier clean-up. (I’ve never tried this, but I can see how it could be handy.)
Watch out for poisonous plants and prickly plants. You would hate to squat on or accidentally wipe with something that will hurt you.
Just because you’re out in the woods doesn’t mean you can shit just anywhere. Know your surroundings and be respectful to other backpackers.
Do you have any tips, suggestions, or funny stories? Add them down in the comments.