What To Do When You Gotta Poo (On A Hike!)

By Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick at Wild Women On Top

How do you feel about pooping on paper, popping it into a zip-lock bag and then carrying it out? What about digging a hole in the ground for your business?

For many women, the thought of pooing anywhere other than a sparkling white porcelain bowl is enough to deter them from adventures. But don’t let this be you!

You’ll soon learn how to go au naturale with a few tips and tricks from Wild Women. One of the most fabulous things about going in the great outdoors is that, unlike public toilets, it’s virtually germ free.

To entice you to step outside your comfort zone and try it, we’ve outlined the different toilet options you’re likely to encounter when you go out hiking, so you can feel prepared for anything.

Long drop, bucket flush or eco-composting toilets

Many hiking tracks these days have either eco-composting toilets or long drop holes at campsites. These are usually okay, but in places like Nepal and Africa you might get hand-bucket flushing loos that can be beyond disgusting. 

Here’s how to have the best possible experience:

  • Make a lanyard using a bit of string and loop your toilet paper through it. This way, you can wear it around your neck, so you have your hands free!
  • Take a deep breath before you enter and try not to inhale too much. We recommend donning a buff over your mouth and nose before entering (a few drops of essential oil on your buff never hurts either!)
  • Touch as little as possible and be forearmed with hand sanitiser.  

Poo Kit

On most guided Western trails, your guides will carry a team Poo Kit, but if you’re independent hiking or don’t like sharing here’s what you need:

  • A poo trowel
  • Zip Lock Bags
  • Wet wipes
  • Loo paper
  • Hand sanitiser

If you have all that in your backpack, you’re guaranteed not to need it! But no matter how prepared you are, sometimes you’re going to get caught out. And when that happens, just breathe and look for the funny side. 

Dig-a-hole toileting

If you’re in an area where you don’t need to pack it out, you will still need to DYI by digging a hole and covering your business appropriately. Sometimes your guides will dig team toilet holes with fold up toilet seats in mobile toilet tents but if not, you’ll have to master the technique yourself. 

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Find a private place at least 100 meters from a water source
  2. Dig a hole at least 15cm deep
  3. Poo in the hole
  4. Wipe your bum and place the paper in a pre-prepared zip-lock bag (no, you can’t leave the paper in the bush!)
  5. Cover the poo up with dirt, leaves and anything else you can find to ensure it remains safely hidden.

Pack-it-out toileting

If you’re in remote wilderness there will be a leave-no-trace policy which includes your poo. Yep, you need to pack it out.

But if you’re worried about it, I want to let you in on two little secrets:

  • It’s pretty uncommon to have to pack out your poo. Many of our Wild Women who have hiked all over the world with us have NEVER had to do it. Luckily we’ve had guides to carry it. 
  • Even if you do, it’s definitely not as bad as you think it’s going to be as long as you’re prepared (unless you get diarrhea, and then it’s way worse!)

Here are your options for packing it out.

If you know you have to carry it out, pack a few 30cm square pieces of baking paper (we recommend one for each day you’re out, plus a spare for an emergency poo. If you poo more often, bring more paper!)

The baking paper technique:

  1. Find a private place at least 100 meters from a water source
  2. Place your square of baking paper on the ground
  3. Get your zip-lock bags ready
  4. Prepare your five squares of unbleached loo paper by folding not scrunching
  5. Squat facing uphill and poo in the middle of the paper (you’ll be glad you practiced yoga squats now won’t you!) 
  6. Wipe your bum and place the paper on top of the poo
  7. Wait for the wee to run off, then carefully draw the four corners of the paper up and delicately deposit, then lock, the package in your zip-lock bag. Place it inside another zip-lock bag and zip tightly before stowing into another plastic bag for transport

The Wag Bag Technique

A Wag Bag is a special type of toileting bag used to poo in, store and transport your poo. It’s like a big garbage bag inside a small strong non-see-through zip-lock bag. You simply find a private spot, poop into the big bag, roll it up and pop it into the zip-lock and carry out. It’s important to practice this at home, for best results! You can see how it works here.

So wild ones, face your fear, step outside your comfort zone and power up because life is too short to let a little shit stop you from achieving your dreams.   

If you want some more hiking tips from us, join us in our Wild Women Community, where you can ask questions and get advice from the experts at Wild Women On Top. 

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