Pooping in the Woods

When you’ve gotta go, you gotta go! Let’s face it, packing out your waste is clearly the best way to minimize the impact of going potty outdoors; however, provided the choice not everyone will opt to portage their poop and let mother nature deal with it instead. We’re not here to judge but if you’re going to be pooping in the woods we encourage you to do it right. What, you didn’t know that there’s a wrong way? Doing it proper is a skill!

To start off right you’ll want to dig a cat-hole (you know, the way cats do). Unless you’re a Lady Gaga follower you’re unlikely to have paws so you’ll need a digging implement, like a trowel. There are various trowels around, many of them large plastic things. Not only can they be over sized and heavier than necessary; they’ll be frustrating to use in hard packed or rocky areas. Backpacker Robert Kelly, has a small following developing around his titanium cathole trowels. Robert offers them in two sizes, the Original (0.4 oz) and the Big Dig (0.6 oz). We happen to own one of Robert’s trowels from the first batch he made (before the handles were coated with the thin rubber layer). It works like a charm, takes up very little space in the pack, and weighs next to nothing.

Big Dig above the Original
Big Dig above the Original

With tool in hand, set off to find a location unlikely to be discovered and 100 yards or more from any water source. Dig the hole about 6 inches deep into the the Earth (note differentiation between leaf litter and the actual ground). The idea is to keep the poop and, for those who use it, toilet paper from making a re-appearance or being discovered by curious animals. Robert even provides instructions with each trowel describing how to make “poop soup” which assists in the faster degradation of your waste. When you’re done doing the deed, please replace the dirt to properly cover up your cathole. Lastly, sanitize your hands with alcohol based sanitizer or antibacterial biodegradable soap. Bad hygiene can lead to serious problems on the trail. That’s the gist of it, however this one we don’t recommend practicing at home! Hike It. Like It.

If you’re interested in picking up one of these ultralight trowels for your own use you can get in touch with Robert via email for pricing and availability: robkelly54 at gmail dot com

A different size comparison
A different size comparison
The digging grip illustrated
The digging grip illustrated
Jacob D Written by:

Jacob is the head honcho, wearer of many hats, and modern day berserker here at Hike It. Like It. When he's not out hiking or running the trails you'll find him operating in full capacity as a Super Dad and chipping away at a degree in Kinesiology. This guy likes to stay busy. Follow on Strava

5 Comments

  1. Acorn
    November 10, 2013
    Reply

    Looking in wood is my specialty. I do not bury it but with leaves. Is this safe??

    • Acorn
      November 10, 2013
      Reply

      Pooping not looking lol

      • November 10, 2013
        Reply

        Looking in the woods is fun too 🙂
        If you go number 2 out there please dig a hole and properly bury it. Covering it with leaves doesn’t prevent animals or other hikiers from coming into contact with your hidden treasure.

  2. Alex
    February 9, 2013
    Reply

    I like the little one. It could double as a spoon!

    • Jacob D
      February 11, 2013
      Reply

      Alex, as much as I hate to admit it… I have used it for a spoon. I forgot my spoon once on a trip to Yosemite with friends. It was of course clean an sanitized. Worked great by the way, you can get some monster shovel fulls of food 🙂

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