How to Poo in the Woods

As I was contemplating the boondocking post, I became most philosophical and was  naturally drawn to a topic that any good outdoorsman will understand. In fact, all of mankind can find kinship in this matter and that is in the need to eliminate. And further, I would care to venture that there is no better way to do this than in the wild. Yes, I am talking about going to the loo, taking a trip to the John, doing a number 2, or just plain ol’ shitting.

It was many years ago, as we were backpacking in Alaska that I discovered this delightful experience. The whole process was so pleasant and so unlike anything I had tried before that I was immediately gripped. With my usual tenacity I sought to learn more about the experience, and in my research discovered a most excellent book dedicated to the topic which I’ll highlight here:

 How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art (9780898156270): by Kathleen Meyer (now in it’s 2nd edition)

So, as it turns out, I’m not the only one who’s pondered the mysteries of life’s free treasures, and this book is a fabulous introduction to the uninitiated. There is an etiquette to this art of course, such as digging a hole, burning or packing out your paper, and staying appropriately away from water sources. A simple “poo-pack” will do the job with a trowel, paper and matches (where allowed), and a little ziplock or bag to pack out whatever is appropriate.

But, practical bits aside, enjoying a morning poo with the beauty of the wilderness stretching before you gives a depth and perspective in life unlike any other. In all ways it’s a natural endeavor…the human body designed for the position, a soft breeze to fan those delicate areas, and a view that would rival the best-built loo in any million dollar mansion. It makes one think, if we could all just experience this bliss, peace would indeed abound on earth.

With that in mind, the remaining few shots of Quartzite:

The one and only coffee shop in Quartzite
View of "downtown" can get anything from meteorites to fuses
View of the classic Arizonan cactus (taken during our morning walk)
Polly and a whole lotta nothing
Just in case you should be tempted to speed
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. Molly says

    Just can’t get away from discussing poo….=) Our bodies were not designed to give birth on our backs or poo sitting on a toilet. And with enough fiber in one’s diet, a clean drop won’t require paper!

  2. libertatemamo says

    Hehe…I figured you would get a kick out of this one. There’s always more to learn on such a great subject :)

  3. Lauren Brown says

    You got me chuckling on this one. May I point out that for most of recorded human history there was no such thing as toilet paper – therefore no need to burn anything! In village in India people traditionally eat only with their right hand, for reasons that should be abundantly obvious. So, you can lighten your load out there in the wildnerness and just toss those white rolls!

    Cheers, Lauren

  4. libertatemamo says

    Lauren…very true. My mom grew up in the “woods”, so to speak, and used nature’s paper too :)

  5. Samantha Butler says

    I want to know the etiquette.

    How deep a hole must you dig?

    How do you alert others so they don’t stumble across you, and accidently knock you into your hole?

    If you have biogradeable toilet paper, can you bury that also?

    • libertatemamo says

      The hole should be deep enough to cover the ‘biomass’ so you don’t leave a mound when you cover it up. And since your’re probably in the boonies when you do this there really is no need for alerts. What are the odds that someone will stumble over your hole before nature does its job….

    • libertatemamo says

      Well it goes without saying (or maybe it doesn’t) that you should always follow good fire safety rules for anything you burn in the wilderness. If there’s a fire ban in effect then that goes for toilet paper too…


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