3 Ways to potty in the woods

By Shelby Kisgen

Camping is a blast; pooping in the woods, not so much. There are multiple ways to remain hygienic, sanitary, and polite when taking care of digestive needs in the wilderness. From simple to complex, here are 3 ways to potty in the woods.


  1. Dig a Hole: If you are going on a day hike and nature calls in the metaphorical way, it is silly to try to build a lean-to porta potty or find the nearest public service station. Instead, move away from prying eyes and dig a hole. Use a stick, claw up the dirt, or pack a shovel, whatever works just make it deep enough that it will not be easily unearthed if someone unknowingly steps on it. Answer nature’s call, then cover the hole with dirt, leaves, and twigs. Pack out toilet paper; do not bury it. Yes it will decompose, but it is better to leave no trace. Wrap the soiled toilet paper in clean tissue, seal it in a bag and pack it out. Remember to apply hand sanitizer afterward.

  1. Pee Party: When you need to pee but not anything else, just find a hillside and remember to always let it flow down. Make sure you are not mooning anyone, or peeing near a water source. Natural run-off in that sense is a very bad thing indeed. Use hand sanitizer after!


  1. Build a Bathroom: For a while Build-a-Bear was the chicest present to give a kid. Building a porta-potty is not so fun, but far more useful. When doing an extended camping trip, packing out waste is much easier on the environment. To build your own inexpensive portable toilet, you just need a few items.

– 5 gallon bucket or milk crate

– Seriously heavy duty garbage bags

–  A snap-on toilet seat

– Tarp and rope or bailing twine


Make sure you set up your toilet downwind from camp, and a good distance away for sanitation and smell purposes. Place a garbage bag into the bucket or milk crate. Tie it so it does not fall down. Snap the toilet lid over top. Use the tarp and bailing twine or rope to attach a privacy curtain to the nearby trees. Leave some hand sanitizer by the privacy curtain for everyone to use. Change the bag every day if you have a lot of people, or less often if not necessary. At the end of your camping trip place all your soil-filled bags into a fresh bag for further stabilization. Then place that bag inside the crate or bucket to pack out. The last thing you want is any spilling or leaking, so reinforce it as much as possible for peace of mind.


It is a common stereotype that women love to journey to the bathroom together. Since we also love camping together, why not combine the experiences?  Here’s to doing potty in the woods! Cheers to happy digesting.


Blogger & Multiple Contributor at

Shelby Kisgen is an experienced camper and hiker from Wyoming, USA.  She is a true nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing her experiences through freelance writing in her first blog: naturepreserve.me

When she is not enjoying the great outdoors she is duelling her husband in tennis, eating, or reading a book.

Shelby was the first of many to write articles for the Camping for Women website.

She just loves to combine her love of the outdoors with her passion for writing.  Her current blog is https://shelbykisgen.com/

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