May 5, 2017 Boro

Toilet, on a trek or Outdoor camping

Pop up toilet tent

Where and how to poop on a trek or Outdoor? Where and how do people poop on a trek or while camping outdoor? These are a very frequent question asked by fresh trekkers, prior trek. Yes, obviously you should ask this question to your trek operator too. Also, I found a lot of trekkers or operators come up with a partially wrong answer or an answer without environmental awareness.

To a trekker who has not been experienced camping at outdoor once; he or she has some obvious hesitations about managing poop in a camping life;

  • isn’t it uncomfortable to poop in the woods during a trek
  • how do people clean themselves without water (for those who are from tropical climate & used to in daily basis water use )
  • does toilet paper work well?
  • is there any chance of bacteria contamination after toilet paper use
  • What is exactly inside a toilet tent?

and much more. Let’s try to clarify one by one.

Nature Comes first:

Whenever at outdoor you are looking for a solution, please keep in your mind about its impact on nature. It will be great if you follow the same rules in daily life too.  Be a responsible traveler and a citizen too.

Human excreta is bio-degradable:

Most of us are not doubtful about urine. On top of that, Urine contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — essential plant nutrients that are usually mined from the earth or the air for agricultural use. And actually, urine works as good fertilizer.

But, what about poop?   Yes, Human poop is biodegradable too.  But it takes a good long time to decompose, based on the variety of moisture levels and temperature. Low moisture level & lesser temperature for longer time period increases the time for decomposition cycle. It may take even a year to biodegrade too.  That’s why it becomes of great importance where we place our excreta or how we dispose of.

Still, Is there any threat to the environment?

Yes, there are.

  • Urine can contaminate drinking water easily. So avoid urination nearby water body, from where in a campsite or villagers are fetching their drinking water.
  • In a lot of places of Himalaya, like Ladakh any water bodies, even the rivers are protected & sacred by their ancient culture. As a responsible traveler, you shouldn’t disrespect the culture of your host.
  • Human poop contains a lot of nasty pathogens;  bacteria, virus, or other microorganisms that can cause disease. They are quite capable enough to spoil a lot of food crops, while exposed in open.
  • Contamination of drinking water from poop is a much easier & server process. It may cause up to death for a big animal like the human being.

The best way to dispose of your poop at outdoor:

  • Dig a pit with a depth of 8-12 inches and at least a distance of 200 meters from a water body or paddy field.
  • Fill up the hole with your excreta and used tissue paper to cleaned up.
  • Cover it with the soil came out by digging the pit.


How to use a Toilet tent, the smart way:

  • The best part of toilet tent is its privacy. Even you are in group size of large number at a campsite.
  • Again, place your toilet tent at least 200m from any water body or crop field.
  • The best practice of disposal of excreta remains same inside a toilet tent. But as it is normally used for multiple people, a deeper and bigger pit is required to create in a proportion of the number of people is going to use.
  • Don’t use water inside the toilet tent. That will create the soil wet and a bit messy inside.Use toilet paper to clean up.
  • Once you are out of toilet tent; then based on the temperature at a campsite or per your comfort use water or hand sanitizer to clean up yourself better. This is important for hygiene.
  • One may use toilet seat inside toilet tent to avail better comfort.
  • Do not forget to cover the hole completely before you leave the campsite






Camping toilet etiquettes in a nutshell

  • Dig a hole at least 200 feet from a water source.
  • Collect the dug up soil in a bucket.
  • Cover the hole and create privacy using a toilet tent.
  • Poop into the hole.
  • Clean up yourself with tissue paper.
  • Cover the poop with enough soil from the bucket.
  • Don’t use water inside the toilet.
  • Before you leave, make sure it is ready to use for next person.
  • Once you are done and out of the Toilet tent, use soap or hand sanitizer based on climate for a healthier tomorrow.
  • Cover the hole completely before you leave the campsite





Trek Planning, beginning a trek
Himalayan Trek Packing List
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About the Author

Boro Now it is more than a decade I am exploring Himalaya and other landscapes of the subcontinents. I don't leave a single chance of adventure that comes on my way and allows me to stay closer to mother nature. I played with air, earth, and water. But climbing up through the high white mountain is my favorite one. I am curious about almost everything and anything that passes by my travel . And I keep studying about them. I am passionate and shy too on my venture with photography. It is a way, I express myself. I enjoy my role as an Exploration Leader at RockyFeet and thankful to be a part of Himalayan Conservation Actions of the society.

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