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When Mother Nature Calls, You Just Gotta Go! Stop Everything & Answer The Call.


Those of you who read our blog regularly knew we would have to broach this topic eventually. We will try to be very diplomatic about how we address this subject.

Taking care of “business” at home is a little different than taking care of it in the woods.


Taking Care Of Number 1


On a day hike, you may only need to go once or twice. Anything less than one or twice is an indication that you are dehydrated.

Women, of course, have a few more obstacles, than men, that they have to overcome.

Whether you have to squat or stand, there are some basic rules you can follow, so that you can stay clean and not damage the environment.


  1. Because you’ll need to find “just the right spot”, don't wait until the last minute.


  1. When choosing your spot, you should be at least 200 feet away from any trail or campsite.


  1. Be extra careful not to touch any poison ivy. (Before you go hiking, make sure you know what poison ivy looks like).


  1. Before and after you “go”, use hand sanitize or a moist towelette.







Latrines and backcountry outhouses are usually available at trailheads and/or campsites that receive heavy traffic.

If you find one nearby, you should opt to use it, rather than going in the woods. The reason for this is because the latrines are specifically designed to hold large quantities of waste in each cleanable pit. This is a far better option than having it scattered randomly throughout the area.

Over time you will start to notice the pit style latrines are being replaced by composting toilets. The composting toilets will degrade the waste quicker and rarely ever need the waste removed manually.


Digging A Cat Hole


Eventually, the time is going to come when you will need to “do” #2. You may be inclined to “hold it in” for a while

, but sooner or later, you are going to have to find a place to go.

As we know, cats are very particular about hiding/burying their waste. Even when using a litter pan, cats try to “dig a hole” prior to “going” and afterward, they try to hide/bury it.


  1. To prevent bacterial contamination, locate an area that is 200 or more feet from any trail, campsite or water source. Choose a spot that has flat ground. Look for a tree to lean against for support. If there are no trees around, you can use trekking poles to help support/steady you.


  1. You will need to dig a hole that is about 6 inches wide and about 6-8 inches deep. (Note: Carrying a small trowel will make this task easier).
Trowel for digging Cat Holes

The Best Tool For Digging Cat Holes


  1. Before doing your business, make sure you have toilet paper or moist towelettes and a sealable trash bag nearby. Toilet paper or moist towelettes are a lot less painful to use than leaves. Trust us on this. Toilet paper and moist towelettes should not be buried with the waste. Pack them out.


gear for going in the woods

The Proper Gear For Going In The Woods


  1. Once you’re done, fill in the hole with dirt, then cover it with a rock. Remember to pack out the used sealable trash bag.


  1. Use hand sanitizer to clean your hands.


Final Thoughts


When going on a hike, it is best to be prepared with supplies for when you will inevitably have to “go”.

Toilet paper or moist towelettes, a sealable bag or two and a small trowel, will all be items that will make the “go”, go more smoothly.

Know what poison ivy looks like, so you can avoid touching it by accident while on the trail.

So, there you go…you know what you gotta do, when you gotta go!



To read another great article from the Joy of Hiking, please click the link below.

Introducing A Friend To The Joy of Hiking and Camping