Plan Your Poop, It's Your Doodie: A Guide to Outdoor Bathroom Etiquette

Plan Your Poop, It's Your Doodie: A Guide to Outdoor Bathroom Etiquette

Poop. It's arguably one of the funniest words in the English language, but when it comes to outdoor adventures, it's a serious matter. Improper disposal of human waste can contaminate water sources, disrupt wildlife habitats, spoil the natural beauty of outdoor areas, spread diseases, and violate regulations. Additionally, improper disposal unofficially revokes your right to congregate outside and you will end up on Nature’s Wall of Shame. In this guide, we'll explore the importance of responsible outdoor bathroom etiquette and how to minimize our impact on the environment while answering nature's call. If you don’t know how to poop outside—that’s okay! We’re going to take you step-by-step (within reason) so that you don’t have to fear this very natural, necessary, and poopy part of exploring the outdoors. 

Determine Your Method Based On the Climate

Per the first Leave No Trace Principle: 'Plan Ahead & Prepare.' This means part of your prep work for your trip is to dial in your bathroom system, and to do so effectively, you must take the climate and ecosystem of the terrain into consideration. 

In dry environments such as the desert or high alpine regions, the best choice may be to pack out your poop. In some areas, like Moab, it's actually illegal to bury human waste (don’t even get us started on surface waste—that’s Nature’s Wall of Shame territory.) 

In areas where you can’t dig catholes, you’ll need a W.A.G. bag, which stands for Waste Alleviating Gel. Here’s a brief intro: 

W.A.G Bag Deets

Photo by Garage Grown Gear 
  • W.A.G Bags contain a spill-proof and puncture-resistant bag, toilet paper, antiseptic wipes, and a non-toxic solidifying agent (aka "poo powder") that absorbs and neutralizes waste.
  • Usage: After use, you’ll seal the bag and pack it out with you.
  • In your pack, you’ll want to bring a few large Ziplock bags for additional separation between you and your waste. 

When you're on adventures where digging catholes is permitted (areas with less delicate soil and no laws against burying human waste), you can dig a cathole. Yes, you're going to poop in a hole, and cover it up—just like a cat. Sound terrifying? Allow us to introduce our friends at PACT Outdoors—big problem solvers in this department.

PACT figured out how to make poop good for the earth, easy for you, and engineered the greatest cathole shovel of all time. If you've ever tried to dig a hole with a stick or rock, you'll appreciate the bejesus out of a good poop trowel.


PACT’s Outdoor Bathroom Kit contains mycelium (fungi) to help speed the decomposition of your waste and kills bacteria that could be harmful to waterways and wildlife. Here’s what their Bathroom Kit contains: 

  • 60 PACT Tabs and a resealable pouch with 20 PACT Wipes (enough for about 20 bathroom trips)
  • A small shovel
  • A 1 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer and a durable and washable tri-fold case to store all your supplies
  • PACT Wipes are dehydrated and compressed; with a squirt of water, they unfold into a thick 9 in. towel
  • PACT Wipes leave you feeling cleaner at a fraction of the size and weight of toilet paper (toilet paper isn’t made for outside—it’s made for toilets!). 

How to Cathole with PACT 

  • Find your location (make sure it’s about 75 adult steps away from campsites and water sources.) 
  • Dig a hole 6” - 8” deep 
  • Once your poop is done (congrats!) drop 3 PACT tablets in the hole and cover it up…like a cat.
  • Sanitize
  • Return to your adventure recognizing that you're an absolute boss for doing the right thing.

Why it Matters

Whether it's your first time outdoors or your hundredth, as recreationists, it's our job to leave no trace and minimize our impact on the environment. Responsible pooping isn’t just a matter of convenience; it's imperative for protecting the places we love. 

Whether you're hiking, biking, camping, or enjoying the outdoors in any way, always plan your bathroom breaks and leave the environment as pristine as you found it. Happy trails, and happy ~going there~!! 

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