by Justin Ross
Not to brag or anything, but as an avid outside adventurer, I’ve done my fair share of outdoor “poo work” all over North America. To me, it’s a natural part of the outdoor experience, and I take that understanding for granted. Right now there are more people getting out and enjoying our parks and green spaces, which is fantastic - but can also be problematic. Whether you’re climbing at the local crag, birding in the park, or backpacking through Algonquin, we are all out experiencing the wonders of the great outdoors. Inevitably, you will at some point have to drop a deuce. For the outdoors veteran, this might seem like a straightforward process. Truth be told, however, there is a lot to consider and I’m going to do my best to explain best practices. One of the worst things you can experience outside is a mound of toilet paper staring you down in the middle of the trail.
So, when it comes to making hot cakes in the woods, there is a list of equipment that will make life easier. What you will need need is simple:
Camp Trowel: The gold standard for digging poo holes. They are usually made of plastic or metal. Look for something sturdy. Never forget this at home. In a pinch, you can sub in a nice stick.
Toilet Paper: There are “natural” alternatives to this item, but I take great comfort in a little 2 ply while roughing it out in the woods. Always make sure to bury this with your brand new nugget (or else you’ll be deemed an a*shole) as no one wants to see you sh!t-tickets underfoot.
Freezer Bag: But Justin, why would I want to freeze my forest poo? Don't be silly; it’s to store your wonderful roll of 2 ply. It’s a dangerous game if that stuff gets wet.
Waste Container: This one is a more serious item. Be sure of the waste ethics before you head out. Did you know that your poo doesn’t decompose the same way in the desert? Do your research before you Go Out and Play. Some areas will require you to pack it out, and some even provide fully sealed packages. Just don’t leave it in the car…
Now let’s dig a bit deeper into where the appropriate poop tomb should be. In my opinion, where you dig it is one of the most important parts.
Hole Size: You’re not a pirate burying treasure, so don't go digging up the entire forest. Typically a 4 inch wide by 6 inch deep hole is enough for your fine work to be cozy (depending on what you ate last night).
Location, Location, Location: Just like in real-estate, location is key. The important thing to remember when looking for a comfy spot is to always keep 200 feet from the nearest water source and 200 feet from the trail. No one wants to see or smell your handy work, let alone have it in their water. Plus 200 feet is really not that far - it’s like 70 steps. Don't be lazy.
Ground Material: This is the part where you have to use your judgement. You should always try to find a place with soft, rich soil as it helps aide with decomposition. If you’re in a rocky place and digging isn't an option, try lifting some rocks and use the spot underneath - just remember to put the rocks back. If that’s not an option, pack that sh!t out and be the hero you think you are.
The golden rule to remember while making hot cakes in the woods is simple; don’t be what you’ve created. We all flock to the outdoors for the same reason: to get away from people and to enjoy the beauty of nature. Pooping outside isn't as bad as some people make it out to be. Have fun with it! It’s a moment in nature when you are no different than the animals that surround you. Heck, you can even snap a photo of your #poovista and confidently share it to your instagram.