A Guide to Pooping in the Wilderness

Written by Freedom Strider

On July 17, 2019
how to poop in the wilderness
I am wild camping where there is no public toilet. What do I do when the urge hits me?

This is the biggest controversy when it comes to Freedom/Wild Camping and generally when people are on the road for an extended period of time in rural, wild areas.

The reality is that all people need to poo.

…..

Then you might ask why is pooping outside such a problem for humans since all animals do it. The only true issue comes from the fact that we are a lot more in numbers than other animals. Hence, if we all excrete in the bush, it will be unsustainable for the planet and bad for own personal hygiene.

Nonetheless, we don’t think that pooping outside is bad. It’s a luxury that comes with responsibilities and knowledge of how to manage your waste without impacting the environment.

(This blog is taking New Zealand’s approach to wild and freedom camping as an example, however countries like Norway, Sweden, Iceland and generally anywhere in the world would have similar rules and considerations)

Rule 1

In the event you are wild camping and you are about to settle for the night.

Before you set off to your sleeping spot, check if there are any public toilets nearby or along the way! Use apps like Park4Night, CamperMate and Maps.me, Google Maps (some of these are country specific) to find public toilets. If you are passing a public toilet (I should not have to spell this out for adults) then go before you get to your sleeping spot!

If you find yourself in the situation where you have to go pooping outside and have no other choice (which we did a few times) then listen up.

The Freedom Camping Law states under Section 20.2 – Offences:

*grabs reading glasses and posh voice*

“Every person commits an offence who discharges a substance in or on a local authority area or conservation land in circumstances where the discharge of the substance is likely to be noxious, dangerous, offensive, or objectionable to such an extent that it: 1 or more of the following:

a) Has, or is likely to have, a significant adverse effect on the environment; or
b) has caused, or is likely to cause, a significant concern to the community or users of the area or land.”

This here is a quotation pulled directly from the New Zealand Freedom Camping Act 2011.

To read the full version please click here. (I suggest grabbing some popcorn, it is such a fun read).

HOUSESIT

Bear in mind that each country and region across the world has different wording and restrictions on these points. However, the most wild camping liberal countries like Norway, Sweden, etc. have similar if not the same regulations.

This does not explicitly say about you doing your business in the bushes but then again, it is blatantly talking about all types of waste. Being realistic, New Zealand has roads that go for 50km or more without passing a toilet. If you need to go to the toilet, whether you are freedom camping or not, and there are no toilets nearby …be realistic New Zealand, people are going to pull over and dump their load.

The problem comes when people are not educated in going to the toilet in the wild since we’re all used to porcelain toilet seats and running water.

Instead of educating people, the New Zealand government just complains about the problem and ignores the realistic solutions (building more toilets or/and teaching people how to go pooping outside). The reality is that people will not risk kidney or colon damage just because the New Zealand government hasn’t thought this through.

So, here we are, in light of lack of government training on this matter, ready to teach you advanced potty training.

P.S. New Zealand and any other wild camping liberal country government – if you are reading this, please implement this into primary school curriculum and your ‘welcome packs’ at the airports and i-sites. It will help stabilise the problems with the traveling community and make for an interesting welcome. ;D

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– Potty Training –

LEVEL 3: THE WILD

You Will Need:

  • Tissues
  • Plastic bag
  • Shovel/spade/trowel
  • A human with a full bladder or gut

Method:

1. Go deep into the woodland, far away from pathways, water sources and well out of sight, and make sure you’re on public land, not someone’s garden.

2. Dig a hole, quite a large one.

3. Do your business in the hole.

4. If you have used any tissues, wipe and put the tissues in the plastic bag and take this with you!

5. DO NOT leave the tissues littering the ground or putting them in the hole!

6. Cover the hole up well; leave no trace that you were there.

This method kept not only us clean, but the environment as well. We saw too many places where people had walked a few meters into the woods, done their business, and left tissues littering the ground along with open waste – it was disgusting!

We are not surprised that the New Zealand government and the locals are furious with people littering the ground with their excrement in such a disgusting way – we were too!

All you have to do is plan your journey and if you absolutely need to go, then follow our pooing outside steps. You’ll be keeping New Zealand’s environment clean for everyone else to enjoy.

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