• Southern Ontario Hiking Resources


Answering the call of nature

If you've ever been hiking and felt like you had to go, it's not enjoyable to have to finish another 5 km while you are "holding it" in. You won't enjoy the rest of the hike it it's rush to the car and then a drive to the nearest restroom.


The best thing to do is to use the "washroom in the woods" which is all around you. And there is an environmentally friendly way to do this and then enjoy the rest of the hike.

All you need is a stick for digging, some toilet paper or Kleenex, and some hand sanitizer which we all carry with us when hiking, don't we?


Deciding on a position

  • Squat down - this is simple but requires good balance. Squat with one foot on either side of the hole with your feet flat on the ground and your bum down by your heels. Hold your knees for support.
  • Hold a tree - This is similar to the squat but gives you a bit more support. Select a small sturdy tree about 20 cm and squat facing the tree and holding it for support.
  • Your back to the tree - Brace your back against a tree with your knees and hips at a 90 degree angle. This can be risky if you slip or have trouble pushing yourself away from the tree.
  • Sitting on a log - Find a sturdy small log on the ground preferably part of a long tree that won't roll. Sit on the log and scoot your butt back until it hangs well over the side of the log. Do your business as if you were sitting on a toilet making sure you don't fall back over the log. Easy, but it leaves you somewhat exposed.


log_woodsHow to do it

  • Survey the surrounding terrain and decide if you are going to squat, hold onto a tree branch for balance, lean against a tree, or sit well back on a small stable fallen tree log (definitely not a log that will roll.)
  • Next you need to find a secluded spot well off the  trail that provides some privacy. You'll need to consider where you can use a stick to dig and the prevailing wind direction. Also keep a lookout for poison ivy and poison oak and don't get tangled up in vines that can trip you.
  • Once you have found a good spot, dig a small hole (about 15 cm deep) using the stick or even a flat rock.
  • Get out your toilet paper so you don't have to fumble for it later on when you are in an uncomfortable position.
  • It's especially important not to have any loose clothing near your target area. You don't want to poop on you pants. Important: Roll up your pants to your knees and roll your underwear down to your knees.
  • Do your duty and take care of business. It's especially important not to have any loose clothing near your target area. You don't want to poop on your pants.
  • Keep an eye out for animals and off the trail hikers at this vulnerable time. If you are approached by a hiker, just say, "Excuse me, but I'm using the washroom in the woods." They'll be embarrassed and will leave right away.
  • Be especially careful getting up after your business is finished so you down fall back into it.
  • Cover up the hole containing your toilet paper with loose dirt.
  • Clean your hands with your hand sanitizer.
  • If you have diarrhea, take a chewable Imodium to prevent another visit to the washroom in the woods.
  • Congratulations! Now you can enjoy the rest of the hike.


Share a comment, photo or experience about the above article in the comment box below.
For other posts, please use our Members Blog. Login at top of each page.
Comments (0)
There are no comments posted here yet
tohi winter footer 1200x100b