Learn Skills OutdoorHer | Toileting in the wild

OutdoorHer | Toileting in the wild


When out for the day it is likely you will need to go to the toilet at some point. Whether it be for ones and twos or refreshing period products, we’ve got you covered with all you need to know to be prepared. Things can get tricky out there so we will run through the ideal options through to the less ideal, but sometimes necessary, options when it comes to toileting. Wherever you can try to focus on what will have the least impact and do as much as possible to leave no trace.

What to pack

  • Toilet roll and/or pee cloth
  • Bags to pack out used toilet roll, poos (if not burying), and period products
  • If you are someone who has periods, pack your choice of period products – bring enough to last you on a normal day, plus a little bit extra in case you have any delays or your period is heavier than normal
  • Small change for public toilets
  • Hand sanitiser, wipes and/or extra water to rinse your hands. You might not need all of these things, so have a think about what will be most appropriate for you, your body and your period
  • A small shovel

Use public toilets

The best way to minimise your impact on the environment when going to the toilet is to not go in the wild at all! If you can find a public toilet, always use these first. You may need to pay to use public toilets or pick up a snack or drink from a café to use them there. So, bring a little change in case you need it. There are lots of apps and websites that will help you to find public toilets and it is a good idea to look these up when planning your day so that you can mark them along your route.

Going in the wild

If public toilets aren’t available, you may need to go in the wild. Here’s how:

Choosing your spot

To protect public health and reduce impact on the upland environment ensure you are at least 50 meters away from water or paths. Find a discreet location where you can take your time and won’t be disturbed.

Option One: Take it all with you, leave no trace

You should always be prepared to carry out your waste as sometimes the ground is too hard to dig. This may be especially true around crags where the ground below is often rocky. Prepare to go by getting all you need out, including your waste bags, toilet roll and anything else you need. Think about how to best organise things, you may have one bag to pick up your waste and another to pack out period products. Toilet roll will also need to be packed out and you will need hand sanitiser or wipes to keep things clean after. Getting everything ready in a pocket might be especially useful if it is windy.

Option two: dig a hole

Carry a lightweight trowel to carefully cut a 15cm deep hole. Once you’ve been, bury your poo and replace the top turf. Put your toilet roll and period products away in a zip-lock/waste bag and carry them out with you.

Toileting on the rock

For climbers tackling big walls the use of poop tubes is common practice. Typically made from PVC pipe and measuring 25 centimetres by 10 centimetres, the tubes have a cap on one end and a plug on the other. Poo into a bag and then place the bag into the tube. Some people choose to add cat litter into the tube, helping to prevent odours.

When it’s time to go, keep your harness on for safety. Take in some slack on your rope so that you can hang with your knees bent towards your chest. Clip one handle of the bag into a carabiner on your harness and go to the toilet in the bag, tie the bag in a secure knot and place it in the tube. When back at ground level dispose of your waste responsibly.

Beware of the bugs!

Be careful of ticks when going to the toilet, especially in areas known to have ticks and where livestock is grazing. Find out more about managing ticks.


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