Does a bear poop in the woods? Um yeah. , it’s a freaking bear- it does what it wants .It also depends on when “doodie” calls. If it lives in the woods, it probably poops there too. If you got to go, you got to go. There are areas along the Appalachian Trail which have privies, but those can often be miles apart, and sometimes you can’t always hold it (they are also not bear user friendly). So, like a bear, a hiker will also poop in the woods.
Does it follow the practices of Leave No Trace (LNT)? It is hard to say if all bears (or even hikers) do or not. While living in the woods, I definitely came across some bear (and/or hiker) scat that didn’t meet the leave no trace guidelines. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all bears (and hikers) break the rules.
Some may be wondering what exactly is the criteria for leave no trace when it comes to pooping in the woods is. The ultimate goal is to maximize decomposition, but also decreasing the chances of water pollution and spreading disease. The best way to do this is dig a hole and bury that shit- literally.
The hole should be 6 inches deep. Often times, people recommend 6 feet deep but that’s only if you are also burying a corpse. You want to be about 200 feet away from any water source. 200 feet can be about 80 steps. You could also just sing the lyrics to New Kids On The Block, “Step by Step”. If you are unable to do either of those things, then you may need to just go in your pants.
So, you have dug the hole- now what? Positions for pooping are a common concern. Just like some say hike your own hike, you need to poop your own poop. Many people are afraid to poop in the woods because they cannot get in a comfortable position, and/or they are afraid they will poop on themselves. I polled some fellow hikers and asked them what position works best for them, and some of them were willing to even demonstrate.
The crab position. Which I really don’t understand why or how this is comfortable. I’d be afraid I’d lose balance and fall right in that poop.
The Tree Hugger. This one is pretty simple. It’s definitely one for the environmental lover and poor balance.
The partner poop. This is for the timid (or in my opinion the brave). Can’t poop alone? Bring a partner, hold hands and squat. Maybe tell a joke or story to pass the time. Sometimes you even dress up for the occassion. Eye contact or knowing your partner always had your back in a shitty situation – your preference.
The prop. This is pretty much when you find a great rock or down tree, or other items in nature that you can use to sit off of and/or brace yourself on. It’s a popular one but seems like a waste of time trying to find that perfect spot.
The squat. The simplist and best way to poop. Oh- need to poop? Dig a hole, and just squat. No fuss trying to find something or someone to hold onto, no fear of falling flat in your poop- just go for it.
A newer one that not many talk about is also the spotter. This is usually any position of your choice. The main difference is that there is someone, maybe more than one there to spot you in case you may lose your balance , have trouble wiping or just need some company.
Sometimes the urge can come on hard and strong. Don’t be a victim to that shit. Don’t have a shovel? Use a stick or trekking pole. So yeah, it may look barbaric like a caveman carving into stone if you have to go bad enough but so what.
It’s also important to know when to poop first, and dig later. Don’t be the lactose intolerant guy who decided to have Velveeta Mac and cheese the night before and accidentally poop your pants when taking the time to dig a hole despite the urge. Waking your fellow campers up at 6:30 AM to borrow some soap to clean up your mess can be an awkward conversation.
Sometimes you never realize what you had until it’s gone . .. Like toilet paper. In that case, try to use a strong leaf like the ones pictured here. Rhododendrons work nicely because they’re strong, big and soft.
Try not to use any of these:
Well folks, hopefully this information was helpful. As always, be safe and happy trails. It’s all shits and giggles until someone giggles and shits.