How to Dispose of Human Waste While Camping

When you have had enough of the urban life full of noise and pollution, it is exciting and relaxing to spend some time outdoors, camping in mountains or forests. But when nature calls when you are out in nature, it is natural to feel a little disgruntled. But it is not uncommon for rangers and campers to come across poop on the ground that some people leave on the sides of trails. This has called for active measures to educate people about responsible pooping. It is unethical as well as unhygienic, and we should all know how to dispose of human waste while camping.

It is not only the first-time campers but experienced ones as well that are engaged in this practice. Being away from restrooms does not mean there are no rules to dispose of your poop or urine. So let us look at the options one has while camping in the outdoor arena.

Waste Bags

If you own a dog, you might know the functionality of dog-poop bags. Waste bags for humans are a simple and efficient way to dispose of waste. They are coated in an odor-killing powder and designed for you to easily and discreetly use, carry, and collect your poop. They are puncture-resistant and come with toilet paper as well as hand wipes, so people with weak memories who often forget to pack tissue rolls to camping can take sighs of relief.

How to Dispose of Human Waste While Camping

You can use the bags on their own or set them up in specialized toilet seat kits. You can also use an empty bucket for it. They are a hygienic solution for you as well as the environment. You can carry the bag without fear of it stinking or leaking until you find a bin to dispose of it.

Portable Toilets

Some people are just too used to their toilet experience that the discomfort of not feeling like home make their bodies hold onto their urine and poop for as long as it can. However, it is unhealthy, and luckily premium portable toilets are now available in the market. They even flush, and the only thing different from your home experience you will feel while using them is the natural fresh breeze of the wind hitting you while you go.

The flush is powered with a wall switch, hand-wave technology, or foot pedals. The seat can be swiveled up to 90 degrees and can serve in almost any situation you might find yourself in. They are odorless and leak-proof. Out of all the options, this one is the most comfortable and the priciest.


The most basic and old-fashioned (but effective) answer, to how to dispose of human waste while camping, is using catholes. It is pretty self-explanatory as you have to dig a hole in the ground to cover and dispose of your poop or urine. It is effective and simple as it does not require you to backpack much when going away from toilets. Choose a location for digging up a cathole 20 feet away from natural water, any camps, and trails. Make sure it is not a place where some campers would walk and dig a hole that is 6 inches deep and 4 inches wide. Although, it is recommended to check the regulations of the campsite you are on as they might differ from the standard requirements.

You can use a camping trowel to measure the length of the hole as they are usually 6 inches long. After you are done, cover the hole with the dirt that you dug out and put some debris over it to disguise it and make it look natural again. Pack the used tissue paper (do not bury or burn it) in a Ziploc bag and cover it with duct tape so that it does not smell and stays discrete.

This method is beneficial for the ecosystem as the soil benefits from human waste. Tissue paper, however, does not disintegrate as well as poop and urine do, and burning it has adverse and harmful effects on the natural ecosystem.

River Toilets or Groovers

A groover consists of a bucket with a toilet seat over it. It has a lock-on or screw-on to avoid any spills while you are transiting. For people who are uncomfortable with the cathole method, river toilets are an effective, more similar to the usual toilet, and inexpensive method to dispose of human waste. It has an attachment that holds tissue paper as an RV toilet does. The seat element has been recently added to the product and was not always there, thus the name.

Cassette Toilets

Cassette toilets are an upgraded version of groovers with additional options. It has a removable tank that you can dump at a dumping station whenever you come across one. They are more discrete, stable, and comfortable than groovers but bulkier and more expensive too. They come with water-holding tanks and some with flushing water to give you a home-like experience.


Latrines are catholes but huge. It is a good idea to dig up a large area if a group of people is camping for multiple days. It saves everyone from having to dig up their own holes every time they are to go. 1 foot long (longer depending on the number of people), 6 inches deep, 6 inches wide, and 20 feet away from your camp, water, or trails. After each use, cover the poop or urine with some dirt to accelerate the decomposition and keep it from stinking. When done camping, fill the whole latrine with dirt and cover it with some debris.

Our Final Thoughts

Leaving human waste on the grounds is detrimental as it can spread disease, change the ecology of the locality, and can pollute waterways. It makes a beautiful area stink and negatively impacts the human experience of visiting a peaceful place. Now that you know how to dispose of human waste while camping, we hope you will avoid the uncool practice of leaving your poop or urine evidence behind for other campers to find. Happy pooping!

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