Make Going to the Bathroom Easier in the Backcountry
There is no shortage of tips and tricks to try out if you're struggling to find a comfortable and hassle-free way to go to the bathroom in the outdoors. However, most of them involve creating semi-permanent toilets at campsites that need to be carried in and out. While this is good news for campers, hikers have fewer options since they don't have a lot of room for items that take up space or add extra weight.
However, there are a couple of solutions that can be implemented as needed, and they only require material that's probably on hand anyway. Let's take a look at a couple of simple, yet highly-effective ways to make going to the bathroom easier on the trail.
If you don't want to build a makeshift toilet, the easiest option to consider is using a downed tree as the frame of your toilet. Look for a tree that has stubs or branches that are sticking out in a V shaped angle. Ideally, the branches should be at least a foot long and the width of your wrists. They should also be raised above the ground by a few inches.
All you need to do is dig a hole between the branches and sit down. You should be able to squat or sit in relative comfort as you do your business as long as the branches are wide enough apart to accommodate your size and thick enough to support your weight. Fill in the hole with dirt when you're finished, and you're good to go. Just remember to make the hole bigger and deeper as needed if you plan on using the toilet more than a couple of times.
You can create a toilet bench that will serve the same purpose if you can't find a suitable tree or branches nearby. Gather three branches that are around 2' long and at least the width of your forearm. Whittle away one end on two of the pieces in order to create a spike. Pound the branches into the ground, spacing them far enough apart to match the width of your thighs.
Next, lash the other piece horizontally between the two stakes, leaving an inch or two of overlap on each side. You also want to make sure that the crossbeam is high enough from the ground to comfortably-support you as you squat into the branch. Dig a hole, do your business, and cover everything up when you're done.
It's important to note that you should use these options as a way to support your body so that you don't have to hold yourself up while you squat. However, you don't want to put all of your weight on these branches as they can break or collapse if you're not careful.
Try this for yourself, and see how these improvised toilets can provide you with some much-needed support while you're going to the bathroom. It may take a little bit of practice in the beginning, but you'll never think twice about using these options once you discover how effective they can be when nature calls.