Wild Camping Toilet Tips | How To Pee + Poo Outdoors?

Wild camping in Scotland

Ok, time to be honest, I’ve been hiking and wild camping for many years and yes, I have done a poo outdoors.

You can stop giggling now! Err gross, yes, but seriously let’s all get over being polite and pretending it doesn’t happen because it flipping does! I’m guessing you’re reading this to find some wild camping toilet solutions and etiquette for your trip.

Why am I telling you this? I hate seeing toilet paper and baby wipes when I’m out hiking and wild camping. It’s not pretty, it doesn’t improve my outdoor experience and put simply I don’t want to see it, (I’m assuming you’re the same).

Here I will share a few of my toilet tips about how and where to go to the toilet when you are out hiking or wild camping. And the most essential item that I take on ALL my wild camping trips and hikes too, nope it’s not toilet paper, it’s this lightweight camping trowel.

Please take a read if you are planning your first wild camping trip and feel free to ask me any more questions in the comments below.

*Becky the Traveller participates in the Amazon Services Associates Programme, as well as other affiliate programmes. If you make a purchase through these, I earn from the qualifying links. This is at no extra cost to you. Read more here.

Top tips + advice on how to go to the toilet outdoors

Beautiful scenery on Pennine Way
Beautiful scenery on Pennine Way

Read about the best way to go to the toilet whilst you’re outdoors. Don’t let it stop you going on longer trips but be prepared for emergency toilet trips and you’ll have no worries. Always handy to read this if you hike with children as sometimes the obvious ‘waiting’ isn’t an option!

Also, I would advise avoiding very spicy food before a big hike. Enough said, I think!

Read my Beginner’s Guide to Wild Camping here

Plan your walk (+ toilet stops)

For me the key is preparation, the ultimate win is going to the toilet before you go on your hike. But we know the human body doesn’t always behave in the way you want it to!

It’s not always necessary to go to the toilet outdoors, if you plan your wild camping trip or route ahead, you can look out for those PC symbols on the OS map, which means Public Convenience (or loo, toilet, lavatory) whatever you call it!

Top tip – carry some change for those toilets that have a donation box to keep them open.

Bothy on the West Highland Way
Bothy on the West Highland Way (with no toilets)

Maybe start your walk at a location with a toilet, you can have a last-minute wee or poo. Plus there’s the knowledge it’s there when you return!

Many paid car parks have toilet facilities, for example, the lovely Edale in the Peak District, a perfect start for so many beautiful walks.

Another alternative is to not start your walk at a toilet, but ensure you walk past one near the halfway point of your walk or trip. Again, knowledge is power, or in this case, knowledge is a toilet haha!

But what if you’re doing a longer walk? Or hiking in a remote area. Or maybe even a hike and wild camping trip?

That’s when you need a PLAN B!

Keep reading how to go to the toilet in the wild!

Read next my guide on camping in winter

Where to go to the toilet outdoors?

Hiking along the Pennine Way

Firstly, don’t leave it to the last minute to find a spot, because there might not be many on your route. Some paths can be busy or simply not suitable, ie hiking along Striding Edge or heading up to Scafell Pike in the Lake District.

1. Find a spot that’s away from the path

Firstly, you don’t want to start flashing your ass at fellow walkers or runners coming down the trail but it’s not pleasant to do your business on or close to the path.

Consider how popular the route you are doing, peeing outside in a remote part Snowdonia it is relatively easy to find a spot. But if you’re hiking up Snowdon there are likely to be a lot more people about and more difficult.

You should be at least 50 metres away from the path, maybe further if you’re in an open space. In walking terms that’s about 45-60 seconds (or a 10-second sprint if you’re desperate!)


Private Toilet Facilities

Wild camping
Wild camping in the woods

Want a bit of privacy? If you’re with friends then you can get them to look out for you, or if you’re on your own, use a rock or tree!

The other option is to take a large (and not see-through) poncho with you, this can then double up as a private toilet. It might make it more difficult, not seeing where you are peeing. I will leave that thought with you!

2. Check your area

Consider the environment that is directly close to you. Are their brambles, nettles or any other plants that may cause discomfort? And yes, I have stung my bum on nettles before, I don’t recommend it! 

In Scotland, and other high tick-infested places, mainly where there are deer or sheep and thick bracken. Think before you squat! And always make sure you check your body afterwards for ticks.

A small travel mirror is a good thing to carry and also a tick remover card or tick tweezers. They don’t cost much and aren’t heavy but 100% useful!

Where NOT to go the toilet outdoors?

Looking out from Robin's Hood Cave in the Peak District
Looking out from Robin’s Hood Cave in the Peak District


Have you ever been in a cave to shelter from the rain or go explore? Then smelt or seen something you really didn’t want to. Yuck. Please don’t do it in a cave!

Shelters or ruined buildings

Think about anywhere you might sit, shelter or eat your lunch. These include stone wind shelters, bothies or animal shelters. Now think whether these make a suitable toilet. Hmm, nope!

Near or close to a water source

The water might be someone’s drinking water, whether it’s being filtered or not, reducing your waste into the water needs to factored into the spot you choose.

I filter my drinking water with either my Water-to-Go bottle or Platypus filter system on longer trips.

Going for a wee outdoors

Stream in the Peak District - keep away when weeing
Keep away from streams when peeing outside

The location shouldn’t be any different for men or women, just because you guys can do it standing up doesn’t mean you can pee anywhere you want. Here’s my hiking and wild camping toilet etiquette for peeing outdoors.

(Not that I’m saying you all do this, but I have seen guying stop, pee and then keep walking!)

A few tips to consider:

  • Is it a windy day? Make sure you position yourself in the best place i.e. pee with the wind. Watch your flow isn’t going to hit your trousers or shoes.
  • If there’s a slope, then make sure both feet are pointing down. Otherwise, you could have a potential wet foot situation.
  • Ladies, it’s normally easier to take your backpack off so you can balance so if you take your backpack off, put it above you!

To squat or not to squat? (Ladies)

This might seem obvious but there are different ways you can get in a good position to go for a wee. You can go with a traditional full squat with your legs low to the ground.

Or you can try a 3/4 position, where you have a wide stance and push your hips back. This is handy if you’re in grassy terrain or you might find more comfortable. It’s certainly easier to stand back up again. Worth trying both options to see what works for you.

Hiking Kentmere Reservoir in the Lake District
Even squatting for a photo takes some leg power!

What about a SheWee?

Ladies, one to consider but if you don’t fancy squatting down to go for a wee you could try a SheWee, there are plastic versions or disposable ones you can buy.

My personal thoughts on this are, firstly, you have another item to either clean or dispose of and secondly, accidents can happen. It’s worth trying it out at home before you venture outdoors with your new gadget!

It would be useful if you need a wee in the middle of the night whilst wild camping and it’s heavy raining outside. But then, you’d need a bottle or container to pee in, hmm, and you wouldn’t want to mix them up!

Wild camping views from Vango Tent
Happy waking up without the rain!

Peeing outside – A wee shake or toilet paper?

Weeing is the easy bit, then what do you do afterwards? There’s the popular shake until you are dry technique, or use a panty liner to catch any drips.

There is also a wide range of underwear designed for bladder weakness or being on your period. But what’s to say they wouldn’t be perfect for a long hike or wild camping trip.

I’m yet to try the underwear, but it’s a good eco-friendly option and makes for a more comfortable walk (drip-free!) Let me know if you recommend any, as I want to try some out 🙂

Or then there’s good old fashioned toilet paper or a pack of tissues. You can buy handy packs of tissues in bulk, ready to take on any trips. Or why not try biodegradable toilet paper which is more compact, handy for longer multi-day hikes. But remember that all toilet paper needs to be packed out. Leave no trace.

Pee cloth

Pee cloth attached to backpack
Pee cloth that I used on the Pennine Way

This is a new piece of kit I have tried this year and it’s been a total game changer. The pee cloth folds in half and has a small hook so you can hang on the outside of your bag.

I’ve used on all my long-distance hikes this year and it now comes on all my day hikes too. Any questions please drop me a message 🙂

Buy your pee cloth here

Going for a poop outdoors

Many of the rules as regards to finding a spot for a poo are the same as going for a wee. How helpful, it means you can do a wee and poo in the same place.

The main difference with going for a poo instead of a wee is the hole that you’ll need to dig to deposit your human waste. In my early wild camping days, I would use sticks, walking poles or even my boots to dig a hole.

None of which are particularly quick, when you need a number 2!

Backpacking Poop Shovel

Digging a hole for pooing outdoors
Digging a hole for pooing outdoors

Now I use a small trowel, it was pretty cheap from Amazon I’ve not managed to break it and I’ve used it loads. There is a wide range of trowels you can buy and I would 100% say get one now. It’s the best piece of kit I have, well, for going to the toilet outdoors!

Some people prefer to adopt the Leave no Trace principle to a different level and  poop in a bag and carry the waste out. I don’t fancy carrying a bag of shit with me on my hike, as long as you dig a good hole to bury it that’s just as good.

Digging your poo hole (or cat hole)

Make sure you’re not near a path, water source or another place where people might sit and relax.

Ideally, peat soil is perfect, it’s relatively easy to dig a sufficient hole but you might not be that lucky and have to search around for a good bit of ground to dig. Areas dense with heather are tough due to their root systems so avoid if possible.

The hole needs to be at least 6 inches deep, that’s the length of a standard smartphone.

Wild camping - views from tent
Wild camping – views from my MSR tent

Getting in position

Unlike a wee, you may be in this position longer. Get comfortable and make sure your bum is above the hole. There’s no point going to all that effort and missing the damn thing! (PS, if you do miss the hole, use a stick to poke it in!)

My good friend and hiking buddy Impala on Trail has a few different techniques you can try for going for a poo. Don’t worry, no bums are on show! 

Check it out and subscribe to his awesome YouTube Channel here – Impala on Trail (Poo like a pro and leave no trace – How to Poop in the Woods)

What do you do with the toilet paper?

Discarded toilet paper on Ben Nevis
Discarded toilet paper on Ben Nevis

For me, this is a really easy one. It should be the same as any other rubbish you create whilst on your hike or wild camping trip (unlike when I hiked up Ben Nevis). Take it with you. 

The best thing I’ve found for toilet paper is dog poo bags, they are small and easy to take a few with me on each trip. You can then tie a knot in the bag and dispose of when you can. Alternatively, zip lock bags would work.

The only thing that isn’t great with this option is the non-eco-friendly, plastic bag! You can get around this by emptying the tissue and reusing the bag or find another bag/container to put your waste in.

Some people burn their toilet tissue, but since lighting fires can potentially cause damage to the ground, I’m not going to recommend this option. Even setting fire to the tissue seems like a pain to me and in the rain, it would be mission impossible!

The important thing is to take it with you. Leave NO Trace!

Ladies – on your period whilst hiking + wild camping

Menstrual cup - perfect for long hikes + wild camping
Menstrual cup – perfect for long hikes + wild camping

Yes, it’s a pain isn’t it, why is it that every time you have a big hike or camping trip it coincides with your time of the month? 

The same rules apply, leave no trace, if you use tampons or sanitary towels the scented dog poo bags are also great for used sanitary products. Then you can dispose of properly when you get home.

But my latest best hiking piece of kit is the menstrual cup, you can use it for up to 12 hours at a time. Perfect for long hikes and overnight wild camping trips. It does take a little getting used to so maybe try out at home first. 

Any questions about using a menstrual cup then please drop me a message. I’ve been using for 2+ years now. Find me on Instagram @beckythetraveller

Wild camping in the Lake District
Wild camping in the Lake District

Longer Wild Camping Trips

I’ve used on all my long-distance hikes this year, Cumbria Way and Road ny Folian. it was great to feel comfortable for the entire day then in the privacy of my tent I was able to empty it onto a tissue, rinse and re-insert. You can also dig a small hole to empty the waste, but since you need to remove and empty at the same time it’s not always practical.

I’d recommend taking hygienic wipes to clean your hands and to freshen up. It’s not the easiest thing to do in a small tent but practice makes perfect!

Read next – Best Long Distance Hikes in the UK

Becky’s essential wee + poo outdoor kit

Wild camping toilet kit list
Wild camping toilet kit list + trowel
  1. Toilet paper (biodegradable option) or a pack of handy tissues
  2. Wet wipes (flushable ones are better for the environment)*
  3. Dog poo bags or zip lock bags – Try these bio-degradable lavender scented ones!
  4. Small camping trowel
  5. Hand Sanitiser

*I prefer not to use wet wipes at all but they are handy to have. If you only have a small packet of tissues sometimes one wet wipe does the job much quicker.

And of course, some things are personal preference, do you want quilted or recycled toilet paper, do you want a bright orange trowel or a metal one, do you want to take some soap and wash your hands?

It doesn’t matter what or how you do it, as long as you have the kit that you need when nature calls!

Going to the toilet outdoors + wild camping toilet tips

Wild camping
Wild camping in the woods
  • Don’t be nervous, we all do it!
  • Holding it in will just give you the worst stomach ache – Better out than in!
  • Toilet paper does not magically disappear overnight. If you use it, take it with you.
  • Keep the outdoors beautiful and LEAVE NO TRACE.

How are you feeling about going for your first poo outdoors? I hope I’ve helped answer a few questions about wild camping toilets so that you can enjoy your trip and not worry. If you have any more toilet questions then please ask in the comments below

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Tips for wild camping toilet trips
Wild camping toilet tips

*Becky the Traveller participates in the Amazon Services Associates Programme, as well as other affiliate programmes. If you make a purchase through these, I earn from the qualifying links. This is at no extra cost to you. Read more here.

22 thoughts on “Wild Camping Toilet Tips | How To Pee + Poo Outdoors?

      • James says:

        Instead of toilet paper try a dock leaf or similar broad span leaf. Not ferns they can cut hands. Dig with boot or a stick, use the stick for misses finally take time to cover over!! Wash your hands with soap and water. No need for any wetwipes all 100% biodegradable!

        • Becky the Traveller says:

          Good ideas, although not always possible depending on where you are hiking. I’m just back from a 7-day trip where none of those options would have worked due to hard ground, I have tried to dig a hole with sticks and poles but it doesn’t always work for the depth you need. Leaves are an interesting choice and it’s certainly ood to consider all options but tbh as long as people aren’t leaving things behind I think it’s personal preference how you chose to deal with!! 🙂

          • Janelle says:

            I agree it isn’t always an option depending on terrain, but I too prefer to use leaves and my bootheel when possible. If I walk out of camp with loo roll and a shovel I just feel like I’m wearing a big sandwich board that says “I AM GOING FOR A POO”.

  1. Huw Alban says:

    I suffer from irritable bowl, so when I have to go I HAVE to go. Excellent tips from which I will update my approach when hiking. Thanks.

  2. Amy says:

    I have a horrifying story.

    I was wild camping in the Amazon and needed a poo. Being young and foolish, I didn’t know about digging holes or avoiding water sources, so I decided that my best option was to wade out into the river.

    Now here’s something else I didn’t know at the time. There is a fish in certain South American rivers called a candiru. This fish likes to swim up the gills of larger fish and drink their blood. Thing is, its eyesight is poor, so it finds prey by smelling nitrogen, which fish release from their gills. Human waste also contains a lot of nitrogen.

    So, long story short, a candiru came across me pooing in the river and got a bit confused, and I had to be rushed to the hospital with a fish up my bum.

  3. Kayla says:

    Hi, I’m on a camping trip with friends right now. It doesn’t seem like anyone brought toilet paper. We’re in a desert so there’s no leaves or snow to use either. Can you suggest anything else I might use? I’m too embarrassed to ask my friends what they’re using for TP, it feels much easier asking anonymously on the internet. I really need to take a dump, I’ve been putting it off for days. Please advise.

  4. Kayla says:

    Thank you for responding! Didn’t see your queation in time, as my phone battery died, but I did find relief on that desert trip. Cleaned my behind with soap and water from one of my canteens afterward. Never drinking from that one again. Didn’t occur to me to use clothing, but good idea – no worse than sacrificing a canteen I guess.

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  7. Anne says:

    To Janelle above: I also used to feel that going away with the tp and the shovel just cried out that I was going to poop (as I for sure was too!). However, as I have become more experienced I have noticed that (almost) everyone going away alone from the path or camp site, even without obvious sign, is going to toilet!

    Now, I always try to remember the to first points on Becky’s list:
    * Don’t be nervous, we all do it! (Yes, even the though guys and the handsome granddad of the group, not only the women. I can tell you that I have seen!)
    * Better out than in! (An obstipation when trekking is bad, I have experienced. But also allusive, when you master the technique and the emotional side of it, just squat and enjoy nature taking its course.)

    Good luck! Summer is coming, and so is the hiking season. Brave by Becky to put it into words, even though we are all familiar with the challenge. My sister says that it helps her overcome the embarrassment when she imagine one of the men in the group squatting with shorts at the knees!!

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