Canada is rich in parks and trails – but not all of them are equipped with washroom facilities.
Of the 24 nature reserves in Ontario, for example, only two have outhouses. A third has a port-a-potty, but only in the summer months. “Otherwise you’re using the backwoods,” said Megan Anevich, nature reserves coordinator at Ontario Nature.
Leave No Trace Canada, a non-profit organization that promotes outdoor ethics, encourages campers and hikers to travel the backcountry in a responsible manner. One of their seven principles details how to properly dispose of waste – human waste – when camping.
Improper waste disposal can lead to the pollution of water sources and spreading of bacteria and disease.
Beyond the environmental and health concerns, hiking past bits of toilet paper isn’t the picture of nature most are hoping to Instagram. Family dogs accompanying you on the camping trip can also get into improperly disposed of waste.
One of the best bets for disposing of human waste properly is to bury it in a “cathole.”
With a small shovel or garden trowel, dig a hole at least 200 feet away (or around 70 adult paces) away from water, trails and campsites. Dig the hole six to eight inches deep and four to six inches wide. Once you’ve finished your business, cover the hole with soil, leaves and sticks so animals don’t get in there.
In some places you may be required to “pack out” your poop. In these cases you may want to employ the “poop burrito” method of packing out, which involves wrapping your feces in toilet paper, placing that in a ziplock bag, and packing it out in a Tupperware container.
If you find yourself without toilet paper, fear not, “natural” toilet paper is abundant in the woods.
Options for natural toilet paper include certain types of leaves, smooth rocks, sand or snow.