A Short Guide to Pooping Outside

By Jon Lamson

Let’s talk about pooping. Hate it or love it, most everybody does it. And given how active the Colorado College student body is, it is important that we’re all on the same page when it comes to pooping outside. Improperly disposed-of waste can hurt water quality, make people sick, and be disgusting and unpleasant for everybody.

Illustration by Jon Nedelman

The guidelines of “Leave No Trace” state that, if possible, all pooping should be done 200 feet away from any water, campsite, or trail. Once you’ve picked your site, it’s important to first dig a hole six to eight inch deep, where the bacteria will most quickly break down the waste. In more dry soils with less organic matter, the hole can be slightly shallower. If you happen to be on snow, bringing some Waste Alleviation and Gelling (WAG) bags to pack everything out; this step is essential, as poop will not break down as easily in snow.

 Once your hole has been dug, there are a number of positions you can try to get the most out of your pooping experience. The classic squat is a simple and easy way to do your business. If there’s a tree or large rock nearby, these can be used for added stability. 

For expert poopers, the “Lover’s Gaze” and “Back to Back” positions provide an added challenge, as well as an opportunity to bond with one of your outdoorsy friends. And, as all expert poopers know, be sure to refill the hole when you’re done and pack out any toilet paper you may have used in a zip-lock bag. 

Once you’ve completed these steps, you may be inclined to rate your experience. The five-star outdoor pooping rating system has, as far as I can tell, yet to be documented on the internet. But I assure you, it is as integral to a healthy, happy, outdoor poop as anything else. The rating system goes like this:

*: Your run-of-the mill poop. Nothing special, but a successful poop, nonetheless.

** : A poop with a view. Not only have you just successfully pooped, but you’ve done so while taking in some majestic scenery.

 *** : A poop with wildlife. Who doesn’t love to see some cute animals while executing yet another successful poop?

**** : A poop with both wildlife AND a view. A truly high-class poop, surpassing even the nicest of indoor bathroom experiences.  

 *****: The rarest of poops. A five-star poop is a poop with a view that also includes prolonged eye contact with an animal that also happens to be pooping in unison with. Those who have been lucky enough to experience a five-star poop have often referred to it as the single defining moment of their lives.

Regardless of how you poop, it is absolutely key that you clean your hands after you finish. A small bottle of hand sanitizer will do the trick and will save you from getting sick and blaming it on “some bad water” you “must have drank” in the wilderness. So, wash your hands, and practice smart pooping.    

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