How to poop in the woods or the Quetico Park

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has fancy latrines at every campsite. This makes pooping in the woods very easy. The Quetico Park and many other wilderness areas do not have latrines. Some places make you pack your poop and paper out of the woods and although it doesn’t sound like much fun I’ve heard it isn’t that bad. In the Quetico Provincial Park you don’t have to pack your poop out but you should do a great job at disposing of it.

Campsites in the Quetico Park do not have latrines and some of the campsites are used frequently. At some campsites you’ll come across toilet paper and other people’s shit which is not a pleasant experience. In order to make everyone’s wilderness experience more pleasurable and leave no trace, extra care and thought should be given to the important topic of how to go poop in the woods.

While most guide books recommend going at least 100 or 200 feet away from a water source to do your deed there is no rule against going even farther away. If you’re worried about getting lost then make a trail with ribbons in the trees and just be sure to remove them before you leave. When there’s more than one person camping it’s nice to dig a latrine that everyone can use. I know, it sounds gross but it isn’t, read on.

The perfect location for a latrine is well away from water, camp and/or any trails. Ideally this is a private and protected spot that receives ample sunshine which will speed up decomposition. Find a high place where water would not normally run(in the event of rain) and an area with deep soil or forest material so you can easily dig a hole and cover the hole back up.

The Quetico Park is rocky country so you may not be able to dig a very deep hole. Six inches is suggested by most “experts” but again, you can always did deeper.  Use a small shovel to dig a 4-6 inch wide trench about 12 inches or longer depending upon the number of people in your group and how many nights you are staying.  Everyone in the group will use the latrine and after placing their deposit will carefully cover it up using a trowel. Before vacating your campsite be sure to fill in the entire latrine whether or not it was used.

There are different views about packing out toilet paper but I have never done it. What I suggest is to use as little paper as possible and then use a stick to stir the paper in with the poop, a little bit of dirt and some leaves to aid in decomposition and prevent animals or nature from exposing long ribbons of dirty toilet paper.  Once finished place the stick in the hole and cover the hole completely. Do your best to keep your trowel poop free.

When we’re camping we place the toilet bag in the middle of the path to the latrine. It contains toilet paper(in a ziplock bag), a trowel(in a separate bag) and hand sanitizer for use after. That way we know if the bag is gone someone is using the latrine and we won’t interrupt them in the middle of their duty.

Hopefully these tips will help you and other campers leave no trace while pooping in the Quetico Park or woods somewhere else.



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