Shitting In the Wild: A How-To

So you’ve arrived, either by choice or merely by last resort. Maybe you hiked long hours and set up a beautiful camp, or maybe the nearest rest room is 50 miles away and that gas station pizza is letting you know it was in fact — a terrible idea. Eventually, you will find yourself in this situation with only one of two options: shit your pants or shit in the wild.

Regardless of how you got here, you will be asking yourself ‘Why?’ You may even be cursing yourself that you took for granted all those public bathrooms because you hated shitting in public, but you will be begging for one now. Even the most fly infested, vomit-inducing, port-a-potty sounds like a luxury. This is not your proudest moment. But, I promise that even more embarrassing moments are upon you. If you are about to literally shit your pants, scratch everything I am about to say and drop them where you are. The cleanup process may not be as easy if you don’t. If you have explosive diarrhea, I’m unable to help you and it is very likely you will shit your pants.

Depending on your location in reference to any other members of your party, campsite, road, what have you, will determine the direction of your travels. First, take into consideration how loud you are. No, no, don’t laugh. We all know there are shitters in this world who make everyone else contemplate if they are getting stabbed in the stall next to them, shitting lava, or simply hyperventilating. If you find yourself to fall into this category, by all means, do yourself a favor and trek as far away from any other life as possible. If you consider yourself to have quite ‘average’ bowels, how far you walk in correlation to your starting point is entirely up to how desperate you are to “pop-a-squat.”

Do not be stupid enough to rely on nature to wipe your ass. Do you honestly think nature wants you shitting all over it in the first place? The exact moment you need a strong, soft leaf, there will only be poison ivy, twigs, or dirt. Perhaps you will be feet away from the perfect leaf and have to do a crab walk shuffle to reach it. For the sake of the environment, please make it biodegradable. Toilet paper, napkins, and paper towels do not compose swiftly. Most of you were unprepared to have your self-esteem shattered today, so use what you can, but please just take your wipe goodies back out with you. Erase that disgusted look off your face, you are doing nature a favor, after all you are about to shit on it.

Bring a stick or trowel. “For what?” you may ask, but it is common knowledge that you must bury your own feces. Yes, I said bury. Some ’wild shitters’ will tell you to dig a hole prior to shitting. Do not listen to them, that is unnecessary stress to assume you can blindlessly aim with your asshole into a soda-can-width-six-inch-deep hole.

Upon starting the travels to find a location, take in to account two things, A; am I shitting downwind?, B; find a flat surface. For god’s sake do yourself a favor and do NOT shit on an angle. This makes for a troublesome time for your balance and gravity issues involving the turds. Yes, let your mind wander there; it can, and will happen if you choose an inclined toilet.

There are two types of shitters: the ones who say they are going to pee, and the ones who know good and well that they will be a while, it might smell, and own up to their natural habits. If you are the latter type, you are free to take your time. Just ask yourself what kind of friends do you have? If they are the type of friends to take embarrassing blackmail photographs of your first shit in the wild, I highly recommend finding an environment that shields you from their gaze. If you are the type to lie about which involuntary product is going to excrete from your body, please know that even if you are considered a ‘speed shitter’ your first poo in the wild will take much, much longer.

Once you have found your sacred throne, take off your bottoms. I know, I know, I can practically hear your eyes roll now, but trust me. Who is the expert here? Minutes from now you will not want your concentration to be interrupted by clutching your bottoms tightly to assure that no shit gets caught in them. The act of pushing them forward far enough so they are out of the line of fire, in turn is like tying a rope around both of your ankles. It can and will affect your balance at your most vulnerable time. Do you really want to face plant while you are pushing a turd out of your butt? I didn’t think so. Take them off or step out of one leg, the choice is yours.

The moment you’ve been waiting for is here! You have something to wipe with, a stick or trowel, you are half-naked, vulnerable and exposed to the elements. It’s go time, so take a squat. Keyword is squat. As humans, we are intricately designed. Our bowels work best flushing toxins out in squat form. Take a look at a baby for example; they turn blue in the face from trying to take a shit sitting down. This action will feel foreign. Roll with it.

Subject to how badly you have to defecate will determine how fast or slow things begin. Our bowels have been trained to sit on a toilet in a 90-degree angle. Feet firmly placed on the floor below you, ass on the seat covered in bacteria, and torso parallel to the walls surrounding you. Instead, you are now half naked, sweating, and clutching something to wipe with in your clammy hands. You are hunched over like a gorilla, your feet pointed outwards in the dirt, and your butthole a few inches off the ground.

Begin to push. Take a moment to look around you, laugh even as you default back to your primary state. Accept and enter that natural, wild way of being. The more you reject your behavior, the more difficult it becomes to finish the task. You may notice that you need to be more of a team member in this ritual. Before, you were privileged in the world of shitting and it did not require this deliberately timed pushing. Your brain will reject it; you’ve been taught that shitting yourself is not a valuable life skill. Inside, your brain will try to block what you are doing. But be in charge of your mentality and remind yourself that you are in the wild! Whatever you do, do not peer down/under/below you as a reminder. That is a visual image you do not need. Shortly after you will have to stare at your product while you bury it anyways.

Coax yourself along. Take all the time you need. That is, unless you are the type of person who told everyone you had to go pee. Now you have only allotted yourself 5 minutes of alone time before your peers begin to worry and look for you. It is better to be honest than to have someone find your bare ass in an awkward position hovering above the ground taking a dump. At this point, your hamstrings may begin to grow tired, especially if you’ve hiked your way here. Situate and shift your balance to one leg for the moments that are not requiring you to push and your bowels are doing the majority of the work. Mentally thank your bowels for this moment of relief and ease.

When you’ve finished, reach for your toiletry item to wipe your ass. If you did not bring anything to clean yourself, you are now beginning to panic. The only advice I have for you is: I told you so. But wait! Don’t begin to wipe yet. No, no, no. Wiping your ass in the wild versus wiping your ass in society is as vastly different as it feels to shit in the wild. In the comfort of your own home or public space, you have the freedom to use as much toilet paper as the current resources allow you. However, in the wild, you have brought with you a rationed amount; use carefully and with caution. If your paper material is non-biodegradable, wipe directly down the middle of the sheet so that you may fold it in on itself to pack back out via hand or reusable waste bag. If your paper product is biodegradable, you may wipe as creatively as you do in society.

STEP FORWARD. After you’ve wiped, you will try to fall back into the habit of immediately pulling your pants up. Have you forgotten that you shat right there? Step forward at least 2 feet from the designated danger zone. This allows for you to safely stumble and catch yourself while stepping back into your bottoms or accidentally tripping and landing your foot in crap. The worst thing you can do is stand too close, lose grip on your bottoms, and have them fall in slow motion into your pile of meadow muffins.

Now that you are fully clothed, bowels cleaned, and feel as if you’ve just completed a life-changing retreat, take a look at your masterpiece! Just kidding, don’t do that unless you are into that kind of thing. But you will have to look at it anyways as you begin to dig your hole. The hole needs to be at least 6 inches deep. No matter where you are, there will be wild animals that make their homes right where you shat. If it rains, precipitation causes dirt to wash away and dung to rise to the surface if it is not buried deeply or properly. The width of your hole is primarily up to your personal discretion, but I recommend it to be about the size of your fist. (That is, unless you took the largest shit man has ever seen.) Use the stick or trowel to scoop/push the fecal matter and biodegradable paper into the hole, and cover it back up accordingly. Now is the time to pick up your paper product if it is non-biodegradable and begin the walk back to civilization.

Wipe any sweat that is dripping on your brows caused by anxiety or endurance. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done! Unless you have dirty paper in your hands, I highly recommend not doing that. Recall all the shits you’ve taken in your lifetime. You’ve probably remembered the grossest, the most painful, the smelliest, and the ones you are reminded about from the person who changed your diapers. But, if you followed my tips, you now you have a delightful memory of your first experience shitting in the wild.