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Outdoor Toilet

If you are out for more than a day with no access to toilets, you need to be aware of how to defecate, without impacting on the environment.

We generally take with us a Toilet Trowel Bag and keep it within easy reach. This is just a nylon drawstring bag that contains:

  • A lightweight trowel
  • Some biodegradable toilet paper if possible, or pack of tissues if not. (This is kept dry and placed inside a zip lock plastic bag.)
  • A disposable lighter
  • Wet wipes or hand sanitizing gel

Firstly select a spot away at least 50m from any path and at least 30 from any water source. Always go ‘below’ camp and away from any water source. Water for drinking should then be taken from ‘above’ camp.

Next use your trowel to dig a small hole about 6 inches deep. Under trees the soil is often softer, which makes life easier. Make sure it doesn’t look like a place others might choose to camp or picnic in. The more remote the better.

After you have performed, use the toilet paper and if conditions allow, set it alight. Making sure there is no chance of undergrowth catching fire. Leaves and moss can be used if you don’t have any paper. If conditions don’t allow you to burn paper, you need to bury it. Biodegradable is therefore preferred. Use soil and leaf litter to cover the hole.

If circumstances and conditions make digging a hole impossible, spread the excrement thinly or arrange rocks so air can circulate. Avoid hiding it under a rock and this slows decomposition.

Some wilderness areas require you to pack out ALL waste. In such areas you need to have the appropriate bags to do this!

Remember to use wet wipes or sanitizing gel on your hands after. If you wash your hands, make sure you run your hands under water poured from a bottle, or in a bowl. Putting your hands into a running watercourse is not the answer. The bowl wastewater can then be tipped at a distance from your water source.

Please download this leaflet from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland to keep with you as a reminder.


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