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How Bear Grylls Makes an Outdoor Toilet for Camping

Keeping the environment around you safe so you can stay healthy is an important consideration when you are camping. Planning where to go to the toilet and where to dispose of the waste requires some thought—if you are not near a proper toilet, you will need to keep waste away from other people or animals and also allow the waste to biodegrade.

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Depending on your needs, Bear Grylls says that there are different types of toilets that can be built outdoors. Here are some of the most common ways to go about it:

Dig a Cat Hole

The cat hole is for personal use by one person, one time, for solid waste. Dig a hole around 6 inches deep and 4 inches wide. Make sure it is not near a trail or a water source.

When you have used the cat-hole toilet, bury your waste at the bottom of the hole, fill it in with the soil you dug up, and put some foliage on the top to disguise it.

Ecologically friendly Poop in the Woods series
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Build a Latrine

If you’re with a group and you are staying a few days, you will need to dig a proper latrine. This is hygienic and also environmentally responsible as it minimizes damage and bacteria from waste.

Pick an area around 200 feet from the campsite and 200 feet away from a water source, making sure to locate the latrine downwind from the campsite to avoid odors. Pick an area that gets sunshine (which helps with bacteria) and that’s away from places where people pass by frequently.

Dig a hole around 8 inches deep, 6 inches wide, and 12 inches long. You can use a small trowel for this.

Leave the stockpile of dirt that you dug out beside the latrine. Each person should cover their waste with dirt after using the latrine, so that it can start decomposing.

Ecologically friendly Poop in the Woods series
Credit lucentius via Getty Images

Long-Stay Latrine

A long-stay latrine can be more elaborate than a standard latrine. For instance, add a wicker screen to one side for privacy or pile up some logs to screen off one side. As with the standard latrine, fill it in to cover your waste before you leave.

Whatever type of toilet you use, always remove toilet paper and place it sealed in something like a Ziploc bag and pack it out, rather than leaving it behind. Cover any pit or hole completely before you leave the camping site.

Explore our guide on the best portable camping toilets to ensure a convenient and comfortable outdoor experience.

Have you ever built your own outdoor camping toilet? What tips would you add?

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