By: Blonde Two

I have mentioned before that the bothy at a Lluest Cwm Bach is blessed with a loo with a view. What is also notable about this loo is that is has a flush, albeit in the form of a snazzy orange bucket and a couple of nice tubs of ‘butt water’ (the phrase, ‘I’ve been drinking butt water’) was too good for any of us to resist.

It’ll push a turd

Flushing with a bucket is remarkably effective (quote: ‘It’ll push a turd!’) and also quite good fun. If your bothy mates’ aim is less than perfect, you have to get used to there always being water on the seat, but let’s face it, a seat is better than a bush any time.

Go to the loo before you set off

Of course the very best answer to wild camping toilet issues is to make sure you ‘go’ before you go, and know the location of public or available toilets. There are however times, especially on longer trips, when wild loo stops might be necessary. We’ve recently written a blog post with even more information on how to go to the toilet outside.

But what about the loo roll?

One question I have been asked many times, by adults and by youngsters is, ‘What should I do with my toilet paper when I am wild camping?’ Now this isn’t the most pleasant of topics but camping loo roll is important, whether you are sleeping in a tent, in a loo-less camper, on a hillside, in a bivvy bag, on a beach or in a bothy with a delicate toilet, at some point (more points if you are a girl) you will need to use and get rid of your tissue.

Toilet roll tips

Here is my advice on the topic (based on years of experience rather than a textbook – which could also be used for wiping if you have forgotten your poo kit).

  • Don’t ever be persuaded that grass, leaves, sticks or small mammals are good substitutes for toilet paper
  • Consider not using any loo roll. Obviously, there are some toilet events that require a certain amount of paper but for the occasional wee out on the hills, a shake and hope for the best really might do.
  • Don’t use wet wipes as an alternative. You will probably end up being super-squeaky clean but you will be left with something that won’t flush (or shouldn’t be flushed), won’t biodegrade and won’t burn. You can carry it out with you but what are you going to do with it then?
  • Never, ever leave your used toilet paper out in the open. It will take longer than you think to biodegrade and animals will dig it up if you bury it. The same applies, ladies, to sanitary protection.
  • Be prepared to carry your used camping toilet paper out with you. By ‘be prepared’ I mean bring something that is capable of containing said paper in a hygienic manner.
  • Burning used loo roll can be tricky but it can be a good way to deal with your paper waste. Sometimes you will have a campfire at your campsite or bothy, don’t be too shy to use it. It’s worth mentioning here that you absolutely shouldn’t be lighting any type of campfire if you are wild camping off site.
  • If you come across a loo that looks as though it can’t deal with toilet paper, don’t put any down there. That said, if you don’t put it down the loo, don’t shove it in a bucket next to the loo either, someone else will have to burn it (recent experience talking there).

This hasn’t maybe been the most attractive of blog (bog) topics but I can bet that the one about wild camping and toilet paper is a question that anyone who enjoys sleeping out in the wilds has asked at some point in their lives.

There is one other popular question, ‘Is the wilderness experience worth all of the toilet hassle?’

Does a Blonde **** in the woods?

PS A later note… it was slightly disconcerting to find, when I applied the search term ‘wild camping toilet paper’, that a photo of myself was the fourth picture in the image list!

PPS February 2021. Since writing this post I’ve been contacted by several radio stations and two newspapers for my comments on needing to use the loo when you are outside. It’s a strange life.

PPPS February 2021. By far the best ‘how to poo outdoors’ campaign I have seen so far has been the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs ‘Shhh. It happens’ campaign. Lots of interesting stuff going on there.