There’s an excellent book called “How To Shit In The Woods.” If you haven’t seen it, skimmed it, or read it, you might want to check that out online or at a bookstore. It’s detailed, funny, and popular (it’s sold more than 2.5 million copies).
Also, a lot has been written on the internet about digging and using “cat holes” for Leave No Trace purposes, and if you haven’t read about those either, here’s a good link to the Section Hiker blog‘s coverage of that topic.
But this is a practical tip, a simple, quick guide post: How To Enjoy Pooping Outside.
So here are a few quick tips to make your #2 experience more enjoyable:
– First, dig a hole with a broken branch, not a shovel or trowel. Shovels or trowels weigh a lot and only improve the digging experience marginally. So if backpacking in, don’t carry the extra weight. If you really want to carry a digging tool, buy a short, all-plastic trowel at a hardware store because the all-plastic models are much lighter than any kind of metal tool (the worst is the VERY heavy Army-Surplus-Model folding trowel). Carrying something heavy just so you can dig and poop in a hole is not an enjoyable experience. Save the weight.
– Second, if the ground is too hard to dig, don’t fight it, don’t spend half-an-hour digging a rocky hole only to find that the urge to poop has passed. Instead, the proper Leave No Trace method for pooping on hard ground is to poop on top of an elevated, exposed rock, then to smear it around afterward to decrease disintegration time. Rain, wind, and time will get rid of your trace after a while. Plus, you can act like a crazy person while you smear your own poop. I like to hum while I do this.
– This is key for enjoyment: If it’s hot out, poop in the shade. No one wants to be dripping with sweat as she squats over a stinky cat hole.
– Along the same lines: If it’s cold out, poop in the direct sunlight if possible. My friend once pooped in the early-morning shade on a snow-camping trip and passed out from hypothermia. Not a pretty situation.
SUPER TIP: If you want to squat more comfortably, dig your hole at the base of a tree and lean back against the trunk as you go. This will take half your weight off of your legs. Or, dig your hole at the base of a low-lying fallen tree and half-sit on the log…as you drop your own logs.