Just because you’re enjoying nature in a peaceful surrounding doesn’t mean that nature won’t call. Yes, there comes a time when only you can do what you got to do. I remember going hunting with a friend once and ended up stepping into something I really didn’t want to. I never thought I would get that close to that guy, but sadly I did! I don’t know about you, but I don’t even like saying the word poop because of that memory. I decided that was the last time that was going to happen.
So, what’s a cathole?
A cathole is a simple way to keep you from going through what I had gone through. It’s a simple hole in the ground where you put things that you won’t want to step in. People dig them and then put anything biodegradable in it: #1’s, #2’s and even waste water from washing up. Then the hole gets covered up, but you want to do it the proper way to preserve nature as well as you can.
Why a Cathole
Being as ethical as we can mean not spreading disease. Human waste is full of pathogens and antibiotics. Other than leaving a mess that no one wants to smell, see or step on we don’t want to spread disease. Wildlife may become infected while interacting with or (get ready to puke in your mouth) consuming your excrement which can injure or even kill animals. So, it’s best to just put that stuff where it’s not on display.
How to Dig a Cathole
First off catholes are for single use. Dig it, drop it, and then cover it up. I would also suggest buying some biodegradable toilet paper just because it’s better for the environment. Any toilet tissue that says septic system safe should be fine. Feel free to use mullein because that’s even better for the environment and probably better for your bum.
The Don’ts of Cathole Digging
- Don’t dig one in camp
- Don’t dig one on the trail
- Don’t dig one near a water source
- Don’t dig it near a tree
The Right Spot to dig your cathole should be about 70 steps away from any of the above don’ts. This should be safe from contaminating nature. Pick a sunny spot that looks to have good soil. We want good soil because it digs easier and will have bacteria to break down your waste faster.
Once you have your spot chosen, dig a hole with a hand trowel. Digging it 6” round and about 8” deep will be just about right. Keep the soil near the hole because you’ll be filling it back in. Now you can squat to do your business.
After you’re done with your business, backfill your hole with the soil you have dug out. Now it’s time to camouflage the area. Just use your foot to scrape some of the surrounding debris over your cathole. We want to disguise the smell and look of your cathole so no one would ever find it.
It won’t take long for mother-nature to break down the excrement and become part of nature again. You have assured that nature is unaffected by your outing and that is what I call being respectful of nature. When the time calls again, just dig another cathole using the same guidelines and methods.
One note is that if you are just using run of the mill toilet paper, bring along a Ziploc bag. That toilet paper will not break down for years and should be transported back home with you. This is why I recommend septic system-safe toilet paper; just leave it in the hole.