Toilet in the bush

Image: DOC


Find out how to dispose of your poo responsibly where toilets aren’t provided.


Never miss an opportunity to use the toilet. There are toilets at every DOC hut and formal backcountry campsite so please use them.

And if you're heading out for a longer walk, be properly prepared.

That’s how we #visitthekiwiway.


In this section

Be prepared
  • Use the toilet whenever you can.
  • On longer walks bring toilet paper, and a trowel or poo pot with bags.

Never say no to a loo

Use the toilet before you go exploring and never miss an opportunity to use a loo when you see one – there can be some distance between toilets in our wild places.

When there's no toilet

If you can't wait until you reach the next toilet, be prepared to use one of these options.

Option 1: Dig a hole well away from people and water

Dig 50 m away and 20 cm deep in a sunny spot to speed up decomposition

Follow these steps to help your poo decompose quickly and safely.

  1. Walk at least 70 steps (50 m) away from water, tracks and campsites.
  2. Dig down 15–20 cm – as deep as the length of your hand.
  3. After you poo, wipe with unbleached toilet paper, soft leaves, or bark, and dispose in to the hole.
  4. Cover your poo with soil and leaves, filling the hole to the top.

If you’re camping for more than one night or in a large group, agree on a single toilet place and dig a hole deep enough to cope with the likely waste.

Option 2: Carry it to the next long drop

Use a compostable bag and a poo pot (or poo tube) to get your poo from the bush to a composting or long-drop toilet.

  1. Deposit your poo into a compostable bag and tie it up.
  2. Place the bag inside the poo pot and close the lid.
  3. Empty the pot in a composting or long-drop toilet. Check it's not a containment-vault toilet.
Don't put your bagged poo in these places

Don't put bagged poo into flush toilets or loos that need to be pumped out.

  • Flush toilets
  • Containment-vault toilets
  • Motor-home dump stations
  • Gardens
  • Rubbish bins and landfills (unless the waste is fully treated with waste-composting powder available with some poo bag products)

Bagged poo cause blockages, and could spread diseases if not disposed properly.

Back to top