That's the question Montana-based wilderness enthusiast Kathleen Meyer has been trying to answer for the past two decades in her book "How To Shit In The Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach To A Lost Art" (Ten Speed Press).
The so-called "backcountry bible," originally published in 1989, is a quirky yet useful guide for nature lovers who might need to poop in the wild.
Over the years, it's been translated into seven languages, selling 2.5 million copies worldwide.
More than 20 years later, a third edition of the manual has been published and Meyer -- a lifelong devotee of whitewater rafting, hiking and camping -- is unloading fresh pointers on how to gracefully take a dump in the forest.
Seriously ... there are strategies and they are quite particular.
"In a lot of ways, I think sh--ting in the woods is a lost art," Meyer told AOL News. "We've lost a lot of those squatting muscles that humans used to have when we were hunters and gatherers. It's a skill that takes some time to master."
So what's new in the world of popping a squat in the wild?
For starters, Meyer said there are tons of new, helpful products that make the process easier than ever.
"For women, there are now these special funnels that help us pee without getting it all over the place. We can even use the funnels to write our name in the snow like guys," Meyer said.
There are also better clothing choices available for women that are easier to slip off or move to the side when peeing. "Hiking or camping in a skirt is also a good option -- I've been doing that for years," she said.
But Meyer believes the best thing women can do is practice peeing in the shower now so they can do it later standing up in the woods.
Gals not keen on using a funneling device or urinating while standing can resort to the old sit-down "log trick."
"You sit on a sturdy log or rock, put your legs up on another log in front of you, and you go. It's a good way to avoid getting pee on your legs or shoes. If you need to poop, just hang your butt off the log and go for it," Meyer said.
Another practical and popular method is "packing-it-out," the eco-friendly practice of capturing and transporting your fecal matter so it's not left behind in the woods.
Meyer said this can be done with something as simple as a plastic bag, tin can or a do-it-yourself "poop tube." She recently created a poop tube prototype called the "Shhh!-it Kit." It's an aluminum tube with screw-on lids at both ends.
"You do your business on a paper towel and then pack the poop into the container. When you're ready to dump it out in an actual restroom, you can open up the container on both ends and push the poop out easily into the toilet. It's very lightweight," she said, "and also washable."
As an environmental activist, Meyer believes packing-it-out is a great way to keep the wilderness clean and avoid disrupting fragile ecosystems with our droppings.
"There's nothing more disheartening than going out into the wilderness and discovering a bunch of stuff left behind by other humans," she said. "The point is for the woods to still look like the woods, so we have to take responsibility and clean up after ourselves."
If the idea of carrying around your own poop grosses you out, Meyer said there's another environmentally friendly option: Dig a "cat hole" that acts as a makeshift toilet and bury your poop in the earth.
She said the most important key to this tactic is finding soil with lots of vegetation around because the plants will help decompose your feces.
The hole should be about 6-8 inches deep -- big enough so you don't leave a visible pile of feces on the surface but small enough to minimize disruption of natural ground.
"After you're done, take the time to cover up the hole completely to keep animals and insects from getting to it," she said. "I like to get out there and make my cat hole with plenty of time, so I can pick a spot with a good view where I can commune with nature."
Meyer learned this strategy as a youngster. The first time she pooped in the woods was during an outing with her Girl Scout troop -- only she waited way too long to find a good spot to drop trou.
"I couldn't get far enough away from everyone, so it was an awful, rushed experience," she recalled. "Now I take my time."
That brings us to another pooping plight: Toilet paper. To use or not to use?
Meyer said there are really only two choices when it comes to using toilet tissue in the wilderness. You can use and dispose of it appropriately by taking it out of the woods in a plastic bag or can, or you can take the purist route and wipe au naturel using natural resources.
If you don't have TP, Meyer said the best things to wipe with are a "nice, warm, smooth stone" or -- believe it or not -- a pine cone.
"Old Douglas Fir pine cones that have gone from being prickly to being squishy are perfect for this. You just have to wipe carefully in the same direction," she said. Afterward, toss the pine cone or stone into the poop hole and bury everything together.
There you have it. How to poop in the woods.
The main thing, Meyer said, is to respect Mother Nature and not leave a mess behind. After all, you're a guest in nature's bathroom, so be polite.
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