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Output in the Great Outdoors.


Question from a new ostomate: How do you handle emptying an ileostomy when outdoors for hours or all day and there is no bathroom nearby? For example, on a boat ride, hiking in a group, just sitting with friends at sunset, sunrise, or around a campfire? How about when camping, either backpacking or car camping? Are my tenting days over?



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I'm presuming you have a drainable pouch. Take a small trowel with you. Go find a private spot, dig a small hole, and bury it, the output, not the trowel. 😁 On a boat, I'm not sure unless you can go ashore for a few minutes and find an area to go. I suppose you could empty it into some sort of container but that's kinda gross to me but whatever you gotta do. 


Bruce:   When I was doing a lot of hiking while living in Utah a few years ago, I always carried one of those pocket-sized packages of tissue to use and would simply find a spot off the trail when no one was around.  Of course, I usually hiked alone, so I didn't have to deal with an accompanying group of other people.  But when with others, I simply excused myself to find a private spot.  Either way, I always tried to select a spot where I could cover my tracks, so to speak.  If I'm in a car on a lengthy trip, I bring along a large disposable cup with a top (once a fastfood joint drink).  You'll find that, as your tenure as an ostomy person increases, your embarassment over such things decreases.  Good luck.

Reply to AlexT

Thanks. That all makes sense. The camping part, however, has me flummoxed (love that word). I'm of the age where I get up once a night anyway to pee. Since the ileostomy, I just empty everything. Not a problem in a house or motel or camper with a bathroom. But in a tent or car camping, I'm not sure I want to or can be digging a hole in the middle of the night. At the very least maybe no more tent camping in grizzly country. 


Hi Bruce, 

I grew up hiking/backpacking and camping so, post-surgery, it became important for me to overcome my fear of getting back out into nature. Like you, I was anxious at first. I've since realized outdoor activities with an ostomy is actually easier than without. As of today, my ileostomy and I have backpacked over 280 miles on the Appalachian Trail and countless miles on other trails around the East Coast of the US. While camping in the backwoods, many backpackers use "wag-bags" to pack-out waste. It's part of leave no trace. This method works amazingly well for ostomates since we empty from the front. We can also utilize cat holes if permitted in the area we're backpacking. I must admit hiking with meetup groups can be challenging since ileostomates are on different bathroom breaks than other people. i.e.-We usually have to empty soon after eating a snack. I will usually eat light while out with others who are not aware of my condition. 

I also sail here in Annapolis. I usually just don't eat much until after the outing and may use a tablet or two of loperamide to slow output. I've also used wagbags on the boat and have a porta-potty onboard and will sometimes use a large plastic container if I'm solo at the helm. 

Also, keep hydration in mind. I'm always conscious of water sources, electrolyte powders and salt. And a good barrier strip, supplemental adhesive, and/or tape makes sure my appliance stays in place. Get out there! 

Reply to HenryM

Re: a disposable cup. Thank god. A use for the trash from the fast food industry.

Reply to Bees

Oh, you'll definately learn to pre-dig your catholes before going to sleep! Seriously, everyone should be doing this anyway. lol 


Grizzlies don't like output, you'll be fine. 👀😂 I can visualize a guy running, an open ostomy pouch, and the bear going the other way. 🤢 (WTH?, I don't have a bear emoji) I also use flushable wet wipes from Walmart. I find them much easier to use when outdoors. They're plant based made so they dissolve in time. However, they do freeze in the package so keep them warm if it's gonna be cold. 


Bees ... When I camp ,go on long drives where there is no bathroom I make sure I have those firm sealing containers like what you buy a quart of won ton soup in with a non leaking lid. You can empty in it with ease and put your wipes or to in the container and done . It can firmly stay in between my legs in the car . Then just keep it anywhere until you find a trash can . You'll get the hang of all this in time . Good luck and just have fun on your adventures. 


I work mostly outside and have to empty lots just like you. I have an emergency kit with me at all times just in case. A cloth bag with a roll of TP, a snap lid container, Like margarine or other of a good size. If I can, I just kneel down and empty just like in a washroom but if you can't, then I use the container. Also, You will get to know your quieter times and that's when I go on the boat. I can usually go all afternoon without emptying and when you need to you will have to dock. We have a pop-up change room on the boat with a small portable toilet that is a lifesaver. Good Luck. It will quickly become second nature and overall it's easier than pooping. Good Luck to You!

Reply to Bees

Empty Pringle cans work....empty into the can put the lid on and discard.  I carry a supply of 2 gal. plastic bags to put the can in and throw in any garbage can.  Gallon zip lock bags can work in a pinch....same process.  Hope it keeps you camping.

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