Dealing With Dirty Diapers on a Hike Like a Pro


Dealing with human waste is always a tricky subject. Nobody likes to poop in the woods. As an adult you can just dig a cathole and go to town, but how do you deal with dirty diapers?

When you add infants and young children to the mix things get a little more challenging. You won’t have a changing table and usually don’t have access to your full diaper bag. So how do you change a diaper on a hike?

Don’t worry! Changing a diaper on the trail doesn’t have to be hard. If you follow these tips you’ll be changing a diaper like a pro.

How to Change Diapers on a Hike

You don’t need to get a babysitter every time you feel like going on a hike. Obviously, you probably shouldn’t go on multi-day hikes with an infant, but a short day hike is well within your means.

Hiking with a baby is actually pretty easy(easier than toddlers). They love to be snuggled against you and mobile baby carriers are getting easier to use.

If you don’t already have a baby carrier backpack check them out on Amazon. These are a serious lifesaver on a long hike. It’s like having a mobile diaper bag, child carrier and hiking pack all rolled into one convenient package.

Tackling a Diaper Change on a Hike

Taking on a diaper change on the trail shouldn’t be difficult. After having a baby in the house for a few weeks diaper changes are just like making coffee in the morning. It just becomes natural. However, you do need to take a few extra precautions before taking your baby out on the trail.

  • Check diapers before you head out on the trail. It’s so much easier to change a diaper when you have the backseat of your car to use as a changing table. Plus you won’t have to carry around a soiled diaper all day.
  • Even if you’re only going on a short 2-3 hour hike plan on having a couple of diaper changes. Bringing along a baby is going to slow you down (there’s no getting around it). A hike that usually takes 2 hours might take 4 with a baby strapped to your back.
  • Plan on carrying soiled diapers and baby wipes out of the woods. Bring along a few gallon-sized ziplock bags and a couple of extra diapers.
  • If you have to change a diaper on the trail find a flat open spot alongside the trail. You don’t want to have people/dogs stepping over you while you’re trying to change a diaper.
  • Adjust your hike for the weather conditions. In warm weather diaper changes are pretty easy, but in the cold things get more challenging. Throughout the winter limit the length of your trip to how long diapers usually last.

Dealing With Diapers

As a general rule, if you bring something onto the trail you need to pack it out. On short trips this isn’t much of a problem, but on multi-day trips, this gets a little more challenging. Ultimately, you’ll just have to find a method that works best for you.

Pack Them Out

Never leave diapers just laying along the trial. Anything that you carry onto the trail needs to be carried out. Even if you bury a diaper in a cathole it’s going to be there for years. They aren’t biodegradable so they will be there for years.

Bring Gallon-Sized Ziploc Baggies

Plan on bringing a lot of gallon-sized ziplock baggies to carry your diapers out. You can usually fit 3 soiled diapers in one gallon-sized baggy.

Personally, I like the freezer bags because they’re a little bit thicker and sturdier. You won’t have to worry about leaks and they’ll cut down the smell considerably.

Bring more bags than you could possibly need. I’ve had to eat my lunch early because I forgot to bring along extra baggies. You shouldn’t have to down a bag of trail mix just to store a dirty diaper.

Use Reusable Diapers As an Outer Layer

As much as I’d love to be environmentally conscious I could never bring myself around to using reusable diapers. The thought of washing and reusing a poopy diaper just grossed me out.

However, we did have a few reusable Grovia Diapers (On Amazon) floating around that were given as baby shower gifts. Instead of using them how they were intended I place them over my regular diaper.

These things are great! They’re waterproof in the rain and they protect the diaper from mud/dirt when you let the baby crawl along.

Bring Extra Baby Wipes and Diaper Rash Cream

Bring along extra baby wipes and diaper rash cream. Just plan on packing them out along with the diapers.

The wipes and cream aren’t just for babies. You never know when you’ll start to chafe and need a little help. Even before I had my son I carried around a tube of Desitin (On Amazon) just in case I started to chafe.

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