So, I recently posted a question on hiking with a baby - my wife and I used to hike a fair amount, and we would like to get cracking again soon, but with our 7-month daughter. I'm currently trying to get as much info and as many do's and don'ts as possible, so today's topic: we use disposable diapers currently, and it suddenly occurred to me that our little bundle of joy is a regular production line of soiled diapers, and we would obviously need to carry them out with us. But they can get quite heavy (by the way, I'm a small guy, so I care about weight. A lot.)

Many trails have proper waste bins at each hut, but we often hike trails without huts, by preference. So, any experience with this? Any suggestions? (I'm also very aware of the ecological impact of using the things at all, but that's a debate for another day...)

  • 1
    LNT requires planning ahead. Until the kids are potty trained, you should only visit places that have rubbish disposal, or carry out what you take in. Burning plastic is arguably is not acceptable under LNT, neither would be leaving it behind. Its only a few (very short) years before you can head back to your preferred trials.
    – user5330
    Oct 15, 2017 at 5:13

4 Answers 4


I've carried them out, and I've burned them in the nightly fires we were having anyway. This was canoe-camping rather than hiking, so weight was less of an issue - but a weeklong trip accumulating diapers from two toddlers: smell was a problem. We used a dedicated bag for them, and kept it well away from everything else at campsites. Bags within bags within bags helped a bit too. My preference would be to burn them (start the fire while dinner is being made on a stove; once it's going deal with the diapers you've accumulated that day; after the diapers are burned put on another log and declare the fire open for sitting around) but when you're camping during a burn ban you do what you have to.

  • wow, I expected a few different approaches, and never considered this one! :) :) Is it safe to burn those though? Surely they are filled with all sorts of scary chemicals and stuff, and have their own special stink? Or do you just use a large enough fire? ;) Mar 1, 2013 at 12:20
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    the scary chemicals are mostly hydrogels and cellulose, plus the plastic cover. It's like burning a plastic bag - don't do it every day, but one week in your lifetime (or perhaps 2 or 3) for each child you have is not a huge contribution to pollution. [Switch to cloth at home for a bigger impact on the world.] They don't smell of diaper when they burn, but they can smell of plastic which is why we do it when no-one is sitting around the campfire. Mar 1, 2013 at 12:27
  • @KateGregory I've heard a lot of intense hiking stories, but yours is by far the most hardcore. Kudos. Mar 1, 2013 at 16:12
  • You might be interested in this: gregcons.com/canoe/kidpaddle.htm full of tips and experience - aimed at canoeing more than hiking, but still... Mar 2, 2013 at 2:05
  • We usually burn them as well. But at the end of the night once everyone has left for bed. I can smell it burning and think it's pretty bad. To store them, we wrap and twist them in grocery store produce bags. One of the stores near us has some special kind of bag that helps seal everything in. We re-use those. Mar 4, 2013 at 14:07

I've got experience with this.

The first trick is prevention: we would encourage our kid at any rest break to walk around bare-bottom and try to get them to go pee (there's tons of techniques, I'm a fan of making a hissing sound every time you go pee or take your kid to go pee, and having them regularly watch others go pee). We probably saved 1-2 diapers a day with that technique.

The second trick is how you pack them away:

  1. Use white plastic garbage bags.
  2. Put the used diaper (folded) in the corner of the plastic garbage bag.
  3. Tie a knot so that the diaper is the only thing in the space.
  4. Repeat. I find I can knot about 5 diapers per white plastic trash bag doing this.

I use a heavier black plastic bag to hold the used diaper chains.

It keeps smell down to a minimum, avoids mess and stops leaks, the only real disadvantage is weight.

You could let the diapers air dry, as the weight is mostly water, but with bears and flies that's a poor idea and it'll probably take longer due to the absorbent nature of the diapers.

  • some really good ideas there. I don't have to worry about bears in South Africa luckily :) Mar 5, 2013 at 8:30

We are planning on hiking with our baby this coming summer so I have been doing research, as she will be exactly 1 year old. There are biodegradable wipes and diapers available so as long as you go on trails with outhouses you are set. Cosco carry's an affordable brand. I am going to do some day hiking and the prevention work mentioned above, before we go on a big trip. Exciting!


Have you considered making a "poop tube"? This is something I've heard of people using when in areas where your required to carry out all waste or big wall climbing etc. Essentially it's an air tight pack able tube for depositing waste into. You make one using plumbing supplies, so a length of pipe (choose your diameter and length as you see fit) and two screw on pipe caps (one for each end), something like this:

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Unscrew one end, deposit nappy, screw back up. The whole lot is totally sealed and smell proof. It's also rinse clean once you empty it.


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