Skip to Content

Straddle Trench

A straddle trench latrine is used for 1-3 days in non-rocky or non-frozen soil. Be sure to be at least 200 feet away from all sources (camp, water source, trail) as a general guide. You can use whatever is available to dig this trench; a can, a pan, a stick or board, etc.

It should be dug just wide enough so that you can squat with one foot on either side of the trench. Usually made at about 1-3 feet deep, at least 4 feet long. If making more than one straddle trench, you should leave about 2 feet between trenches.

When digging, the dirt is piled to one side of the trench and the (paddle, board, stick) is stuck in the dirt pile. After each use of the latrine, the paddle is used to spread a layer of dirt in the trench and pack down, to promptly cover excreta, as well as keep away flies, odor, and disease.