Vagabond Travel Tips

Vagabond Travel Tip #1 — The Pantless Squat


In an earlier post, I covered the basic five steps to successfully using a squat toilet in the developing world. It generated a good number of comments and one of them referred to an advanced technique: “It’s near impossible to not crap on your pants. My advice is to take them off before squatting.”

This is good advice — a well-executed Pantless Squat will allow for a wider stance, better balance, use of both hands, and lower cleaning bills. However, it’s not easy as it sounds and I felt it would be irresponsible not to follow up with some tips for anyone attempting this maneuver.

A well-executed Pantless Squat will allow for a wider stance, better balance, and lower cleaning bills.

Sure, it sounds easy: simply remove your pants, do your business, and get on with your life. Please keep in mind however that the floor is most likely wet and filthy. Avoiding contact with either your pants or your bare feet is hard to pull off while balancing on one foot, removing shoes, and clenching your bowels.
A few tips that might help:

1. Never attempt this unless there is a nearby wall, stall door, or sink that you can grab onto. If possible, find a clean corner and back into it — losing your balance will simply result in your shoulders or back touching the wall. This is perfectly acceptable compared to the alternative: landing on the cold, wet floor with your bare ass.

Sandals or flip-flops are the footwear of choice — boots are hard to get in and out of.

2. Sandals or flip-flops are the footwear of choice. Boots are hard to get in and out of and — at the very least — will result in wet laces that will have to be handled later. Wet socks and cursing are also very likely.

3. Once you have successfully removed your pants, you’re probably feeling pretty smug. This is when you are mostly likely to drop them entirely, or to empty the contents of your pockets onto the floor and/or toilet. Carefully roll your pants, sealing the pockets shut, and place the roll in the sink until you’ve finished.

Keep these points in mind, move slowly, and you’re well on your way to a successful Pantless Squat. Best of Luck!

Have any tips of your own? Let’s hear ‘em!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Cara February 3, 2010 at 6:19 am

A good idea, but not always executable. In China for example the squat holes are often lined up next to each other with no walls between. Really the key is to perfect your childs squat pose. If you practice while waiting for local buses and wearing your pack your position will improve! Squat deep.


Sofia February 5, 2010 at 9:00 pm

This is the kind of information you don’t find in travel guides, but that many people still want to know about, although they would never admit it. It’s sometimes harder to do than you’d think haha…


wes February 5, 2010 at 10:53 pm

I totally agree, Sophia. I mean, it should be the easiest thing in the world, right? It sure can get complicated quickly…


Dave and Deb February 7, 2010 at 1:46 am

Haha! Fantastic post. Managing the dirty and disgusting squat toilet is one of the toughest challenges when travelling. I avoid the bus stop toilets at all costs. On travel days I drink and eat as little as possible and Dave always pops an immodium. Sometimes however, it just can’t be avoided and this is good advice. I am always amazed with how the locals come out looking fresh as a daisy:)


wes February 12, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Haha. One of the things I’m most dreading is the long bus ride. Trapped in the bus for hours, then having to do your business behind 2 fence posts and a cinder block. Hoo boy….


Teak August 22, 2010 at 8:28 am

After living in China for a year (and using squat toilets), I spent the next several years squatting on purpose whenever I had the chance. This both built up my flexibility and muscles so that I can squat flat-footed now without raising up off my heels. I can use squat toilets without problem and no need to remove my pants. Practice before hand is the key.
.-= Teak´s last blog ..Its Durian Time =-.


Al Dennis October 31, 2010 at 10:28 am

I used squatters when I was young, but now I’m 63 w/ 2 fake hips and arthritic knees. Hoo boy, a trip to India is coming up and I’m trying to figure it out. Will I carry a rope to tie to a pipe or door so I can pull on it to help me get up?
How practical is it to make some “breakaway” pants that have snaps on the inside of the legs? I’m going to make a trial pair of breakaway shorts and wear them a while before I go. An interesting dilemma that will be overcome! Any other arthritic old baggabums out there that have solved this riddle?


Raji January 4, 2011 at 7:30 pm

ha ha ha
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Roy | Cruisesurfingz June 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

My biggest fear with the squat is my wallet will fall into the hole!
Roy | Cruisesurfingz recently posted..The Best Way To Go From Poland To PragueMy Profile


wes June 22, 2011 at 7:33 am



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