Dec 7, 2008 at 5:52 pm #1232473
Alright, somebody has to do it — Here's the step by step:
1. Time to go? Take your water bottle, trowel, and hand sanitizer.
2. Locate a good spot away from people, trails, and water sources.
3. Dig hole (6 inches) — squat — do your thing.
4. Done? Cup your hand, pour a bit of water and wash your bottom. You do this by using the 'balls' of your index and middle fingers to clear out any residue — with an assist from the water in the palm of your hand — which you tilt as needed. Repeat a few times (the final time is basically rinsing).
5. Pull up your pants (you did wear wicking/quick-drying undies, right?) — cover the hole — with LNT in mind.
6. Sanitize your hands. Return to camp.
Being right handed, I always pour water with my left hand and do the cleaning with my right. Keep consistent to avoid cross-contaminating water bottle vs. your cleaning hand.
Generally speaking, sitting on a toilet, there may still be a lot of residue (eeeww factor) — but when squatting, I find that the bowel pushes out most everything much more easily and freely. So the 'eeeww factor' is not that bad — once you've done it two or three times — it may well disappear altogether. Now that's liberating, isn't it?
Just think: no more counting/allocating TP — less stuff to pack (or burn) — and best of all — nothing to pack out (unless you are camping at places that specifically require bagging and carrying out your solid body waste).Dec 7, 2008 at 5:58 pm #1462811
Right on Ben!
I have used this method, and it's fine.
This is basicly the step-by-step I give in the BPL article. (with cartoon).
I guess I would advocate soap and water over hand sanitizing, just from the studies I've read. If you use hand sanitizer, you need to use a lot. Squirt out a glob at least the size of a peanut M&M.Dec 7, 2008 at 6:03 pm #1462813
@chrismorganLocale: Southern Oregon
Do these methods work if you eat a lot of peanut M&Ms?Dec 7, 2008 at 6:06 pm #1462815
This method works easily and beautifully even after a whole week of eating gas-and-fart-producing Mountain House freeze-dried meals! Really.
As for sanitizer — you do NOT need copious quantities of sanitizer — and certainly not a glob the size of an M&M. You only need enough to moisten all surface area of both hands.
Oh one more thing, wash/clean with the 'balls' of your index and middle fingers. Don't "scratch the stuff out" with your nails. Nails are harder to sanitize.Dec 7, 2008 at 6:08 pm #1462816
Read the article, here's the LINK:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/toilet_paper_free.htmlDec 7, 2008 at 6:12 pm #1462818
I find that relying solely on water and gravity will use up a lot more water. I prefer my method. Much more efficient with water usage — and much cleaner too.Dec 7, 2008 at 9:00 pm #1462858
How many times is Clelland going to reference an article that costs money to read.Dec 7, 2008 at 9:07 pm #1462860
A clean bottom….
yet another benefit of BPL membership.Dec 7, 2008 at 10:09 pm #1462870
To Joe the Backpacker:
I keep referencing the article because I put a lot of work into it, and I really tried to make it as informative (and entertaining) as I could.
People are carrying toilet paper into the backcountry, and then leaving it there – as far as I can tell, it's not really laziness, it's ignorance.
This is a website for advanced lightweight skills, but it seems some very basic skills are being ignored.
I've been recommending the article because I really believe it contains good information – a lot of it from my 14 years of teaching, and from a school that created the Leave No Trace list of ethics.
If there is one less person leaving toilet paper in the mountains because of my repetitive posting – then I feel good about my pestering.
The article is good. You should join and read it! You'll get your money back in the on-line store discounts…
Anyway – I am gunna back off and limit my postings on this subject. I feel like I've said everything I could say.
M!Dec 7, 2008 at 10:39 pm #1462871
Oh no, don't go Mike! I love it when you talk about poo! And your articles are great… that's one of the benefits of being a subscriber Joe!Dec 8, 2008 at 9:02 am #1462905
@leadfootLocale: Middle Virginia
OK, so how do you deal with using water in the winter? Isn't it a bit cold???????
:- 0Dec 8, 2008 at 9:40 am #1462910
The water is then in a convenient granular form, easy to pick up and apply where needed.
Yes, it is a bit cold, but the results are amazing.Dec 8, 2008 at 10:00 am #1462914
Winter is the BEST! Your butt will stay CLEAN!
It's all in a very informative article.
Read the article, here's the LINK:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/toilet_paper_free.htmlDec 8, 2008 at 10:06 am #1462917
I loved using snow on WT3 this year. Very refreshing.Dec 8, 2008 at 10:26 am #1462919
Nice article Mike, and something to really think hard about, but Leave No Trace also discourages picking leaves. I have to wonder in a high use area if the damage to the vegetation wouldn't be worse than a few buried sheets of decomposing toilet paper. Although you recommend gathering a few leaves here and there, if everyone does that then there will eventually be a lot of impact I think.
And if using stones, in a high use area, eventually all the best stones are going to be poo-covered and under a bush aren't they?
I can see where snow would be the best as it's generally plentiful and renewed often. Most places in the east it's not going to be around past winter though.
A little toilet paper around a site is annoying, but at least it eventually goes away, at least in areas where there is rain and active decomposition in the soil. What I hate seeing is the empty pop bottles, charred tuna can in the fire pit, broken equipment, discarded socks, etc.
I think a lot of the arguments about toilet paper apply differently in different environs.
PamDec 8, 2008 at 10:44 am #1462924
Just amazing this thing about cultural habits. Lots of people would just shake their heads at this 'soul wrenching' debate about leaves vs. TP — when neither is necessary and both are actually suboptimal!Dec 8, 2008 at 10:59 am #1462927
@maynard76Locale: New England
Am I wrong or dont cultures who use their hands have a "bad" hand (the evil left) that they wipe with and a good (right) hand that they eat with.
A traditional punishment being to chop off the left leaving you the humiliation of using the same hand for both?
Buy the way, ancient Romans used a stick with a wad of wool or cotton like material on the end.Dec 8, 2008 at 11:13 am #1462936
Our own culture used to force everyone to write with their right hand, etc. — in a similar way, many cultures stipulate using your left hand to clean and your right hand to eat.
A beloved and well-traveled hiker friend who also posts on BPL related a story of the time he was in Iraq — invited to 'picnic' with an Iraqi family. Amongst the many delicacies was a huge pan of rice. The friend accidentally reached for it with his left hand — and suddenly the silence was deafening! After a few seconds of hesitation — and many glances exchanged — the entire pan of rice was taken out and "discreetly" disposed.
As for the Romans, below is a photo of the remains of a Roman public toilet. Folks sat on stone slabs. Water would flow continuously along the small gutter that you see. Cleaning sticks (with sponges at one end) would have been placed every few feet. After doing their business, "patrons" would clean their bottoms with the sponge sticks — then dipped them back into the gutter — ready for use by next patron. Perhaps the more squeamish ladies brought their own?Dec 8, 2008 at 11:20 am #1462939
@jcarter1Locale: Pacific Northwest
…reminds me to never shake hands with another backpacker…Dec 8, 2008 at 11:24 am #1462941
Following what I wrote re. cultural traits… do you really think that a few pieces of toilet tissue would form an effective barrier? Countless surveys have been done to show that many people don't bother washing their hands after doing their business. You have shaken more dirty hands than you can shake a cleaning stick at! :)
It's not how we clean our bottoms. It's whether or not we wash or sanitize our hands afterwards.Dec 8, 2008 at 12:01 pm #1462949
@clbowdenLocale: Berkeley Hills
I hope to try the no TP route next season.
However, for the past several years I've simply burned my used TP (paper towel sections actually) in the hole after doing #2. Most all of it burns and I pour a bit of water over it just to be safe.
Comments?Dec 8, 2008 at 12:17 pm #1462953
@jcarter1Locale: Pacific Northwest
It was just a bit of humor. You're right, washing hands is much more important, and I'm sure my hands are just as dirty from eating my lunch and wiping my nose without washing my hands. Very informative history! That Roman toilet system is remarkable. It is always informative to be reminded that what we assume to be the 'correct' way to do things is simply a cultural norm.
That said, I think a very important part of the no TP system is making sure you have plenty of water to wash every little bit off, and to scrub vigorously to remove particles that get caught in one's fingerprint grooves. Hand sanitizers will not be effective on large particulate matter (and in this case large could include microscopic clumps). It is recommended that one should wash hands with warm soapy water for 30 seconds, largely to remove larger microscopic matter. Do you have 30 seconds worth of running water in your water bottle?
The advantage to toilet paper is that you largely remove this concern. It's an added barrier. Keep in mind that, despite all the advances in Roman technology, they had no clue about germ theory. And there were simply more people who died of bacterial diseases.
I am personally more comfortable bagging my toilet paper and hiking it out (but perhaps that's because I have two young boys and am used to dirty diapers on road trips). Still, I think you would have a better time convincing the general hiking public to bag out their TP than to use their hands.
I can certainly appreciate the simplicity of your approach, though, particularly for longer hikes.Dec 8, 2008 at 12:49 pm #1462962
Humor? This is a serious topic!
OK, enough preaching… signing off. :)Dec 8, 2008 at 2:27 pm #1462992
@redleaderLocale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
An often repeated "rule" at the ADZPCTKO is: Never let anyone put their hand in your gorp bag. With good reason.Dec 8, 2008 at 5:09 pm #1463044
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Well said, Ben. 'Bout sums it up, I'd say.
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