Apr 20, 2009 at 2:12 pm #1235739
What should you do with used Toilet Paper on the Trail?
1) Pack it out.
2) Burn it (and the surrounding 4,000 acres).
3) Bury it in the ground and let natural attenuation take its course.
4) Don't bring TP, instead use a variety of sticks, rocks, leaves, and pinecones.
What are YOUR methods and why? Feel free to list anything that wasn't mentioned here.Apr 20, 2009 at 2:30 pm #1495678
@chrismorganLocale: Southern Oregon
…Apr 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm #1495682
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Once Mike C discovers this post, you'll get his famous "No TP" lecture. He seems to feel quite strongly on this issue. Personally, I don't like to see or smell rocks and pinecones lying around with human waste on them. Nor do I like the idea of using green vegetation, especially in sensitive alpine areas.
I am female and, like most women who've had several children, have hemorrhoids. Therefore things like rocks, pine needles, etc. don't work for me and have the potential to cause injury and infection. I have to use nice soft TP plus wet wipes. If the ground is wet, the TP is buried the cathole with some water poured over it to help it disintegrate. The wet wipes are packed out. If the weather and ground are dry, both are packed out, because the TP won't disintegrate in dry conditions. Being a "Freezer Bag Cooking" fan, I use the used plastic freezer bags for this purpose. Multiple use–at both ends!Apr 20, 2009 at 2:49 pm #1495685
I burn it if I can. In winter or sensitive areas I just put it in a ziplock and pack it out.Apr 20, 2009 at 2:51 pm #1495688
@cbertLocale: N. California
minus any acreage
burning doesn't seem to be very effective
burying is cool in lower use areas
packing inside ziplocks isn't all that inconvenient & makes sense in high use or sensitive areas – that's what we did this weekend at Rancheria
going native is also best in off-trail or less frequented areas, or during emergencies of supply and demandApr 20, 2009 at 4:05 pm #1495709
A quick question for those of you carrying your sh@t* around. Do you hang it in your bear bag or store it in your food canister overnight? Just curious as to the whole debate of animals digging it up. AliApr 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm #1495713
.Apr 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm #1495715
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
I find that sage leaves are nice with a nice, spicy scent. And of course, I use my backcountry bidet and plenty of hand sanitizer.Apr 20, 2009 at 4:49 pm #1495732
@anywayoutsideLocale: South East
It's been 3.5 hrs since Dylan's post…Mike must be out.Apr 20, 2009 at 6:41 pm #1495774
Mary, when using the no TP option, one is supposed to bury their sh*t covered rocks. Anyone who leaves their crap lying around is missing a vital component of leave no trace.
Every ranger I've talked to in the sierras for the last few years wanted and/or required one to pack out their tp. Before I switched to tp-less methods I would keep a ziplock bag for this purpose. I found this totally disgusting so I switched.
My favorite method is a grass brush (a long clump of grass folded in half) to wipe myself clean and then bury the stuff along with the rest of the waste.
And remember as Mike says, "A clean butt is a happy butt". Soap and water does wonders.Apr 20, 2009 at 7:19 pm #1495783
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Like Mary, I cannot go without TP – unless I want a raging UTI in under 24 hours. I won't use plants either – it isn't worth the risk, I get UTI's so easily I won't risk it.
Having said that, I do pack out my TP. I also pack out my used lady products as well. And when my kid was little, his diapers. It isn't hard really, you just have to bag stuff right. And as for the garbage? Just leave it bagged at night. We often use our 2nd Ursack for garbage duty.
I always take a full roll of TP. Oh glorious soft TP how I love you ;-P Heck, even my daypack has a full roll….Apr 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm #1495977
I've had a lot of fun reading your replies. Seems like the majority of folks pack it out while others go native. I have never packed it out, and rather prefer to use leaves etc. or buy the biodegradeable (and really thin) toilet paper, which should be urinated upon to facilitate the process.Apr 22, 2009 at 7:40 pm #1496334
@page0018Locale: Southeastern USA
A tiny dab of 1% Hydrocortisone Ointment on the last TP for final cleansing. Flammable, or not, depending on your preference. Helps prevent itching and sooths hemorrhoids. I carry 1/4 oz in a BPL MiniBalm jar. Good for sunburn, poison ivy, etc. A fourth of a cotton ball saturated in ointment in the bottom of the jar is an emergency fire starter.Apr 23, 2009 at 3:08 pm #1496574
OK, I'll stand in for Mike C! here… No TP! It's been years since I last carried any TP into the woods–or had any desire to. Being TP-less is no less sanitary than using TP. It's easy 'n clean all 'round. Any vegetation will do, usually just a handful of fallen leaves from the ground around me. If there seems to be a shortage of those, perhaps a bracken fern. I've never had a problem with infections or irritation. Leaves go in the cathole along with the rest of my waste. And if critters do dig it up, no white stuff strung through camp. I use enough leaves that my hand isn't doing the wiping–no more exposure than I'd get using TP. In winter I love using snow, very clean, the wetness is nice. Whether I used leaves or TP, I'd clean up afterward with a shot of Purell.Apr 23, 2009 at 4:06 pm #1496586
W I S N E R !Participant
No TP for me either!
"Biodegradable" or not, I wouldn't bury paper wrappers and trash, so why TP?Apr 23, 2009 at 5:56 pm #1496604
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Ok, so I only recently went to no TP. It was springtime. Lots of fresh greenery available. I need to know how to keep this up.
So, what about hiking in the Southern California desert? Where the juniper and Joshua trees live. What to use?
What about the High Sierra? Where the rocks are sharp and so are the pine needles?
How about Northern California forests? Everything looked so dry and scratchy and sharp.Apr 25, 2009 at 5:47 pm #1496981
@mikeclellandLocale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Hey – my reputation prosedes me!
Here's a link to an article:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/toilet_paper_free.htmlApr 25, 2009 at 9:39 pm #1497017
@chrismorganLocale: Southern Oregon
Mike, while I have admired that chart for some time now, I do have to take issue with your assessment of poison ivy. Long term comfort may warrant a 0, but absorbency? Surely poison ivy is more absorbent than limestone rocks. And while a requisite mini-dropper of calamine would need to be added to one's gear list, I would think it might bring soothing benefit to one's mozzie bites. Granted, you do disclaim that your chart is non-scientific and only a guide, but to fully discredit Rhus toxicodendron as worthless in all cases, even those most pressing (you know what I mean), saddens me deeply.Apr 26, 2009 at 12:19 am #1497021
I also have a nitpick.
Old man's beard scores pretty highly, but you don't seem to have taken any account of how difficult it is to acquire one on the trail. Plus the difficulty of separating the beard from the old man (presumably with some UL scissors during the night) and the dangers which exist when the old man finds out what you have used his beard for.Apr 26, 2009 at 2:34 am #1497030
I have to say Ashley, I'm more concerned about the Lamb's Ear myself. Quite apart from the fact that it implies you're either stuck with walking through farmland or else taking entirely inappropriate pack animals with you, it seems both cruel and wasteful.Apr 26, 2009 at 4:21 am #1497037
Dude, you left out using your trusty Rabbits foot ; )Feb 3, 2014 at 11:14 am #2069347
…Feb 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm #2069378
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Roger, I really like your French tip manicured nails in the above picture. How do you keep them so nice while backpacking?
Maybe you can dig a hole in your back yard and put some regular TP in with some of SB napkins and wait three months and should us the results (unused of course).Feb 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm #2069383
@rosyfinchLocale: the mountains
Having done some plumbing jobs and been around plumbers a fair amount, my understanding is that toilet paper is designed to melt/disintegrate in water. The reason for that being so it does not clog sewer/septic systems.
So I would think that if you use it and then bury it in soil in a wet climate that it will disappear after a while. Or if you burn it and then bury it, the unburnt parts will disintegrate and disappear even sooner.
Napkins are generally NOT designed to melt/disintegrate in water; rather they are designed to hold up somewhat better in water because their purpose is to wipe and clean up wet things. So I'm thinking that using napkins or paper towels and not packing them out would leave more of a problem out in the wilds…
BillyFeb 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm #2069384
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