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Jul 9, 2014 at 11:27 pm #2118657Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> You need to use many (approximately 20) layers of TP to be sure that no bacteria gets through.
Please tell me this is a joke?
CheersJul 10, 2014 at 12:11 am #2118662Peter SBPL Member
Why?Jul 10, 2014 at 9:25 am #2118723Paul MountfordBPL Member
@sparticusLocale: Atlantic Canada
>>You need to use many (approximately 20) layers of TP to be sure that no bacteria gets through.
>Please tell me this is a joke?
I suspect that it was just hyperbole to make the point that regardless if you use rocks, moss or TP, you still need to wash your hands.
+1 to your sentiment though. The idea that packing out your TP is the only ethical way to deal with it seems overly dogmatic.Jul 10, 2014 at 9:36 am #2118726M GBPL Member
"Once in Colorado, I had just finished packing up, and was resting with the pooches a spell before beginning the day's trek, when this guy comes along with his cronies and walks all over the place in my vicinity with his nose about ten inches from the ground. Completely ignored me, no hello or nuttin'. Seemed like not finding anything almost ruined his day. These people drive me right up the wall, so I've had to develop numerous techniques to avoid them at all costs. A shame when I've met so many good folks on the trail."
Was this a ranger or just some random coprophiliac?Jul 10, 2014 at 10:24 am #2118744Elliott WolinBPL Member
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
"Was this a ranger or just some random coprophiliac?"
I was amazed to find that coprophiliac is actually a real word! Check it out on Wiktionary, if you dare…Jul 10, 2014 at 10:35 am #2118748PedestrianBPL Member
> In addition, what is the environmental cost of burying TP? I (strongly) suggest the cost
> is zero. TP is designed to break down quickly, so it will be gone soon enough – just like > bits of leaf mulch and twigs rot away. The bacteria and fungii in the ground just do
> their thing. Again, I suggest that the do-not-bury thing is a bit of political ideology
> rather than having any solid environmental logic behind it.
I invite you to visit some of the more popular trails in the Sierra some time. It's not uncommon to find toilet paper "gardens" close to the busier backcountry campsites. Whether the toilet paper was not buried in the first place or was dug up by animals later, it can be an unsightly mess.
The rocky terrain with limited amounts of organic matter also prevents the breakdown of both the human waste and toilet paper. The reason you dig a cat hole is to get to the bio active organic matter that will help break down the poo and the paper. It is the microbes that help break things down. In the dry high alpine environments there is minimal organic matter. The dry air and ultraviolet radiation helps with breaking down the human waste but it does not break down the toilet paper easily. Ever tried digging a cat hole above 11000 ft in the Sierra? All you hit is inorganic gravel and dirt; that is if you can even can dig without breaking your trowel.
We can't reasonably pack out the waste but it's not significantly burdensome to pack out the toilet paper. Once you plan for it and get into the habit of doing it, it's not that much of a hassle. In much of the Sierra where I hike I'm almost always carrying a bear canister anyway. It's just a matter of reserving space in the canister for trash and toilet paper. If you're out several days, I assume you are packing out all trash you generate. The toilet paper just is part of the trash you pack out.
Of course HYOH, as long as you don't litter the backcountry with your junk!
And use the minimal amount of toilet paper; wash yourself first with water. Carry something like this in your pack. NOTE: This is NOT an endorsement just an example.Jul 10, 2014 at 10:43 am #2118750Polly StrahanSpectator
@pollystrahanLocale: mostly Cal & Oregon
I believe there is a gender difference in use of tp. Women use much more paper than men because we wipe after urinating and pooping, and men only when pooping. When I hike in the Great Basin of the U.S., the soil is often not soft enough to bury the toilet paper. I have started bringing a plastic bag to pack out the paper, and in fact, since most of my trips are 3 nights or less, I bring wipes instead of toilet paper and pack them out. I see toilet paper often when I hike on well used trails, and I bet most of it is from women who do not bury it deep enough.Jul 10, 2014 at 12:23 pm #2118778Aaron SorensenBPL Member
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
I always use nature to get most of the wiping done, then just 1 or 2 TP wipes.
As far as the TP on the surface goes, that is usually from an animal digging it up.Jul 10, 2014 at 12:59 pm #2118787
In the Sierras or on some peaks in the West where there is little organic matter but just rocks, and lots of people, then probably burying your TP isn't so good.
I don't have that much experience in the Sierras, but I think even there, there are lots of groves of trees and such where there is some organic soil that will decompose TP.
I see TP "gardens" every once in a while and it appears to be on the surface, no evidence of hole that was dug up by some animal.
I know cats and dogs sometimes eat poop (which is very disgusting) so I could imagine wild animals digging up human poop.Jul 10, 2014 at 12:59 pm #2118788Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
"..and an ESBIT stove at 9,000 ft. in the shoulder season somehow lacks appeal."
Well ESBIT stoves at 9,000 ft. in the shoulder season MAY lack appeal if you are not using a Caldera Cone stove with its great wind protection and heat concentration.
If you are using ESBIT with a Caldera Cone (and maybe a modified Gram Cracker tab holder) then you'll have no problems. I use my CC Sidewinder on day hikes in the nearby Spring Mountains for hot soup at lunch. Fast and simple.
Thanks Delmar for this interesting survey. I wish I'd have asked for a question on clothing material – synthetic v.s. natural fibers.
The WPB jacket popularity does not surprise me since it can be a lifesaver at times. I consider my eVent parka a safety item.Jul 15, 2014 at 6:03 am #2119843James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Roger wrote: "…in my opinion is the potential health hazard created by possible contamination on your hands when you don't use TP…"
Well, if you are a healthy person, you cannot catch something from yourself or excrement. Urine is sterile. Poop has your own bodies bacteria which you accomodate, anyway. Getting clean is a matter of avoiding crotch rot more than anything. As far as ingesting a few bacteria, it isn't a problem. Anyway, intimate partners are generally immune to each-other, too. Unless you have a tape worm, ring worm, or other pathogen/disease, this is mostly a social issue. But, I did say "healthy person."
Here in the NE of the USA, TP is not a problem. Generally, we get rain or heavy dew most days. In the Siera's, I would not burry toilet paper, but pack it out. This is very much determined by the environment you hike in. You really cannot just categorize it independently.Jul 15, 2014 at 7:29 am #2119852
Sure, I'll trot out this old horse again …
For those who are not prone to actually reading, it states, among other things, "…Indeed the two sites that exhibited little decay after 24 months (montane moorland and western alpine) had organic soil profiles…"Jul 15, 2014 at 2:39 pm #2119989Bob GrossBPL Member
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I realize that this can be a sensitive subject in a high-risk fire area. However, I have always found it effective to dig the proverbial cat hole, fill it, and burn the used TP in the hole. After filling in the hole with dirt, you urinate over the area. That way, there won't be any ground fire started. The TP is nothing more than ash, so there really isn't anything left to decompose, and there is nothing to be carried out.
Mark me as old school.
–B.G.–Jul 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm #2119995
Just be careful if it's windy and there's a bunch of dry grass in the area.
Don't ask why I mention this ….Jul 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm #2119998Alex HBPL Member
@abhittLocale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Yes been there, seen the fires caused by burning TP, it was enough to make me start packing it out. Really easy, no fuss, no weight disadvantage.Jul 15, 2014 at 4:07 pm #2120008
Has anyone ever dug a cathole and discovered that someone already used it?
And even if occasionally you discover some remains, just move over a bit?
I have dug a lot of catholes and never noticed any remains.Jul 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm #2120012
Do the next person a favor.
Mark your spot with a couple of 12" sticks making an 'X', especially if the area is heavily used.Jul 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm #2120013
But there are sticks all over. How would anyone know whether it's a marked cathole or just random sticks.
If you start digging and discover some remains, no big deal, stop and move over.
This is all based on areas that aren't super heavily used, may be a different story for super heavy use areas or in rocky areas where it doesn't decompose so quicklyJul 15, 2014 at 5:20 pm #2120032Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> Mark your spot with a couple of 12" sticks making an 'X',
We (my wife and I) do that anyhow. We can avoid each other that way!
CheersJul 15, 2014 at 5:45 pm #2120040Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
"As far as the TP on the surface goes, that is usually from an animal digging it up."
You ever notice that the paper usually looks clean and is only a few squares? Women who don't use a pee rag are my guess as to where most of that comes from. Not any in this crowd mind you.Jul 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm #2120044Bob GrossBPL Member
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Ken, you seem awfully expert on this subject.
–B.G.–Jul 16, 2014 at 10:51 am #2120232Benjamin AuerMember
I'm surprised the northeast/southeast is not represented more. I live in the DC area and between VA, PA, and WV there are literally several thousand miles of backpacking trails within a 6 hour drive. It is not that hard to go reasonably light in in our conditions. I'll probably never get under a 10 pound base weight though. For example unless it is summer I always bring a fleece and a puffy as I want some warm layer I can wear in rain or damp weather while preserving my puffy for tent/campwear.Jul 16, 2014 at 6:14 pm #2120370Duane BindschadlerBPL Member
A few comments:
– Delmar and Roger – thanks for doing this. Interesting to see the results. I was really surprised (maybe I shouldn't have been given the BPL demographic) at the use of tarps and quilts in particular.
I hesitate to revive the TP issue, but…I was just up in the Sierras, at a relatively popular site (not more than about 10 miles from Reds Meadow / Devil's Postpile) last week. We were staying at a relatively heavily used campsite at Lake Ediza, just short of the 10,000 ft. In one spot, not more than 30 feet from my campsite someone had obviously dug a very (too-) shallow cathole that animals had gotten to. There was a scattering of TP fragments for about a 3-5 foot radius (wish i had taken a pic). It had rained a couple times in the past few days, but there were all these little white "flowers" of tp scattered about the ground nonetheless.
I have no idea whether this kind of stuff will survive the winter, but it is quite clear that for the remainder of this summer, that stuff will remain. And (as was mentioned) at the high elevation, dry conditions in the Sierra, this kind of stuff can remain for a long time. In that rocky terrain, it can be difficult to get down far enough to ensure stuff is really buried. So those of you packing your TP out or (like me) who favor Mike Clelland's methods, keep it up and encourage others. Your efforts are appreciated!Jul 16, 2014 at 7:43 pm #2120395Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
"Ken, you seem awfully expert on this subject."
Sad isn't it?
Touristy day trip hiking trails surround me.
I found it interesting that the majority of people spend similar amounts of time getting to a trailhead.
And no sailor, a trailhead is not a bathroom on the trail.Jul 16, 2014 at 7:50 pm #2120396AnonymousInactive
""Ken, you seem awfully expert on this subject."
Elementary, my dear Watson. Or should I say alimentary?
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