- Mar 7, 2018 at 7:18 am #3522863
Gary, you certainly have earned your Scatology Merit Badge.Mar 7, 2018 at 7:28 am #3522864
And the winner is …
CheersMar 7, 2018 at 11:09 am #3522871
Bit of a S*** badge if you ask me. ;-) But then I’m about to write a s*** post.
When I used to study soil science, I was a bit fascinated with the idea of doing experiments on toilet paper and excrement degradation. There are people who work on it for various reasons, usually not backpacking focused. Generally, I am never worried about burying TP and human waste appropriately, even in the desert. Eventually it will break down. The environment, and soil, is well equipped to deal with it.
I have carried out wet wipes…started using them occasionally the last few years, taking them for partners and my little girl. Pretty easy to use them at the end and carefully fold then carry out. Sea to Summit now makes some “wilderness wipes”, which are supposedly biodegradable. Probably worth testing them. I suspect they are fine and at worst will just take a little longer to break down.
Unfortunately many environments, even wild ones, are degraded by human activity. A very high proportion of the earth’s surface has been degraded to at least some extent due to grazing of domestic stock. When you graze animals, you then take them away. You denutrify the ecosystem that they grazed in. It can be a slow process to replace those nutrients. Adding some back in with human waste can actually be a good thing overall as long as it isn’t done in a messy way.
Mar 7, 2018 at 11:12 am #3522873
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Adam Kilpatrick.
Ah, but if you want the kudos, you have to do the paperwork.Mar 7, 2018 at 2:46 pm #3522896
Gary DunckelBPL Member
Ah, shucks, David. I really don’t know what to say. I need a 2″ version of that merit badge that I could sew onto the front of a ball cap. Now that would be a real conversation starter when meeting people on the trail!
But I still want to know what the most degradable wet wipes are (brand…). I’ve been using using unscented flushable baby wipes for a few years now, and my back yard tests showed that they degrade as quickly as regular TP.Mar 7, 2018 at 5:17 pm #3522921
jeffrey armbrusterBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
I was flamed pretty bad over on Yosemite News and Discussion–which is frequented by some great and knowledgeable people–when I demurred publicly from carrying out my soiled tp. They seem universally hard core about this. I was accused of causing the death of countless chipmunks, among other things. Anyway, I really can’t see placing soiled tp, even in a plastic bag, in with my food in a canister. And I don’t see a way around this, given that animals are attracted to human feces.
another option is to burn the tp in a fire ring when available. But the experiments done seem to conclude that wetting the tp in a hole is perfectly sufficient.Mar 7, 2018 at 6:36 pm #3522938
Having once lit the ground on fire (okay, it was from a camp fire, not from flaming TP, but, dang, I wasn’t a teenager and I *knew* a lot of soils in Alaska are flammable – we get lightning strikes and also flare-ups months after a fire was “out”), I hesitate to burn toilet paper, except in a desert environment.
The most militant reactions to burying TP are because it looks so bad after someone didn’t bury it at all or only minimally. I don’t fret about what I leave behind 6 inches down. These discussions on BPL over the years have gotten me stirring things up a bit more and, when possible, using a south-facing slope for its much warmer soil temperatures here in the sub-arctic.Mar 7, 2018 at 8:30 pm #3522954
I was flamed pretty bad over on Yosemite News and Discussion–which is frequented by some great and knowledgeable people–when I demurred publicly from carrying out my soiled tp. They seem universally hard core about this. I was accused of causing the death of countless chipmunks, among other things.
Sounds like a ‘follow the herd of bigots’ sort of thing. How many of them actually knew ANYTHING about the subject?
I wonder how much poo is created by all the chipmunks? Humans are just another species in the environment, like chipmunks.
Mar 7, 2018 at 8:53 pm #3522961
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Roger Caffin.
MJ HBPL Member
Chipmunks probably don’t wipe. Even if they had hands, they probably wouldn’t. It’s not going to be a very big issue for them given how their anatomy is set up. Wiping is the price we pay for bipedalism.Mar 7, 2018 at 10:12 pm #3522978
I am with Jeffrey and Roger on this.
Dig, wet, stir and cover it. The rest gets silly.Mar 8, 2018 at 3:51 am #3523043
I have thought in the past about trying to find ways to reduce my amount of wipeage. Main things I’ve come up with (may or may not have tested ;-)
- Squat as deeply as possible. It opens up the buttocks. Its what billions of people around the world do. Us westerners with western toilets have forgotten the art. I’m terrible at deep squatting without something to hang on to, though, slowly getting better. Miss your shoes! Doing “the crab” increases “mess” at the rear end, increasing wipeage, though decreases risk of mess elsewhere on your body (shoes).
- As a hirsute fella, reducing hair in certain places makes wipeage far more efficient. I should probably get lasered at some point. I’ll leave that at that, but I don’t know how bears get away without wiping TBH
- A wet wipe can be far more efficient sometimes than multiple pieces of dry TP. You could get away with only one or two biodegradable wet wipes, for example, or need much much more TP to get clean, depending on the amount of mess involved.
- Ye old local TP. Nice big leaves, rocks, sticks, bark. Half the time not much is available, and, I often wonder if I’m just smooshing mess around back there creating more work for TP later anyway. Need a video recording.
Anyhow…Mar 8, 2018 at 5:03 am #3523056
Larry De La BriandaisBPL Member
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
One of the problems is that carrying out all TP is required by Yosemite park. Not doing so is in violation of the rules and possibly the law. While it may not be necessary IF you know how to properly dispose of it, the rules still stand. And they get so much traffic that it doesn’t take much to cause a problem.Mar 8, 2018 at 5:04 am #3523057
Now we are getting into the fun stuff. I have been squatting year round for about 4 years now. I researched them all and settled on this as the best squatting device. I feel like I’m backpacking year round now (for the last 4 years).
As far as wiping extremely clean, I use a 1 oz bottle of hand sanitizer that I squirt onto the TP and rub onto it (while it’s 100% clean) with the back of my hand — it becomes a wet wipe then. As I mentioned earlier, i use about 12-16 oz of water, lots of dirt (in the cathole) with poo, and stir it with a stick for at least 2.5 minutes — at that time there is zero evidence TP was ever used, it completely disappears. Nobody would be able to see that TP was used at all in the incident. I’ve never had a ranger ask me to inspect used TP but one could say they’ve changed to going TP-less while hiking. Your last cathole will not give you away. Everyone in the group I hike with are excited when they see their TP 100% disappear after the above process. It’s magic. If you can use Urine instead of water, that’s all the better. Sometimes it’s not available. I do this year-round whether on the trail or not. I do not use wet wipes off or on the trail. I think they are atrocious and bad for water systems.Mar 8, 2018 at 5:11 am #3523060
“I have thought in the past about trying to find ways to reduce my amount of wipeage. Main things I’ve come up with (may or may not have tested ;-)”
You forgot diet. Diet can have a huge effect on how much mess there is to clean up. A diet high in veggies, I’ve found, leaves very little to have to clean up, it just slides on out. A diet high in chocolate and the like (strictly for research purposes, I assure you), I’ve found, leaves much more ‘sticking around.’
Of course, you can always do like some of us did in the military before going to the field, eat a lot of cheese. Then you won’t worry about going to the bathroom until you get home….Mar 8, 2018 at 5:13 am #3523061
“I do this year-round whether on the trail or not.”
You put a lot of dirt in your toilet and stir it around with a stick after you poop! That’s dedication I tell ya!Mar 8, 2018 at 5:17 am #3523062
Doug, you got me there. I use the hand sanitizer enhancement and squat posture year round, but not the dirt year round.Mar 8, 2018 at 5:36 am #3523065
From my extensive library of irrelevant (irreverant?) things (actually, a BPL discussion in 2013):
CheersMar 8, 2018 at 6:07 am #3523070
Roleigh thanks for the Lilipad idea! I need one of these for home (might DIY) to train myself. Will be good to help my al-round flexibility. Also, its good to train in this if you like travelling to developing countries, and some non-developing ones too, where squat toilets are very common.
My main concern at home, is, I pee when I poop, usually (in the wild I’ve learnt to pee first to mostly empty my bladder). I then have to worry much less about where urine ends up. I’d be worried I’d start having accidents of the kind that give men a bad name domestically! Maybe I need to train on my poop with no-pee abilities.
I mean, you are probably different, might depend on anatomy so to speak.
But seriously…I don’t think I could handle hand-sanitizer on my toosh! Seriously? Alcohol based? You must be made of steel! :-)Mar 8, 2018 at 6:15 am #3523073
“Diet can have a huge effect on how much mess there is to clean up.”
Yeah, on two NZ backpacking trips that were infested with vegetarians, there was nothing but veggies, lentils, beans, rice, etc. I was pooping like a rabbit or moose in winter in nice clean little pellets, not like a omnivore or carnivore. Took like one sheet of TP instead of 12 folded bunches.Mar 8, 2018 at 6:20 am #3523075
Lilipad has a DIY plan here: http://www.lillipad.co.nz/diy_plans/Mar 8, 2018 at 6:21 am #3523076
Roger, do you have a link to that discussion you refer to–I clicked on the picture and it links to nothing. Thanks!Mar 8, 2018 at 6:23 am #3523077
You ask if I am made of steel. I organize group hikes annually. I am able to convert about half of them to doing the same. It is an acquired skin tolerance skill. I and half my hikers have that ability. We were born on the planet, Krypton though.Mar 8, 2018 at 6:54 am #3523078
I have a couple of pics from that session, all dated 9/Feb/2013.
Links from around then include:
These are mostly March/2013 – later than my pics. I know we lost some very old stuff during one of the web site migrations.
Same date as the last pic – who was this?
CheersMar 8, 2018 at 7:04 am #3523079
“who was this?”
That would be Daryl and DarylMar 8, 2018 at 3:08 pm #3523105
MJ HBPL Member
As far as wiping extremely clean, I use a 1 oz bottle of hand sanitizer that I squirt onto the TP and rub onto it (while it’s 100% clean) with the back of my hand — it becomes a wet wipe then.
I’m not saying that burning TP is a good idea, but certainly it would burn better that way.
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