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BP 101 - Washing Your Bottom W/O TP
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Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
"BP 101 - Washing Your Bottom W/O TP" on 12/08/2008 13:01:21 MST Print View

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.


John Carter

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Washing Your Bottom on 12/08/2008 13:17:50 MST Print View


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.

Edited by jcarter1 on 12/08/2008 19:53:27 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Washing Your Bottom on 12/08/2008 13:49:21 MST Print View

Humor? This is a serious topic!

OK, enough preaching... signing off. :)

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Washing Your Bottom and Shaking Hands on 12/08/2008 15:27:23 MST Print View

An often repeated "rule" at the ADZPCTKO is: Never let anyone put their hand in your gorp bag. With good reason.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Washing Your Bottom on 12/08/2008 18:09:33 MST Print View

Well said, Ben. 'Bout sums it up, I'd say.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Washing Your Bottom on 12/08/2008 21:13:40 MST Print View

"Still, I think you would have a better time convincing the general hiking public to bag out their TP than to use their hands."

You're probably right.
I really don't get people, though.
We're animals! We make smelly messes and funny noises! Don't be afraid!

One thing that I think hasn't really been clarified...(how do I put this without getting censored?)

Mike might mention some of this in his article, I forget...(If not then I'm the smart one!)

Unlike the toilet, when assuming a proper squat your plumbing is aligned well (I think this is the posture our bodies were made for- think about it) and you should get very little poo, if any, on yourself. Then there's not much to wipe!

It's not like you're using your bare hand and some water and scooping globs off yourself here folks!!!

A few small rocks or leaves or some grass and a deft hand should be all you need- there's practically nothing left by the time you wash yourself- if you even have to (not excluding hands).

I would argue it's no different than using TP at home and then jumping in the shower and properly washing.

I'm assuming the "civilized" amongst us at least do this, right?
Is it scary? I hope not!


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Washing Your Bottom on 12/08/2008 23:51:35 MST Print View

"It's not like you're using your bare hand and some water and scooping globs off yourself here folks!"


David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 12/09/2008 00:51:38 MST Print View


Edited by DaveT on 01/18/2015 19:28:34 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Washing Your Bottom on 12/09/2008 05:30:41 MST Print View

Can't believe y'all are still talking about the anti-tp thing. Please give it a rest.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Washing Your Bottom on 12/09/2008 08:25:04 MST Print View


Edited by xnomanx on 12/09/2008 09:43:24 MST.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Joe don't like TP. . . on 12/09/2008 11:46:07 MST Print View

Damn Joe, if you don't like the topic then doesn’t read it. It's not like you're paying to use the forums and have a right to complain about its content.

Quit your winning and go read something else.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Leaf TP on 12/09/2008 13:23:56 MST Print View

FWIW, I usually just use fallen leaves. Green are nice but rare. Decomposing leaves work just fine. No plucking off live growth. That said, live plucked ferns can be quite nice...

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Washing Your Bottom on 12/09/2008 13:29:49 MST Print View

Say it ain't so, Joe!!!

My transition started with sking. The obvious choice was carry the TP out or use snow. I used snow and from there progressed to 3 season hiking.

I still carry TP for dry camps and when I answer the call at night.

Ben and Mike are right -- this is technique that will make your life better.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Location dependent?? on 12/09/2008 17:11:17 MST Print View

Anybody here ever try wiping their butt with a piece of Sierra granite or a handful of pine needles? That's about all you can find up above timberline down there.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Location dependent?? on 12/09/2008 18:34:22 MST Print View

"That's about how you can find up above timberline."

Not true. If you look just a bit, you'll find your hands there too -- ready to do their duty -- just like with your ancestors in the past million-plus years. It's hard only if you make it so -- like using granite or pine needles. :)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Location dependent?? on 12/09/2008 18:43:49 MST Print View

I can't quite resolve the embedded particles of fecal matter yet, Ben, with the amount of H2O available for the job. Maybe someday. In the interim, I'll go with TP, burn, clean up with a wet wipe (which does get packed out because it won't burn), and continue to analyze the whole thing. Backcountry is different from forecountry, where copious amounts of warm water and soap are available. I've used the method there and understand very well the theoretical superiority of the method. My take on revered ancestors is that a whole bunch of them died and the ones that survived had very strong immune systems, lots stronger than ours. Great thread, BTW. Kudos to you and Mike!

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Your Bottom W/O TP on 12/09/2008 20:17:01 MST Print View

Tom wrote:
"Anybody here ever try wiping their butt with a piece of Sierra granite"

No worries!

Granite rocks are totally fine. Search out a handful BEFORE squating down to pooop. I've wiped with confidence and comfort many times with alpine rocks above 12,000 feeet!

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Your Bottom W/O TP on 12/09/2008 20:26:19 MST Print View


Here's what you need to do.

1) read the article:

2) go camping without toilet paper.

That's it, do it once, and camping is simplified.

I have taken HUNDREDS of students into the wilderness, and there is NO TOILET paper for 30 days at a time, and NOBODY COMPLAINS - EVER! It is so easy.

I can tell (from your previous posting) that you just don't believe it can be done. But I work for a HUGE school (NOLS), and we do it all the time, and have for 44 years!

Benjamin and I are sharing our very real experience. After going without toilet paper, It doesn't even cross my mind to take it.

Benjamin and I are preaching very similar techniques. I have used his, and it works fine. I camp a lot in terrain with snow - so I clean up with water too!

Read the article, here's the LINK:

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Eradicating TP (and Other Evils) on 12/09/2008 21:06:18 MST Print View

Not to be boastful, but I think Brother Mike and I show dedication and enthusiasm that put even Jehovah Witnesses to shame! :)

Edited by ben2world on 12/09/2008 21:07:07 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Your Bottom W/O TP on 12/09/2008 21:29:29 MST Print View

I went back and read the article a second time. I read it when it first came out, too. A couple things come back to mind with my memory refreshed: 1) My experience burning TP has been different from yours. I have no trouble getting all but a very small portion that sticks to the first swipe to burn, and that will be composted by next season. I know because I have checked sites used the previous year many times out of an abiding interest in this subject. The trick is to flake the paper out in the hole with a twig before lighting. 2) Running around collecting enough suitable rocks seems to me pretty involved, as does using them and disposing of them. I think you said to allow 10 minutes for the process. It takes me less than half that time. I find squirreling the ones that won't fit in the cathole away under bushes especially problematic. Some little critter that is half starved will sniff the stuff out, make a meal out of the it, and then stick his snout in the nearest water source with predictable results. I have followed this thread and its recommended method(s) with a lot of interest and have concluded not that it can't be done, but that it is not a better solution to the problem than what I am already doing. Heresy, perhaps, but I can guarantee you no one happening on my carefully hidden dump sites would have a clue what transpired there, unless they were sharp eyed enough to see ever so slightly disturbed soil around the border of a large rock, gone with the next rain. As for Sierra granite, I have been backpacking down there for 34 years, most of it at or above timberline and while, if you make a project out of it, you can find enough smooth stones to do the job, as a general rule the stuff is pretty weathered. More time than I would want to spend, for sure. I think that if the object is to minimize our impact, the two methods are not that far apart. Beyond that, we're quibbling about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, IMO.
Thanks again for a very interesting thread, one and all.