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Toilet Paper
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Dustin Fritterling
(medylami) - F

Locale: Southeast
Toilet Paper on 04/20/2009 15:12:54 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by medylami on 04/20/2009 15:13:55 MDT.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: Toilet Paper on 04/20/2009 15:30:49 MDT Print View


Edited by ChrisMorgan on 04/20/2009 15:50:05 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Toilet Paper on 04/20/2009 15:40:31 MDT Print View

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!

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/20/2009 15:45:37 MDT.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Toilet Paper on 04/20/2009 15:49:28 MDT Print View

I burn it if I can. In winter or sensitive areas I just put it in a ziplock and pack it out.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
have done all the above on 04/20/2009 15:51:10 MDT Print View

minus any acreage

i think:

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 demand

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
"Toilet Paper" and bears on 04/20/2009 17:05:17 MDT Print View

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. Ali

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 04/20/2009 17:08:38 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/17/2015 21:33:12 MDT.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Toilet Paper on 04/20/2009 17:10:24 MDT Print View

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.

Jonathan Boozer
(anywayoutside) - MLife

Locale: South East
Re: Toilet Paper on 04/20/2009 17:49:21 MDT Print View

It's been 3.5 hrs since Dylan's post...Mike must be out.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Re: Toilet Paper on 04/20/2009 19:41:59 MDT Print View

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.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Toilet Paper on 04/20/2009 20:19:43 MDT Print View

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....

Dustin Fritterling
(medylami) - F

Locale: Southeast
opinions are like... on 04/21/2009 17:19:13 MDT Print View


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.

Coin Page
(Page0018) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern USA
1% Hydrocortisone Ointment on 04/22/2009 20:40:24 MDT Print View

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.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Toilet Paper on 04/23/2009 16:08:18 MDT Print View

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.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Toilet Paper on 04/23/2009 17:06:42 MDT Print View

No TP for me either!

"Biodegradable" or not, I wouldn't bury paper wrappers and trash, so why TP?

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
TP true confessions on 04/23/2009 18:56:03 MDT Print View

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.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
toilet paper? on 04/25/2009 18:47:31 MDT Print View

Hey - my reputation prosedes me!

Here's a link to an article:

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Poison Ivy TP on 04/25/2009 22:39:12 MDT Print View

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.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
old man on 04/26/2009 01:19:57 MDT Print View

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.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Wooly Lamb's ear on 04/26/2009 03:34:02 MDT Print View

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.