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Used Toilet Paper - Pack it out!
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Will Webster
You carried it in clean, carry it out dirty on 08/10/2012 09:33:29 MDT Print View

What Paul said.

Addison Page
(Nihilist_Voyager) - F

Locale: Down the Rabbit Hole!
Finding middle ground on 08/10/2012 10:55:32 MDT Print View

I hated packing out tp, but I also can't do the Clelland booty scraping either.

I usually take an extra small washcloth. I use about a liter of water, a couple splashes at a time till the cloth comes off my behind relatively clean. Use the rest of the water to give it one last rinse then it goes in the mesh pocket of my pack to dry. When it's dry it doesn't really smell and weighs about as much as a some tp.

You can also use that time to scrub down your nether regions a bit.

Julie Romig

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Eagle Creek Trail TP locations on 08/10/2012 13:01:57 MDT Print View

Regarding the question of location on the Eagle Creek Trail, the TP was pretty much everywhere one would think to take care of business, and then some. Someone peed on the trail and left the toilet paper sitting on top of the trail. Every designated campsite was littered with toilet paper, except at tent pads. In the wilderness area, we took a break at a nice log next to a stream, less than 10 feet from the trail and smelled p00p, looked behind us and there was a nice pile (not buried) with toilet paper within a few feet of the stream. I found TP well off the trail where people did try to find secluded locations for taking care of business.

We hiked the entire Eagle Creek Trail, and it wasn't until we got up to the PCT that we finally stopped seeing TP/waste at every campsite or every time we found an area to take a rest break. TP we saw wasn't just from people peeing either - you could see the remnants on the TP from #2. No attempt to even bury the TP.

Julie Romig

Locale: Pacific Northwest
TP Puree on 08/10/2012 13:27:03 MDT Print View

Puree method sounds effective and all, but again it seems to go back to educating the general trail using public - how do you get the word out to pack-it-out or puree? If TP doesn't even get buried, then the issue of pack-it-out vs. puree isn't even relevant.

And if it isn't being fully pureed as described, the buried TP does find it's way to the surface. When I was leading trail crews in the backcountry and we'd be based out of one location for a week or two, it was always obvious when teenagers were trying to sneakily bury their TP instead of packing it out as we were required by the organization - after a few days, it would end up on the surface - animals would dig it up.

On a lighter note, most teens were quite open to using nature wipe, especially on 5 or 6 week trips, and it became quite the obsession to find the best wipe possible. One teen created a great bidet system out of a used mustard bottle. Interestingly, the boys' latrines (from what I heard) were always given much more thought then the girls' latrine - views, latrine placement next to logs for best positioning over the hole, makeshift bidets, prepared nature wipe stashes, etc.

Chris C
(cvcass) - MLife

Locale: State of Jefferson
education on 08/10/2012 13:50:38 MDT Print View

I agree that no matter the method, puree or pack out, education is paramount for proper waste disposal. I have smelled someones cat hole that they dug within 10 feet of an established camp site and didn't do a very good job of covering it up.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: TP Puree on 08/10/2012 14:45:26 MDT Print View

Would putting a big rock or log over your cat hole stop animals from getting at it?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: TP Puree on 08/10/2012 15:55:33 MDT Print View

If you dig a hole, #2, TP, urinate, stir, like 100 feet from campsite, then put several inches of soil on top you're good.

It's so easy to carry out the TP you can do that. If so, you should still urinate and stir the p00p and cover with several inches of soil.

Don't need rock or log, but that wouldn't hurt

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
more good stuff on 08/10/2012 17:36:48 MDT Print View

wow, more useful info re areas of backpacking that don't get that much focus.

Just to add my 2 cents, I see those trail pieces of toilet paper, and in almost all cases, it's quite obvious that they are from people who did not bury their waste properly. Day hikers, and your typical lame backpackers who know nothing and then just go wherever because they have to that minute by the looks of it, at least to my eyes. You know, tree right by trail, etc.

And I suspect, women / girls hiking who insist on using tp even for just pee, and who just don't think about it, since no hole was dug. The numbers of backpackers out there who give this stuff the kind of thought you're giving it here, which is by the way great to see, is I would guess fairly small as a percentage of the total.

But I rarely see properly buried stuff dug up, can't really think of cases where I have, it's almost always barely buried or not buried at all that I see.

I'd say that accounts for pretty much everything I've noticed over the last year when it comes to visible tp.

Up higher though I suspect that the problem is far worse, and the decay of the tp takes a lot longer.

But it's all good info, along with the poo trowel thread, nice stuff to revisit and think about again, too many humans wandering around too small areas in too unnatural a manner, with too little education and training, something's got to give.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Two points on 08/10/2012 20:03:41 MDT Print View

First: When TP, p00p, dirt and water/urine are purreed, the TP is no longer visible, if some animal digs it up - it disintegrates with the liquid and stirring.

Second: A number of women dry pee off with TP because if the urine remains in the folds of delicate skin, they develop a nasty rash in a very sensitive area. Rather than saying they shouldn't use TP for that, we need to do a better job with educating on how to disintegrate or pack out the TP.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Used Toilet Paper - Pack it out! on 08/10/2012 20:22:18 MDT Print View

I think that soil conditions have a lot to do with it. And rainfall, of course. In general, the western and Rocky Mountains have a much higher percentage of sand or mineral soil. Most of the ADK,s, in counter point, has mostly fabric soils or 4-5 feet of duff over everything (or down to rock) having been extensivly scoured by glaciation. Even visiting the same location after a year, there is no sighns of TP around. Just a fresh coating of needles and leaves.

Out west, (excluding the north west) it is much drier. In the ADK's, the average rains are about 1 in three days. (Varies between two weeks of rain/snow and two weeks of no rain.) The duff is highly acidic. Most water in the ADK's is dark brown. A few streams, near headwaters, or are spring fed are clear...a few. Mostly the water out wast is fairly clear with some turbidity, sand and mineral dust.

All together, we are generalizing a topic that may not be that amenable to being generalized. P00ping on the tops of western mountains, where it can dry, rather than decompose, is never good. Same for the TP we use. P00ping in the middle of the ADK's does not hurt anything (provided we don't contaminate water sources.) Everything is already in a state of decay.

So, based on that, I would say the rate of decay for pee, p00p and TP varies just looking at the USA. Use common sense when you have to go and look at the surrounding terrain. Burying too deep in mineral soil can cause it to not break oxygen. Too shallow and some critters (notably porcupines in the ADK's) will dig it up for the salt. Be carefull about how deep you go, based on the soil type you are digging in, if you decide to bury it. And be aware of any critters in the area that may dig it up. Like I say, burning TP is OK if fires are allowed. If you don't know, or it is mandated, carry it out.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Point 2.5 on 08/10/2012 20:30:31 MDT Print View

"Second: A number of women dry pee off with TP because if the urine remains in the folds of delicate skin, they develop a nasty rash in a very sensitive area. Rather than saying they shouldn't use TP for that, we need to do a better job with educating on how to disintegrate or pack out the TP."

Women participating in a NOLS course will have a bandana tied to their packs. It's used as a pee wipe. It dries fast, its sterile, and does not smell. It works.

Edited by greg23 on 08/10/2012 20:58:15 MDT.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Used Toilet Paper - Pack it out! on 08/12/2012 17:55:35 MDT Print View

After hiking through clear-cuts owned by Kimberly-Clark, I think the TP should be returned to the forest. But it shouldn't be left lying around as an eyesore.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Used TP on 08/12/2012 20:37:27 MDT Print View

After doing my business one afternoon in a torrential rainstorm and finding that my TP got wet and became globbed together, I switched to using a quarter square of a disposable blue shop towel from Wal-Mart.

It's much tougher than standard TP and works well even if it gets wet.

I can't tell you how it decomposes or burns because I always pack it out with me...

tp on 08/12/2012 20:42:49 MDT Print View

at least wild pigs will eat it.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Used Toilet Paper - Pack it out! on 08/12/2012 23:38:28 MDT Print View

I use paper towels, too--kitchen towels, the kind with 11" x 5.4" rectangles. They are far more absorbent and far less apt to "blow holes" than TP, but of course they do have to be packed out, since they don't do well as "p00p soup." I also have to use a baby wipe every day for medical reasons, and that also has to be packed out.

While I don't need to use TP after #1, my 10-year-old granddaughter definitely does, or she gets an extremely painful rash. I've taught her to carry two ziploc sandwich bags in her pocket, one for clean TP (one square at a time is enough) and the other for the used TP. The one with the used TP goes into the garbage every evening. As I mentioned on another post, our lunch/snacks are in sandwich bags, so each of us has an empty used sandwich bag available each evening for the next day's use.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Re Used Toilet Paper - Pack it out! on 08/13/2012 10:25:34 MDT Print View

On the topic of women who "insist on using tp just for a pee"- Yes, we do. We don't have the same equipment as men (you might have noticed) and our urethra is only about an inch long vs. several inches for men and is in a position to allow ingress of bacteria. Improper sanitary procedures can result in rashes and bladder infections, and a bladder infection can turn into a kidney infection. I carry a small baggie and when I wipe I drop the used TP in the bag, and pack it out. But, at least for me, "drip dry" or re-using a bandana or other less-than-sanitary means is not going to be an option. I've had a bladder infection on the trail before and it's not fun and is a good way to end the trip early. I'm all for telling people to pack their TP out but you shouldn't judge them for using it.

Todd Hein
(todd1960) - MLife

Locale: Coastal Southern California
Used TP - Trash is trash... on 08/17/2012 14:47:03 MDT Print View

If you use TP, pack it out, just like all other trash. It's the responsible (and considerate)thing to do, LNT or no LNT. I don't see why anyone would argue about this...

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re Used Toilet Paper - Pack it out! on 08/17/2012 15:09:07 MDT Print View

Dena -

There is another option, which may or may not work for you; I use a small squeeze bottle to rinse off with water after peeing, then "shake off" as best I can. I feel like it gets me cleaner than using TP, plus my hands stay clean. I haven't had any problem with residual water giving me a rash or anything, I suspect my underwear wicks away whatever's left. The smallest, lightest option I've found is a 3 oz (volume) Rite-Aid saline rinse bottle (take out the little plastic tube inside, enlarge the hole in the removable nozzle slightly with a heated nail or similar item so I don't just get a mist but a pencil-lead diameter stream with some force) but any small bottle that will send out a narrow stream of water works well. This also reduces the amount of TP I need for pooping, and I also use it with drop of soap to clean up on days I didn't get a chance to swim!

Edited by dkramalc on 08/17/2012 15:14:38 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re Used Toilet Paper - Pack it out! on 08/17/2012 15:09:59 MDT Print View

No judgement, just an observation.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Used Toilet Paper - Pack it out! on 08/17/2012 15:14:27 MDT Print View

Too much information.