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Used Toilet Paper - Pack it out!
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Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Used Toilet Paper - Pack it out! on 08/17/2012 16:56:53 MDT Print View

"You are the one doing the assuming here. I take care of the grounds of a college, which means both gardening and cleaning up after students. I can tell you, without assuming anything that oranges take a long time to breakdown, banana peels turn dark within a week, shrivel up and hang around till the rains, cigarette butts lose the paper in a few weeks and the filter stays, kleenex only needs to get wet a couple of times before it leaves a hundred small specs of paper that will be dispersed with a couple of kicks. And so on and so forth. Science is it as far as I am concerned, but I don't need it for this. I know firsthand."

A big +1 As a long time serious gardener, I can second Katharina's remarks. Also, as I have posted elsewhere, I have personally inspected numerous sites where I made my deposits a year earlier under half buried small boulders at altitudes of 10,500-11,000' in the Sierra and found nothing identifiable as fecal matter or TP. I do not draw conclusions about other areas from my experience there because the rate at which organic matter decomposes varies wildly in relation to its carbon/nitrogen content, moisture levels, soil porosity(oxygen availability), and temperature, to name the most critical factors affecting the process. I would caution those of you who quote scientific studies based on a limited number of sites or operate on nothing more than your reactions to disgusting examples of poor backcountry poo practice to think the whole issue thru carefully before issuing blanket condemnations
and preaching that there is but one acceptable way to deal with poo in the backcounty. If you choose to pack out your used TP, fine, but do not assume that is the only acceptable way to handle the issue.

As for animals digging up the buried TP/poo, I have yet to find an example of that in situations where the deposit is made in the hole left by prising a half buried boulder aside and re-setting it in its original position after I am done. And I have been doing it for nearly 40 years now, which means the animals have had a lot of opportunities. You would also be hard pressed to detect a boulder I have used even an hour later. I am meticulous about restoring the duff around it. A little humility and tolerance. Please.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
What Toilet Paper? on 08/17/2012 17:51:47 MDT Print View

The usage of paper itself is a cultural trait -- with dubious hygiene benefits. It's why mom always taught us to wash our hands after doing our business. Many parts of the world, folks don't use TP at all.

Is using TP cleaner than wiping with fingers? Yes. But so what -- if doing so without washing afterwards can still make you (and others) sick? Conversely, if you'e going to wash your hands afterwards anyway (and you know you should), then why use TP at all?

No big deal either way -- so long as you wash/sanitize afterward. But really, if you find yourselves agonizing over packing out (or not) -- why not give 'paper free' a try? Do your thing, wash your bottom and your hand(s), then sanitize with a few drops of Purell. In the world of UL backpacking, it's not often that you can cut weight and bulk -- with no negative consequences!

Long desert hikes excepted... I use the paper-free method everywhere I hike.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
You guys are crazy. on 08/17/2012 19:01:26 MDT Print View

I leave a fresh load/ toilet paper right in the middle of the best tent sites I find. That way when I go back a month or two later I can scoop it and get the best site again.

Its like reservations!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: You guys are crazy. on 08/17/2012 20:04:49 MDT Print View

Is that how you got your name Dingle Barry? (kidding you)

Matthew mcgurk
(phatpacker) - F

Locale: Central coast California
dont leave you crap for everyone to see on 08/18/2012 14:35:05 MDT Print View

just burry or burn your tp and good to go. I wont pack it out unless required but would never think about letting anyone else see it. I have never seen a squirel digging up toilet paper but then again I dig really deep holes 12 inches.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: dont leave you crap for everyone to see on 08/19/2012 16:46:59 MDT Print View

No no don't burn your TP. People burning their TP have burned up parts of the PCT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: dont leave you crap for everyone to see on 08/20/2012 17:35:12 MDT Print View

"No no don't burn your TP. People burning their TP have burned up parts of the PCT."

As have people who are careless with their fires, cigarettes, etc. You seem to be operating on the assumption that everyone who burns their TP is a either incompetent or a moron. Believe it or not, there are many who burn their TP safely, year after after year after year. Reality is a bit less black and white than your view supposes.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: dont leave you crap for everyone to see on 08/20/2012 20:05:17 MDT Print View

I am sure both Piper and Tom "intended" their messages to be location dependent.

Stating the obvious, we would always be careful with any fire out in the wilds. On top of that, of course, we realize many of the drier parts of the country have rules against any kind of fire.

Edited by ben2world on 08/20/2012 20:06:09 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: dont leave you crap for everyone to see on 08/20/2012 21:03:21 MDT Print View

"I am sure both Piper and Tom "intended" their messages to be location dependent."

Actually I "intended" my message to be conditions dependent. Location is secondary as a consideration. Any use of fire in the backcountry requires awareness of conditions. I thought the post made that clear. Apparently not. :(

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: dont leave you crap for everyone to see on 08/20/2012 21:39:26 MDT Print View

I don't understand the burning toilet paper issue. It doesen't seem like it would be dangerous, but apparently it is? More dangerous than a campfire? I guess somebody stopping off the trail and burning his toilet paper next to a field of dry grass could be dangerous if the wind picked up and blew the tp away. I'll admit that I am totally ignorant about this, but it just seems farfetched to me.

Edited by justin_baker on 08/22/2012 17:10:05 MDT.

Matthew mcgurk
(phatpacker) - F

Locale: Central coast California
Burning Tp on 08/20/2012 22:02:40 MDT Print View

I sugggested it but yes you need to be carefull because it can float. Make sure you have it pushed down with a log and have water handy. It was just a suggestion I really think a deep hole is the best way. I dig holes with a shovel it is something I dont cut weight on because I like to dig a really deep hole. I hear some saying turn over a rock. That just is not deep enough. Also there are tp's that degrade rapidly.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: dont leave you crap for everyone to see on 08/20/2012 22:05:08 MDT Print View

"Actually I "intended" my message to be conditions dependent. Location is secondary as a consideration. Any use of fire in the backcountry requires awareness of conditions. I thought the post made that clear. Apparently not. :("

GOOD GAWD that is one ornery post! I think by different location... differences in weather conditions, ground conditions, other pertinent situations, etc., etc. are implied. Many of us might just be more aware than you give us credit for, old man. :)

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Pack it out on 08/21/2012 09:22:16 MDT Print View

Just back from a tip in the Sierra, where we got nailed by an extended rain storm and decided to use an established drover camp one evening. We encountered an area that looked perfect for digging our cathole/trench and discovered it surely was... by finding multiple catholes that had been Dug Up by animals. At least two appeared to have been "rock lift and replace" holes, but I really didn't spend a lot of time checking it all out in detail.

In some cases, the previous visitors had apparently buried their TP or wet-naps: because they were evident.

We try to stick with the 6"/trowel depth standard and we Wag Bag out our TP and wipes.

Dena Kelley
(EagleRiverDee) - M

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Re Used Toilet Paper - Pack it out! on 08/21/2012 10:47:29 MDT Print View

Mathew-

You stated, "I sugggested it but yes you need to be carefull because it can float. Make sure you have it pushed down with a log and have water handy. It was just a suggestion I really think a deep hole is the best way. I dig holes with a shovel it is something I dont cut weight on because I like to dig a really deep hole. I hear some saying turn over a rock. That just is not deep enough. Also there are tp's that degrade rapidly."

How deep are you digging? Everything I had read stated that 6" was the optimal depth because there's still plenty of microorganisms in the dirt at that level to aid in decomposition in the quickest period of time.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: dont leave you crap for everyone to see on 08/21/2012 12:16:32 MDT Print View

I did not intend my message to be location dependent. When it comes to bathroom habits, people become unable to you know, do the deed, if their habits are changed. Better not to have a habit like burning your TP that can result in the destruction of large swaths of wilderness. If you have to have a bad TP habit, just leave your TP under a rock. That will only annoy people, not close trails and burn up thousands of acres of wilderness.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: dont leave you crap for everyone to see on 08/21/2012 17:00:13 MDT Print View

@ Piper

OK, I misunderstood you -- and heck, probably misunderstood Tom as well...

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: dont leave you crap for everyone to see on 08/21/2012 17:00:28 MDT Print View

"GOOD GAWD that is one ornery post!"

More like a measured response to someone who presumes to interpret someone else's post for the community, and get it totally wrong in the bargain.

"I think by different location... differences in weather conditions, ground conditions, other pertinent situations, etc., etc. are implied."

If you want a fig leaf, I won't stand in your way, but it would be wise to bear in mind that conditions vary wildly from the norm by location, increasingly so in an age of climate change, and any implied set of conditions associated with a location must be subordinated to actual conditions prevailing at the point in time when you are preparing to act. There is no substitute for real time judgment, which in turn implies that actions will vary accordingly. Thus there will be no one way that is best for all situations, which is the apparent attitude I have been arguing against in this thread. For me, at least, the conditions I encounter will always guide my behavior, without regard for the location.

"Many of us might just be more aware than you give us credit for, old man."

Not sure what you're getting at. My assumption has always been that we're all sentient beings here. As for being an old man: Careful, Ben. I'm pretty sure I can still hold your feet to the fire. :)

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: dont leave you crap for everyone to see on 08/21/2012 18:01:08 MDT Print View

"As for being an old man: Careful, Ben. I'm pretty sure I can still hold your feet to the fire. :)"

I take it from your smiley that you are happily looking forward to the day when we will be sharing the same hot fire. :)

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Toilet paper on 08/21/2012 18:12:28 MDT Print View

This is from the New Zealand equivalent of the forest service. Seems sensible to me:

Toilet paper
-If you have to use paper, use only plain, unbleached, non-perfumed types.

-Use toilet paper sparingly.

-Do not burn toilet paper, as this can result in wildfires. Bury paper in your shallow hole or carry it out with you in a plastic bag.

-Try using natural materials such as bark or leaf vegetation (non-prickly!) or snow instead. Natural 'toilet paper' is as sanitary as processed toilet paper and blends back easily into the environment.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: dont leave you crap for everyone to see on 08/21/2012 19:19:01 MDT Print View

"I take it from your smiley that you are happily looking forward to the day when we will be sharing the same hot fire. :)"

Among others who qualify for that rarified status. I shudder to think of what it would be like upstairs with a bunch of beardless Talibs. My recurring nightmare is that such a fate is exactly what Old Satan has in mind for me. Arrrgggghhhhhh!!