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beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Backpacking and camping basics and other general trip planning discussion for the uninitiated. Use this forum to learn where to look for the information you need, and to ask questions, related to the beginner basics of backpacking and camping, including technique and best practices.
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Re: beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Postby oldranger » Wed May 25, 2011 12:32 pm

Yeah what mark says. But if you are really good you can pee on the TP to get things started.

Doyle, you may be right in the long term but later in the same season TP can be an issue if not dealt with by burning or soaking (one way or another). Even with burning where legal a good dose of water is a good idea to ensure that any duff does not accidentally get ignited.

Mike
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Re: beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed May 25, 2011 12:42 pm

Every time I get a permit the Rangers say that you must pack out all TP and that you cannot burn it even if you are at legal altitude. I understand the reason because many major forest fires have been started by idiots who can't handle a small controlled burn. Well since I can I like to dig the hole, throw the TP in it, burn it up, put it completely out and cover it up. No TP to deal with, none left in the environment, no burn marks on the ground. It's just the right way to do it IMO.
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Re: beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed May 25, 2011 2:20 pm

All of the suggestions above are good ones. Like I said, common sense. One step I left out of mine is this: If you can, pee in the (at least 6 inch deep) hole, next the TP, then the scat, cover, compact, and if you can find one, put a good sized rock on it. If you cannot get the TP wet naturally, soak it with water.
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Re: beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Postby John Dittli » Wed May 25, 2011 2:31 pm

This is a bit of a pet peeve for me so I feel I need to add my $.02. I don't mean this as an attack on anyone, but would like to present another perspective.

DoyleWDonehoo wrote:The TP issue is over-rated and over regulated. In high impact areas, there is usually a solar toilet nearby, and if not, most high impact areas are below the burn line, so go ahead and burn it.


If the TP [t}issue was over-rated we wouldn't even be having this thread. We have all seen enough of the white flags, to make it enough of an issue to warrant discussion, and unfortunately enough people not properly disposing of it to warrant regulation.
I'm currently not aware of any solar toilets, but certainly have seen many high use areas above the burn line without them.

Burning TP should only be done when and where it can be done completely and in a controlled manner i.e. in an existing fire pit. Often I find it windy where I poop, so burning may not be safe. There are many ways of dealing with TP, but a very easy way to guarantee it will not be seen again, is to pack it out, or at least pack it to a fire ring where it can be burnt hot and completely.

. Even with hundreds of people, we are talking about a relatively infinitesimal amount of matter in a vastly huge area naturally designed to efficiently take care of just this sort of thing.


This would be true if the thousands of people were spread across the "vastly huge" area. But they're not. There concentrated into for the most part, heavily used areas. This is where we see the "problems". My guess is that most people on this forum somehow "properly" take care of there tissue, but many others obviously do not. Common sense is great, but it doesn't always apply. The easiest solution is to have people to "pack it out". I've been doing it for several years now and it's really not that big of a (t)issue.

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Re: beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Postby maverick » Wed May 25, 2011 2:59 pm

I agree JD, if this wasn't an issue, than it would not be something the NPS or NFS
would try to enforce, and no, I am not saying everything they enforce makes sense, but
really, how much of an inconvenience could it be to carry a zip lock bag of used TP, it
has never been one to me.
If this is an inconvenience, what about places where you have to carry your feces and
paper out.
Here is a nice long article about this subject.
http://www.trailspace.com/articles/back ... posal.html
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Re: beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Postby Mike McGuire » Wed May 25, 2011 7:14 pm

If your are going to burn your TP, there is no reason not to burn it when you are up over the no-fire line. The reason for that prohibition is to protect the esthetic qualities of the timberline wood. There is no danger of starting a forest fire that high up, so no wood fire, no problem.

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Re: beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Postby LMBSGV » Wed May 25, 2011 9:02 pm

I'm another pack it out TP person, have been for at least 30 years. What's the big deal? Put it in a separate plastic bag inside another plastic bag. I do confess to taking a bit of joy in dumping that bag in the first garbage can I see at the trailhead parking lot. As for skeeters, it's what you put up with to be in wilderness. If carrying out TP and possibly getting a skeeter bite or two while doing your business is too much of a hassle, then stay in civilization.
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Re: beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed May 25, 2011 10:12 pm

I think it depends on how much TP you use. I am one of these people that cannot get how some people use so little TP while others tell me they don't get how I use so much. I generally plan for one full size roll of TP (1000 sheets) to last 3 days. so on a 9 day section of a hike I will bring 3 full size rolls of TP. Now that is allot of weight and bulk and just imagine how much bulk it would be after it's all unrolled and smashed into zip locks. Burning up all that and losing weight / bulk as I go is pure bliss. :p
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Re: beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Postby gary c. » Thu May 26, 2011 7:16 am

RP,
I don't take as much as you but I know what you mean. On one trip after spending the night at the trailhead, a hiking partner saw me with a full roll and made some comment so I asked him how much he brought. He pulled out a ziplock with what looked like about 20s quares in it. All I could do is laugh and told him that I had already used almost that much and we hadn't even left the trailhead.
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Re: beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Postby kpeter » Thu May 26, 2011 7:41 am

I think the problem is with the haphazard and inconsiderate way that some people dispose of their TP, which has given rise to the requirement in some places to pack it out. I have often seen tp fluttering on the surface. That is inexcusable.

As a former firefighter, I agree that the "burn or not to burn" question is usually considered backwards. I never burn at lower elevations--chiefly because there is always plenty of soil to dig a good burial pit, and the risk of fire spreading to the duff or needles is high. There was at least one major forest fire (in Washington State) caused by a backpacker burning TP.

At higher elevations where there is much less soil and a shorter biodegradation season I do burn whenever it seems safe to do so. That is Colin Fletcher's preferred solution.

High or low, 90% of the time I find a rock that is half buried that can be turned over and then carefully replaced in its original hole. This buries the material effectively and anchors it so that it cannot be washed out in the next rain or snowmelt.

Whether burning or not, I always use a stick to thoroughly mix the remnants of the TP with the fecal material, adding water if necessary to mix thoroughly. When I am done I may look a little green, but there is nothing recognizable as TP.

And that is probably more than you wanted to know!
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Re: beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Postby dave54 » Thu May 26, 2011 12:31 pm

Use RV toilet paper (available at walmart). It completely breaks down once wet.
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Re: beginner's questions on backcountry pooping

Postby whrdafamI? » Thu May 26, 2011 12:47 pm

I find this to be a really "shitty" topic............
Better to have it and not need it than it is to need it and not have it!

Get busy living or get busy dying.
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