Pooping in the woods.

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by WILL, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. WILL

    WILL Guide

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    The conversation usually jumps off with whether to carry a trowel or not. I've historically been in the "not" camp as I've managed to get by using a stick. That said, now that they have trowels that weigh like 1/2 ounce, I may pick one up just because it's easier.

    Anyhow, this thread is about the logistics.
    It may get a little graphic, so if you're sensitive.... tune out now.

    So typically I'll grab a tree trunk and squat. If I just squat without the tree, my downed pants sort of create a poop bucket. I'd have to totally strip...not happening if I can avoid it. Since I'm at the base of a tree, roots are always an issue.

    Furthermore, I'm learning that most folks dig the hole first and poo into it. I've tried, and since I don't have a back-up camera on my ass, I invariably miss the hole or have dug the hole "off center." As such, my routine is to poo first, then dig the hole next to the poo and push it in. Not a problem with a poo stick, but with a trowel...I don't want to put that trowel back into my pack.

    What am I doing wrong?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
  2. OMRebel

    OMRebel He who piddles Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Duh, you have to add a back up camera to your arse....lol
     
  3. the_dude

    the_dude Supporter Supporter

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    i've been lucky over the years. usually lots of fallen trees and big rocks. i use the tree as a seat, and toss rock on top of the offending mess. no holes, no worry about someone's dog digging it up.
     
  4. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass III

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    I use a downed log and hold my left hand/arm on it to support me...not the easiest but you have more room to maneuver it seems.
     
  5. WILL

    WILL Guide

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    Thanks. I'm usually on a short timer so I don't have the luxury of finding the most ideal conditions or even digging the hole first. Hope this thread is making sense.
     
  6. Zunga

    Zunga Bushmaster

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    Bigger hole? A toilet bowl is big for a reason. I'd guess not only for a comfy seat. We have a lot of big maple leaves. I've put down a bed of them. Then pinch a corner of the ones you bullseye. Drag it to the hole. Kinda like paper training a puppy LOL.
    Cheers Jim
     
  7. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie Supporter

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    When your pants are pulled down and you're squatting, reach between your legs with one hand and grab behind your pants, the closest part to your backside and push them forward. This gets the pants out of the way so you're not pooping or peeing in them. Plus you can put your hand on the ground (while it is pushing your pants forward) for stability and it keeps your pants out of the way, kind of like a tripod squat if that makes any sense (kind of hard to explain it all).

    I would just keep using a digging stick for making holes to bury poop with. Sticks are everywhere (depending on your AO) and dig small holes almost as well as a trowel, plus you don't have to carry it around!
     
  8. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    If you put your pants around your ankles (oh boy that could be taken the wrong way) you shouldn't have any issues with anything getting on them. I like to pull them forward a bit just to be sure they aren't in the line of fire. I also like them around my ankles in case someone stumbles across my cat hole. Squat nice and low, I find if you line your heals up so that they are about 2" in front of the hole and the hole is centered I get at least close if not in the hole. Then I just use a stick to move things into the hole. Snap the contaminated end of the stick in the hole and bury it with the rest.

    The other thing I do is get everything out of their baggies before I start. I carry TP, wet wipes, and hand sanitizer. I like to have each out and ready to go. That way I can get my business done ASAP once I begin.

    I use a snow stake for a trowel which waighs 1.4oz and costs a little more than $1. There are lighter trowels, but I can't bring myself to spend $20-$30 on a poop scoop. The nice part about the trowel is it makes cutting through small roots much easier, and digging as well. I used to use a stick or a trowel.
     
  9. dirt7

    dirt7 Scout

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    Maybe you just need a little more practice and work on your aim? I typically make the hole as large as possible, as it takes practice to get a hole in one.
     
  10. slysir

    slysir Guide

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  11. Swampdog

    Swampdog Supporter Supporter

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    Clear away the leaf litter, dig a hole with the heel of my boot close to a tree, drop trousers, squat, hold on to tree for support.

    Jettison the load into the hole, use a stick to cover up the hole, cover area with leaf litter... "Fertilize the tree and leave no trace."
     
  12. WILL

    WILL Guide

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    Thanks for the replies so far. They're helpful, and yes I need more practice. I especially like the tripod idea because a deep squat isn't the most stable and relaxing position for me. Especially after back-packing many miles in the mountains.

    If it helps anyone else, I've been using this style of compressed TP for my hiking adventures for two years now. It's all over E-Bay for cheap. For some reason I end up with more of a peanut butter sandwich down below when pooping in the woods. I find these make for a much faster and easier clean-up and I'm actually cleaner and they pack easier. They're supposedly biodegradable.

     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
  13. the_dude

    the_dude Supporter Supporter

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    want me to send you my copy of this book? (serious question)

    51CiCa7ug+L._SX293_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
     
  14. WILL

    WILL Guide

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    People have written books on this? and it's the third rendition.... Yes please. Is it an E-Book?
     
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  15. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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    I've finally worked out a system. Find a big rock that I can move out of the way or tip up on its edge. Using a stick, dig a little hole where the rock was. Undo my pants, squat down and (this is the trick) put my heels on either side of the hole, make sure my belt or my suspenders aren't in the way, then bombs away. My arse is sighted in so that I'll hit whatever is between my heels. Once I'm done tip the rock over or drag it back in place. No trowel needed, no poking crap with a stick. I wish more people would learn to do a good job of this. I hate seeing TP blowing around and stuck in the bushes.
     
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  16. reppans

    reppans Scout

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    I follow LNT best practices and use a Duece of Spades trowel - 0.6oz, dig a 6" deep hole far from water sources, and seem to have good aim. I also look for a downed tree, or branch of a downed tree, that is narrowish (<5" dia.) so I don't have to overhang my rear too far for clearance. I pack my TP out in an empty Mountain House bag, which is stored in a odorproof Opsak garbage bag. They say burying under rocks is not as good as it shields rain water and slows decomposition, and too shallow may get dug up by animals, but there may be no choice in hard/dry dirt out west.

    If it's raining hard and I'm wild camping (which is usual), I do my business right inside my tent - one of the neat advantages of floorless mids - takedown the inner tent, fold back the footprint, and dig my cathole under the protection of the fly. Luckily I'm regular - after B'fast/coffee, and as the last step before packing up and leaving.
     
  17. hidden_lion

    hidden_lion Scout

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    Use two logs as a seat, dig the hole in between.
    When I go canoe camping I use a 5gal bucket. Dig a hole, put the dirt in the bucket. Do your business then dump into the hole...the dirt automatically covers the doo
     
  18. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie Supporter

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    I do the same from time to time! Drop a deuce then roll a large rock onto it lol.

    Why is it that we're supposed to bury our poop? I never really thought about it to be honest. I always bury it when its in an area that I'm camped out in to avoid stepping in it. If I'm traveling I usually don't take the time to bury it. I don't walk established hiking trails either so someone else coming along and stepping in it isn't a concern (If I was on a trail I would certainly go away from the trail and bury it as well).

    Is there some environmental concern or reason to have poop funerals?
     
  19. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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    I think it's not so much burying the poop as it is burying the TP. The poop will rot away pretty fast, and besides, there's animal poop everywhere anyway. But people are the only ones who leave TP scattered around. Does it actually hurt anything? No, but it sure looks bad.
     
  20. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    You would certainly think so. I used to use a tree or log to lean upon. If you do a full squat it's actually quite comfortable and stable. It stretches out you legs muscles a bit as well. This is the more natural way to go about this business. There are still countries that still use this position going in what is basically a hole in the floor. A co-worker of mine pointed out a device that helps you to get into the squat position on a western toilet. While it's very entertaining, I actually have found that things tend to go very smoothly when $#!+ing in the woods. They might have a point.

     
  21. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Overthinking? :)
     
  22. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    Nope, I wish the folks who pee in creeks and streams, or poop right on the banks of them, or leave their TP laying about to be blown around by the wind would think a bit more.
     
  23. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Do you think bears bury poop? I don't usually go in heavily traveled areas. Small hole with a stick, bury paper and proceed on. If I am on a trail I will go 75 yo 100 yards off trail to lessen the chance of people laughing at me. Poop is a natural part of nature, and toilet paper degrades pretty fast. I also stay away from a water source. Just my thoughts. joe
     
  24. perrymk

    perrymk Supporter Supporter

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    There are actually several books on the topic, as well as youtube videos. Don't ask me how I know this. Also check "squat toilet". I read somewhere that most of the world considers sitting on a throne odd; they are used to squatting. When I was in China a few years ago the restrooms in the airport had symbol on the doors of the stalls letting one know which option was inside, sit or squat.

    -As for aiming over the hole, dig a trench instead. One foot equally spaced on either side of the trench should get you centered. The front/back won't matter so much because it's a trench, not a round hole.
    -No need to completely disrobe. Just remove one foot from the pants and rotate the pants out of the way.
    -Just because one uses a trowel to dig doesn't mean it has to be used as the push stick if digging after the deed is your style. The trowel should only ever come in contact with dirt.
    -Stirring it with some dirt is supposed to aid in speeding up decomposition.
    -Pouring some water over, either before or after covering with dirt, is supposed to aid in breaking down the paper.
    -Some people use wide tent stakes (sometimes called sand stakes or snow stakes) for a trowel. Dual purpose and all that.
    -Practice a deep squat and hold before you head out into the woods. Make it part of your exercise routine. Some of it is strength, some is stretch.
    -There are two options I am aware of for the toilet paper. One is to stick your trowel in the ground and put the tube over the handle to act as a dispenser. The other is to put the TP in a ziplock bag, remove the cardboard tube, and pull up TP from the center. It comes out sort of like a Kleenex.

    I actually purchased several trowels of various styles and types and meant to do a comparison but haven't gotten around to it. Short answer is they all work. I'm partial to Zelph's titanium trowel, partly because I like all things titanium and partly because it's made in USA. In general a thin metal trowel cuts through soil and fine roots better than a thick plastic trowel, plus the metal ones are usually lighter. Zelph Ti trowel, Deuce of Spades, etc are all pretty good and generally under an ounce so hardly noticeable weight. It's a one time purchase so cost isn't the biggest factor (for me). I don't mind spending money on quality tools or gear.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
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  25. WILL

    WILL Guide

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    OK, FUNNY AS HELL, THANK YOU. So I figured maybe I was remembering wrong. I shut the door to my office and assumed a deep pooping squat. After about 30 seconds I experienced knee discomfort and I started feeling general leg discomfort after a minute on flat ground. Also kind of difficult to recover from. I found a football lineman pose helped relieve some of that discomfort, but still not as comfortable as the tree trunk hang or downed tree sit. Maybe I'm a weakling, I don't know. I'm just thankful no one walked into my office.

    Anyhow, reaffirms my personal preference for the tree trunk hang. So I still have the issue of aiming into the hole and digging through roots at the base of the tree. I find my poop doesn't always drop strait to the ground. Some times there's an actual ballistic trajectory from the onset. Hence part of my issue with digging the hole in advance.
     
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  26. wrath0r

    wrath0r Supporter Supporter

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  27. BrandonJ

    BrandonJ Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    This post is great. In all honesty I get pretty much get buck when I can. Zip-off pants are awesome, so liberating.
     
  28. Morrow7x

    Morrow7x Tracker

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    Seems I read years ago that 3-6" is the most biologically 'active' layer for decomposition... (?)

    Without a doubt my least favorite part of any backpacking trip. ;-)
     
  29. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    At home I use a pair of WW Granger catalogs in place of the squatty potty . it works to some degree .
    If I have to go in the bush, I generally undress . i figure I'm vulnerable for the next 20 minuets or so .
    As for a spade, I Having been a fire fighter I take a folding shovel that can also be used for throwing dirt on a fire putting them out .
    It does not bother me to cary the shovel as I have used the same shovel to get to water during a fire and every one's canteen was empty . that and putting out fires of others.
    This shovel has a pick as well, so in the right configuration I can work as a grappling hook which I can use to get my self out of a tight situation .Inside the pipe handle is a saw . no wasted space .
    If camp is going to be in one place for while then a latrine is in order and a hole is dug and the cold wet ashes for the camp fire are used to cover the poo .
    If you have no imagination for building a seat with all the materials available in the woods ,it's a good opportunity to learn something and be creative. time to stretch your imagination and create .
     

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  30. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie Supporter

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    That deep squat position is a great position to practice and master. It's frequently called the "third world squat". Americans tend to squat down while balancing on the balls of their feet keeping their bodies raised up using the calf muscles. This isn't natural and is actually harder to maintain than a full squat with the heels on the ground. It seems easier to us because its a habit at this point.

    Humans naturally will do a full squat to access and use things on the ground. Watch a toddler or slightly older child and watch how they pick things up or play on the ground. Often times they will naturally squat down in this manner opposed to sitting or doing squatting on the balls of their feet as most westerners do. Looking at other cultures who are closer to nature you can also see how they squat much more than they sit. Even very old people in those cultures are able to get up and down with ease from that position.

    Humans used to do almost everything on the ground which made us much more fit and robust than we find ourselves now days with chairs, tables, ect. Working on getting that position down will help with flexibility and overall health not to mention make a lot of bushcraft tasks easier to do while in the field.
     
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  31. LongChinJon

    LongChinJon Scout

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    Best response thus far...please don't add pictures, though.


    Trench idea is great. As far as clothing, I fully intend never to wear a kilt, BUT those that do may have the advantage over us pants-wearers in this situation.

    And yeah, I've used those Asian squattie-potties, and I am convinced that frequent practice is necessary to keep it from being a painful experience.
     
  32. beacon

    beacon Simul justus et peccator Bushclass I

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    Where have these been all my life?!!
     
  33. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Neat, this could also be used as a PFD when canoeing or kayaking.
     
  34. the_dude

    the_dude Supporter Supporter

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    you think could you rip out the pages of an e-book for field expedient wiping?

    it's a paperback. pm your address. it's a fun read.
     
  35. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    Interesting thread. I'm surprised how many "tree huggers" there are here.
    Back in my days of 3-4 day weekends of primitive camping, or being in my spot for deer by 5:00 AM after eating a healthy breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast and walking for an hour, I assumed the position by putting my back into it. The folks I know, or discussed such things with, myself included, leaned back into the tree. Backs against the trunk. Am I understanding that a lot of you face the tree and hold onto it for balance? That never occurred to me, although it would put your hole further away from the trunk. No pun intended.

    Maybe it's my area, but there is always debris in the woods. I just used my foot to kick away the leaves, sticks and whatnot at the base of the chosen tree, then kicked the debris back onto the mess when I was done. Theses areas were well off the beaten path though. The chance a hiker or other camper would happen through and pick that exact same spot... well, didn't occur to us. I suppose it could have happened.

    Which brings a thought to my mind.
    Maybe 6-7 years ago I was out back doing something. I should mention I live darn close to the RR tracks. My eyes caught what looked like blue something at the base of a very large tree. Sure enough, someone walking the tracks (I assume) had stopped to relieve themselves using those blue paper towels gas stations have. I didn't even notice the blue towels after a couple weeks. Maybe an animal got interested in it.
     
  36. WILL

    WILL Guide

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    Thanks, looking forward to reading the Kama Sutra of pooping.
     
  37. wrath0r

    wrath0r Supporter Supporter

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    That... that's genius! Or the other way around, using a PFD as a toilet seat!
     
  38. wizard

    wizard Guide

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    Ok, I live in the desert, tree hugging is not an option. One must endure the pains of the deep squat, holding pants out of the way and balancing as to not fall in. Perhaps duck walk away as you go. Flies can be a problem they seem to find this sheet as soon as off loaded. A trowel is a handy tool but still use a stick or rock to move things around, like into a hole.

    The true tree huggers want a person to carry plastic bags and to take all the poop and paper back to town with you. Sorry, I am a believer in preserving the environment and all that but definitely draw the line out of packing gooey poop about.

    The military has a novel solution, they give you MRE's and those block your passages for weeks. When you do go, the turds are so hard they are neat and tidy with little clean up work required. Although some surgery make be necessary.

    My best advise it to not eat things that are going to force the issues, and carry some Balneol, a cleansing cream that although costly is worth the effort to keep you clean and comfortable afterwards. I also try to burn my toilet paper rather than burying it. Stay upwind and be careful and attentive with fire.

    Oh, yeah, I tried the little TP tablets but couldn't seem to swallow enough to get the clean up accomplished. Maybe I did that wrong :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
  39. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Supporter Supporter

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    I have made a seat like that on several trips out west. Just cut a hole into a cheap Walmart folding chair. We called them the Sh*t Back and Relax chairs for a nice comfy experience in the backcountry! :D
     
  40. Thortek

    Thortek Tracker

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  41. Black5

    Black5 Supporter Supporter

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    Oh...Lord.
    Option 1. Referred to as the "5 day, 5 pound Tanker Poop." Comes from being in an armored vehicle for several days. Read into it what you will. Im sure you wil get the gist.

    Option 2. Save your C-rat boxes. Without leaving said armored vehicle, place open box top directly under the "fuel exhaust" and fill box. May be stacked neatly until properly disposed of. Soon, we all hoped....

    Option 3. Replace ration box with zip lock baggie. Gallon sized. Dispose of quietly in fire of those jerks next to you that think a bonfire and cases of beer make them popular neighbors.
     
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  42. perdidochas

    perdidochas Guide

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    Basically, its to hide it. There is no real environmental reason to do it, unless somebody else walking on it is a concern.
     
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  43. Morrow7x

    Morrow7x Tracker

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    I worked w/a guy back in the 70's who said mastering that was the only positive from his time in Vietnam... ;-)

    Squatting down on the balls of my feet to 'go' while hiking from my kayak camp above Lake Powell I heard/felt a loud "POP" in my foot. I thought "uh, oh..." but when I stood I realized a nagging problem in the ball of my foot was gone! 'Relief' in more ways than one... :)
     
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  44. bsemler

    bsemler Tracker

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    I put either dirt or water with toliet drops
    And was thinking using large tarp to set up on a tree so I don't have body walking up that be my luck IMG_20180702_171451.jpg
     
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  45. rsnurkle

    rsnurkle Supporter Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    After some minor testing, I am in favor of the "cheek spreader" technique
    IMG_4963.JPG
    The above photo (taken before use, that's just dirt shown, for anyone who started to feel alarmed) shows an improvised cheek spreader, which was just two sticks crossing (using some branch nubs to help lock them in).

    There's a little a bit of care needing to be taken when sitting down (depending on how thin your sticks are), but it was very comfortable for this sitting-accustomed westerner. It didn't require more than the usual attention to my balance (compared to the deep squat) and was very quick to put together and add to a log.

    The idea comes from this video that I was thrilled to find

    (note that my version is "upside-down" and worked fine that way too, and that I didn't need to do any lashing to get the job done.)
     
  46. roadwarrior

    roadwarrior Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Just let it fly.
     
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  47. OrienM

    OrienM Guide

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    I use the "flip a rock and squat" method too. Works fine for me. In my area, it seems like toilet paper never, ever composts...I see bits of it everywhere I go. I've actually quit bringing TP on outings, and generally use mullein leaves (summer) or a smooth, round rock (winter).
     
  48. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    That was just me teasing @WILL about this. Not my statement about anything but that.
    I am very lucky in that most of the places I go don’t have a lot of people. Decades ago, I saw the white ‘litter’ along the banks of the Colorado river in the Grand Canyon and know of what you speak.
    No tree hugging here either. It is so DRY that whatever I deposit will be crusty and dusty in a few days. I do like burning the paper, and if VERY careful, IMO, that is a good idea. But, for me, this is nothing to even talk or worry about. Do it and move on. At most a couple of minutes in the middle of nowhere and nobody will know the difference. Even if it is a place frequented by others, the SSS rule will work. (Shoot, shovel, shut up). :cool:
     
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  49. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie Supporter

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    I don't use TP either! I thought I was the only one lol. I always use leaves or moss, both are in great supply in my AOs. I haven't tried a rock.
     
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  50. hidden_lion

    hidden_lion Scout

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    Italy has the squatty potty and Japan does as well...If Americans did it that way our literacy rate would drop, as thats where a large portion get their reading done...hard to do in a full squat
    and thats the real reason behind the invention of the toilet
     

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