TP or not TP: that is the question
I was tempted to title this blog “On the Origin of Feces.” But first, I wasn’t sure many people would get it – readers of backpacking blogs being perhaps more attuned to Darwin Rakestraw than Charles Darwin. And second, I’m not really writing here about how poop originates but how best to put it to rest.
This is an uncomfortable topic for most of us, including me as I decide how to deal with poop while hiking in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina this spring.
Pooping is probably the most private thing we do in our entire lives, but it’s a fact of life on the trail as everywhere else. I remember reading a children’s book to my young sons: “Everybody Poops.” And that’s absolutely true: we all do it. So let’s take just a minute to talk about pooping on the trail … and more specifically, how best to deal with it.
How will you handle poop on your next long-distance hike? Will you take reams of TP with you? Will you rely primarily on wet wipes? Or will you rely on your hand, some soap, and maybe a conveniently placed rock or pine cone to bring a successful conclusion to the deed?
The full Skurka
I wish I had the confidence of outdoor athlete and backcountry expert Andrew Skurka: the prophet of paper-free pooping (and a repeat guest on the Backpacker Radio Podcast). Perhaps if I’m faced with exigent circumstances such as my TP getting soaked through, I will see the light and become a Skurka acolyte. I’ll use my water bottle – unmodified, stock Smartwater – as a bidet just like he does, then finishing up with some carefully sourced pebbles and a final sweep with my hand to eliminate all traces of the deed. After I’m done I’ll carefully wash and disinfect both hands. But for now, the Skurka Method is one bridge too far for me. I am still at least somewhat dependent on toilet paper.
January 13, 2023
Outdoor Life: Do You Really Need a Water Filter for Backpacking and Mountain Hunting?
Fresh drinking water is essential. This water filtration system ensures you will never run out as long as there is a nearby natural water source. It can filter out bacteria, protozoa and microplastics.
Faster and more efficient than pumping or waiting for chemical treatments, the Sawyer Squeeze System offers on-the-go hydration at a good flow. This product is long-lasting, affordable, reliable, cleanable, and very user-friendly.
But Sawyer was way ahead of me — 15 years ahead, to be precise. In 2008, the brand started its Clean Water for All initiative, which provides Sawyer filters to developing countries around the world. And the company spends 90% of its profits funding it.