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It was a beautiful morning in the Alabama Hills. The air was still cool, though the heat would come. The boys and I went wandering around the amazing rocks and hills that have inspired so many imaginary lands for movies and TV over the years. Campers and RVers who were scattered across the surreal landscape were waking up and slowly sliding into the day. In a short walk through the rock area near our camp we encountered the following unpleasant deposits:
Toilet paper sticking out from under a rock
Toilet paper sticking out from under a rock
More partially buried waste bags, Alabama Hills, CA
Some one ELSE did it!
Buried waste bags, Alabama Hills, CA
Someone partially buried waste bags in the dirt.
Several months later we were enjoying a hike at a secluded high alpine lake near Carson Pass. This place is out of the way, not marked on any road and required 4 wheel drive and a high clearance vehicle to approach, something that we all love and cherish. The kids played in the lake, we had lunch and went out for a trek around the lake. We soon found the following:
Toilet paper and human feces at Crater Lake, CA
Toilet paper and human feces at Crater Lake, CA

Keep Public Lands Open

Whatever our individual politics may be, and they may be diverse, I think we can all agree that having access to places like this, limited though it may be by our ability to get there, is a nice thing. More than that, it’s a wonderful gift. One that we never wany to lose access to either because it becomes not nice, or because our access is revoked, or not maintained causing us to not have nice things.
I don’t want to be that guy who is always complaining about other backcountry adventurers, but I am seeing a lot of examples of people disposing of human waste (feces, poop) improperly in the backcountry. So this post and video is meant to address it constructively.

Rules for Backcountry Defecation

  1. Never leave feces and toilet paper on the surface

How to Properly Dispose of Human Feces in the Backcountry

  1. Get yourself at least 200 feet (about 70 steps) away from
    1. any campsite
    2. any water source
    3. any trail or road
  2. Dig a hole 6 – 8 inches deep or expose a hole that deep by moving a rock.
  3. Poop into that hole
  4. Deposit toilet paper into the hole, or pack it out in a trash receptacle
  5. Burry your poop with the dirt or rock that came out of the hole
  6. Make sure everyone in your party knows this procedure, and ask them if they have any other tips for protecting the beauty and health of the landscape while maintaining personal hygiene and comfort while pooping

5 Things You Should Always Carry for Pooping in the Backcountry

This is what we always have in a little pouch in the truck. When we go for a hike or longer excursion away from the truck, we’ll pack it along with us.
  1. Toilet Paper
  2. Trowel
  3. Grocery Bags
  4. Wipes
  5. Hand Sanitizer

I didn’t make this stuff up

Bathroom Etiquette: Backpacker.com
DO YOU KNOW THE 7 D’S OF BACKCOUNTRY DEFECATION?: Outdoor Research
SERIOUS BUSINESS: HOW TO POOP IN THE BACKCOUNTRY: Outward Bound

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