How to Pack Out Your Poop!

Nantahala Gorge, NC: Many of our amazing outdoor adventures play out on or around a river corridor. We have discovered spectacular environments, filled with power and grace, in natures magical watery hallways. Waters capacity to carve out incredible landscapes is evident in deep river gorgeous and steep boulder filled creeks. We love rivers and find joy in spending time around them! This connection to the outdoors compels us to actively minimize our impact around river corridors in a concerted effort to keep the ecosystem healthy, as well as provide the next visitor with a similarly fantastic experience. However, this can often prove challenging due to the topography of the river environment. When faced with the common scenario of steep terrain, nearby a water source, we are forced to critically consider how to dispose of human waste properly. In this environment, it is often difficult to complete the four objectives of proper human waste disposal:

1. Avoid polluting water sources.
2. Eliminate contact with insect and animals.
3. Maximize Decomposition.
4. Minimize the chances of social impacts.

To accomplish the 4 objectives, we must go 200 feet away (70 adult steps, 100 for children) from water, camp and trails and dig a cat hole 6-8 inches deep. Next, we must squat over the hole with our trousers at our ankles or off and deposit our waste, promptly covering and disguising it when the deed is done. Unfortunately, in river corridors this process can be difficult to carry out to the degree we feel good about when considering objectives number 1 and 4. This leaves us with two options.

Option 1: Do our best to complete all four objectives, recognizing that we may not be able to travel 200 feet away due to the difficult terrain. It is noteworthy that, choosing option 1 will likely increase the chances of unfavorable social impacts and polluting water sources.

Option 2: Pack out our waste entirely using a waste disposal kit. Sounds fun…doesn’t it? NOT TO WORRY! It’s really easy, entirely sanitary, and helps you keep a clean conscience! Watch the video below to learn one method of packing out your waste.

Oh and one more thing, we promise that going number 2 in the great outdoors will provide you with the best bathroom view you have ever had! Embrace the experience and please teach your friends. It will go a long way in working towards healthier public lands. Happy proper human waste disposal!

Helping keep our wild spaces wild,

Jenna and Sam - Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Team West

Leave No Trace’s Jenna Hanger and Sam Ovett are part of the 2016 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, Deuter, Hi-Cone, REI, Smartwool, The North Face, and Yakima.