News & Updates

Do You Suffer from FOPO?

Susy Alkaitis - February 7, 2018

Joshua Tree, CA: Do you or someone you know suffer from FOPO? Fear of packing out your toilet paper can be serious condition, but there are easy and effective ways of overcoming this challenge. Even if you don’t suffer from FOPO, check out this video for the best ways to deal with toilet paper in the outdoors.

Why such a fuss about toilet paper left outdoors?

  • Toilet paper can take several months (yes, months) to decompose when left outside.
  • Who loves used toilet paper? Flies! Know what else flies love? Landing on your granola bar right before you take a BIG bite…yuck!
  • Reasons we love the outdoors: waterfalls, soaring mountains, fields of wildflowers. Piles of toilet paper don’t make the list for us and can really ruin a gorgeous outdoor scene.
  • Poop on toilet paper can contaminate water just as easily as poop left on the ground. 

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Think you don’t have to worry about toilet paper because you’re not a long-distance hiker or a backpacker? Keep in mind that some of the best day-hike trailheads and picnic areas don’t have bathroom facilities, so it’s always best to be potty-prepared every time you head outside! 

1. Be prepared with a TP toolkit. Keep small baggies and/or trash bags with your toilet paper stash. If you travel with a roll of TP, stuff small trash bags in the cardboard tube so you’re always ready to pack out used paper. 

2. Out of sight, out of mind. Let’s be honest – no one’s posting selfies with scenic shots of their TP. (Well, unless you work for Leave No Trace.) Bring dark trash bags (dog waste bags are perfect). Or get crafty and cover a resealable bag with some duct tape to hide the evidence while packing it out.

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3. Re-usable toilet paper? Yep! If you just need a post-pee wipe down, an old bandana tied to your backpack will do the trick. Pro-tip: Using just half of a bandana saves ounces and dries out quickly in between bathroom breaks.

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4. The answer is blowin' in the wind. Some women swear by the drip-dry method, so give it a try to see if it works for you.

5. The natural fix. Leaves, rocks, snow, and even pinecones can help with clean-up duty. To keep human waste away from animals, insects, and other visitors, bury natural TP in your 6-8 inch cathole.

Did we miss your favorite method? Share your TP tips with the Leave No Trace world on Facebook and Instagram!

Enjoy your world. Leave No Trace.

Jessie and Matt

Leave No Trace's Jessie Johnson and Matt Schneider are part of the 2018 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, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, and Klean Kanteen.


Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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