Leave No Trace…
It’s a simple concept. Yet sadly compliance can be poor, especially in high visitation areas. Topping my list of irritating violations are the piles of toilet paper littering trailheads, hiking trails, summits, and landscapes of our public lands and National Parks. And ladies, I don’t like to admit it, but we probably are the main offenders of this. I get it, there’s usually not a conveniently located latrine when “nature calls”. Perhaps it’s easy to dismiss your single act of peeing in the outdoors, but consider the hundreds of thousands of people leaving their soggy TP piles behind… GROSS! Also, when done improperly, it can be destructive to the ecosystem. So let’s not “beat around the bush”, instead let me tell you how to properly “squat behind the bush”.
How to Pee in the Outdoors:
- Step off trail and away from water sources and designated campsites. Do not trample on fragile vegetation.
- Urinate on durable surfaces such as rocks. Animals are attracted to the salt in urine and they may dig and disturb sensitive soil and/or defoliate plants.
- If using toilet paper PACK IT OUT with you! Or better yet, switch to a reusable pee cloth.
I’m personally a huge fan of the Kula Cloth. I consider it an essential piece of gear for all my outdoor activities. It’s lightweight, made in the USA, snaps to the outside of my hiking pack for quick access, and comes in so many fun patterned designs! Try it out, and get one for all the adventurous outdoorsy ladies in your life. Or at the very least, please share this information with them.
Click here to join the Kula Cloth community!
I also encourage you to further educate yourself on the specific disposal method(s) and requirements for solid human waste in each new area you plan to explore (digging catholes, WAG bags, etc).
If you want to know more about “The Seven Principles” of Leave No Trace, you can view this condensed version from the National Park Service.
Now “go” outdoors and explore your favorite places whilst doing your part to minimize negative human impact!
8 responses to “The Mountains are Calling and I Must GO… Pee!”
This is my irritation on trails too! I am always picking up used toilet paper along with dog poop on the trails. I never use toilet paper, I just bounce in a squat position after I pee:10-20 times and that takes care of it! Easy Peezy. You don’t even need toilet paper. I tell my friends if they’re going to use toilet paper to just bring a ziplock baggie along and pack it out. Easy Peezy too
I am 62 and need to pee a lot more than younger people LOL , I am also of the no toilet paper mentality and wiggle and jiggle a bit. But I also have taken to wearing a light panty liner for any lingering drips. I will look into the kula cloth because it would reduce use of a panty liner.
I also pick up toilet paper when I spot it and use my trekking poles to stab it and place it in the plastic ziplock I carry to haul out my wrappers from energy bars, or any snacks I take.
Thank you so much for this! As a male mostly-solo backcountry hiker, those little piles of toilet paper are one of the few enduring sources of anguish on the trail for me. I look at them and think “what is so hard about packing out your used toilet paper? There’s not even any poop on it,” but then I immediately feel guilty because of the whole “White Male Patriarchal Hegemony” thing. Those little white piles of paper are like a slap on the cheek and a reminder to check my entitlement at the trailhead where it belongs.
One of my pet peeves too! Always, always pack it out. I use tissues and bring a biodegradable dog poo bag with me to carry out my used tissues.
This is a wonderful invention. Additionally, go check out The Tinkle Belle- my sister’s company, based out of Kalispell. It’s a stand to pee device that works great if you’re in an area with a lot of stickers or bugs. You can pee while standing and without exposing your butt to everything/ everyone. Works best with leggings or shorts- anything with an elastic waistband. After knee surgery, squatting to pee was difficult, so having this is great. Tinkle Belle plus Kula Kloth: dream team!
Hi Aubrey! I have heard of The Tinkle Belle but have yet to try it out. I will definitely check into it. Thanks for sharing this information with our hiking community!
I have not seen what you see. I guess in the dry air of the desert we are all content with drip dry. Our local parks moto is connecting people with nature: Read: No rest rooms. Find a thirst saguaro. Serious thanks to all the hikers who have gone before for never leaving trash out there. So, I for one can say: Great hikers are clean hikers and Great Minds Think-a-like: and that’s a good thing.
Don’t worry about your entitlement…pick up your trash. When in other places in the park..at least try to hit the garbage cans instead of tossing trash towards it.