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A seat on the throne.

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  • A seat on the throne.

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    I took a knife to an old piece of kip mat today to add an extra 30g of comfort to my next trip.

    In the process it occurred to me that the subject of human waste disposal in the winter woods is rarely mentioned.

    At risk of seeming uncouth, I though it might be something worth discussing. There is nothing much worse than coming across a trail of toilet paper and faeces left by inconsiderate campers after all. It is very easy to think that something buried in the snow has been dealt with but when snow melts, the problem re-emerges.

    My own preferred approach is to bag it and carry the accumulated bio-bags back to civilisation in a more sturdy bag or container to dispose of. As a dog owner it is something we are quite used to over here, it is just the quantity that differs really. In winter this task is made a little less unpleasant by the freezing temperatures and over here we rarely have bears or other predators to worry about of course.

    In camp I usually build a seat of ease from snow, topped with a ring of karrimat foam with a hole cut underneath. My old one was getting a bit tatty which led to making a new seat today.

    On the trail I sometimes use the haul straps of my toboggan slung round a tree trunk to lean back into, which probably sounds more precarious than it is but is more comfortable that squatting for my ageing frame.

    So, would it be too indelicate to ask if any of you have handy tips or tricks on this subject. I know when I first started out it was something I would have like to have been better informed about and I'm sure it is something we have all had to deal with after all.

  • #2
    I think this is an important topic, not uncouth to discuss, but very uncouth to not properly attend to the matter.
    I don't like to leave evidence behind that will turn up again in the spring either.

    It's rare, but if I can find a big rock that is not frozen in place I will flip that and use it as a cover when I'm done.
    I most often use punky old logs as a cover.
    I burn the TP.
    Neither of these are perfect options in my mind, but when the ground is frozen there is no possibility of digging a proper hole.
    I think your method of bagging and packing it back out is perhaps the best option, but the places where I camp it's unlikely anyone else will ever camp there any time soon, if ever. So I'm comfortable with the log cover method.

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    • #3
      Burn it in a fire. A fella had a crap and stuck it under a log as an experiment. Went to said log 2 years later and tp still under there. I have considered pre-digging holes before winter in places I might go, to have crap holes ready for winter. Just an idea outside of burning or carrying it out SAS style 😬

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Old MukR View Post
        Burn it in a fire. A fella had a crap and stuck it under a log as an experiment. Went to said log 2 years later and tp still under there. I have considered pre-digging holes before winter in places I might go, to have crap holes ready for winter. Just an idea outside of burning or carrying it out SAS style 😬
        A branch hardly lasts two years laying on the ground around here, I never would expected it to have that long a "shelf life"!

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        • #5
          I have to admit that covering it with a log would just make me think what would it be like to pick that up for firewood in the spring.

          My attitude is that I carry it in as food, it's no extra weight to carry it out.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Wayland View Post
            I have to admit that covering it with a log would just make me think what would it be like to pick that up for firewood in the spring.

            My attitude is that I carry it in as food, it's no extra weight to carry it out.
            That was a concern of mine too, I've only ever used rotten, moss covered punky logs for that reason.
            But after this thread I'm feeling less inclined to us the log method anymore.

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            • #7
              I usually travel in Ontario Parks along the canoe routes in deep snow. There is a quirk of the regulation, that want me to both reserve campsites but require me to not camp in or near any campsite. The former, I think, is needed to satisfy their booking system and the later is to ensure I don't trash a site by using all the wood and leaving debris in the snow above popular summer spots.

              For me, if the "timing" is right I will stop in a campsite as I pass by and look for the thunderbox/privy. They sometimes are buried in the snow and always frozen shut but the 5-10 minutes of work leads to a significantly improved experience and is LNT friendly.

              Most of the time the urge arrives when I am in camp. In those cases I usually am somewhere that I highly doubt summer travelers will every visit. I look for sheltered areas that tend to be a bit "swampy" as those tend to have a good wood supply. I also avoid areas near campsites. These are usually only reachable by water but sometimes in the middle of a long portage. When I collect firewood I will try to break a trail into the woods a ways so that in the morning, when I have my booties on, I can comfortably reach a "better" spot. It is not really LNT but I think it is significantly reduced. I suppose I should really bring it back with me and throw it in the stove but I haven't reached that level of dedication yet.

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              • #8
                It's always a balancing act. We can never really LNT but I do try and minimise my impact when I can.

                The places we usually get to are never very far from the beaten track. In the UK it's almost impossible to get more than a couple of miles from one, In Scandinavia it's a bit better but still crowded compared to your side of the pond.

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                • #9
                  Hiding a log under a log....

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