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Leave No Trace Backpacking

I will be backpacking in the Grand Teton for six days in August, and I was wondering what the best LNT practices are for toilet ettiquet- cat hole or pack out?

What are best suggestions for pack out methods and systems?

4 Replies

For pack out I will completely duct tape the outside of a ziplock bag for used tp, hygiene products, etc. 

Thank you for taking the time to ask this question! Leave No Trace practices are super important, especially when it comes to the topic of human waste. Personally I prefer to pack out over cat hole to minimize my environmental impact. That being said, here is a great article with tips & tricks on How to Go to the Bathroom in the Woods. Regulations can vary largely by specific location. The National Park Service site for Back Country camping in Grand Teton National Park states that all waste (including tp & sanitary items) must be packed out. The site also states to bury feces in a hole 6-8 inches deep and over 200 feet from the nearest water source. It sounds like you won’t need to pack out the actual human waste unless you choose to.

Whichever route you go, enjoy your trip!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

yeah I don't think for one minute an REI concerned employee is going to carry 6 days of poop.

But anyway, good question.  So there are dozens and dozens of videos on youtube on this.  For those climbing Mt Whitney, you're required to carry out your poop, normally a 1 event situation.  Some wilderness or high volume areas ask you carry out your poop (like high trafficked canyon/arch areas in Utah), probably 2 or 3 days max. 

So you use a 'WAG BAG' for this, purchase at amazon, similar to bags used for dry toilets in RVs, extremely cumbersom and extremely hard to contain ordors.

If given the option, most everyone, excepting hard core folks, will opt to dig a cat hole and bury the stuff.

Make sure you check the regulatory office governing your hike area, park service or forest service to see what's required.  Most times, if they require wag bags, they also make them available for purchase.  hope this helps

ps - For the cat hole, you need a sharp shovel device to cut through vines and roots, don't forget the TP and having some wet wipes/hand sanitizer if often a good idea.

REI member since 1979

REI Member Since 1979

The BEST LNT practice is always to pack out. Cat holes, as described above, are the SECOND BEST practice. Cat holes can be difficult, however, in rocky terrain. Digging a cat hole in gravel does not expose the poop to the soil bacteria that will break it down, so packing out is best. Climbers often use a pvc poop tube to pack it out. Yes. it is heavy, but moisture and airtight.

aka "Boonerelli"

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