Friday, November 27, 2009

Winter Camping Poo: Check it out.


What to do with your Winter Camping poo? If you don’t have the luxury of portable toilets near your activity area, you’ll need to consider how to dispose of waste properly. The soil is usually several feet out of reach and hard as a rock unless you can locate a patch of bare ground where a trowel can penetrate the duff.

Burying it in the snow isn’t acceptable. Human waste buried in snow will find itself lying on the ground surface once the spring thaw occurs.

The best solution is to pack it out. Hey it’s winter and your poo will freeze so you won’t have to worry about odor. Because waste is frozen in the winter, packing it out is not as distasteful as you may think. There are a couple of options: A Wag Bag or colored ziploc bags.

The Wag Bag is now called the Go Anywhere Toilet Kit. It is designed to be used on its own to pack-out human waste. Wag Bags are required items at certain locations to lessen environmental impact.

The kit is a double bag system made from spill-proof, puncture-resistant material. An inner waste bag comes preloaded with a Poo Powder gelling agent that turns liquids solid, and contains natural odor control and decay catalysts. The inner bag can be used multiple times, for up to 32 ounces of waste. When finished, put the inner bag inside the sturdy, outer zip-close disposal bag. The kit’s packaging and ingredients are biodegradable, EPA Class II waste, landfill approved. Each kit includes toilet paper sheets and an antiseptic hand wipe. MSRP: $39.99 per 12 pack available from a variety of sources including or

A cheaper alternative is using colored re-closable bag (e.g. ziploc) just for solid wastes. These bags can be purchased by the carton from a shipping supply company such as Uline. These can contain your waste (or feminine hygiene products) out of sight.

Also, no one likes to look a “yellow snow”, so be sure to cover urine with clean snow.

Jim Muller is a Leave No Trace Master Educator. He enjoys canoeing during warm months and winter camping ( during the cold months.


1 comment:

Sam said...

The only problem with covering yellow snow with fresh snow is the possibility that the snow ends up being melted for drinking or cleaning - better to designate a spot for your group and consider covering after you leave. Like most LNT principles, I think this requires some common sense with respect to the amount of use in a given area. When camping in higher use areas, I'd MUCH rather visually know exactly where my predecessors peed than find out some other way. Thanks for the info on the WAG bags - I'm hoping to introduce it to my organization this winter.