Excreting, ridding our body’s waste products: urine and stool or feces, is an important daily function. Lately, I have spent time thinking about how to manage my pee and poop when on the road traveling through areas where a toilet may not be available. When I trekked to Everest Base Camp we had the same concern at certain locations. A flush toilet was rare, a pit toilet more common, and other places we had our “pot to pee in” or our “poop tent with a view” with our responsibility then of disposing all our waste. It’s not only mountaineers with this concern, but river rafters and astronauts needing to collect and dispose their body’s waste. We continue to learn best practices from each other!
Let’s start with the morning jolt. I cannot speak for you, but my morning cup of coffee and/or tea stimulates my body within about an hour for my need to pee. I’ll bet you’ve had that feeling too! When living in the NE USA, I easily found trees and bushes roadside to hide behind, comfortably squat and pee. Not so in the desert! Besides not wanting to handhold a spiny cactus, none grow wide enough for me to hide behind! I recall nights in the mountain, especially when cold outside, and using a wide-mouthed water bottle as a pee bottle. I also recall almost breaking my leg in Nepal when I needed to use a crude pit toilet; slats of wood a few feet above the ground with dried plants stalks below. I slid on the frozen pee around the “hole” from previous visitors and fortunately caught myself so my leg did not go down the hole!
Solid waste, your poop, feces or the medical term: stool, has a way of letting you know it is done spending time in your colon and needs to make an exit. Here in the desert sand there is no organic material to help with decay, even if I was to dig a deep hole away from a water source to bury my solid waste in, as I did when living on the east coast of the USA. Added to that dilemma, during this past year with Covid-19, many of our usual toilet stops: restaurants, libraries and rest rooms have not been available for our pee and poop needs. What is a person to do? When you have to go, I mean sometimes you really have to go!
Let’s talk pee first. Men, you have no issue as far as I am aware. For women it is a bit more complicated, especially if the wide-mouthed bottle, or pot to pee in, is not for you. But do give it a try with some Simple Green in the pot to dilute the urine smell. I now know what size pee bottle works best for me. Trial and error, practice at home, was the key to success.
I have also tried various products and “Go Girl” is a possible one. Honestly, I have not gotten the hang of it to know that I will not soil my clothing while using this product, so more often than not I squat and pee wherever I am. I even created privacy curtains to hang on the bottom of my car doors so I can easily squat between them if no bushes are around! Pee and cover it over with dirt. Check the privacy curtains out below:
Here is a “Go Girl” and I absolutely recommend trying to use it at home so you can figure out how best to use it for yourself. I discovered having your fingers at the correct locations and with a slight squeeze does help. This may be more information than what you need, but if you pee like a high-pressured fire hose, hold the “Go Girl” tightly against your body! When one needs to pee so bad and so quickly, the funnel is only so big to direct your pee … but I hope it works for you.
Now let’s talk solid waste. During the Covid-19 months/year I noticed more porta-potties being available on roadsides and at parks, used by hundreds of people, and personally I have found them, more often than not, to be disgusting. Even pit toilets in some places are nasty, thus I looked to a product I used when backpacking years ago in the narrow canyons of Arizona’s Paria River. Each backpacker had to carry their solid waste out and we were encouraged to re-use the kit more than once. It used to be referred to as the “WAG” bag, meaning Waste Alleviation and Gelling bag, but now it is called a GO Anywhere Toilet Kit from Cleanwaste. The waste bag opens up to line a pail or portable toilet, or to be laid on the ground or within rocks you may have arranged as your “toilet”. There is a gel within the bag to control odor and begin the decay process of your urine and feces. If you no longer need to use the bag, squeeze out excess air, seal it up in the disposal bag for eventual disposal in your home or a public trash can. This product is easy to use and includes toilet paper, but always carry more toilet paper so you are never caught short. There is some hand sanitizer in the kit too. Think about where you will use it as there is no privacy curtain around you while you use it! YouTube videos are available for a more detailed explanation.
While I was on this mission of how to care for my pee and poop, I decided to try another product. I noticed the “Biffy Bag” because it is one product allowing you to stand during nature’s call. (A “biffy” is a toilet or outhouse and now you have your personal one.) This took some getting used to since you tie part of it around your waist and grab another part between your legs before you start any other action. It too has a powdered material within it to gel all the waste, and the package includes toilet paper and a fragrant wipe. This product I want to try a few more times before I can be as enthusiastic as others who have liked it. I seem to get tangled up in it all and wondered why one would not reverse the tying position so wiping your butt could be easier. The good news though is, in following their directions, I could easily stand and do my business. Once again I recommend trying it at home and thinking where you would use it since there is no privacy curtain. YouTube videos are available for a more detailed explanation.
Here’s the bottomline: figure out what works best for you when nature calls for your pee and/or poop needs. Sure, if you can dig your hole in organic material and away from a water source, then care for your human waste that way. If you cannot and also cannot get to a toilet, then know how you can create your own “toilet” with some product. All of these products are small, well-packaged and easy to carry in your car or backpack so you have them when you may need them. Good luck and check out those YouTube videos as they may help you decide!