Hiking & garbage disposal: what to know?

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When hiking in the backcountry, waste disposal is important for both garbage and human waste. Some areas have specific guidelines, including a “pack it out” rule. Urine is usually not a problem, but toilet paper should be packaged and waste should be buried or carried out.

While backcountry hiking and backpacking can be wonderful experiences, the issue of hiking and garbage disposal becomes a major one. By waste, here, we mean not only garbage, but also human waste. Since many areas offer no sanitation of any kind, you need to consider ways to leave less debt to the environment you are enjoying.
Some people may wonder why hiking and garbage disposal is such a big deal. After all, don’t bears, raccoons and the like just leave their waste wherever they want? This is true, but it is important to remember that the natural environments in which you walk are part of these animals’ habitats and human waste can pose problems and health risks for these animals and other humans.

You should consult the area you intend to visit, as many have specific guidelines for waste disposal. Some operate on a specific “pack it out” rule. This means you can buy things like Wag® bags, which contain special chemicals that break down waste and can be carried with you until you reach a special waste disposal destination or until you return to your starting point. voyage . Many forest stations also have garbage disposal bags for purchase and ask or insist that you take them with you instead of leaving them somewhere along your hike.

In the past, hiking and garbage disposal usually meant carrying around a small shovel or spade. When you needed to use the bathroom, particularly for a bowel movement, you would leave the trail and walk at least 100-200 feet (30.48-60.96 m) away. Hiking and garbage disposal directions were often given to dig a hole 6–12 cm (15.24–30.48 in) deep, use it as a makeshift toilet, and then bury the garbage. Some hiking and backpacking areas still allow or recommend this method, but others have moved to the “pack” rule. Know in advance what the rules are regarding hiking and waste disposal in the areas where you will be hiking.

Usually you don’t have to worry as much about hiking and garbage disposal for human urine. However, there are a few ways to make sure you don’t ruin someone else’s trip or an animal’s environment by peeing in the wrong place. Again, leave the trail and travel at least 100 feet away. Don’t urinate near water sources such as ponds, streams or rivers, or near someone else’s campsite. Since urine is typically sterile and degrades easily, you can simply find a convenient bush or similar and urinate.

However, if you use toilet paper, you should plan to package it by placing it in something like a Wag® bag. You can also use these bags to collect urine, which will turn into a gel-like form. If you’re concerned about leaks, you can double these bags into zip lock bags and keep them away from food, pots and pans, or sleeping gear.

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