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outdoors without the use of a household toilet and modern plumbing. Don’t laugh – this is serious survival skills 101. Deadly serious as we shall soon see. In this series Survival Topics will show you how to crap outdoors without making a mess of yourself or the environment you and others need to survive. Don’t be a vector of disease and misery for your fellow man, yourself, your family, and animals you share the planet with. Learn how to properly shit outdoors. You Don’t Know Shit The uninitiated often think there is nothing to urinating and defecating outdoors and many will laugh at the idea of having to learn how to do it properly. After all, we have done it thousands of times in the comfort of home and perhaps even outdoors. How to poop Outdoors
How to poop Outdoors The majority of people believe themselves properly trained in the art of taking a crap; simply move clothing out of the way and let loose. Wipe. Repeat as necessary. Some small percentage of people wash their hands afterwards, but studies have shown most do not. If you think that’s all there is to excreting bodily wastes then like most people your potty training is inadequate and you have much to learn. Feces Everywhere It is evident that proper potty training has been denied the masses of people who think themselves the epitome of civilization and education. Consider this common scenario that nearly
everyone can relate to: even under ideal circumstances public restrooms that have comfortable seating and ample opportunity for cleanliness are often smelly, filthy germ ridden sties. Public restrooms paint an interesting picture of the general state of personal hygiene in the world and provide a glimpse into what will happen in a large scale disaster survival situation when people are excreting human waste all over the landscape. Water and even food supplies are likely to become contaminated with human feces due to improper hygiene. But it doesn’t take a disaster survival situation to make fecal contamination of water supplies a problem. Even in rural and mountainous areas people routinely contaminate water by improper disposal of human waste due to ignorance and laziness. In point of fact the vast majority of people do not know how to properly defecate. Proper Technique is Key According to the World Health Organization over three million people die throughout the world each year from water borne diseases caused by water sources being contaminated by raw sewerage. This toll is greater than the loss from war, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction combined. There are a variety of problems associated with the common method of simply taking a dump and urinating outdoors wherever you please, as the wilderness survivor will soon discover. For one, long association with household living has grown us accustomed to using toilets with comfortable seats and the privacy of closed doors to do our business. Often when attempting to relieve themselves in unfamiliar outdoor surroundings, newbies find it very difficult to relax and allow nature to take its course. Lack of the familiar commercial toilet paper and comfortable seating contribute to this problem. In one part of this series we will explore various methods of "going to the bathroom" outdoors that work well in leu of the common toilet we are accustomed to at home. Proper Human Waste Disposal is Important The health and survival of others and yourself depends upon the proper disposal of body wastes. Millions of people throughout history have died of diseases attributable to human body wastes entering food and water supplies due to improper disposal by ignorant or lazy people. The list of water borne diseases that have sickened or lead to the sickening and demise of millions due to improper disposal of human body waste include Typhoid, Hepatitis, Giardiasis and Cryptosporidiosis. And that is just for starters. According to the World Health Organization over three million people die throughout the world each year from water borne diseases caused by water sources being contaminated by raw sewerage. This toll is greater than the combined loss from war, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction. During a large scale disaster scenario in populated areas you are almost guaranteed much of the local water supply will be contaminated with improperly disposed of feces and urine. Anywhere near roads and trails you can rest assured there is plenty of human poop laying about that has not been disposed of properly. For this reason Survival Topics advocates that you consider ALL sources of water as contaminated until you treat it. Even if you are totally uncaring of others consider this: diseases you spread can easily come back to you via the people and animals you infect. For example the common water borne parasite Giardia is spread by fecal contamination of water by people and animals that are carrying giardia cysts. Should you infect a body of water by defecating in close proximity, many other people and animals that use this water may ingest the parasite. As the infection you caused spreads into other water supplies throughout the area and beyond, it could very well come right back to you, your friends, and family long after your body had rid itself of the initial infection.
That is Karma in action and a cycle that can be avoided altogether by simply taking a few simple precautions. More How to poop Outdoors Proper disposal of your feces is exceedingly important to wilderness survival yet so overlooked by the masses of ignorant people that Survival Topics has created a lengthy discourse on the subject. It is my goal to hammer home to you and others that: 1. you must dispose of your wastes properly AND 2. take great precaution with the water you ingest into your body. because most people will not do #1. Millions of people throughout the world have succumbed to this widespread problem but there is no need for that to happen to you, your friends, and family because Survival Topics will teach you what to do. In the next Survival Topic we will explore the goals you need to consider so that your fresh steaming pile of feces has a minimum impact on the environment and reduces as far as possible the odds that you become the next typhoid Mary of the outdoor world. Exposed Feces Causes Disease When most people are outdoors it is evident they choose to defecate with little preparation other than finding a somewhat out of the way location so as to preserve a modicum of modesty. Once out of sight, they do their business directly on to top of the ground and for good measure throw out the wad of toilet paper used to wipe themselves with. Little thought goes into what will happen once the deed is done. In many outdoor areas frequented by crowds, one only has to step a short way off the beaten track to find plenty of toilet paper “flowers” and human feces lying about. Besides being unpleasant and smelly to come upon, the mess harbors disease organisms and vermin. improper feces disposal Improper Feces Disposal
People typically defecate like this in the outdoors Within feet of a picnic area and stream, whoever left this calling card either had no knowledge of
how to shit properly outdoors or simply did not care they are spreading filth and disease. Flies and other vermin will dine on or hatch out from this exposed feces, and then walk upon the food people are eating nearby. You can be sure that areas frequented by the public have messes like this scattered all over the landscape, contaminating drinking water supplies for miles around. This is why you MUST condsider all water unsafe to drink until treated. Flies and other insects walk upon the decaying offal as they dine, laying eggs to multiply their numbers. These same insects will then alight upon your person and your food, thereby spreading disease organisms quite some distance from the offending mess. Rainwater carries a slurry of improperly disposed of human feces into groundwater, surface puddles, ponds, lakes and streams. Laced with disease organisms that were in the feces to begin with or formed once it had been deposited, people and animals then come in contact with or drink this polluted water. Even water that appears to be pure and pristine is often harboring disease organisms from human feces that can make the wilderness survivor very sick. Goals of Proper Defecation Before you actually do the deed there are three basic goals that need to be taken into consideration when looking for a place to defecate. You want to: 1. Minimize the chance of other people stumbling upon your feces. 2. Avoid the spread of disease and contamination. 3. Increase the rate at which your feces is decomposed. Upon identifying these goals we are now in a better position to carry on with the task at hand. Now we will explore the best method of disposing of human body wastes. Soil Helps Decompose Feces Centuries of experience has shown that burying human waste is usually the best and most efficient method of accomplishing the goals outlined above. But there is more to burying human wastes than just digging a hole and dumping it in. With a little knowledge you can affect the rate of decomposition by taking advantage of microorganisms that are living in the upper portions of the soil. Soil is typically composed of several layers, for our purposes the most important of which are the upper two layers. These consist of decaying plant matter on or near the surface followed a little deeper by the organic rich top soil that is chock full of the microorganisms and invertebrates such as worms and other creepy crawlies that are largely responsible for the process of decomposition. How to Bury Feces
How to Bury Feces The proper way to dispose of human waste is to dig a hole and bury it. This puts filth out of view but also encourages organisms in the soil to work upon it, turning feces in black gold that is good for the soil. Try to select an area that has deep topsoil Your fresh steaming pile of feces will be heartily welcomed by the hungry denizens of the organic rich layer of soil. These creatures will almost immediately begin the process of turning your fresh feces into fine organic fertilizer that will benefit the soil and ultimately be absorbed by plants to feed the ecosystem. This is a far better alternative to the disease ridden mess most people leave behind from their behinds. The key is try and keep your feces within the organic rich top soil area and avoid digging down so far as to enter the subsoil area which is usually mineral rich but contains little organic matter. Typically the organic rich layer of soil is darker in color than the layer beneath it.
1. If the organic rich layer of soil is thick enough, dig a hole six to eight inches deep. In thinner soils dig down only about 4-inches. 2. Place the soil you dug up off to the side in a pile. Try to keep the top section of soil containing small plants and roots in one piece so that you can use it as a plug. 3. Defecate into the hole. 4. Cover with the loose soil you dug up, then add the top plug. Now your feces has been covered from view, denied access by flies and other vermin, and is set to swiftly be decomposed into harmless, helpful soil by legions of microscopic creepy crawlies. Fecal contamination of water causes the demise of more people throughout the world than war, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction combined.
We also showed you how burying your feces is typically the best solution to prevent the spread of pathogens that lead to so much human misery in survival and emergency disaster situations. This Survival Topic will show you the best places to defecate outdoors so that the chances of water contamination and the spread of disease are minimized. How Far From Sensitive Features Should you Defecate? Learning where to defecate is not difficult but it is the actual practice where people go astray and leads to the pollution of much of the available water supply throughout the world. Even people who know better are often too lazy to go far off the beaten path, which is why you must always consider any source of water as contaminated. How to Bury Feces Safe Areas for Human Waste On this map white areas represent a 200 foot buffer zone around areas sensitive to human fecal contamination Generally you should defecate at least 200 feet (about 60 meters) from:
* Any source of water including swamps, wet areas, vernal pools, puddles, streams, lakes, and ponds. * Drinking water supplies including wells, hydrants, and buried water lines. * Roads * Trails made by humans and animals * Campsites and other places of habitation.
Of course few people follow this advice and as you walk away from the above features you will often find plenty of white toilet paper flowers and exposed feces from those who have been there before you. How to Measure Defecation Distance Assuming the average human pace is 5 feet in length (1.5 meters) that means walking at least 40paces away from these features. What is a “pace”? Paces are the traditional way to measure distances as you walk. Two steps is a pace, so as you are walking count each time your left foot strikes the ground. If you would rather count each step you take, then simply take 80-steps. Once you arrive at a likely area to defecate, have a quick look around to be sure you really are at least 200 feet from any feature that could be adversely affected by your feces. Then use a stick or shovel to dig your hole prior to defecation as outlined. Now that we know the dangers of fecal contamination of water supplies during urban and wilderness survival situations and have a grip on how to properly dispose of human waste, we can discuss some tried and true methods of relieving oneself in the great outdoors. Many of us rarely defecate outdoors, usually doing the deed in the privacy of our homes or in public restrooms that provide privacy and comfortable seating in the form of a toilet. We also usually have at our disposal plenty of commercial toilet paper in which to wipe our backsides with. Those who are unaccustomed to relieving themselves outdoors may at first have difficulties letting nature take its course because of unfamiliar surroundings and lack of facilities they are accustomed to. This is only natural but in due course they hit their stride and are able to accomplish the task whenever and wherever required. There are several techniques that can help make the process more comfortable. I urge you to try them all and find which work the best for you. Methods of Outdoor Defecation
Log Seat A good technique for neophyte outdoor defecators, sitting on a log is somewhat similar to sitting on an indoor toilet Once the outdoorsman has mastered sitting on a log, he or she will often move on to a variation of the squat. The Log Seat For neophyte outdoor defecators the log seat method is often the most comfortable and familiar. This will help ease the process until you become for accustomed to relieving yourself in places other than restrooms and outhouses. To defecate using a log, find or place a log so that it is a few feet off the ground and provides a reasonably comfortable platform on which to sit. Often as you feel the urge to defecate coming on you can keep an eye out for a suitable log that has been pre-placed by nature so that you do not need to expend any additional energy in preparation. Once you have prepared the log of choice, dig a hole at the estimated position your feces is likely to fall. Use of a plumb bob is optional but if you do miss the target it is usually a simple matter to roll the feces into the pit you dug using a stick or rock. Fill in your hole and your done. The Squat As your progress in your outdoor defecation experience, you are likely to find you can dispense with seating altogether. The most natural way to defecate is to squat and is perhaps the most universal and common method worldwide. After having squatted thousands of times over the years while defecating outdoors I have come to prefer this method over using the common bathroom toilet.
As with many good things, there are several techniques that can be used for successful squatting defecation: The Simple Squat is just that; hunker down by bending at the knees so that your body forms a figure “Z”. When done correctly this moves your backside out over the hole you dug and away from your legs. A problem with the simple squat is that all your weight is supported by your legs and feet. Good balance, flexibility, and a degree of strength and endurance are required. It can be somewhat difficult to get your backside out far enough so that you do not soil the back of your calves or feet. improper feces disposal Squat Against a Tree
You can press your back against a strong tree while you squat. This will take much of the weight off your knees and thighs, as well as allow your backside to extend further away from your legs and feet. Be sure to select a tree that is strong enough to hold you, and be careful of dead or broken tree limbs above you that could fall at the most inopportune time. Squatting Against a Tree helps hold your body up while providing a comfortable backrest. The support a large tree gives allows you to place your legs further away from your center of gravity, minimizing the risk of soiling a body part. On slopes you are usually better off choosing to lean against the downhill side of the tree, but you have to do a few test runs to be sure since other factors such as the direction the tree leans plays a role. Squatting with a Sapling is my personal favorite and if you were to catch me in the act this is usually how I would usually be found.
This method requires you to locate a tree small enough that you can grip on to with both hands. Holding onto the tree, squat down so that your backside is well away from other body parts and the tree is taking most of your weight. Outdoor Defecation Considerations Now that we know the basics of outdoor defecation so that we can do our best to eliminate fecal contamination and its related spread of disease and misery throughout the world, we can address some of the finer points of this important Survival Topic. Lack of Toilet Paper Many people accustomed to relieving themselves in the comfort of homes or established restrooms feel it is a hardship to go without commercial toilet paper. While toilet paper is certainly a convenience many of us have grown up with, toilet paper is actually a relatively new product. For thousands of generations people got along fine using natural materials and you can too. Like many products we have grown accustomed to through long-term use, once you try alternative methods for a period of time you will likely find your original dependence a kind of unnecessary hindrance. Toilet paper use in the wilderness is likely one of these. Increasingly there is a burning toilet paper or carry-in carry-out philosophy enforced in wilderness areas, largely due to the problem toilet paper creates. leaves for toilet paper Boulder Leaves
Even in deep winter snow you can often find dry leaves for toilet paper. Wind has removed snow from the lea side of this boulder, exposing leaves that can be used for toilet paper. This could also be used as a good shelter from the elements, the leaves providing valueable insulation. Humans are veritable feces machines, so that wherever numbers of people travel you are sure to find vast amounts of toilet paper lying about. Even toilet paper that is buried often finds its way to the surface by natural means including animal activity, erosion, and improper disposal.
In some environments toilet paper does not degrade rapidly so that over time it is strewn all over the landscape and adversely affecting the wilderness experience we seek. If you do not want to have to bag and bring your used toilet paper with you, try using natural materials. Natural Toilet Paper My favorite natural toilet paper is leaves; either fresh leaves from a tree or last years dry leaves lying upon the surface of the ground. In my northern climate deciduous trees shed their leaves in a vast colorful display every fall. These dead leaves dry out and remain viable toilet paper for more than a year. As you can see in the pictures on the Survival Topic Outdoor Defecation Techniques, I am literally surrounded by acres of dry leaves on the forest floor. Even during winter months with deep snow I can almost always find dry leaves. Why would I want to go through the bother of carrying around toilet paper when there is all this natural replacement lying about? Using natural toilet paper like leaves reduces the amount my backpack weighs, saves space for more important survival gear, is free, and I won’t be required by local ordinances to carry a nasty mess with me as I travel. Add to that the lessened impact on the environment and aesthetics, foregoing the use of commercial toilet paper is a smart move. Come what may, no matter what the disaster, wilderness surivival, or urban survival situation, lack of commercial toilet paper should present you with no problem at all. Beech Leaves natural toilet paper
Natural Toilet Paper Shown here is a beech tree, which tends to retain its dead dry leaves throughout the winter. These leaves make an excellent soft toilet paper.
As you travel, plan ahead and keep and eye out for useful items like this. A northern tree I call the “Toilet Paper Tree” is the beech Fagus grandifolia. Besides providing tasty and nutritious nuts, beech trees have the handy feature of holding onto many of their dead golden yellow soft leaves throughout the winter. As I am snowshoeing along I almost invariably come upon beech trees loaded with this prime material and stuff a pocket full in preparation for the next call of nature. Planning ahead like this is an important characteristic of successful wilderness survivors. Other materials that can be used in lieu of toilet paper include various grasses, evergreen needles, sand, and even snow. Depending upon your environment you will have to use the natural materials that are available, but once you become accustomed to the new standard method you will no longer think much of using it and will get along just fine. Defecating in Adverse Weather Another facet to relieving yourself outdoors involves the weather. Intense cold, wind, and wetness can make doing the deed a battle against the elements. Unless it is exceedingly cold, less than 25 degrees below zero, one can usually defecate normally albeit quickly – though it can be a chore removing the layers of clothing enough to sufficiently free up the required body parts. A method of defecating in very cold environments is waiting until your body is at the point of overheating, perhaps due to heavy exertion. This will give you some extra time in reasonable comfort as you are disrobed enough to accomplish natures call. You may have to hurry but you can often dress back up before your body becomes chilled. In established campsites or if it is exceedingly cold you can create a shelter specifically made for defecation. A simple tarp rigged teepee style can work very well. Add a candle, small gas stove, or even a small wood fire and the shelter can be very warm indeed. What about Urine? Urine straight from the source is free of disease organisms. However sterile it is, urine does contain salts, nitrogenous wastes and other factors that can adversely affect water quality and the environment. Recent studies show that a number of modern drugs people commonly take are passed through urine and into the water supply. Estrogen, Ritalin, Prozac, and other prescription drugs are often now detectable in drinking water supplies. Likely sources are human urine circulating through the ecosystem. It is believed these chemicals are adversely affecting wildlife and people in unknown ways. For these reasons you should be careful where you urinate. Avoid urinating near bodies of water and wet areas. While it may not be necessary to dig a hole, giving some forethought will help prevent adverse affects on the environment you need to survive. www.survivaltopics.com
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