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278 Toilet Kit 2010-09-08

toilet kit

While running on an out and back trail one early spring day (before the leaves had bloomed), my partner needed to go to the bathroom. Bad. I convinced him there was a restroom at our turn around point if he could just hold it. We got to the restroom and it was closed. Desperate, he dug a hole, and used McDonald's wrappers he found in the trash! That was the last time I went trail running without a small running pack and toilet paper. I was glad that it was not me digging through the trash; but it could have been.

To help us stay organized we pack using kit. We have a first aid kit, emergency kit, personal kit, cooking kit, eating kit, etc. one of our most important kits is the toilet kit. We both have several toilet kits. One lives in the bottom of my hiking day pack and my running pack.

Toilet kit contents:

  • Plastic sandwich bag or small ditty bag to hold the contents of the kit. We use a small ultralite nylon ditty bag.
  • Toilet paper - you can buy prepackaged rolls of paper for camping; but we just take the partial rolls from our supply at the house.
  • Trowel - a stick will help you dig a hole, but not very well. A rigid trowel will work. I have had a few trowels through the ages. I guess the first one was a green plastic trowel. I broke it in the rocks. Interestingly enough it had inch marks ticked on the side of the blade, so you could see how deep you were digging. The next trowel I bought would not break. It was a U-Dig-It Stainless-Steel Hand Shovel. Of course it weighed five ounces without the belt pack and you could probably dig house footings with it. I never carried it backcountry because it weighed so much. It still is a part of our car camping toilet kit and is always available if we ever need a hand shovel. Now, we carry the Mont-bell Handy Scoop. It is made of a thin sheet of stainless steel and weighs 1.4 ounces. The Handy Scoop is sturdy enough that we even used it as a tent stake in the rocky soil of Chicago Basin (San Juan Mtns of Colorado) - it even survived being hammered into the rocky soil. The key to the Scoop is that it is tough, light, and small. That is why it has found a home in our packs. We store the trowel in a lightweight plastic bag.
  • Hand-i-wipes - a small container of hand wipes to help with washing and cleaning.
  • Poop bags - dog owners know about poop bags. When the dog does her business, you put your hand in the plastic bag, scoop it, turn it inside out, and tie it off. No park, forest, wilderness area, etc, that I know, allows leaving the paper behind - buried or not. The poop bag is used to collect the paper products. In some Parks even the fecal waste must be collected. A stronger bag is needed for these advanced maneuvers! For our poop bags we like to use bio-degradable dark colored bag.
  • Feminine Hygiene products - Amy carries supplies with her at all times of the month. Maybe she will write about this sometime.


U Dig It & Handy Scoop

In the summer of 2009 when Amy and I spent the summer climbing the Colorado fourteeners, we went through a lot of toilet paper. This summer (2010) we were out almost as long, but hardly used any toilet paper. The difference was, in 2010 we stayed in campgrounds with some sort of facilities - in 2009 we camped at trailheads with no facilities. If the facilities are there, use them. My running friend would have used the facilitlies at the turn around, if it had only been open...

poop bags

Poop bags - bio-degradeable dog bags and heavy duty bags

Happy 'keep a toilet kit in the bottom of your pack' trails.

Note: REI does not sell the Handy Scoop, our choice of trowels; but they did have a few products we had not tried.


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