Poo Powder + newspaper "crap wrap" + bag

I’ve used Wagg Bags and find them OK for one use–personal squeamishness says I won’t be using them for more than one “drop” per bag (experimentation at home told me this!).

But at one use per bag and about $3 each, Wagg Bags are awfully expensive for trips longer than a few days. Also, because the bags are designed to be used with portable toilet seats (which I don’t use), they are MUCH bigger than necessary for just containing the waste.

I know that suzanneh posted here about the so-called burrito wrap method. I would like to know if anybody has combined the best of all worlds, as I envision it:

  1. Pour some Poo Powder (the gelling agent) onto a sheet of newspaper on the ground. Do your business on that powder.

  2. Wrap it all up tightly and place the bundle into an airtight plastic bag.

  3. Then store the full bags in a waterproof, punctureproof container for transportation. I have a home-made BLM-spec “poop pipe” made of PVC that would serve well for this, IF the bags are not gigantic like the Wagg Bags.

    The poop pipe is not long enough to accommodate, say, 10 days of Wagg Bags, but it might fit 10 days of smaller bundles. Has anybody tried this combination?

    Am planning some camping trips for this year where pack-it-out is either required or probably should be.

Haven’t seen that BLM spec poop
pipe. If you have a link handy…

I used welding rod holders rather than PVC pipes. Barely used one over two nights on the Dolores. Have no idea whether BLM has approved welding rod holders as poop pipes, or turkey roasting pans as firepans, because there was no BLM ranger at the put in.

It’s old, but their site is still up

Note that these poop pipes were intended to be used with RV-toilet-cleaning machines located at some marinas. The contents were not allowed to be tossed into regular trash disposal cans.

Since then, BLM has approved use of Wagg Bags at some places (maybe all), since these contain the magic powder that allows them to be thrown out as regular trash (if still a bit smelly).

What I want to do is use the poop pipe merely as a burly storage container for Wagg Bags or similarly-treated packages of waste. Hence, my interest in using much smaller plastic bags than in the Wagg Bags. By combining the powder, the crap wrap, a smaller plastic bag, AND the pipe, the contents could be securely carried without too much extra bulk and then dumped into a trash bin at the end of the trip.


– Last Updated: Feb-17-11 6:19 PM EST –

Packing it out is just a part of being outside

Throw an extra 20 lbs in the "training pack" and
get used to carrying it out.

Option 2 - find a way to cheat at the rock, paper, scissors game
so your buddies get stuck hiking out with the pooptube

Option 3 - flushable doogy doo bags,
they are small at 10.75" X 8.5"
fits easily in the pooptube
- 100 bags for $20

I’m glad they’re still allowing use of
the salty, silty rivers for liquid waste, because even if gelled, it would overwhelm poop tubes. I know clearer headwaters can’t be used that way.

As for disposal, I took the sealed tubes all the way back to Atlanta, beyond the long reach of BLM. But the special powder would have helped.

Where and why?
Where do you have to worry about packing “it” out?

I’m a biologist…trained in wastewater treatment and biological processes and such. It just seems a little hard for me to understand how some areas are both so pristine that we can’t add any human waste…AND both visited so often by humans that such waste would overwhelm the system.

Don’t mean to hijack the thread…just wondering if all this is really justified or not.

got to ask …

– Last Updated: Feb-17-11 11:40 PM EST –

........ for what reason(s) do people feel they need to haul it out with them ?? (not trying to make fun of you pika , I just don't understand why people feel they gotta haul it out) .

There's a gazillion animals out there dumping on the ground in the woods every day . At least you can burry it in a hole by just carrying a little garden hand shovel ... really , it's just poop and it degrades into nothingness .

I suppose I'm going to hear about polluting the enviroment ... BS , it's not like it's sewerage treatment plant or anythhing .

last time I checked…








and all kinds of birds…

They all crap in the woods.

caribou crap on the tundra.

And if you have ever been fishing on a lake when a flock of snow geese fly over, you’ll see that birds crap in the water. And fish. And turtles. And snakes.

man when those Geese take over a …

– Last Updated: Feb-17-11 10:56 PM EST –

...... put in area with docks like one of our smaller reservoirs around here !!! ... anyway , the park man comes out 1st thing in the morning (just at openning time) , "everyday" with a firehose like set-up to blast the docks off !!

It’s all a matter of density
and the impact to the environment to react to that change in density. Hence the creation of the Leave No Trace movement, etc. A trail that gets used by x number of users per annum may yield a “no impact” NEPA rating because the environment can handle that level of impact. But if trail usage goes up because, say, the population goes up, or if trail popularity increases (Maine Water Trail, Apostle Islands, Grand Canyon, San Juans, etc.), then other mitigation efforts have to be brought in (porta potties, sanitation enforcement, dung beetles, etc.) in order to equalize the usage and its impacts to the local environment.

In a nutshell, a poop here and a poop there, no big deal. A lot of poop here and there, big deal. As for pee, there isn’t a significant amount of harmful bacteria in urine, just really strong fertilizer. :wink:

If you’re going to bury it, shallower is better; bury it too deep and it doesn’t decompose as well. But then an animal digs it up, and there’s toilet paper everywhere. Not appreciated by the next person down the trail. Packing it out just shows consideration, the kind we would like ourselves.

Respect towards others
Over 100 bacteria, protozoans and viruses are potentially present in human feces and capable of causing illness. Common parasites include Giardia lambia, cryptosporidium parvum, and entamoeba histolytica. Viral infections include hepatitis A, gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus, Norwalk-like agents, and viruslike particles.

However, humans are considered the most important component in the epidemiology of girardisis. One milligram of feces may contain 300 million cysts and ingestion of even a few cysts may lead to infection.

The National Park Service hosts almost 300 million visitors to the National Parks per year (does that mean 600 million pounds of waste)? Human waste is easily processed where there is power, water, and plumbing. However, the 2,000,000 annual backcountry campers are entering pristine wilderness environments where building flush toilets is not always feasible or desirable. The mission of the NPS is to preserve “unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” Based on this mission, removing waste and a “leave no trace” policy is essential to backcountry settings. Siting and maintaining these “backcountry” wastewater disposal systems is complex, expensive, and sometimes physically challenging. Typically the only alternative is to create a collection site where the human waste must be physically removed and transported by backpackers, horse, or helicopters during and after the end of the season.

it’s just poop, right?
Yes, but if 100 people camp on a 1 acre island during a summer season in maine, and they each dig a hole and fill it with poop, it won’t take long before the entire island is a pile of poop and toilet paper.

This stuff doesn’t magically and rapidly degrade the way people seem to think, at least not in our soil. When someone has left toilet paper on a Maine island, we find it.

Our understanding of how our use impacts coastal islands has improved in the past 10 years, and that is what has led to the use of LNT rules. PLEASE trust the land trusts, land owners, and associations like MITA when they say that their rules are the best way to preserve our use and enjoyment of these islands. Please follow their rules and pack out all your waste and trash. It’s not hard, it just takes the right equipment (wag bags are the simplest solution) and maybe a little getting used to.


  1. It’s REQUIRED, and 2. It’s good pract
    – Last Updated: Feb-18-11 8:31 PM EST –

Law requires packing your waste out, period, in some areas. You will be fined if you don't comply.

The REASON for that law was derived after decades of "who cares" practices. In many places, there are simply too many people to allow just catholing. In addition, the nature of the soils and weather in some places means that meat-containing poop does not break down for a long time, buried or not.

Now, add a dense human visitation to a narrow band of soil, which is what happens on popular large reservoirs such as Lake Powell. Catholing is allowed if far away from the shoreline (backpackers in Glen Canyon NRA can use catholes). Guess what, most boaters are too lazy to walk more than a few yards, so we get these kinds of laws. It's the sheer concentration of humans in certain areas that leads to the problem.

Wild animals have no choice but to do what comes naturally. Humans can choose to make the surroundings nicer for other users. In other words, this is also driven by 3. simple consideration for others.

If you have ever camped in a popular area (no matter how large) where catholing is allowed, you understand why I support the use of pack-it-out practices even though I really hate dealing with it. Poop piles all over, used toilet paper flying about...extremely nasty. Even when people dig catholes, the number of them is unbelieveable. You wanna find an unused spot? Good luck. Like flies on your dinner? And that was someplace LESS crowded than the places I plan to go.

The desert environment is fragile. If you don't want to deal with the requirements, please stay the hell away.

please show the law that prohibits …

– Last Updated: Feb-18-11 11:04 PM EST –

...... the use of the cathole , I've not seen it .

What I do understand , have read and practice the guidelines on is the standard NPS recommendation (requirement acually) that specifies the use of the cathole ... from Mt.Rainier to Death Valley to the Canyonlands to the Cascades to ... well , every NPS site that I've checked on says "how to dispose of human waste" - then it says dig a cathole (as per NPS) discription of how/where to .

I'm not saying that there aren't places that forbid the cathole method , just I don't know of them ... please link this law for the specified area(s) you are refering to ... thanks .

Try this for my references ... type "NPS and cathole regs." into your browser . Then check every ref. that comes up and see that all of them say "Dig a Cathole" .

If you want to haul it out that's your choice in just about every place I know about ... but if you think the people that tell you to dig a cathole like NPS , Seirra Club , and all the others just as notable have some idea of what they talking about , then save yourself the wag bag trouble and dig a cathole .

Did you know that the eviroment flourishes from the poop .

So no , it's not required , no it's not bad practice , and no it's not dis-respectful .

When it comes to human poop ... Leave No Trace does not mean "don't bury your poop" ... it means bury your poop in a cathole (recycle it) .

You mentioned the desert enviroment . Yes it's more fragile ... how to dig a cat hole in a desert enviroment is mentioned here : http://www.lnt.org/programs/principles_3.php

pika, why not use plastic?
I use wag bags for shorter trips and for trips with clients (because they’d leave if I started explaining the newsprint burrito), but for longer personal trips I like your line of thinking. However, it strikes me that with poo-powder, you might as well use plastic produce bags instead of newsprint. You’ll get a lot more of them into your poo tube, and you won’t have to fuss with newspaper, and keeping it dry, and trying to fold it up, etc.

Since you’re trashing them at the end, and not flushing them (thanks to the poo powder) no need to use newspaper, right?

plus, i mean
sometimes a sheet or two of newspaper isn’t, you know, moisture resistant enough.

The newspaper has, errrr, larger margin
of error than a produce bag does. You’re right in that newspaper is bulky. It does have an added benefit, though, of hiding from view what’s inside.

My husband is traveling on business for a few days. I think I’ll try it both ways at home and decide based on actual experimentation.

I’ll use my remaining stash of Wagg Bags on a shorter shakedown trip or two in late spring. Plan to buy Poo Powder and try to keep things more compact for the longer trip later this year.

We’d probably do well to get used to this practice even when it’s not required. There’s something incredibly unappealing about looking around at a campsite and seeing all the catholes, even if neatly dug and no used t.p. swirling around.

Here is JUST ONE such statement
For Lake Powell:


Clearly, they make a distinction (dis-stink-tion) between burying waste near the water and burying it well inland. THAT is why Sierra Club still talks about catholing–they’re mainly backpackers, not paddlers. 1/4 mile is not a bad walk for those of us who walk; the problem is, some places simply don’t have suitable burial areas more than 1/4 mile away from the water. You can’t hike up a vertical rock wall.

If you search on “portable toilet required” you will find lots of other places with similar requirements. It was only a few years ago that they allowed using Wagg Bags; before that we had to use the very nasty “boom boxes” or a poop pipe that you hook up to the even nastier poop disposal machine. Trust me, using a Wagg Bag setup is a whole lot less disgusting.

I don’t mean to pound on you about this, but it sounds like because you don’t like what’s required, you are denying that it is required. It IS required at some places, including some especially scenic places that are well worth putting up with Wagg Bags for. I hate having to pack my poop out–but the fact is that there are too many humans for the environment to naturally process all that waste.

It’s not only the desert environment; it’s any popular place. I had to use Wagg Bags at the Maine Island Trail campsite.