Waste Disposal Suggestions

For using on a kayaking multi-day coastal trip where carry in-carry out/leave no trace rules apply to island campsites, what systems for taking out human wastes do you prefer and why and what sytems do you not like and why?


Are you sure the “leave no trace” rule
applies to human waste?

I have camped on many off shore Islands, in National and state parks, and most of them have specific requirements for waste disposal?

If it is disposed of properly you won’t be leaving a trace.



Yes it does

– Last Updated: May-17-06 11:34 AM EST –

At least along the Maine coast when visiting the MITA islands and it is considered the "proper" practice on other islands as well. You are expected to have a means for carrying off the island your party's human wastes.

Waste removal
In the tropics and subtropics, where I do most of my camping, decomposition occurs so rapidly that the only rules for human waste are the normal ones about keeping away from waterways. In the desert SW, the NPS requires you to carry out everything including waste, and the rationale is that decomposition is slow and human activity is high.

On the Green and Colorado rivers, the local outfitters will rent you a small portable chemical toilet. This contains waste and minimizes odors and is approved by the NPS. I would bet the Maine outfitters have something similar.

I just got off the Green on a ten day
trip. Most kayakers traveled with canoes since you must carry water, a fire pan and a porta-potty. You can easily carry WAG bags though on a kayak but you must improvise a throne. They have chemicals to disolve waste and are double baged. They are approved to dispose of in a trash container. In any BLM trip some system is required. Check them out on the Net. They are sold at REI.

My wife brought up a good point after the Green trip. There are notices that is illegal to dispose of human waste in the garbage. If that is true, then just about every parent in the US is guilty of a crime since they use disposable diapers.

Check out “pooping on islands” thread


Good guide for Maine Islands

I use a length of pvc pipe, some newspaper and something called poo powder, some folks use cat litter.

Here is a new product worth looking into that I did a write up on a couple months back: http://www.kayakwisconsin.net/2006/03/potty-talk.html

Use black ABS pipe rather that PVC because it’s stronger. The BLM has design posted on a website somewhere.

Seriously, has anyone ever considered

– Last Updated: May-17-06 11:13 PM EST –

...a garbage bag, placed in the dry hatch with opening of bag over opening of dry hatch; straddle kayak hatch and let it hang down in there and bammo, get 'er done. If someone comes up to you and says, "What in the name of Sam Heck do you think you're doing?", you can just pretend you're straddling you boat in order to repair your deck cords. If you wear your sprayskirt--come to think of it--around your waist, it's sorta like a "modesty blankie" for tyat extra touch of civility.

ACA Discount
Just got and email from them tonight offering a discount to ACA members.


One thing to remember
The MITA book still has the best ideas, but literally each to their own for the best one for you. Makes those pointy ended boats start looking pretty good though - you can get the bag(s) of waste well away from you. Some of the big box stores are not bad sources for the chemicals and good solid plastic bags if you want to go that route.

Thing to remember is that if you fully abide by the rules, you’ll be carrying out very nearly as much volume as the food and water you consumed. This we found very surprising the first time we camped on the MITA island trail. So don’t assume that you storage volume will decrease as your supplies are consumed.

We prefer the private islands because there is a level of privacy that is hard to come by on the public islands - fewer campsites often at a further distance apart. Starts getting real on the public islands wher outfitters will occupy the bulk of the spots with a larger group. But if you are heading out early in the season, you may have the island to yourself rather than sharing with another group.

This is the only place we have camped where leave no trace really meant it - no cat holes etc. But when you arrive at one of these sites and see how really undistrubed and clean it is, you appreciate how well this works.

you are a G E N I U S! The genius of poo.

Or is it “coolstool”?)

Bammo is the best case scenario
But with all the weenies, is that realistic?

Response to Cooldoctor
Thanks for the chuckle, but perhaps you should add a warning!

If you close the bag when done and place it in the same hatch, make sure your lunch or your dry bag of clothing isn’t also in there. :>