The Traveler’s Bob Brennecke answers your outdoor questions:
• Question: “We have recently purchased a beautiful piece of property in the middle of nowhere and love going out and enjoying being totally alone with no one to bother us.
“We have had a problem with the bathroom facilities since there is no bathroom. We have carried a port-a-pot back and forth for months until there was a nasty accident removing it from the back of our SUV recently.
“Is there any way to set up a “Johnny on the spot” or some semi-permanent facility we could use on a periodic basis?”
• Answer: There many articles on how to (relieve) yourself in the great outdoors. Many of these articles or books try to explain the biology or the impact of the process if it is not done properly.
Authors and titles of books are; Katheleen Meyer who wrote “How to Take a Shit in the Woods: The Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art”; while another author, Marjorie McAtee, wrote “How to Poop in the Woods” and Joe Lindsay with “Up Shit Creek.”
We as a society have now spread our waste to every corner of the earth. There is no place we can travel — from the South Pole to the North Pole, east to west — where there isn’t E-COLI in the environment.
This is not an exposé on our treatment of our earth because those of us that use the out of doors want as clean a place to come back to when we leave but need to relieve ourselves.
There are many ways to cover our tracks (so to speak) but I want to address the permanent to semi-permanent camp or cabin site that will be used year after year.
The “OUTHOUSES” that have been used in the past centuries, one might say they work “just fine.” Well? That truly is not the case, as many thousands of people have died by the spread of cholera and unsanitary disposal of human waste.
While researching an “OUTHOUSE” to be used in an out-of-the-way area, I found only the approved approach, which was burning the waste by electric, gas (diesel, fuel not the best) or the composting toilet, and this method I came up with is as close to composting as you can get.
I observed the Boy Scouts of America St. Louis Council was building toilets in St. Louis County that were neither burned nor composted.
They simply spent many thousands of dollars building a somewhat fancy toilet on top of a concrete box which was emptied or pumped out when it got full.
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I wrote an article a while back — “HOW TO DEFICATE IN THE WOODS” — that might be of some interest. One of the first steps is to locate a 55-gallon plastic drum that has not had toxic materials stored in it.
Next, select a sight with a slight slope or an area you might be able to easily dig a hole in the diameter of a 55-gallon drum. The drum could either be sitting on the ground with the shelter jacked up or the drum partially buried.