“No, not again! I’m five minutes into my run and holy sh!t, I gotta sh!t! No, this isn’t something that can wait. No, I can’t hold it. Hell, I can’t even make it back to my house! It’s gonna happen NOW!”
How many of us athletes have experienced this, “Sh!t happens!” situation? What are we to do? For me, it’s happened far more frequently during a run than any other activity but we all know sh!t can strike you at anytime, anywhere and if you’re outside, especially during the pre-dawn hours, with no rescue from indoor plumbing then you’d better know how to handle it.
Now, I’ve heard of all sorts of sacrificial solutions for impromptu toilet paper such as 1) use your shirt and toss it afterwards 2) use your socks, at least you’ve got two which will provide for better clean up or 3) just use your underwear and go “commando” but ladies and gentleman, there IS a better way. These solutions are amateur and you can do far better without ruining your best athletic apparel.
I’m going to have to thank my NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) instructors for this guidance and experience because way back in 1998, when I was on my first “real” backpacking trip, we were NOT allowed to bring toilet paper and we were going to be “going” in nature for 20 nights. Yes, that’s right, 20 nights of pooping in the woods and let me tell you, I’m a daily pooper. (If not, something is going wrong with me. And if you were afraid of TMI then how have you already gotten this far in my post?)
First, a history lesson… did you know commercially produced toilet paper didn’t begin circulating until 1857? That’s pretty recent compared to the history of modern man so there MUST be other ways to wipe your bum, right?
So, I’m excited, yes EXCITED, to share with you, “How To Wipe Your Butt Using Natural TP” and I have 20 years of experience doing it.
- Rocks — Yes, rocks are my most preferred method especially if you’re near a river and you can find smooth river rocks. The jagged, edgy rocks on a mountain top can be used too but you need to be extra careful and gentle. I use one rock per pass and then just place it on the pile I created. I prefer a rock at least 2" x 3" and 1/2" wide is nice. I use as many rocks as necessary until I see know more poop on the rock after wiping and I’m feeling pretty clean.
- Sticks — Similar to rocks, and really all methods, each piece receives only one pass by my bum. Sometimes, while I’m passing the stick I also give it a little turn so as to cover more of its surface area and get the most out of my stick. While I’m doing my business I look around for a stick that is about 1/2" in diameter that I can break into sections about 4" long. Then, I peel off whatever bark I can and remove as many nubs as possible. Use as many as needed until the stick is clean and so is your bum. Then, simply place the stick on your beautiful creation.
- Snow — Snow works well because the wetting effect can help clean you better. If the snow if dry and powdery it may be more difficult to wipe yourself clean without accidentally breaking through to your hand. If you can pack the snow that’s great and you can shape it as you desire. Just remember, when using snow, there will definitely be a “pucker factor” when that 32F water touches one of your most sensitive areas of anatomy. For me, it’s a bit too much to handle. I guess I’m sensitive like that.
- Moss — I came across moss as a very preferred natural TP during a 3-week trip on the northern slopes of Alaska close to the Arctic Ocean. There’s not much out there growing by way of trees or shrubs but there is plenty of moss, everywhere! Further, I was able to peel back a huge clump and it served as a great cat-hole. Then, I could just cover it up easily afterward. Moss is great because it’s a little wet, soft and has a descent fragrance. The only real downside is it can crumble a bit upon wiping so your left with some residual nature in your butt crack. But really, it’s not all bad and a good shaking or cheek flapping should release anything left behind (get it?).
- Pine Cones — Yup, I know, it sounds scary but bare with me. If you can find some smaller pine cones that haven’t opened up AND if you wipe WITH the grain than you may have found a great solution. Again, be careful of any sap if it is freshly fallen.
- Water — Finally, if you have a water bottle and can spare the water, you can pour it down your backside so it runs down your crack or squirt it right up your butt like a bidet. Woo Hoo! This could also be a great Stage 2 clean-up after using any of the above methods. Ahh, how good it feels!
Have you noticed I didn’t say leaves. Leaves are a BIG NO-NO! Sure, they seem very much like paper but you never know what kinds of oils or prickers they may have. Even dried leaves are pretty useless because they tend to crumble in your butt crack and you’ve got a bigger mess than when you started.
Also, it’s important to NEVER use anything that isn’t already dead and on the ground. Do not pull anything off a tree or ground cover. For more information you can search Leave No Trace. This includes digging a cat-hole 6 inches deep for doing your business and then covering it up well.
Well folks, I hope this helps you in case of emergency while out for a run or if you’re just ready to venture out backpacking without the trusty convenience of today’s modern, commercially available toilet paper.
There’s nothing like being one with nature and using natural TP will get you that much closer.
If you’ve got a great solution for natural TP then please, share it with us! Also, if you have a friend or loved one who struggles with emergency pooping during activities in the outdoors then do them a favor and share this post.
Sharing is caring and what’s more caring than helping people clean their butt, naturally?