Search over 55.000 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Toilet Paper Alternatives for Camino. . maybe?

  • Thread starter Deleted member 67185
  • Start date
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
I'm not a big Earthday person, butt thought this article shares a Camino topic.




A Thru-Hiker's Guide to Toilet Paper Substitutes

APR 15, 2020​


By: Christine Martens

There are two topics of conversation that every thru-hiker seems to bring up sooner rather than later. Of course, the most obvious is food. We're all completely obsessed with food. Food we plan to eat, food we're carrying, food we're craving, and all the potential food options just a couple of days away in the next town. And then, well, there’s what that food leads to.

The next thing hikers are obsessed with is poop. Pooping stories are some of my favorites. I love to ask fellow thru-hikers where the most interesting place they've pooped was. I've heard some good ones. In the middle of a soccer field at night, in the vestibule of a tent, and in a bush by someone's driveway as they were driving past, are a few examples that come to mind. (Important note: the proper cat-hole was dug in each one of these cases.)

When it comes to pooping, a topic that often comes up is the use and availability of toilet paper and toilet paper substitutes. What I am hoping to discuss today are some ideas for toilet paper substitutes that have presented themselves to me over the past decade of hiking in various parts of the world and in various conditions.

Perhaps the best, most enjoyable, most satisfying toilet paper substitute is snow. When hiking southbound on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 2014, I found myself hiking through hundreds of miles of snow in northern Washington, which sometimes made it quite difficult to find some actual ground to dig a hole into. I quickly figured out that my ice axe was a great tool for digging holes, and that a tightly packed ball of snow was a great way of reducing my need for toilet paper.

In 2018, I had the privilege of walking most of the length of New Zealand, where I discovered the magic of moss. New Zealand is very wet, and therefore, the moss action is top-notch. There was such an abundance of moss. When I felt how soft and fluffy it was, it was only natural to want to use it as toilet paper. It works amazingly well, and I just take the used chunks of moss and bury them along with my poop in my cat-hole. As a result, I hardly ever used toilet paper in New Zealand.

Once I was on to toilet paper substitutes, I started becoming more adventurous in what I tried. Rocks, if they're smooth or slightly pointed, work alright, and so do smooth sticks. I'm not a huge fan of using pine cones, and although leaves may be an obvious choice, many varieties break easily, so you kind of need to know what you're doing with leaves. Also, poison ivy is not fun to get anywhere on your body. I highly recommend striped maple leaves, taken straight off the tree – but always use two or three layers. Fallen leaves in the fall work great as long as they're not too dry, and again, layer them, because you don't want one thin layer of brittle dead leaf to be what's between your hand and your dirty butt.

Another option, which I've never explored, but I've heard many others that have, is a backcountry bidet. A carefully aimed squirt bottle seems to do the trick.

Since hiking the PCT, where toilet paper basically never degrades in the dry soil, I've always packed out any used toilet paper. Once it became a habit, I decided to keep that habit, even in places where toilet paper would presumably biodegrade quickly. The great upside of using any of the aforementioned options as toilet paper substitutes is that you don’t need to pack any of them out – just bury them along with your fecal waste.

There is one toilet paper substitute that I've been using basically since I started backpacking, and that is paper towels. Although not much different from toilet paper, I have found that paper towels are more sturdy than toilet paper, and the most I need is one paper towel per day of hiking, so it's really easy to take the right amount (I honestly wouldn't know how to ration toilet paper). I would not recommend burying paper towels, though, since they're not as biodegradable as toilet paper.

A good way to transition to toilet paper substitutes is to start by experimenting with some of the options that I've mentioned above for your "first wipe," and then using some kind of paper product for the "final wipe." You may find that depending on what's available on the trail you're on, you quickly convert to needing no toilet paper at all.

---

Christine Martens and John Haffner are outdoor enthusiasts who have hiked several long distance trails, including the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. They call Asheville, North Carolina their home, where they’ve worked as hiking guides for
Blue Ridge Hiking Company in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Learn more about their adventures on their blog.
 

malingerer

samarkand
Camino(s) past & future
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
I'm not a big Earthday person, butt thought this article shares a Camino topic.




A Thru-Hiker's Guide to Toilet Paper Substitutes

APR 15, 2020​


By: Christine Martens

There are two topics of conversation that every thru-hiker seems to bring up sooner rather than later. Of course, the most obvious is food. We're all completely obsessed with food. Food we plan to eat, food we're carrying, food we're craving, and all the potential food options just a couple of days away in the next town. And then, well, there’s what that food leads to.

The next thing hikers are obsessed with is poop. Pooping stories are some of my favorites. I love to ask fellow thru-hikers where the most interesting place they've pooped was. I've heard some good ones. In the middle of a soccer field at night, in the vestibule of a tent, and in a bush by someone's driveway as they were driving past, are a few examples that come to mind. (Important note: the proper cat-hole was dug in each one of these cases.)

When it comes to pooping, a topic that often comes up is the use and availability of toilet paper and toilet paper substitutes. What I am hoping to discuss today are some ideas for toilet paper substitutes that have presented themselves to me over the past decade of hiking in various parts of the world and in various conditions.

Perhaps the best, most enjoyable, most satisfying toilet paper substitute is snow. When hiking southbound on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 2014, I found myself hiking through hundreds of miles of snow in northern Washington, which sometimes made it quite difficult to find some actual ground to dig a hole into. I quickly figured out that my ice axe was a great tool for digging holes, and that a tightly packed ball of snow was a great way of reducing my need for toilet paper.

In 2018, I had the privilege of walking most of the length of New Zealand, where I discovered the magic of moss. New Zealand is very wet, and therefore, the moss action is top-notch. There was such an abundance of moss. When I felt how soft and fluffy it was, it was only natural to want to use it as toilet paper. It works amazingly well, and I just take the used chunks of moss and bury them along with my poop in my cat-hole. As a result, I hardly ever used toilet paper in New Zealand.

Once I was on to toilet paper substitutes, I started becoming more adventurous in what I tried. Rocks, if they're smooth or slightly pointed, work alright, and so do smooth sticks. I'm not a huge fan of using pine cones, and although leaves may be an obvious choice, many varieties break easily, so you kind of need to know what you're doing with leaves. Also, poison ivy is not fun to get anywhere on your body. I highly recommend striped maple leaves, taken straight off the tree – but always use two or three layers. Fallen leaves in the fall work great as long as they're not too dry, and again, layer them, because you don't want one thin layer of brittle dead leaf to be what's between your hand and your dirty butt.

Another option, which I've never explored, but I've heard many others that have, is a backcountry bidet. A carefully aimed squirt bottle seems to do the trick.

Since hiking the PCT, where toilet paper basically never degrades in the dry soil, I've always packed out any used toilet paper. Once it became a habit, I decided to keep that habit, even in places where toilet paper would presumably biodegrade quickly. The great upside of using any of the aforementioned options as toilet paper substitutes is that you don’t need to pack any of them out – just bury them along with your fecal waste.

There is one toilet paper substitute that I've been using basically since I started backpacking, and that is paper towels. Although not much different from toilet paper, I have found that paper towels are more sturdy than toilet paper, and the most I need is one paper towel per day of hiking, so it's really easy to take the right amount (I honestly wouldn't know how to ration toilet paper). I would not recommend burying paper towels, though, since they're not as biodegradable as toilet paper.

A good way to transition to toilet paper substitutes is to start by experimenting with some of the options that I've mentioned above for your "first wipe," and then using some kind of paper product for the "final wipe." You may find that depending on what's available on the trail you're on, you quickly convert to needing no toilet paper at all.

---

Christine Martens and John Haffner are outdoor enthusiasts who have hiked several long distance trails, including the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. They call Asheville, North Carolina their home, where they’ve worked as hiking guides for
Blue Ridge Hiking Company in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Learn more about their adventures on their blog.
Bah! Softies!

What happened to wire wool and Dettol?

:)

The Malingerer.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Hahahaha!
We used corn cobs when I was a child!
No problem!

Realistically, I'm assuming by the time the Camino opens, the TP shortage will disappear.
::crossing fingers:::
 

David with new Kit!

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2019) SJPP to Logrono
CF May/June (2020) Logrono to ? (Delayed).
When I was a lad, and my dad took me fishing, he showed me how to use a "dock leaf" which is a large broad leafed plant, very common.

Don't wipe too hard with it though, it is organic 😂🚽
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
When I was young, we used corn stalk leaves while out playing ... convenient since there was usually a corn field nearby to ‘go’ in.

Other broad leaves will work. Just know your noxious weeds first.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
When I was young, we used corn stalk leaves while out playing ... convenient since there was usually a corn field nearby to ‘go’ in.

Other broad leaves will work. Just know your noxious weeds first.
Yes...never use nettle leaves! 😅
They are a very obnoxious weed!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
Bah! Softies!

What happened to wire wool and Dettol?

:)

The Malingerer.
Reminds me of one of my old jokes:
Traveling health inspector visits a petrol station in Blackwater on the Capricorn Highway in the Australian outback and after inspecting the toilet calls the proprietor, Charlie, over for a chat. "That toilet is disgusting, Charlie, there is shit all over the bowl. I want you to get it cleaned up. I want to see a wire brush in there and a much cleaner toilet when I am next back here or I will have to close you down". The health inspector then leaves.

Sure enough, six months later he is s back and again inspects the toilet. This time it is even worse. There is not just shit on the bowl but shit on the seat, floor and walls.

He calls Charlie over for a chat and says "Hey Charlie, I thought I told you to clean up the toilet and get a wire brush in there, what happened?"

Charlie, in a slow drawl, replies "Yeah, we tried that for three weeks but no one really liked it so we went back to using newspaper".
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I'm not a big Earthday person, butt thought this article shares a Camino topic.




A Thru-Hiker's Guide to Toilet Paper Substitutes

APR 15, 2020​


By: Christine Martens



Christine Martens and John Haffner are outdoor enthusiasts who have hiked several long distance trails, including the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. They call Asheville, North Carolina their home, where they’ve worked as hiking guides for
Blue Ridge Hiking Company in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Learn more about their adventures on their blog.
Was the use of "butt" an intentional pun?? Otherwise some useful comments.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Was the use of "butt" an intentional pun?? Otherwise some useful comments.
I thought it funny and knowing Dave, I'd say he did it on purpose.😅
I was amused by it, either way...but then I am easily amused!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
poison ivy is not fun to get anywhere on your body.
Reminds me of a certain woman I know (who will remain almost nameless in this post) who in pre-Rick days did use poison ivy. This last Christmas a friend gifted her with a book titled How to Take a [Dump] in the Woods.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Reminds me of a certain woman I know (who will remain almost nameless in this post) who in pre-Rick days did use poison ivy. This last Christmas a friend gifted her with a book titled How to Take a [Dump] in the Woods.
I'm familiar with a book having a very "similar" name as the one you mention.
 

Davidmm

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
I'm not a big Earthday person, butt thought this article shares a Camino topic.




A Thru-Hiker's Guide to Toilet Paper Substitutes

APR 15, 2020​


By: Christine Martens

There are two topics of conversation that every thru-hiker seems to bring up sooner rather than later. Of course, the most obvious is food. We're all completely obsessed with food. Food we plan to eat, food we're carrying, food we're craving, and all the potential food options just a couple of days away in the next town. And then, well, there’s what that food leads to.

The next thing hikers are obsessed with is poop. Pooping stories are some of my favorites. I love to ask fellow thru-hikers where the most interesting place they've pooped was. I've heard some good ones. In the middle of a soccer field at night, in the vestibule of a tent, and in a bush by someone's driveway as they were driving past, are a few examples that come to mind. (Important note: the proper cat-hole was dug in each one of these cases.)

When it comes to pooping, a topic that often comes up is the use and availability of toilet paper and toilet paper substitutes. What I am hoping to discuss today are some ideas for toilet paper substitutes that have presented themselves to me over the past decade of hiking in various parts of the world and in various conditions.

Perhaps the best, most enjoyable, most satisfying toilet paper substitute is snow. When hiking southbound on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 2014, I found myself hiking through hundreds of miles of snow in northern Washington, which sometimes made it quite difficult to find some actual ground to dig a hole into. I quickly figured out that my ice axe was a great tool for digging holes, and that a tightly packed ball of snow was a great way of reducing my need for toilet paper.

In 2018, I had the privilege of walking most of the length of New Zealand, where I discovered the magic of moss. New Zealand is very wet, and therefore, the moss action is top-notch. There was such an abundance of moss. When I felt how soft and fluffy it was, it was only natural to want to use it as toilet paper. It works amazingly well, and I just take the used chunks of moss and bury them along with my poop in my cat-hole. As a result, I hardly ever used toilet paper in New Zealand.

Once I was on to toilet paper substitutes, I started becoming more adventurous in what I tried. Rocks, if they're smooth or slightly pointed, work alright, and so do smooth sticks. I'm not a huge fan of using pine cones, and although leaves may be an obvious choice, many varieties break easily, so you kind of need to know what you're doing with leaves. Also, poison ivy is not fun to get anywhere on your body. I highly recommend striped maple leaves, taken straight off the tree – but always use two or three layers. Fallen leaves in the fall work great as long as they're not too dry, and again, layer them, because you don't want one thin layer of brittle dead leaf to be what's between your hand and your dirty butt.

Another option, which I've never explored, but I've heard many others that have, is a backcountry bidet. A carefully aimed squirt bottle seems to do the trick.

Since hiking the PCT, where toilet paper basically never degrades in the dry soil, I've always packed out any used toilet paper. Once it became a habit, I decided to keep that habit, even in places where toilet paper would presumably biodegrade quickly. The great upside of using any of the aforementioned options as toilet paper substitutes is that you don’t need to pack any of them out – just bury them along with your fecal waste.

There is one toilet paper substitute that I've been using basically since I started backpacking, and that is paper towels. Although not much different from toilet paper, I have found that paper towels are more sturdy than toilet paper, and the most I need is one paper towel per day of hiking, so it's really easy to take the right amount (I honestly wouldn't know how to ration toilet paper). I would not recommend burying paper towels, though, since they're not as biodegradable as toilet paper.

A good way to transition to toilet paper substitutes is to start by experimenting with some of the options that I've mentioned above for your "first wipe," and then using some kind of paper product for the "final wipe." You may find that depending on what's available on the trail you're on, you quickly convert to needing no toilet paper at all.

---

Christine Martens and John Haffner are outdoor enthusiasts who have hiked several long distance trails, including the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. They call Asheville, North Carolina their home, where they’ve worked as hiking guides for
Blue Ridge Hiking Company in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Learn more about their adventures on their blog.
We hike with our local Mountain Club, and you are expected to carry out any toilet paper you may use. A Ziploc bag works!
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
We hike with our local Mountain Club, and you are expected to carry out any toilet paper you may use. A Ziploc bag works!
Yeah, that is a common strategy discussed on the Forum, too.

Any of us who have grown up backpacking and climbing have long done that as a normal and natural course of action. This Forum's members, and members from other Camino groups, are trying to bring The Word to others on The Way. :)
 

Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2019
It seems that anytime you take a step or two off the CF or look behind a bush or tree there is a mammoth pile not of TP but of the handy wipes. Maybe not so handy for the farmer who has to clean up after thoughtless pilgrims. I wish there was some sort of effort to educate pilgrims about cleaning up after ourselves. You can’t really hold people accountable to a rule or an expectation that is never communicated.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
It seems that anytime you take a step or two off the CF or look behind a bush or tree there is a mammoth pile not of TP but of the handy wipes. Maybe not so handy for the farmer who has to clean up after thoughtless pilgrims. I wish there was some sort of effort to educate pilgrims about cleaning up after ourselves. You can’t really hold people accountable to a rule or an expectation that is never communicated.
There have been several threads over the past few years dedicated to this problem. Various helpful suggestions have been offered to educate pilgrims on how to do a better "job". It never hurts to be reminded again.
 

Vancouver Islander

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Fingers Crossed - April (2020)
Last year we were fortunate to do a long walk on trails from just outside Ljubljana, Slovenia to Trieste, Italy. One memorable spot was almost right on the trail where it was obvious a group of people had stopped to take a "break" and left everything out for anyone else passing to see. It was disgusting. We hike the backcountry with the leave no trace except for footprints philosophy. It's not hard! Aside from that, the trek was absolutely wonderful.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
You can’t really hold people accountable to a rule or an expectation that is never communicated.
I cannot disagree with the thought behind this, but that leads me to ask if discarding litter is acceptable in some nations? Or is it an expectation -regardless of regulation - for people to dispose of it in trash bins? That doesn't even go into human waste contaminated litter.
 

Mike Blackard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF -Sept.-Oct 2018 , CF Aug- Oct 2019
(CF or VdlP summer/fall 2020)
This idea is kind of on the same subject. I think you should have to buy the "Pilgrim's Passport". With it you are entitled to stay at Camino albergues for their typical fee. (should include muunicipals, privates, hotels - (if you want the pilgrim's discount),parrochials, monasteries, convents, parrish, etc. You can still do your pilgrimage without a passport, but can't stay at albergues.
Many of us are flying to Spain, and many are taking trains, buses, & even boats- tainswe are all spending lots just to get to our starting point. My best guess for the half of us starting back closer to France, we are doing it in up to 30 to 40 nights at an minimum daily expense of $20+ which is about $600 minimum. Most are typically closer to $30 +/- or $1,000 +/- Surely we can all afford $20 or $30 for the "pilgrim passport" (especially when you consider the average cost of round trip transportation (maybe another $1,000 +/-)
Last year there were about 350,000 pilgrims who completed their pilgrimage. 350,000 X $20 = $ 7 Million !! per Year! $10 Million if price is $30/passport!!! per year !!! Think of all the improvements which could be made over time with that kind of money. They could place Porta Potty sanitary toilets, which cost $700 to buy every kilometer for 800 kilometers for $560,000. Let's say another $1,440,000 for daily servicing at $5 per day for 800 porta pottys. So first year they are at $2,000,000, which leaves $5,000,000 for trail improvements. More water fountains, more resting benches, more graffiti on signs cleaning, more all kinds of stuff. Am I crazy? If you knew there was going to be a fully stocked, serviced toilet every kilometer, you probably would wait, and not have to worry about paper and hole digging. :cool:
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
This idea is kind of on the same subject. I think you should have to buy the "Pilgrim's Passport". With it you are entitled to stay at Camino albergues for their typical fee. (should include muunicipals, privates, hotels - (if you want the pilgrim's discount),parrochials, monasteries, convents, parrish, etc. You can still do your pilgrimage without a passport, but can't stay at albergues.
Many of us are flying to Spain, and many are taking trains, buses, & even boats- tainswe are all spending lots just to get to our starting point. My best guess for the half of us starting back closer to France, we are doing it in up to 30 to 40 nights at an minimum daily expense of $20+ which is about $600 minimum. Most are typically closer to $30 +/- or $1,000 +/- Surely we can all afford $20 or $30 for the "pilgrim passport" (especially when you consider the average cost of round trip transportation (maybe another $1,000 +/-)
Last year there were about 350,000 pilgrims who completed their pilgrimage. 350,000 X $20 = $ 7 Million !! per Year! $10 Million if price is $30/passport!!! per year !!! Think of all the improvements which could be made over time with that kind of money. They could place Porta Potty sanitary toilets, which cost $700 to buy every kilometer for 800 kilometers for $560,000. Let's say another $1,440,000 for daily servicing at $5 per day for 800 porta pottys. So first year they are at $2,000,000, which leaves $5,000,000 for trail improvements. More water fountains, more resting benches, more graffiti on signs cleaning, more all kinds of stuff. Am I crazy? If you knew there was going to be a fully stocked, serviced toilet every kilometer, you probably would wait, and not have to worry about paper and hole digging. :cool:
Interesting. The Credencial is already required for most alburgue use. As a Catholic Church document, I don't think approval would be granted to do what you propose.. . but who knows?

There was a thread last year that became a bit contentious on the issue of porta potties on the Camino, who would be taking care of them, etc.. . . . . I am too lazy to search for it right now, but it would probably make for a good read. :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

manoll

Peregrina 2013
Camino(s) past & future
CDN 2013, 2018
Primitivo - 2013, 2018
Sanabrés - 2016
Portugués Coastal - 2019
Via Francigena - 2020
I'm not a big Earthday person, butt thought this article shares a Camino topic.




A Thru-Hiker's Guide to Toilet Paper Substitutes

APR 15, 2020​


By: Christine Martens

There are two topics of conversation that every thru-hiker seems to bring up sooner rather than later. Of course, the most obvious is food. We're all completely obsessed with food. Food we plan to eat, food we're carrying, food we're craving, and all the potential food options just a couple of days away in the next town. And then, well, there’s what that food leads to.

The next thing hikers are obsessed with is poop. Pooping stories are some of my favorites. I love to ask fellow thru-hikers where the most interesting place they've pooped was. I've heard some good ones. In the middle of a soccer field at night, in the vestibule of a tent, and in a bush by someone's driveway as they were driving past, are a few examples that come to mind. (Important note: the proper cat-hole was dug in each one of these cases.)

When it comes to pooping, a topic that often comes up is the use and availability of toilet paper and toilet paper substitutes. What I am hoping to discuss today are some ideas for toilet paper substitutes that have presented themselves to me over the past decade of hiking in various parts of the world and in various conditions.

Perhaps the best, most enjoyable, most satisfying toilet paper substitute is snow. When hiking southbound on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 2014, I found myself hiking through hundreds of miles of snow in northern Washington, which sometimes made it quite difficult to find some actual ground to dig a hole into. I quickly figured out that my ice axe was a great tool for digging holes, and that a tightly packed ball of snow was a great way of reducing my need for toilet paper.

In 2018, I had the privilege of walking most of the length of New Zealand, where I discovered the magic of moss. New Zealand is very wet, and therefore, the moss action is top-notch. There was such an abundance of moss. When I felt how soft and fluffy it was, it was only natural to want to use it as toilet paper. It works amazingly well, and I just take the used chunks of moss and bury them along with my poop in my cat-hole. As a result, I hardly ever used toilet paper in New Zealand.

Once I was on to toilet paper substitutes, I started becoming more adventurous in what I tried. Rocks, if they're smooth or slightly pointed, work alright, and so do smooth sticks. I'm not a huge fan of using pine cones, and although leaves may be an obvious choice, many varieties break easily, so you kind of need to know what you're doing with leaves. Also, poison ivy is not fun to get anywhere on your body. I highly recommend striped maple leaves, taken straight off the tree – but always use two or three layers. Fallen leaves in the fall work great as long as they're not too dry, and again, layer them, because you don't want one thin layer of brittle dead leaf to be what's between your hand and your dirty butt.

Another option, which I've never explored, but I've heard many others that have, is a backcountry bidet. A carefully aimed squirt bottle seems to do the trick.

Since hiking the PCT, where toilet paper basically never degrades in the dry soil, I've always packed out any used toilet paper. Once it became a habit, I decided to keep that habit, even in places where toilet paper would presumably biodegrade quickly. The great upside of using any of the aforementioned options as toilet paper substitutes is that you don’t need to pack any of them out – just bury them along with your fecal waste.

There is one toilet paper substitute that I've been using basically since I started backpacking, and that is paper towels. Although not much different from toilet paper, I have found that paper towels are more sturdy than toilet paper, and the most I need is one paper towel per day of hiking, so it's really easy to take the right amount (I honestly wouldn't know how to ration toilet paper). I would not recommend burying paper towels, though, since they're not as biodegradable as toilet paper.

A good way to transition to toilet paper substitutes is to start by experimenting with some of the options that I've mentioned above for your "first wipe," and then using some kind of paper product for the "final wipe." You may find that depending on what's available on the trail you're on, you quickly convert to needing no toilet paper at all.

---

Christine Martens and John Haffner are outdoor enthusiasts who have hiked several long distance trails, including the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. They call Asheville, North Carolina their home, where they’ve worked as hiking guides for
Blue Ridge Hiking Company in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Learn more about their adventures on their blog.
Davebugg, have you ever considered the very "Continental" portable bidet sprayer? They are the best alternative to toilet paper plus you don't need to pack anything out. There are different companies that make them and are reasonably priced.



Or you could also use bottle with a cap that opens when you press one side so the contents come out at an angle.

Just saying:)

Ultreïa,

Mary
 
Last edited:

Carol06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2012)
Frances (May 2015) all going well and with my husband this time.
Davebugg I wish I had known you were in NZ. We live on the route of the Te Araroa. You are something of a hero in our house and have learned so much from you.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Davebugg I wish I had known you were in NZ. We live on the route of the Te Araroa. You are something of a hero in our house and have learned so much from you.
I appreciate your kind words. I live in the North central region of Washington State in the US. If you are referring to the article, its author had the good fortune to visit there. . I did not write the actual article itself.
 

KathrineRoss

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(June 2020)
Gosh, the things I haven’t thought of; call me posh but I had planned to just have stops along the way where I could get food & use a bathroom; I do love walking but not too good on anything related to penance...😐 ps thanks for your thoughtfulness, we do not appreciate exposed toilet waste here in NZ, it’s most definitely frowned upon & hopefully a law against it by now (‘freedom camping’ is a swear-phrase here)...
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
that leads me to ask if discarding litter is acceptable in some nations?
I spent some time in China several years ago. The cities are kept spotless by the sanitation workers, but the "leave no trace" principal did not seem to have reached the countryside at all. I visited one ancient hilltop shrine popular with bus tours, where the general litter was ankle deep, with nowhere in the vicinity to dispose of it. Our country hostel had its own version of an albergue, with dormitory rooms for groups. The common areas were spotless, but the fields in the vicinity were littered with unburied feces, paper of various sorts and other garbage. I conclude that standards, and how they are enforced, can be quite varied in different places.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
A Porta Potty every few kilometres? Please, no! There are enough "improvements" on the Camino Frances since I first walked it. I shall forever mourn the beautiful narrow earth path through nature's garden just beyond Villares de Orbigo. When I first walked it the flowers were so prolific and the path so winding and interesting, it felt like the plan of a master landscaper. Now there is a straight 8 metre wide bulldozed roadway with pushed up high banks destroying the wildflowers.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
I never carry toilet papier when walking a Camino. Personally, I’ve grown accustomed to using a creditcard:
  • It’s reusable numerous times, if treated with care.
  • It’s easily cleanable: just use the soles of your shoes to wipe of the worst ’dirt’.
  • Using the card at a cash machine or to pay for groceries will help to clean off the last bits.
  • Every pilgrim carries one and it’s lightweight.
;)
 

Tessera

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Fall 2015)
In a month on the Camino, I was NEVER so far away that I couldn't find an indoor bathroom with flush toilets. Occasionally I used the Kleenex I carried in my pocket, if the timer-light went out and I couldn't find the toilet paper in the dark. But really, Spain is not the wilderness! It's where people live! Do people come and poop on the ground in your neighborhood? I realize some men feel it's okay to pee outdoors in the city, but I wish they wouldn't (the smell of alleys behind bars ... ewwww).
 
Last edited:

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
I make sure my guts are emptied out before I start walking, or wait until I get to a bar. No intention of doing #2 on the road.
 


Advertisement

Booking.com

Camino Conversations

Camino Conversations

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

Most downloaded Resources

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 56 4.3%
  • April

    Votes: 197 15.0%
  • May

    Votes: 327 24.9%
  • June

    Votes: 95 7.2%
  • July

    Votes: 24 1.8%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.1%
  • September

    Votes: 379 28.9%
  • October

    Votes: 158 12.0%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 7 0.5%

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock