87 people showed up (most of them women) and shared their experiences and insights. The survey results are below, in this post. If you would like to take the survey yourself, go here.
I’ve made progress — two drafts — on one essay with the working title “Charmin’ Lily: annual or perennial?” and thoughts mulling about for another. (Some of your comments are wonderful!) The essays will probably end up published here on Stoney Moss, but my crit group has encouraged me to send querry letters to a couple of places that could be interested in material like this.
Are you surprised by any of the results below?
I was. Some of us think toilet paper breaks down fast. It doesn’t. That’s the gist of essay number one. Think natural, ladies. It’s only urine, a sterile liquid.
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Survey Results: How Do You Pee in the Woods?
Q1 Do you day hike? (Mandatory)
Yes 85 98%
No 2 2%
Q2 What is your preferred pee-spot? (Mandatory) (click into the post to see the last column!)
ONLY IF THERE IS NO OTHER CHOICE
ONLY IN AN EMERGENCY
|I prefer a well-maintained outhouse.||
|I will use a nasty outhouse over the woods||
|I love peeing in the woods.||
Q3 What is your anatomical gender? (Mandatory)
Female 77 89%
Male 10 11%
Q4 I am a female and I pee in the woods.
I don’t use toilet paper in the woods. 35 (47%)
I would rather use toilet paper, but I have chosen to air dry on occasion. 24 (32%)
I have to use something to dry myself, and have used non-tp products to clean up. 15 (20%)
When I pee I use toilet paper. Every single time. No matter where I am. 1 (1%)
Total 75 (12 skips)
Any additional thoughts?
- Shaking your butt back and forth certainly helps air drying.
- how long can you “air dry” in the woods??? and which green leaves are safe to substitute for TP? I always look around and wonder.
- if I use tp, I always bury it, out of sight.
- It is important to pee away from water sources, low impact!
- I always bury my toilet paper. As it’s biodegradable, I don’t feel too guilty. I really don’t like air drying or using leaves!
- I use a bandana and wash it out then hang to dry on my pack or boat.
- Bury it.
- It’s only pee! I always giggle thinking about how confusing my scent must be to passing critters. ;)
- It’s not so much that I’ve chosen to air dry as I’ve chosen to air dry over wiping with unknown vegetation. Also, with the right positioning, there’s not much drying needed. However, tp is always nice!
- Leaves make great tp
- Not really…odd choice for an essay!
- I carry a plastic baggie to discard it in.
- I think most leaf types are much preferred to leaving tp in the woods..
- I would rather not sully the environment with the paper. We are out in nature so “drip-dry’ seems like the natural choice.
- I always have a handkerchief
- I prefer outhouses mostly because I am told that they lessen the environmental impact, but I consider it a sacrifice for the sake of the woods to use a gross outhouse when there is a private bush to hide behind nearby.
- The trick is to find a good leaf. Not too dry, not too shiny. Definitely not poison ivy.
- Because then I have to dispose of it. I’d much rather air-dry. Leaves (carefully selected) are fine too.
- Drip dry is fine…. If broad soft leaf available then that’s good too:)
- on a day hike i usually have a stash of loo paper (I hate to walk damp, yuck) which I take away with me when I’ve used it. If I dont have any or have used it all up I’ll dab with a dock-leaf or a bunch of soft grass :)
- Usually keep tp or tissues on me when hiking and if I remember, I bring a baggie to put the used tissue in. Otherwise I grossly just tuck it in a side pocket of my backpack. Somehow I end up having to be the used toilet tissue holder for my daughter, too.
- I have found it personally helpful to be able to identify poison ivy on sight prior to using a leaf.
- Who enjoys seeing used TP along beautiful trails??
- one can always use the bottom of one’s shirt and let that air dry,
- hem of my pants (common choice), long end of my scarf, both of which get washed asap, used to leaves but now my ignorance of flora won’t let me
- Spanish Moss has been my savior more than one time. To the previous question, “I would rather use toilet paper, but I have chosen to air dry on occasion” (but only because there is no Spanish Moss around). I do try to be cognizant of my environment, though, and the wildlife in the area where I am located. I don’t pee in or near water sources, and I try as hard as possible to only pee where vegetation grows rapidly.
- Damp skin=chafing. ‘Nuff said
- I don’t carry toilet paper on day hikes though I may have a kleenex in my pocket which I will use if absolutely necessary. I don’t believe in leaving soiled paper along the paths of my day hikes. Camping is another thing, because there is always a garbage sack for the tissue.
- love big leaves
- One of the reasons I love living in a remote area with no neighbors in sight is that I can pee not only in the woods but also in my yard and just about anywhere I damn please.
- I use leaves. (I know which ones are OK, I was a botanist/naturalist!)
- Leaving used toilet paper in the woods? Be very careful to bury it!
- I use moisture wicking underwear when I hike. They help make it more comfortable since there are always a couple of drops that don’t air dry. It’s not real different from heavy sweating.
- Leaves work well, except poison ivy or nettles, of course!
- A good mid-squat shimmy usually does the trick.
- I carry a small supply of recycled paper kitchen roll tissue with me for use as toilet paper and also general washing/drying, it breaks down easily with the next rain, totally biodegradable.
Q5 If you answered “yes” to using toilet paper, please add a little detail about it.
I pack out my used tp in a ziplock bag. 18 (53%)
I bring biodegradable tp. And leave it in the woods. 10 (29%)
I bring tp from home, conventional (non-biodegradable) tp. And leave it in the woods. 6 (18%)
Total 34 (53 skips)
Anything more you’d like to say?
- tp or a napkin, as available.
- I usually have a dog-poop bag and put it in there
- Depends on where I am — if rules are to pack out, I will. But I’d surely rather not!
- I do bury it.
- Isn’t all TP biodegradable?
- I bury it
- Most of the time I drip dry.
- If I have a kleenex with me I use it and pack it out.
- well I dont have a zip lock bag, just a different pocket ;) and i dont believe in leaving anything man-made in the woods, bio degradeable or not
- said it previously
- if I happen to have some folded up in my pocket I’ll use it and leave it, cuz I do carry it in my car for road trips, but don’t usually carry it on a day hike.
- I do purchase the so-called “green” paper products but I think all toilet paper is biodegradable.
- And of course I bury it!
- Have done all of the above.
- Prefer: burn baby burn
- I seldom do this, and ONLY when backpacking, so that means that this question doesn’t really relate to me. PLUS, I didn’t answer ‘yes.’
- I bury it.
- I try to bury it fully, however.
- I assumed all tp was biodegradable
Q6 Thank you for answering this unscientific survey! (13 “answers” & 74 skips)
- Love the sound of peeing into the ground, looking up at the trees, the green, the sky. One of the best ways to feel part of the universe.
- thanx for writing about peeing in the woods!
- I was surprised that you’ve got ‘conventional’ toilet paper down as non-biodegradable! I would have thought most toilet paper was biodegradable, otherwise how would it break down in septic tanks?
- Fun fun fun! I hope I get to read your essay.
- Hugs debxxx
- ..a lovely survey, carrying me to green places. Thanks!
- I love your attitude reflected in the wording of your questions!
- I wanna know the results!
- have fun with your survey and essay!
- what about #2 in the woods? This happens, too!
- I am blessed with great bladder capacity. Am glad I got that instead of cute hair.
- Thanks, Deb! Great questions!
- you are a silly woman!!
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And yes. I am a silly woman. :-)