Toilet Etiquette
Doing Your Doodie Duty

Toilet paper on forest floor
Let’s talk poop. If you’re on The Colorado Trail for any length of time, you’ll be leaving some behind. Here’s how you should doo-doo it.
What you’ll need:

  • Backpacking trowel
  • Resealable bags – light (such as a Ziploc) and heavy (such as an Opsak)
  • Toilet paper
  • Sanitary wipes

Before getting down to business, find a suitable spot for squatting a couple of hundred feet from the Trail or campsite. Use the trowel to dig a “cat hole” 8 inches deep. Once finished, backfill the hole with dirt. Organisms in the soil aided by moisture will biodegrade what you’ve left. Your tidyness will be appreciated by others.

DO NOT bury your toilet paper or wipes. It takes too long to degrade in Colorado’s dry, rocky soils and burning it poses too great a danger in Colorado’s fire-prone forests.

Instead, pack it out as you would any other trash. It’s simple. Put the TP in small sealable bags that, in turn, can be stored in a stronger, odor-proof bag.

Not only are there few things more unsightly than toilet paper scattered about the Trail, but improper disposal of human waste and TP is a hazard to hygiene. It is reported that more backpackers get sick from poor hygiene than by drinking untreated water. At the top of your hygiene list should be cleaning your hands (effectively) after doing your dootie duty. One effective method is to use sanitizing wipes (which should be packed out too).