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25

In more temperate climates (forests, jungles, etc.) burying feces is preferred as it will be broken up by microbes in the soil while being somewhat protected from the environment. Plant growth in these areas is also rapid enough that cut roots are generally a non-issue. (I'm assuming you aren't hacking through larger roots.) In general the warmer the ...


19

Some things to remember when stealth camping: Never camp or enter property marked with Private or No Trespassing. Never camp behind a gate or fence - you could get locked in. Depending on the location, it could be a while before someone comes along to let you out. Camoflauge yourself. Cover your bike reflectors and other reflective surfaces. Cover your ...


18

Should I understand a water source to mean a spring/well, or any place where hikers may collect water (streams, lakes, etc.)? Yes. Any source of water - no matter how large or small - should be avoided when choosing a camp site. 100 meters is just a guideline, 200 meters is better. 200 meters and out of sight is great. The reasons are several-fold: ...


15

The main reason it's buried is to keep it from washing into water supplies. The ground provides natural filtration, where surface waste is fully exposed to the elements and can flow along the surface until it reaches a stream or pond. Yes, digging holes might be bad for one plant, but it's a whole lot better than polluting a water supply that animals (or ...


14

Without knowing the numbers using it, the signs are absolutely acceptable. The forest floor is very fragile, and although one foot print might not make a noticeable difference to most people (Having tracking training for SAR, I see the damage one person makes), 10 people will leave obvious damage, and 50 a trail. The problem is people walk off the main trail ...


13

When washing in the backcountry there are some techniques and considerations that will benefit yourself and the pristine wilderness you are traveling within. Don't ever wash near a water source, you are contaminating it for yourself, everyone else, and the animals that drink from it. 1. Always carry water at least 500 feet away from: The source of the ...


12

I'm afraid studiohack's advices are too cautious to be useful in practice. For example in Spain or Austria, almost every piece of land is private and/or behind fence, so you'd have to sleep on the track then. My personal experience (mostly from Europe; please follow here) is that it's not so hot. If you don't provoke the land owners, they are mostly very ...


10

This is a classic Leave-no-trace (LNT) case study. If the site you are considering is in a pristine wilderness area, and it is not a designated campsite, you should locate your campsite away from the impacted area to allow it to regrow. However if the site is in a popular area, and will be used often (10+) times per year by anyone else, you should ...


9

There is really two different answers, one if you are dealing with glacial ice, and one for seasonal snow. For seasonal snow and for solids, your best bet is to bring biodegradable bags, pack your waste in as deep a hole as you can manage, and you should be fine. By deep, I mean a few feet at least, or better yet, a deep natural crevasse. For liquids, ...


9

If you were the only visitor to the area, the lowest impact would be to defecate on the surface and leave it. Few animals bury their waste, so natural disposal has evolved around dealing with surface waste. However, you aren't the only visitor. Burial slows decomposition and disrupts the soil, but it reduces the ability of microorganisms to reach water ...


8

Before I saw this question, I had no idea the term stealth camping existed, but I have definitely done it a number of times, just backpacking, with a bike, and with a car. Yes, it's possible to do stealth car camping. I live in the US and most of my experiences have been in New England (where I live) and Arizona (which I visit every summer). New England ...


8

An additional point that hasn't been mentioned, is when you camp next to a creek or stream the water level can quickly change, sometimes by quite a bit. It can be sunny where you are camped but heavy rain miles upstream from you, and the raising water level could wash away half of your camp while you sleep.


7

I've hiked all over the USA and the general rule is that on public land, you can hike anywhere you want, unless there are specific rules for a given sensitive area. Generally these rules are posted at least at the trailhead or in any wilderness permit you get. The one place where there aren't posted signs, but that you should "STAY ON THE TRAIL" is making ...


7

In some heavily used areas, especially where there's little chance for natural decomposition to occur (such as at high altitudes where there is poor soil), you're required to pack out all human waste. For example, climbers on Mt. Rainier in Washington are required to carry specific bags to pack out their waste. This is not the most desirable configuration ...


7

Rinse your socks and undies out with water, rub them on rocks then re-rinse and wring dry. Put them on damp in the morning. I can't think of a lighter weight solution than that :) I've done plenty of trips with no extra pairs of anything. You certainly won't smell good at the end of 10 days, but I don't think your performance will be affected. Edit: ...


6

Following Leave No Trace principles, which the previous party obviously didn't do, it would be better to camp in the new spot, and upon leaving, removing traces that you were there. We've personally replaced leaved that we had brushed aside to make space for tents to make it look like no camper had ever been there, in addition to carrying out all trash.


6

If the depth of snow and/or the ground being frozen prevents you from burying solid waste below ground level by at least six inches, then, in the spirit of leave no trace, you should carry it out. Use a biodegradable (e.g. cornstarch-based) bag to pick it up and then pack it in a sealed plastic container. For obvious reasons the container should only be used ...


6

I think this largely depends on the specific area you are traveling in. My approach is to always minimize campfires in the backcountry as a general rule. That being said, if I am in an abundant backcountry environment, where there is an already well made fire ring, I have no qualms making an occasional fire from dead, down, dry, and less than wrist size ...


5

Leave No Trace I grew up in a place that was surrounded by open wilderness. There are no, "stay on the trail rules" there. After spending a lot of time in Parks, where there are a lot of rules, and comparing them to growing up in the lawless wilderness, I have to admit that the Parks are a lot prettier. Visiting the wild trails and campgrounds from my youth ...


5

Like most activities, campfires aren't simply ethical or unethical. There are only a few things in this world that are always ethical or always unethical. Rather, there are ethical and unethical ways to behave. I don't expect a campsite to look exactly like the land around it - I understand there will be artificial clearings in the trees, perhaps a sign ...


5

There are a couple of reasons for this, as I understand it: Your wastes (soap, Giardia in your poop, DEET, ...) will contaminate the water. Lakeshores in high-altitude areas tend to be very delicate. People do a lot of ecological damage by pitching their tents right there. Unlike high-altitude areas in the Alps, the ones in the western US do not have huts, ...


4

It is not. The lowest-impact solution is to use a poo-pot. These are compulsory in alpine areas here in New Zealand. http://www.doc.govt.nz/documents/parks-and-recreation/places-to-visit/wellington/poo-pot-brochure-sm.pdf


4

I would dig a deep hole in the snow - and then cover it up again, because when the snow melts, the waste will decompose fairly quickly with warm temps and water, it'll break up and disperse. If it is practical, find some dead branches, leaves, or even rocks, and cover it up and then put snow back on top of it.


4

According to the Centre of Outdoor Ethics, which runs the most widely accepted ethics program used on private lands for outdoor recreation, there are seven principles to leaving no trace: Plan Ahead and Prepare Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces Dispose of Waste Properly Leave What You Find Minimize Campfire Impacts Respect Wildlife Be Considerate of ...


3

There are several aspects to take under consideration: Group holes are not a good practice because your deposits can't be buried too deep. The soil needs enough organic material to eliminate your deposits. But, if the upper layers of the soil are big enough, you could make your hole bigger (so making it appropriate for larger groups). The type of group who ...


2

Avoiding the word 'ethical', I'll ask: Is it good for the forest to stop all fires, and let fuel accumulate? In North America this has led to many very destructive fires that kill every tree in the forest. Lot's of money and time is being spent to clear out the excess fuel with controlled burns before it is too late. So in these areas, I'd say go ahead, ...


1

I have found that digging a deep group latrine works far better when taking youth and other folks who are hesitant about the whole "pooping in the woods" idea. I make it one of the task as we set up camp, one group cooks, one group sets up tents, one group get water then digs the latrine. I oversee that the hole is deep enough to accommodate the group for ...


1

Find a spot at least 200 ft away from water sources, camp, and trails. (Per LNT guidelines) Place soiled items in a gallon zip-loc bag with water and small amount of concentrated, biodegradable camp soap (I use Dr. Bronner's). Burp all air from the bag. Agitate the mixture until desired laundering is reached Open the bag slightly, squeezing it and ...



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