When most people are outdoors it is evident they choose to defecate with little preparation other than finding a somewhat out of the way location so as to preserve a modicum of modesty. Once out of sight, they do their business directly on to top of the ground and for good measure throw out the wad of toilet paper used to wipe themselves with. Little thought goes into what will happen once the deed is done.
Exposed Feces Causes Disease
The How to Shit Outdoors Series
The last Survival Topic served as an introduction to How to Shit Outdoors. The article touched upon why proper disposal of human waste is very important to wilderness survival and revealed that most people do not know how to correctly accomplish the task of defecating outdoors.
In many outdoor areas frequented by crowds, one only has to step a short way off the beaten track to find plenty of toilet paper “flowers” and human feces lying about. Besides being unpleasant and smelly to come upon, the mess harbors disease organisms and vermin.
Flies and other insects walk upon the decaying offal as they dine, laying eggs to multiply their numbers. These same insects will then alight upon your person and your food, thereby spreading disease organisms quite some distance from the offending mess.
Improper Feces DisposalPeople typically defecate like this in the outdoorsWithin feet of a picnic area and stream, whoever left this calling card either had no knowledge of how to shit properly outdoors or simply did not care they are spreading filth and disease.Flies and other vermin will dine on or hatch out from this exposed feces, and then walk upon the food people are eating nearby.You can be sure that areas frequented by the public have messes like this scattered all over the landscape, contaminating drinking water supplies for miles around. This is why you MUST condsider all water unsafe to drink until treated.
Rainwater carries a slurry of improperly disposed of human feces into groundwater, surface puddles, ponds, lakes and streams. Laced with disease organisms that were in the feces to begin with or formed once it had been deposited, people and animals then come in contact with or drink this polluted water.
Even water that appears to be pure and pristine is often harboring disease organisms from human feces that can make the wilderness survivor very sick.
Goals of Proper Defecation
Before you actually do the deed there are three basic goals that need to be taken into consideration when looking for a place to defecate. You want to:
- Minimize the chance of other people stumbling upon your feces.
- Avoid the spread of disease and contamination.
- Increase the rate at which your feces is decomposed.
Upon identifying these goals we are now in a better position to carry on with the task at hand. Now we will explore the best method of disposing of human body wastes.
Soil Helps Decompose Feces
Centuries of experience has shown that burying human waste is usually the best and most efficient method of accomplishing the goals outlined above. But there is more to burying human wastes than just digging a hole and dumping it in. With a little knowledge you can affect the rate of decomposition by taking advantage of microorganisms that are living in the upper portions of the soil.
Soil is typically composed of several layers, for our purposes the most important of which are the upper two layers. These consist of decaying plant matter on or near the surface followed a little deeper by the organic rich top soil that is chock full of the microorganisms and invertebrates such as worms and other creepy crawlies that are largely responsible for the process of decomposition.