034: PRIVY: The Bathroom Episode

PRIVY: The Bathroom Episode

Today on The First 40 Miles, PRIVVY: The Bathroom Episode. Find out why this episode made it on our list of evergreen episodes. Then, learn the answers to the Top 5 Potty Questions: Things to Know Before You Go. Then, the SUMMIT Gear Review turns into the SUMMIT Smackdown as two trowels go head to head as they battle for a place in your pack. On the Backpack Hack of the Week, we’ll teach you a skill that Asians have known about for centuries–if not millennia. And we’ll wrap up the show with a little twist on trail wisdom.

Show Notes: Episode 034


  • Why are we even doing this episode?
  • Environment: Human waste affects the environment: The number of people getting outdoors is growing, and so is our impact on those high traffic areas. We need to recognize our impact…and decrease the mark we leave on the land
  • Anxiety: People may have some anxiety about using the bathroom where there is no toilet…it’s different from our every day experience.
  • Education: Know before you go and you’ll have less negative impact on the environment and less anxiety, and a better experience on the trail.
  • Squatting is traditionally how it’s done on the trail
  • Benefits of squatting

Top 5 Privy Questions (Things to Know Before You Go)

  1. What about privacy?
  • Before you leave… tell someone else in the group where you are going
  • Umbrella…
  • Find a place at least 100 feet from camp and the trail, and 200 feet from water sources and 300 feet if you are in big predator country and want to avoid attracting animals who are curious about the scent.
  1. What about supplies?
  • Toilet paper (Scott’s One-Ply breaks down faster than other plush toilet papers)
  • Trowel
  • Sanitizer or soap
  • STP device for women
  • Quart freezer Ziploc bag for storing your TP
  • No baby wipes, unless you are going to pack them out
  • If you’re dealing with diarrhea: replace electrolytes, bring some kind of first aid balm to apply with a cotton ball or tp and also a small squirt bottle
  1. What about flushing?
  • If you really want to help things break down faster and have a lighter impact on the area in which you’re backpacking, stir things up.
  • It incorporates the bacteria from the soil into the waste
  • Make sure you fully bury your tp so you won’t contribute to toilet paper flowers
  1. What about the environmental impact?
  1. Bear Grylls did it, should I?
  • Noooooo!
  • Urine is NOT sterile
  • Bear survived in spite of drinking his own…not because of it.
  • Drinking urine has negative side effects, including diarrhea, fatigue, fever, and muscle soreness; and these symptoms increase with the amount of urine ingested.

SUMMIT Smackdown™: Deuce of Spades and Big Dig Titanium Trowel


  Deuce of Spades Big Dig Titanium Trowel
Structure  AluminumSeven colors:PURPLE ORANGE




Titanuim with yellow handle
Utility  Pointed tip RoundedHandle dipped in plastic
Mass  .6 oz, 2 1/2 “ wide x 6 3/4” long .6 oz and 7 1/4 “ long, 2” wideAlso offered in a smaller .4 oz 6 inches and larger 1 oz size as well.Big Dig is the most popular size
Maintenance  none none
Investment  $20 each plus $2.75 $36
Trial  Liked the color optionsWhimsical feelInstead of a hole at the top, it’s a 8 pointed star hole Yellow handle peeled off…not a big deal, but the handle really did make it much more comfortable to use.Looks a lot more manly and ruggedHas that heated metal look (yellow, magenta, blue)


Backpack Hack of the Week™: The Asian Squat

Different than the traditional American Squat

Can be held longer

Legs shoulder width apart, and squat with your heels on the ground, bum touching your ankles, knees apart.

 Trail Wisdom

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

-John Muir