How to take a safe dump

posted in: Health & Hygiene | 0

The ‘facilities’

One major problem we city folks face when out in the wilderness is the non availability of 'facilities'. They simply do not exist in the wild, you have to make do with what Nature provides. The reality is that when you need to go ... pretty much at the beginning of each day ... you need to go. If you know where and how, life can become less stressful!

Remember one rule ... you can camp either next to your water source or next to where you want your 'toilet' to be, not both.

When you need to poo, do it away from camp. Ideally your location should be at least two hundred feet away from a water source ... and downstream from where your camp is located. You do not want to contaminate the water you will be using to wash in and collect for drinking.

Dig a hole about two feet deep, do your job and cover it up with soil or sand. Flies are attracted to the moisture and carry germs. You don’t want flies who have visited your toilet site, inspected your excreted food and then taking a whiff of what’s on your plate for dinner!

Ladies tend to be more conscious of the lack of facilities. This sometimes can become an issue if you are travelling in a mixed group. However, hopefully the entire group comprises like-minded people and everyone is in the same predicament.

One reality you need to be aware of is the location of your campsite itself when you are going to the toilet. Particularly in the jungle you could have stepped just about a hundred yards away and then find it impossible to find your way back. And by the time you realise you are lost, you could be far from earshot. Always carry a whistle with you and keep within earshot. Before you start to head back, blow your whistle and listen for a response. Then follow the sound. Of course, everyone in the group should know this rule.

If you are alone, make sure you know your back trail. Break twigs, lay stones, remember a tree, tie a handkerchief, to mark your trail along the way from camp to where you are going and follow that back. It is very easy to get lost in the jungle.

Squatting, sitting, balancing?

Part of the Indian culture is the method we use when we need to poo. For centuries we have been squatting. Medical science also opines that squatting is probably the best method. But with "civilisation" in our lives and the associated comforts that come with it, a commode has become stardard equipment for most city folks. It has reached a stage that many people topple over in the process of trying to squat. That can be a bummer ... not to mention very messy.

You can rig up a toilet seat by lashing together some branches. Just make sure it is strong enough and sturdy enough to hold your weight. You do not want it disintegrating right in the middle of the job!

The other method is to bend your knees at almost right angles without actually squatting, so the dump can fall to the ground without soiling your feet. Be careful to remove your trousers from the angle of attack of the projectile though.

Another method I have tried quite successfully actually is to sit on a log in a manner that my feet are on one side of the log while the dump is deposited on the other side. Your position on the log must be carefully judged though since you want the projectiles to be falling into the hole in the ground and not spatter itself in a squishy mess between the log and your rear end. Eeks!

Balancing is another method you can try. Works somewhat like the log-squatting method, but this one you can accomplish with a length of rope. Take a rope long enough and loop it over a strong tree branch. You have yourself a swing of sorts. Sit on the bight of the rope and do your job. If the tree branch is too high or otherwise inaccessible, you can loop the rope around the tree trunk and put the other end around your torso, below your armpits and lean backward. This will also help you balance and keep the dump safely away from your feet or trousers.

Cleaning your rear end

For short, day long trips or weekend trips you should be carrying toilet paper to clean up. If you do not or have run out, you could use leaves for the purpose. Just make sure that the leaves are not poisonous.

Before using the leaf, rub the leaf aggressively against the inner side of your upper arm and wait for about half an hour. If there is no reaction, you can use the leaf. However, if soreness develops or the area turns pink or red or there is itchiness, the leaf is poisonous and you could do yourself a lot of harm using it to clean up.

And do not start the process of identifying a good leaf from a poisonous one just when you realise that the pressure has built up and you just have to go!

Once you have identified a “good” leaf to do your business with, stay with it so that you do not have to repeat the process of identifying a good leaf from a bad one again and again. Of course, this will be possible if you are staying at the same location. If you are moving from one campsite to another, then you will have to repeat the process all over again, unless you are lucky to find the same tree once again. Just ensure it is the same plant and not one that looks like the same one you used the last time. Unless of course you carry enough leaves away with you when you move camp!

Morning chores are a reality and you will need to go, every morning, sometimes more than once a day. While you learn the tips and tricks of survival, it might be a good idea to practice how to take a safe dump too!

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