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More Poop On Packing Out Waste

In June’s issue of BACKPACKER, writer Dougald MacDonald braved where most fear to tread and examined how rangers and hikers are joining forces to pack out more waste than they bury in high-traffic areas like California’s Mt. Whitney.

It turns out MacDonald went beyond the call of duty: He kept a baggie full of a weekend’s worth of his own poop next to his desk, just to test how much space, weight, and smell it might contribute to a hiker’s pack.

MacDonald profiles the two most popular waste-disposal bags, which both have separate pros and cons. Though some would like to see WAG bags become standard-issue at high-traffic wilderness spots, MacDonald still sees some benefit to the old cat-hole disposal method in remote areas. Still, he’s taken to bringing them with him when he goes climbing. If others follow, it could become the definitive leave-no-trace method for dealing with doo-doo.

For all of MacDonald’s effort, his grand experiment ended up getting cut from the story. But it shows his commitment and dedication to immersing himself in the nitty-gritty details to get the story right, no matter how disgusting.

To that, we only have one thing to say:

Dougald, you’re the s***.

— Ted Alvarez



Waste Case (The Mountain World)