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How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art

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Most outdoor books available in English fall prey to Victorian sensibilities and fail to mention one to the most serious issues encountered in trekking around the countryside. Kathleen eyer, river-runner and longtime outdoorswoman, corrects this oversight in How to Shit in the Woods. What was once instinct now needs to be learned. "Until roughly ten years ago, no one ever Most outdoor books available in English fall prey to Victorian sensibilities and fail to mention one to the most serious issues encountered in trekking around the countryside. Kathleen eyer, river-runner and longtime outdoorswoman, corrects this oversight in How to Shit in the Woods. What was once instinct now needs to be learned. "Until roughly ten years ago, no one ever considered it unsafe to drink directly from mountain streams. You could stretch out on the bank of a high mountain meadow creek and just push your face into the water to drink ... no longer can we drink even a drop before purifying it without running the risk of getting sick." With more people in the outdoors than ever, it is important that each of us knows how to take care of our own waste.


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Most outdoor books available in English fall prey to Victorian sensibilities and fail to mention one to the most serious issues encountered in trekking around the countryside. Kathleen eyer, river-runner and longtime outdoorswoman, corrects this oversight in How to Shit in the Woods. What was once instinct now needs to be learned. "Until roughly ten years ago, no one ever Most outdoor books available in English fall prey to Victorian sensibilities and fail to mention one to the most serious issues encountered in trekking around the countryside. Kathleen eyer, river-runner and longtime outdoorswoman, corrects this oversight in How to Shit in the Woods. What was once instinct now needs to be learned. "Until roughly ten years ago, no one ever considered it unsafe to drink directly from mountain streams. You could stretch out on the bank of a high mountain meadow creek and just push your face into the water to drink ... no longer can we drink even a drop before purifying it without running the risk of getting sick." With more people in the outdoors than ever, it is important that each of us knows how to take care of our own waste.

30 review for How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    This book can be summarized thusly: Dig a hole for your shit, away from water or your camp. If you can't dig a hole, put it in a baggie and pack it out. Wash your hands. The end. She doesn't talk about the decomposition process, or give any supporting evidence for her methods, or even any handy tips for dealing with carrying around baggies of poo for a week. She advocates peeing by sitting on a rock and then propping your feet up on another rock - not a bad method, if you want to spend 20 minute This book can be summarized thusly: Dig a hole for your shit, away from water or your camp. If you can't dig a hole, put it in a baggie and pack it out. Wash your hands. The end. She doesn't talk about the decomposition process, or give any supporting evidence for her methods, or even any handy tips for dealing with carrying around baggies of poo for a week. She advocates peeing by sitting on a rock and then propping your feet up on another rock - not a bad method, if you want to spend 20 minutes looking for appropriate rocks rather than just copping a squat! All of this would be fine, I guess, except that then she gets into all this fear mongering bs about how women shouldn't sit on public toilets. Dude, unless you are in the habit of licking the seats, you'll be fine. Standing or squatting just leaves the seat splattered with pee for the next person to encounter - at least she could have advised standing pissers to lift the seat!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mont'ster

    First thing - you can't be put off by the title. This is another book that I picked up at a gun show and, honestly, I don't think I would have bought it in a "normal" bookstore. The author isn't going for "shock value" - she has a very humorous preface detailing the anguish she went through in trying to pick a title that conveyed her subject and the seriousness with which she treats her subject. Meyer states that she felt that all euphemisms for "doing your business" were distracting and honestl First thing - you can't be put off by the title. This is another book that I picked up at a gun show and, honestly, I don't think I would have bought it in a "normal" bookstore. The author isn't going for "shock value" - she has a very humorous preface detailing the anguish she went through in trying to pick a title that conveyed her subject and the seriousness with which she treats her subject. Meyer states that she felt that all euphemisms for "doing your business" were distracting and honestly unnecessary. I disagree with most of what I hear from the "greens" but this book is actually useful and practical. Meyer wrote it because in her own camping experiences she quickly saw that she (and her city friends) were pretty clueless when it came to taking care of one of the most basic human needs - how to take a dump outdoors without getting a turd in your boot. One lesson that all of us could take from this is "If you pack it in, then pack it out" (or if you're too sqeamish to do that) know what to do with your waste so the area will be unspoiled for the next person that comes along.

  3. 4 out of 5

    FridasMom Zamora

    hope to learn how to pee in the woods without soaking my socks.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jc

    I have known of this book for 20 years and always been curious. Of course, it is a rather limited audience, but for those of you who backpack, canoe camp, or otherwise hit the wilderness outside of pit-toiletville, the topic of this book is really very serious and important. Written in a friendly straightforward manner (as evidenced by the author's carefully described argument as to why it was important to say "shit" instead of beating around the bush with a more polite turn of phrase), this boo I have known of this book for 20 years and always been curious. Of course, it is a rather limited audience, but for those of you who backpack, canoe camp, or otherwise hit the wilderness outside of pit-toiletville, the topic of this book is really very serious and important. Written in a friendly straightforward manner (as evidenced by the author's carefully described argument as to why it was important to say "shit" instead of beating around the bush with a more polite turn of phrase), this book sounds like a joke but is actually a very practical primer about how to do something you thought you already did perfectly well. Of course, the book usually shows up in jokey novelty shops -- but it actually tain't no joke.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    This book is good in that the relevant information is sound, unfortunately the topic merits only a long magazine article. The rest is padding.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marco Pavan

    Interesting and quite well written. however, nothing i did not already know and/or cautiously practiced.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Tilley

    I was not expecting the book's title to be so literal.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wendi Lau

    Lots of stories. Funny. Enlightening. Very useful. Using a snowball on my ass might be the most realistic thing I'd try for number 2. A stick sounds scary.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tima

    If you spend any time at all in the great out of doors, you'll need to know how to properly use the bathroom. The author has researched all of the various methods - packing it out, burying it, etc. and has presented the results of her research in a clear, concise, and occasionally amusing book. I would NEVER have chosen to review this book. But when my husband heard me laughing about the title, he assured me that the book was somewhat famous and purported to be highly amusing. I didn't see anywh If you spend any time at all in the great out of doors, you'll need to know how to properly use the bathroom. The author has researched all of the various methods - packing it out, burying it, etc. and has presented the results of her research in a clear, concise, and occasionally amusing book. I would NEVER have chosen to review this book. But when my husband heard me laughing about the title, he assured me that the book was somewhat famous and purported to be highly amusing. I didn't see anywhere listed that this was an audio book. I would have never gotten an audio book. I detest audio books. So bear that in mind when reading this review. The author begins the book with the history of how the 3rd edition came to be (a bit boring) and why she thought this was the best title (okay?!). She then sets out to give her reasoning for writing the book with several amusing stories of people and their "accidents." She then proceeds to explain how and where to properly use the bathroom in the wild. I had hoped for way more funny than I actually received. The reader's voice was amusing, but the content was just way to wordy. If I'd been reading a paper book I think I could have skimmed and would have been a lot less glassy eyed when I finished. In summery, I wouldn't recommend the audio book. But the paper book might be worth a skim for the avid outdoors men who wants to hear the pros and cons of poop in the woods. I received this book free of charge from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I didn't think an entire book on how to shit in the woods would be necessary, but this one has some good info in it and some funny stories. I've seen enough stupid stuff in the woods to know that more people should read this book. The book covers ideas for proper form, location, etiquette, how to pack it out, water filtration, and most importantly - the environmental impacts of our actions.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dioscita

    Not only is this funny, it's totally correct.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jill Dominique Nuñez

    my bestfriend bought this for me as a gag gift. best thing ever! haha

  13. 4 out of 5

    Paul Weiss

    Required reading if you have to "go" outdoors! To the uninitiated, the art of having a dump in the woods probably seems no more complicated than "squat, squint, squeeze and squeegee"! But, alas, as the world shrinks and the use of the world's limited wilderness terrain by outdoor adventurers increases to the limit of the land's ability to withstand the stress of that use, it's just not that simple. When considerations such as ecology, weather, temperature, privacy, courtesy, hygiene, biodegradati Required reading if you have to "go" outdoors! To the uninitiated, the art of having a dump in the woods probably seems no more complicated than "squat, squint, squeeze and squeegee"! But, alas, as the world shrinks and the use of the world's limited wilderness terrain by outdoor adventurers increases to the limit of the land's ability to withstand the stress of that use, it's just not that simple. When considerations such as ecology, weather, temperature, privacy, courtesy, hygiene, biodegradation, density of camping use in an area, terrain and so on are factored into the decision as to where and how to complete the necessary feat, all is not as simple as it would seem. The methods one should choose are as varied as the terrains one might choose to visit and the times of year in which those choices are made. How to Shit in the Woods is a book that should be read by EVERY person who would choose to venture into the out of doors - whether you want to spend a weekend at the local campground or you're a hardcore toughened backwoodsman heading out into the bush for a week long solo canoe trip in Canada's northern boreal forest! Be prepared for lots of silly toilet humour, hilarious anecdotes concerning toilet misadventures, lots of tongue-in-cheek jokes, a good number of belly laughs and a very earthy delivery to be sure - but the message ultimately is entirely serious and well worth the read! There is very little humorous when it concerns encountering the leavings of someone who trod the trail in front of you. Highly recommended for campers of all stripes, sexes, ages and experience levels. Paul Weiss

  14. 5 out of 5

    Harrison

    It sounds more interesting than it is. It reads like an old school scouts guide. While it does offer good tips for the subject matter, I would skip it entirely unless you're REALLY into exploring the outdoors. If you're an outdoor hiker then by all means, you'll be able to put the knowledge in this book into practise. Otherwise skip. The novelty wore off pretty quickly and the humor was just mainly the novelty of a book about pooping in the woods heeheehee.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zibbernaut

    Honestly I don't know what I expected. Did I think that the title was a way to bring me in, and we'd be discussing the environmental impact that camping has on the land, and ways to combat that? Or did I think that the entire book would literally be about shitting in the woods? The title was not just to be funny. It was legit. The whole book is about how to shit in the woods and how to bring your shit out of the woods so we don't ruin them.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Seth Thomas

    The information was useful though outdated by the time I read it. The humor was irritating after 2 paragraphs. If it had been a pamphlet of half the length it would have been twice as good. There are numerous outdoor-related websites that you should read instead for the same information. Just google it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vivina Vincent

    I picked up this book to understand on compost toilets and stick to the natural and most environment friendly way of shitting. It has been a hillarious read and quite informative( for those travelling outdoors). It definitely broadened by view on ickiness of the matter and get over it to make it easy for mother Earth.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Max M

    A very informational book about the best practices, poses, and tools to use when pooping in the woods. The author also spoke of waterborne protozoic, bacterial, and viral infections you might experience in the wild and how to go about treating them. She had a shout-out to Darwin OnTheTrail so that was a pleasant surprise!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alex Drysdale

    Got this book as a gift and was hoping it would be a bit more direct. It would be a good bathroom reader as there is a lot of fluff. In the end I think the book could be whittled down to 10 or less pages.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Cody

    This book was given to my parents as a joke gift when I was a kid, and I took it with me for nostalgia sake, but never read it until now. It was about as you’d expect for a novelty book... not a ton of substance.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Once you get over yourself about the topic there is a lot of very useful, frank information in this little book. It is dated (you can tell by the extensive product lists which were critical in a pre-commonplace-Internet age) but the bulk of the work doesn’t suffer for it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    As a weekend walker and an occasional camper, picked this up expecting a fun, silly , read, but instead learned a ton about ecology, nature, current laws and some neat suggestions for taking care of a common concern for outdoor enthusiasts Who knew there were funnels for women???

  23. 5 out of 5

    Julia B

    Hilarious and practical at the same time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Candice

    Hilarious!!! Some great tips too lol!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Very informative. A quick read. Necessary if you're planning on backpacking.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dan Wilcox

    Put that in your backpack, along with your triple-wrapped toilet paper!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Adi

    The title does really say it all.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Turner

    The content of this book could have been covered in no more then 2 blog posts

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stéphane Piette

    short, fun and important things learned !

  30. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    I definitely learned a lot!

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