Toilet Paper - it has absolutely no place in nature. Toilet paper blooms, or disgusting wads of used toilet paper, are popping up all over the wilderness floor. Contrary to what you might think, these nasty little blooms actually take a long time to disintegrate, especially in areas with little rain. The natural beauty of the outdoors is being diminished, and toilet paper is a growing part of the problem as more people start to discover the outdoors again.
Instead, consider packing a pee rag with you on your pack when you head out on adventures. Pee rags probably sound like a nasty option, but they are actually safer for you and cleaner for the environment. Air drying after you pee outdoors can cause a list of problems including UTI’s, irritation and yeast infections. A lot of people use wet wipes or alcohol pads to wipe themselves, but the chemicals in those can throw off your body’s PH levels or cause allergic reactions and irritation. These wipes kill the good bacteria, along with the bad bacteria, leaving yourself susceptible to complications.
Of course, the need might arise to go “number two”. It’s important to dig a cat hole. Always make sure to cover up your waste and pack out your toilet paper in a ziploc bag when you’re done. Never try to burn your toilet paper afterwards, as this is ineffective and extremely dangerous. The burning of toilet paper has been known to cause wildfires and will not fully disintegrate the toilet paper, anway.
If you’re worried about the cleanliness, don’t be. Sunlight has antibacterial properties, so securing your pee rag to the outside of your pack or laying it on a rock in the sun for a few minutes will help it dry and actually keep it clean. Then, just wash it when you get home! Darker colored pee rags will refrain from looking dirty longer, so you don’t have to worry about fastening a pee-stained rag to your pack. Although pee is clean, you want to keep the rag separate from the rest of your supplies and easy to access. Make sure to secure your pee rag tightly to your pack so a branch doesn’t snag it from you. Wander Woman Gear even has a retractable clip attached to their pee rags!
The benefits of a pee rag, versus toilet paper or air drying, are no-brainers. Using a pee rag feels cleaner than leaving tiny shreds of toilet paper behind, and it’s cleaner and safer than sitting in your own moisture while you air dry. Your pack will be lighter without the toilet paper and you will have less to pack out when you leave.
In finding our Freedom and becoming Empowered, it is our responsibility as Elira women to make the necessary changes and to lead by example. Our planet’s beauty is being stripped away and is being destroyed through these careless, unnecessary acts. Get on board with organizations such as Leave No Trace, and pee outside - She’ll thank you!