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How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally…

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

by Kathleen Meyer

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This book is exactly what it says. My husband and I listened to it in the ride up to the Adirondacks to go do just what the title suggests-well, backpacking. I listened to the rest on the way back and forth from work.

I got this audiobook mainly for work to help to leave no trace and outdoor ethics. It is extremely humorous and you must be comfortable with the word shit. The author actually does a lot to explain exactly why she has chosen this word instead of other to convey her purpose. Anyway, this book contains a wealth of information for anyone who might find themselves having to go without a conventional toilet-hikers, backpackers, white-water rafters, kayakers, canoers, horseback riders and military personnel. Shared through personal anecdotes and other's stories about mishaps in the field, you will not feel alone in your trials. The best information is about different ways to actually go about your business, methods for being environmentally responsible and packing out. There is also quite a bit of information about treating water and giardia. The women's only sections is particularly useful, though I already use a Go Girl. There is a ton a product information in here and on the audiobook, that got a little boring to listen to, but is important if you are still trying to find the best way to shit in the woods.

This audiobook was received for free in return for an honest review. ( )
  Mishker | Aug 19, 2014 |
Funny and useful. I near cried I was laughing so hard, and yet, the information has come in handy. More than once. ( )
  empress8411 | Jan 20, 2014 |
Cute title, funny pic on cover, and well-written with much necessary but tastefully subtle humour. However, I am now convinced (if I wasn't, before) that it is highly unlikely that I will ever go camping again. Much as I love sleeping under the stars with only the music of the crickets in my ears, I am just too attached to my *conveniences* to be a responsible camper, especially these days, when concern for the health of the planet is so very important. I wish I had as much confidence in most campers, though, as I do in the author.

She wrote this book back in 1989, with a revised edition coming out in 1994, still eons ago, in terms of what we know about the damage to our environment today. I wonder what she would write today. This books discusses, in a very readable way, a topic that no one ever really wants to discuss, but one which every human on the planet knows intimately: the cycle of bodily elimination, specifically, if you are camping or hiking. Even more specifically, how and where to do it, and what to do WITH it after the fact, so as not to contaminate the water supply or the general environment. It isn't pretty, and isn't even very convenient but if you are planning to hike or camp (and eat) for more than a few hours, this is knowledge that is so essential, it's almost scary.

Meyer has done extensive homework, and has lots of personal anecdotes, as well. She wrote this before the internet was a household word, and as such, lists names, addresses and phone numbers of companies that manufacture and sell items she mentions (and the prices of those items!). That made me chuckle.

But seriously, there was a terrible tragedy here in Ontario around 10 years ago in Walkerton, where the water supply to the town had been contaminated and not properly treated and many people died and many more were seriously ill, and some remain so to today.


You would think that would be a wake-up call but I wonder, do serious hikers and trekkers really know about the stuff I read in this book, and follow these practices? I shudder to think that they don't.

She started the book with a discourse on how she finally decided to go with the word *shit* in the first place -- not an easy decision, apparently -- and ends it with a thoroughly amusing 3 and a half page glossary of the Definition of Shit.

Apart from the cringe factor, I actually quite enjoyed this book. Even if you never go camping, if you have any interest in the health of this planet, this is probably one of the more readable books you will find anywhere on the topic. I know there has recently been a more current edition, though, since this one is more than 20 years old and I'd love to see how she has updated it. Sadly, the condition of the planet and our environment has deteriorated greatly, despite her best intentions to try to educate and prevent that very point. ( )
  jessibud2 | Mar 31, 2013 |
A book about what it means to go camping completely without the use of ammenities ( )
  dAdNdNdE | Apr 29, 2012 |
Extremely useful information. ( )
  librisissimo | Mar 23, 2010 |
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I dyde shyte thre grete toordes.
Fables of Aesop, Caxton Translation, Vol. 15, 1484
Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, where thou shalt go forth abroad: And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon: and it shall be when thou shalt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and thou shalt turn back, and cover that which cometh from thee.
Deut. 22:12-13
For Father, who would have approved this subject.

In memory of Uncle Ernie, the only other rebel and writer in the family, who inspired and delighted me with his letters for so many years.

And to Patrick.
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In the mid-1800s in the Royal Borough of Chelsea, London, an industrious young English plumber named Thomas Crapper grabbed Progress in his pipe wrench and with a number of sophisticated sanitation inventions leapfrogged ahead one hundred years.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0898156270, Paperback)

The author continues to expand her investigation into better methods of conduct in the outdoors, reviews health concerns, and shares some of the extraordinary mail her book has generated.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:35 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Our once-pristine wildlands are threatened by ever increasing problems of pollution. Since its first publication in 1989, "How to Shit in the Woods" has been adopted by outdoor enthusiasts everywhere as part of the solution. In this updated edition, outdoorswoman Kathleen Meyer reviews the newly available portable potties, with special attention to individual trekkers in an all-new chapter, "Plight of the Solo Poop Packer". Other topics include: the growing array of travelers' field water-disinfecting systems, Giardia contamination and the now infamous critter Cryptosporidium, crotch-accessible clothing for women, and a fresh batch of "worst experience" stories, all peppered with irreverent musings. For the purist, there are more wise t.p.-less techniques from the Old World." -- BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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