It’s the feisty third edition of How to Shit in the Woods, jam-packed with new information for outdoor enthusiasts of every stripe. Hailed in its first edition as “the most important environmental book of the decade” by Books of the Southwest, and in its second as “the real shit” by the late, great, outdoor photographer Galen Rowell, this bestselling guide is often called the “backpacker’s bible” and has sold more than 2.5 million copies in eight languages. Author Kathleen Meyer continues to pioneer the way with her inimitable voice—at once humorous, irreverent, and direct—examining the latest techniques for graceful backcountry elimination, and answering a desperate cry from nature concerning environmental precautions in our ever-shrinking wilds.
World changes come fast and furious, and in the backcountry it is no different. The practice of “packing-it-out,” adopted to protect high use areas and fragile eco-systems, is here to stay. We are now often urged to haul our poop home. Or with increasing frequency, the whole business is mandatory. To assist with all this responsible human waste disposal, Meyer’s new edition features the latest in product innovations, from classy high-tech to inexpensive do-it-yourself. She covers the most current solutions to the health risks of drinking straight from wilderness waterways; presents a raft of natural substitutes for the purist swearing off toilet tissue; and offers a wealth of new recommendations for ladies who must make do without a loo.
This down-to-earth guide has been employed as a training aid for scout troops, outdoor schools, and wilderness programs for inner-city youth; for rangers with the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management; as well as for whitewater rafting guides, backcountry outfitters, and members of the military.
In rowing hundreds of urbanites down whitewater rivers, Meyer honed her squatting skills and found she “wasn’t alone in the klutz department.” Her delightfully shameless discussion of a once-shameful activity, her erudite examination of its associated vocabulary, and her unapologetic promotion of its colorful vernacular make How to Shit in the Woods essential and vastly entertaining reading for anyone who’s ever paused at the edge of the forest and pondered: “Where do I go to go?”
A longtime outdoorswoman, KATHLEEN MEYER is the founding editor of Headwaters, published by Friends of the River. Her travel essays have been included in the Travelers’ Tales anthologies A Woman’s Passion for Travel: More True Stories from a Woman’s World… More about Kathleen Meyer