Under normal circumstances sanitation is something most of us take for granted. Indoor plumbing, running water, and privacy are all adequately accounted for in our daily lives; however, should things ever go south, sanitation will be an important factor for preppers to take into account. Sanitation can help maintain health, or it can hamper health and place everyone at risk of increased disease and illness; once those problems start, sanitation will be all but forgotten as people begin to battle for their very lives. Some of you are probably thinking; “it’s not that big a deal, we’ll just have to do our business in the backwoods,” or something similar, yet nothing could be further from the truth.
All the other animals in the kingdom excrete waste as they wander around throughout the day. They do not have a restroom, toilets, or central depositories where they go to do their business. Humans, on the other hand, tend to do their business in the same place, once that place has been established. In a long-term survival situation, the “bathroom” might be the outhouse out back, or a hole in the ground just outside the main camp. It could also consist of a composting toilet or something similar. If these environments are not maintained properly, a foul aroma will be the least of your worries. The videos below shed light on the subject of sanitation in a SHTF situation!
Not all situations that require us to take care of business in the backwoods is going to encompass an end of the world survival scenario. Hunters, hikers, and avid outdoorsmen have all found themselves in the undesirable position of needing to conduct matters in the middle of nowhere, and seldom do they have the necessities at hand that they will need. Toilet paper is not always going to be available; it is therefore imperative to find suitable substitutes and learn how to use them effectively. Not only will you need to know what to use, you’ll need to have a plan of action for where you will do business and what to do with the area once you are finished.
There are several substitutes you can use as toilet paper when conducting your business out in the boonies. In a long-term survival situation, plant populations may disappear rather rapidly if they are being used as a substitute for toilet paper. You also need to be aware of the plant varieties in the area you are doing your business in. Some poisonous plants are “contact-capable,” meaning they can cause a nasty rash if they come into contact with your skin. Poison Ivy, for instance, is not a wise option to use as a substitute for toilet paper; cleanliness will be the least of your concerns once the rash appears and begins to spread.
For temporary survival situations, something as handy as a properly retrofitted 5-gallon bucket might be the very thing you need in order to conduct your business and maintain sanitation. This video demonstrates one of the easiest DIY bathroom buckets you can make. This would be adequate for short term survival situations, weekend camping trips where outhouses are unavailable, or as a temporary substitute during power outages. This would not be an adequate system for long term survival, or for larger camping groups.
Composting toilets are another option for conducting business in both short-term and long-term survival situations. Some homesteaders and tiny house owners, are very familiar with the use of composting toilets. These can be used for any situation. You can use them now, during conventional times, provided you have a method for disposing of the waste that you will have to remove as the toilet gets full. Composting toilets are a great idea for off grid living as they can provide fertilizer for non-edible plants on the property.
The final sanitation video details building an outhouse that will also employ a composting toilet. If you are not using a composting toilet in an outhouse, then you will have to dig a sizeable hole in the ground and go the old-fashioned route to help eliminate smells. You will also need to move a traditional outhouse from time to time depending on how many people are using it, and how often. There are also very important details regarding site location for traditional outhouses that you will want to become familiar with.