Recently Wild magazine reviewed two of Ezygonow’s popular outdoor products. In particular it was reviewed whether products such as the Toilet in A Bag and the GO anywhere Toilet Kits would be suitable for multi-day adventurers in the wilderness.
NATURE CALLS: EZYGONOW’S WASTE DISPOSAL PRODUCTS
Ezygonow’s Go Anywhere Toilet Kit and Toilet in a Bag products provide excellent alternatives for storing human waste when you’re far from other facilities, but will they entice the multi-day adventurer?
When it comes to relieving oneself in the wilderness, people must take care not to leave anything behind in places where their waste may pose a hazard to the environment or to other outdoor users.
The main aims of proper human waste disposal, in terms of minimal impact, are to avoid polluting water sources, eliminate contact with fauna, maximise decomposition and to minimise the chances of social impacts. When this isn’t strictly adhered to, improper disposal can lead to water pollution, the spread of illnesses such as Giardia and Hepatitis A, and unpleasant experiences for bushwalkers who follow.
One option for dealing with human waste when in the bush is to carry the waste out, especially in areas where visitor use is high or where soils are shallow (such as alpine or desert areas) or frozen.
Ezygonow products, while mainly directed at the car camper, may also have potential use for bushwalkers. The two products reviewed below are the GO anywhere Toilet Kit and the Toilet in A Bag, both made by the US company Cleanwaste and distributed in Australia by Ezygonow.
The Go Anywhere Toilet Kit weighs just 70 grams and contains a sturdy waste collection bag, waste treatment gelling powder (which gels and solidifies liquid waste to a solid), which is pre-loaded into the bag and a secure, puncture resistant zip-close disposal bag, toilet paper and a hand wipe.
The versatility of the product is such that it can be used in a portable toilet, in a bucket or by itself. It is worth noting that the toilet paper provided with the kit is minimal and it would be prudent to carry your own. The gelling powder works well (it is activated by liquid), but odour control is limited, probably due to the fact that the powder is already in the bag, which, due to the existence of gravity, means the it forms a layer at the bottom of the bag.
By comparison, the Toilet in a Bag kit contains 15 bags and 15 scoops of the gelling powder. No toilet paper, hand wipes or outer zip seal bag are provided. Odour control with this system is better ‘out of the box’ because powder can be added before and after use (however, it’s worth noting that Poo Powder is available as a product by itself for separate purchase if you’d rather have a little extra on hand and this would alleviate any odour issues with the Go Anywhere Toilet Kit).
The bags of each system can be used more than once (each waste kit can gel up to 946 millilitres of waste), though odour control of the Toilet in a Bag kit is better for dealing with multiple uses because you can simply add more powder each time.
For most people, the use of the bags should be straightforward and instructions are quite clear. However, Ezygonow are also providing instructional videos online for those who would rather be safe than sorry.
One possible concern regarding the suitability of the product for multi-day hikes or backcountry ski journeys and the like, is that some people wouldn’t be terribly keen on carry the full bags (a type of ‘poop tube’ would be required for portability?) and the disposal of the bags. The products could be useful in a one-off scenario, perhaps before or after a hike or bushwalk, but perhaps not as part of an extended adventure.
The used bags cannot be flushed or placed in toilets, septic systems or pit toilets. The kits are classified in Australia as putrescible waste and can be disposed of in household waste (e.g. landfill), however the company notes that different councils may have different restrictions. Regardless, the nature of the product may cause some people to balk in favour of ‘greener’ alternatives.
In saying that, I think the bag would be generally more useful to people if it could be made from completely biodegradable materials (assuming they maintain their integrity for a couple of weeks or months), much like some of the dog waste bags available. Studies on human waste disposal in mountain areas of Tasmania suggest that carrying out human waste, and particularly the paper, is the best option in terms of environmental impact. However, this is currently not enforced anywhere in Australia, mainly due to health issues associated with carrying the waste and its subsequent disposal.
While the Ezygonow products reviewed could be useful in some situations, their application in bushwalking scenarios may be somewhat limited, depending on the situation or location. However, just about any traveller would benefit from packing a Toilet in a Bag in the car glovebox for emergency situations. You just never know when it might prove useful!
For more information on the GO anywhere Toilet Kit, Toilet in a Bag and the full Ezygonow product range visit: http://ezygonow.com.au/shop/