Dick Andrews (ed.), The Appalachian Trail Conference Backcountry Sanitation Manual (Appalachian Trail Conference, 2002)
(note: review originally published 22Oct2011)
Ladies and gentlemen, the book you’ve been waiting for all your lives is here: How to Shit in the Woods! When I saw a press release about this a year or so ago, I knew I was going to have to read it. My wife doesn’t get it. Every time I picked it up and started reading, I got that dog-who-doesn’t-understand-what-you’re-saying look. But seriously, how can you NOT want to read this, even if it’s just to say you’ve read a book about How to Shit in the Woods?
To be fair to the book, what it actually is is a discussion of various types of composting toilets and whether they’re appropriate for various natural areas (given local environmental laws and what have you). And it’s actually kind of interesting, especially if you’ve been thinking about in-home conservation (at least one author mentions that he’s had moldering privies in his home since they were first introduced in America, so it can be done). A lot of it is the logistics of getting your building materials in and out of areas where motor vehicles are not allowed, safety tips for avoiding contamination while composting, that sort of thing, but all of it is well-presented and clear.
I grant you, this is a vertical-market title if ever there was one, but it’s not a bad read at all. If you’re interested in the subject matter, give it a whirl. You can’t beat the cost (the PDF is free on the Appalachian Trail Conference website). ***