Dispose of Waste Properly


Managing waste responsibly is a fundamental tenet of backcountry ethics. You won’t find corner stores or public restrooms along most of the Transcaucasian Trail, so take some time to understand how to leave the area just as pristine as you found it. 



  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
  • For solid human waste, use a trowel or small shovel to dig a cathole. Make sure the hole is 10–15 cm (4–6 inches) deep and at least 70 meters (200 feet) away from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole with natural materials when finished.
  • Urinate well away from water sources. If you’re in a rocky area where soil is minimal, try to urinate on durable surfaces, like rocks, where it can evaporate, rather than on vegetation.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 70 meters (200 feet) away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.


Failure to follow these guidelines can lead to:  

  • Water contamination. Waste and soap can contaminate water sources, which can be lethal to organisms living in streams and lakes and a source of illness for anyone who drinks that water.  

  • Ruining others’ experiences. The last thing a hiker wants to see is someone else’s used toilet paper on the trail. Keep the area pristine! And, if you dig your cathole too close to camp and don’t dig deeply enough, someone might inadvertently put their hand in it if they camp close to the same spot (eww!). 

  • Disturbances to wildlife. Wild animals can and will find trash and leftover food. If they start associating humans with food, animals might begin coming closer to humans, which can be dangerous. Also, eating human foods may disrupt the natural diet of wildlife.