Tuesday, December 9, 2008

To wag or not to wag...that is the question...

In many climbing areas and mountaineering destinations around the country, Wag Bags are required.

What's a Wag Bag?

A Wag Bag is a simple system for human waste disposal in the backcountry. These are essentially sanitary bags for human waste removal. They're not complex and there's no mystery. They're plastic bags that you poop in.

Access to places like Mount Rainier, Mount Whitney and the desert are threatened by an overabundance of human waste. In some of these locations you are required to use a Wag Bag or the equivalent. Of course, part of the pack-it-in pack-it-out philosophy is not just using such a bag, but also bringing it back out with you. These areas are also threatened by an overabundance of used and discarded Wag Bags.

The following description is from the Wag Bag website.

The WAG BAG Toilet in a Bag waste kit is a biodegradable double-bag system made from puncture resistant materials.

Each waste kit includes a zip close disposal/transport bag, a waste collection bag preloaded wiith Poo Powder waste treatment, toilet paper and a hand sanitizer.

Our non-toxic Poo Powder waste treatment treats up to 32 ounces of liquid and solid waste allowing for multiple use. It turns liquid waste to a solid for hygenic and spillproof transport. The Poo Powder waste treatment controls odors and contains a decay catalyst that breaks down solid waste.

The WAG BAG Toilet in a Bag waste kits are biodegradable and approved for landfill disposal.


Timmy O'Neil is often considered the "funniest man in climbing." A few years ago, Timmy put together the following video about wag bags in the Utah desert.



It should be noted that Wag Bag is a specific brand name that has become somewhat synonymous with backcountry sanitation. The main competitor to Wag Bags are the Restop sanitation kits. These work equally well.

--Jason D. Martin

1 comment:

Austin said...

The Wag Bag seems outdated now. You have to carry around a bucket or toilet with you in order to use it. The Biffy Bag is another brand that comes with everything you need and is much more user friendly. check them out