Phillips Environmental Products

Phillips Environmental Products

England, Mike
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Pack it in, pack it out. Over the years, this popular backpacker’s mantra has become one of the most sacred tenets of outdoor recreation. Want to test the theory? Try chucking an empty beer can into the water next time you’re camped with some friends at a high alpine lake. Chances are you’ll either be swimming after it, or walking down the trail alone.

This "leave no trace" mentality is the driving force behind Phillips Environmental Products, a Belgrade-based outdoor company that manufactures an eco-friendly waste-disposal system called the PETT (Portable Environmental Toilet). Compact and easy to use, the PETT has redefined the notion of low-impact wilderness travel. By combining a series of individual waste-disposal elements into a lightweight, self-contained kit, Phillips Environmental has made it possible to pack out everything you pack in.

It starts with the portable toilet. Nothing new there; boaters, RV campers, and river guides have been using them for years. At only seven pounds, the PETT is as light as they come, but what truly sets it apart is the disposal method. Attached to the toilet is a special two-layer waste bag filled with bioactive powder that removes odors and instantly begins breaking down the waste. After you’ve done your business, you just remove the bag, zip it closed, and that’s that. The bag itself is airtight and degradable, so you can drop it in a trash can at the next opportunity. The whole process is fast and sanitary.

If you’re still not convinced you need to pack a toilet into the backcountry, don’t worry — very few of us are that committed to the cause just yet. In the meantime, there are numerous other uses for the PETT. It’s cheap, durable, and fully collapsible, so the system is great for car camping, hunting camps, and construction sites. And remember — if your number comes up for that coveted Grand Canyon float permit, you won’t have a choice. You either agree to pack out your poop, or you agree to pack up and go home. At the very least, the PETT will take much of the unpleasantness out of that most unpleasant of duties.
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