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New Hampshire Trail Privies: Sit Free or Die

1-2-Moose Mountain Open Throne Privy-002

The New Hampshire state motto is “Live Free or Die” which makes the phrase “Sit Free or Die” especially funny.

Many of the privies you find in New Hampshire, especially on the Appalachian Trail, have unique “personalities.” I’ve selected two of my favorites here, the open air, throne-like privy at the Moose Mountain shelter and the Penta Privy, a five sided privy, which can be found at the six sided adirondack style shelter on Mt. Cube.

The phrase “Live Free of Die”, and pretty much sums up New Hampshire residents’ conservative attitude to government intervention in everyday life.

The 5-Sided Penta Privy on the Appalachian Trail
The 5-Sided Penta Privy on the Appalachian Trail

Historically, the phrase comes from an 1809 dinner toast by General John Stark, abbreviated from his original “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” More recently it has taken on a different meaning, highlighting the fact the New Hampshire does not have a sales tax compared to the one in neighboring Massachusetts, often called Taxachusetts by local residents.

Updated 2015.

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8 comments

  1. The privies are a blessing and a curse. I have propped the doors open with a pitch fork so I wouldn't die from the ripeness. The open throne looks like a perfect solution.

    Speaking of the privy, I just read the classic How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art<img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=ultrarevie-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0898156270&quot; width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> by Kathleen Meyer. It is fabulous and funny. Lots to think about.

  2. I use the same technique also, except in the winter. :-)

    Kathleen's book is a must have for anyone who needs to poop outdoors. It's also a great stocking stuffer for the holidays. Families love talking about this kind of thing. Great way to break the ice with your in-laws!

  3. I love the Dartmouth Outing Club for maintaining such a sense of humor along with the privies. And some of my other favorite privy names are the "Cooper Pooper" at Cooper Lodge near Killington, VT and "Fort Relief" at the Antlers campsite in the 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine.

  4. I think I remember those, but it might have been dark when I visited.

    A few other fun ones are at the Minerva Hinkley shelter on the AT part of the Long Trail (pink poodle on the toilet seat) and the privy on Mt Whiteface (Long Trail), that says "Dartmouth Faculty Club" above the seat.

  5. In '03, a woman with the trail name of "Mag" took a picture of every privy on the A.T. I wish I could remember her full given name, but I've forgotten.

  6. It is things like this that make it totally awesome and fun to hike some of the trails. A great way to get a laugh at the end of the day and still get your business done… Thank you to all the trail clubs and organizations who’s hard work and humor make it all possible.

    • Privy art and graffiti is hilarious. Another good one is the Whiteface Shelter Privy on the Long Trail. There’s a sign over the door that says “Dartmouth Faculty Club.”

  7. I have a poster showing a whole bunch of privies of various “architectural styles”. I remember staying at Gray Knob on Mount Adams in NH (the RMC hut) and they had the privy seat hanging in the hut on a rope. When someone had to go, they would take the seat off the hook and carry in down to the privy and back.

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