Picture this: You’re out exploring nature, far away from the conveniences of indoor plumbing.
Suddenly, the call of nature strikes. You now face the age-old question — how will you pee outdoors without compromising comfort or etiquette?
This scenario is fairly straightforward for guys. But for the ladies, outdoor peeing can be a little more…challenging.
Regardless of where you’re at, peeing outdoors doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. All you need are some expert tips (and a few vital pieces of gear) designed to make any outdoor pee quick and easy.
In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about peeing in the great outdoors while maintaining respect for nature and those around you. Keep reading below!
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Finding the Ideal Spot for Peeing Outdoors
When nature calls and there’s no restroom in sight, finding the perfect outdoor pee spot becomes an art. Let’s start with some tips to help you find an ideal location.
First, try to find a location that gives you some privacy. Aim for a spot that’s away from trails (watch for those switchbacks), campsites, and water sources. Look for natural barriers like trees, bushes, or large rocks to ensure your privacy and avoid unwanted encounters.
With that said, don’t feel stressed or overthink things — everyone pees! Try your best to find a secluded location, but if someone happens to pass by, it’s not the end of the world.
Next, consider the landscape around you. Although urine is much “cleaner” than poop, you’ll still want to keep your distance from water sources to prevent contamination.
At least 200 feet away (that’s about 70 adult steps) is a good rule of thumb to follow to preserve water quality.
Finally, choose an area with soil that can absorb your waste. Avoid hard, rocky surfaces or places with compacted soil, as this can lead to puddling and spread contamination.
If possible, find an area with sand or softer soil that will absorb your pee and minimise splashing.
How to Pee Outdoors Safely and Comfortably
From the classic squat to more modern methods, there are a number of ways to tackle outdoor peeing. Let’s go through your options and provide some helpful suggestions you may not have considered before.
The Classic Squat
Chances are this is how you were taught to pee in the woods during your first hike or camping trip.
First, look for a flat area where you can balance comfortably. Make sure your chosen spot is free of obstacles to prevent tripping or falling.
(If you’re on a slope, orient yourself so your toes are pointing downhill. This is easier for your hips and ankles and it also ensures the pee will run away from your feet.)
Lower yourself into a squatting position, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold onto your knees for support if needed.
To maintain a steady stream, relax your pelvic muscles and avoid straining. Even if you’re feeling shy, don’t dribble — you’re less likely to get splashed if you fully commit and let nature take its course.
The Assisted Squat
If your legs are screaming after a long hike or you have mobility issues in your knees or hips, you might not be able to do a full squat.
That’s okay! You can accomplish the same goal with a little assistance from a tree trunk, a large rock, or another “prop” in the area.
Rest your back against the object or lean on it for support as you squat as low as you can to do your business. Just be mindful of any potentially prickly or poisonous plants or insects before you touch anything!
If there’s nothing to lean against and you’re comfortable peeing in front of your travelling companion, another variation is to have them hold your hands and assist you with your squat. It sounds a little silly, but it’s a perfectly legitimate option if you’re too tired to squat on your own.
The Towel Squat
What if you need to pee outdoors somewhere that isn’t as private as you’d prefer?
Here’s a little trick you could try — wrap a towel, sarong, or another long piece of fabric around your waist before you squat. Pick up the dangling bits to keep them clean and dry while you do your business.
This is especially helpful if it’s a windy day, as it will also keep you cleaner and drier!
The Pee Funnel
Guys have it so easy! Wouldn’t it be great if girls could pee just as quickly and discreetly outdoors?
Good news — there’s a whole ensemble of gear designed to help ladies with outdoor peeing. I’ve included a section at the end with recommendations for urination devices, portable bags, and much more.
But first, let’s cover some more need-to-know tips for peeing outdoors safely, comfortably, and yes, even legally.
More Expert Tips for Outdoor Peeing
From when, where, and how to do it, here are some important do’s and don’ts when you need to pee outdoors.
1. Pack Up and Pack Out
There’s nothing wrong with using toilet paper, baby wipes, or other disposable items to keep yourself clean and dry.
However, it’s disrespectful at best (and illegal at worst) to leave used sanitary products out in nature. Even if you bury it, animals could dig it up or it could make its way into the local water supply.
Carry some sealable ziplock baggies with you and always take any used paper or wipes with you. Then you can dispose of them properly once you’re back in “civilisation.”
2. Squirt Water Bottle Method
Need to pee outdoors but don’t have any toilet paper on hand?
In many parts of the world, people clean themselves with a simple splash of water from a bidet or a bucket. You can replicate the same thing with a squirt bottle or hydration pack nozzle.
Be sure to squirt from the front to keep yourself (and the bottle) clean!
3. Dig a Hole
This is basic advice for going #2 in the woods, but it can also help with cleanliness while you pee outdoors.
Find a stick or a rock (or use the heel of your shoe) and dig a shallow hole in the sand before you pee. This gives the urine a place to pool and makes it less likely to get on your legs and feet.
4. Be Aware of Hazards
The last thing you want to do is end up with a rash or (even worse) a bite or a sting from an animal.
As you search for the perfect place to pee, make sure there are no obvious dangers like cactus, poison ivy, poison oak, snakes, or other stinging creatures. Make sure you’re familiar with local flora and fauna before you set out so you know what to avoid.
While you’re at it, make sure there are no loose rocks or gravel, especially if you’re anywhere near a ledge or a cliff!
5. Try the Double Car Door Trick
Have you ever had to pee while you’re on a long road trip but there’s no restroom in sight?
Here’s a brilliant tip to ensure your privacy while you relieve yourself. Simply pull over to the side of the road, open both passenger side doors, and squat between them.
The doors will act as a shield from wind, weather, and any other traffic that happens to pass by. Just make sure you’re far enough off the road to avoid collisions.
6. Know the Law
For most of this article, we’ve assumed you’re peeing in the woods far from civilisation. But what if you need to pee in a more public location and there’s no restroom available?
The law varies from country to country (and even city to city), but here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
- Urinating in a very public place (such as a sidewalk or the side of a building) is almost always against the law, punishable by fines or even arrest.
- If you must pee somewhere public, choose a dark place (not under a street lamp) to minimise your chances of being seen.
- Never, under any circumstances, relieve yourself near a school, a playground, or another location with children, as you could face serious legal consequences.
Bonus: Must-Have Gear for Peeing in the Woods
As promised, I’ve included some recommendations for gear to make peeing outdoors much easier. Here’s a quick list of highly-rated items to consider for your next hiking or camping adventure.
1. Sunany Female Urination Device
This ingenious invention allows women to pee standing up without spilling a drop!
Made of lightweight silicon, it acts as a portable “urinal” that can be cleaned and reused again and again. It comes with both a nylon bag and a waterproof bag to keep you (and the rest of your gear) clean and dry during your adventures.
2. The Tinkle Belle Female Urination Device
Similar to the Sunany device listed above, the Tinkle Belle offers an incredibly user-friendly outdoor peeing experience.
Ladies, you can remain fully clothed while using the Tinkle Belle! It’s designed to seal against your body and is guaranteed to prevent any leaks or overflow. Simply lower your fly, position it, and pee while the spout directs the urine away from your body — it really is that easy.
It’s compact and foldable and comes with a convenient (and discreet) clip-on carrying case.
3. PP-Aid Female Urinal
This device isn’t as compact as the others on our list, but it gets the job done (and some women may prefer its hands-free design).
To use it, simply move your clothing down in front, position the PP-Aid against your body, and hold it in place with a gentle squeeze of your thighs. It also comes with a front handle to use in case your legs are tired from hiking.
After you’re done, simply dump the urine, rinse with water, wipe dry, and you’re good to go.
4. Awkward Essentials Disposable Female Urinals
Not in love with the idea of washing and carrying a reusable urinal everywhere you go?
If you’re more of a “one and done” kind of girl, you might consider this disposable option from Awkward Essentials. It’s a pack of 10 one-time-use funnels you’ll use and discard.
Made of sturdy cardboard (similar to a tampon applicator), you’ll simply pop open the funnel and use it to direct pee away from your body. When you’re finished, place it in a sealable bag and then dispose of it in a proper waste receptacle when you have a chance — remember, always pack up and pack out!
5. Alytree Silver-Infused Pee Cloth
Don’t want to carry a bag of used toilet paper on your long hike?
Apparently, a lot of women don’t, which is why Alytree designed this hygienic, reusable, and (actually attractive) pee cloth.
Made with a silver-infused Jacquard air layer fabric, the pee cloth is antimicrobial, gentle on your skin, and completely odourless. After use, clip it onto your backpack or leave it in a sunny place and it will completely dry in just a few hours.
The cloth includes a handy (pardon the pun) hand grip to help you grasp the cloth while your hand stays clean and dry. You can reuse it as often as you need to during your travels and wash it once you return home.
Pee in the Woods Like a Pro
As we’ve discussed, mastering the art of outdoor peeing requires a combination of finding the right spot, squatting with safety, and adhering to proper etiquette to keep nature pristine.
By following these guidelines, you can answer nature’s call while leaving no trace and respecting the environment and fellow adventurers. And don’t forget a few basic pieces of hiking and camping equipment to make any outdoor pee a breeze!
With these tips, you’re ready to go forth and explore with confidence, knowing you’re equipped to handle this basic but very important aspect of outdoor life!
What else do you need for your next big outdoor adventure? Read this post next for expert tips on the best clothes to wear while you hike.