14 Ways to Pee Outdoors for Women (yes, I’ve tried them all)

Not long ago I returned from an amazing bikepacking trip in a remote region of Patagonia. I carried days of food on my bike, camped alone beneath gorgeous starry skies, and saw very few people. There weren’t many public restrooms out there in the wilderness, and I quickly got used to an outdoor routine.

It seemed things had gotten a little weird, though, when I finally spent a night in a hostel in town. When nature called, I actually felt annoyed that I needed to leave my room and walk all the way down the hall to pee in a real toilet. Just peeing behind a tree or wherever would have been so much easier.

Good news, I’m home now and house broken once again, much to my husband’s relief. But this experience inspired me to round up all the techniques I’ve ever used to pee outdoors when there’s no toilet around for miles or days. As a hiker, trail runner, bikepacker, occasional climber, and off-the-beaten-track traveler, I’ve had plenty of practice.

I’m not just talking about SheWee’s and pee cloths, though I’ll get to those too. But you don’t need any special gear and it doesn’t have to be complicated, I promise.

Female hiker on JMT
Does this look like a lady who’s afraid to pee outside?

The main thing I want you to take away from this is that peeing outside as a woman is no big deal. Ladies, we deserve to enjoy the outdoors with proper hydration and an empty bladder! No more holding it in, dehydrating ourselves intentionally, or avoiding adventures that lead us far from restrooms (as many of the best adventures do).

The sooner we get comfortable taking care of our universal bodily functions without shame or disgust, the sooner we can fully enjoy getting wild in the great outdoors.

Stories From Outdoorsy Women

Squatting Styles

Before we talk about how to get clean, which is probably what you really want to know, let’s first talk about positioning.

Classic Squat

This is how most of us first learned to pee in the woods.

Pull your pants down, feet hip width apart or wider, squat all the way down (hips below knees) and do your thing. Can be challenging with tired legs, inflexible hips, or certain types of pants.

If you have trouble balancing in a deep squat, try to orient yourself with toes pointing slightly downhill; your hips and calves don’t need to be as flexible this way. This also helps the pee run downhill and away from your feet.

Tips for clean execution (these apply to many of the other methods below too):

  • To minimize splashing your feet and legs, get lower and move your hips further back.
  • For even less splash, dig a small hole or aim between rocks or logs.
  • If it’s windy, figure out which way it’s blowing and make sure you’re not angled sideways to it (been there).
  • Don’t dribble. Commit! It’s more likely the stream will go straight (instead of dribbling places we don’t want it) if you let it out fast.
No need to let fear of peeing outdoors get in the way of enjoying gorgeous campsites like this! (Kyrgyzstan)

Assisted Squat

An improvement on the classic variation: find a rock or tree trunk to rest your back against, or a tree to hold on to in front of you.

This takes some weight off tired legs or creaky knees, and doesn’t require as much flexibility. Also, there’s less chance of falling over.

Ideal also for going #2, but that’s a whole different post for another time. Or, just grab yourself a copy of this classic and informative guidebook.

The physicality of being out in nature helps us remember how to feel at home in our bodies. Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty, feel a little tired, and take care of your body’s basic needs (like eating, hydrating, and peeing).

Half Squat

Another solution for those who can’t get comfy in a full squat: squat only halfway down, pushing your hips as far back as possible while leaning your torso forward.

Can be splashy if you don’t get low enough or don’t push your hips back far enough. All bets are off if it’s really windy.

No Squat / Trail Runner Style

The quick and dirty option, literally. We trail and ultra runners are not exactly known for our cleanliness and class when we’re on the run. Sometimes just not puking on our shoes (or anyone else’s) is a victory.

If you’re running or hiking in short(ish) stretchy running shorts, simply pull the crotch aside, spread your legs a little bit and go.

If you’re running in a trail race it’s totally normal to do this just a few steps off the trail as others run by (it’s polite to face away from the trail).

Potential hazards: Pee running down your legs, dirty running shorts. Not recommended for multi-day trips.

Female trail runner in race
No time to stop for a pee break, this is a race!

Traveler Sarong Style

I learned this from the local ladies while traveling in West Africa. We used it for quick road-side pee breaks in crowded areas (which is culturally acceptable in some areas there), but you could also use it as extra coverage in the outdoors when you think you’re hidden but want to be extra sure.

The key is to drape a big piece of cloth over your butt and around your waist, like you’re wrapping a towel or sarong around your hips after a swim. If you’re hiking or camping, a jacket could work. As you squat down with the cloth covering your behind, lower your pants and wrap the cloth closer around you. You should end up in a classic squat with the cloth covering all the critical bits.

Waiting for a new wheel in Ivory Coast – perfect time for a modest roadside pee break.

Lady Fly Style

For a much more practical take on the sarong coverup idea, women-led company Zip Hers makes shorts and pants with a full-length front-to-back zip fly.

It makes a ton of sense, when you think about it. Men get to use a fly… Why not women? It’s an innovative idea, yet once I thought about it I found it quite intuitive and wondered why it’s not more common.

I had the opportunity to try a pair of Zip Hers shorts, and I can say they work as advertised. They’re comfortable, convenient, and well designed. I think runners and climbers in particular would find them very convenient.

You’ll still probably want to find a hidden spot to do your business, but they help reduce the anxiety of being spotted at the wrong moment.

Zip Hers gifted my pair of shorts for testing, but I received no compensation, all opinions are my own, and honestly I would have mentioned them anyway if I had found them sooner.

Not a lot of cover out here, but you can still walk far away from the trail and let distance (and perhaps a pair of Zip Hers shorts) be your privacy shield. (John Muir Trail)

Guy Style (Female Urination Device / Pee Funnel)

This is a flexible funnel that allows you to basically pee like a dude. I bought a GoGirl a few years ago and thought it was well designed, but I rarely feel a need for it on outdoor adventures and therefore it’s failed to find a regular place in my bag of tricks.

However, some women swear by them. See this pee funnel review for some crucial tips on how to use it (it’s definitely possible to get it wrong, with unfortunate results). I can imagine it being super useful if you do a lot of rock and alpine climbing trips.

The only time I use my GoGirl these days? Peeing into a bottle. Don’t judge. When you’re waiting out a dust storm in a yurt at Burning Man, a snowstorm in your tent on an alpine climb, or a night of stealth sleeping in your car in an urban area, you’ll understand.

Climber Style

Safety is the top priority on the wall, but a climbing harness does complicate things. Here is an excellent overview of peeing in the middle of a rock climb. It’s pretty much what you’re probably picturing.

She also recommends a pee funnel as another option, and I would guess a Zip Hers fly is another great way to go (pun intended).

This isn’t really the right place for a pee break, but if it’s unavoidable, a funnel would make it easier. (Palisade Traverse, eastern Sierra Nevada)

Getting Clean

Now that we’ve covered squat styles, let’s get down and dirty with the details of how to clean up.

Toilet Paper: Pack it out!!

Many newbie female backpackers use toilet paper for wiping after a pee. I did when I first started.

But spend enough time outside and you might start to get tired of TP, especially since it’s awkward to carry around a big bag of used TP on multi-day trips.

If you do use TP – which is perfectly fine – I beg you, please PACK IT OUT.

No one wants to see your used toilet paper. I don’t know you, but I’m guessing you don’t want to contribute to turning our planet’s most beautiful places into the equivalent of a dodgy public restroom.

Even buried toilet paper takes forever to break down and animals can dig it up. Just pack it out in a ziplock bag. Please? Thank you.

Please help keep beautiful trails clean by packing out your used toilet paper. (Colorado Trail)

Air / Drip Dry Method

Just what it sounds like. Basically, you just shake around a bit and wait for the drips to stop.

If you don’t feel quite clean enough afterwards, supplement with one of the other methods below.

If you do use this method I would make sure you’re cleaning thoroughly each night on a multi-day trip, either with baby wipes or water, and rinse your underwear each night.

And for the love of all that is clean and good, invest in some breathable stink-proof merino wool underwear.

While we’re on the subject of getting clean, if you’re in the mood for luxury these “shower wipes” are amazing. Yes they’re more expensive than regular baby wipes, and they’re marketed to guys, but they really get the job done. Start with your face and work down.

Natural Materials Method

I’ve used this method a lot while backpacking and trail running. The great outdoors is basically full of natural toilet paper.

In order of effectiveness (least to most): smooth leaves, fuzzy leaves, rocks, wood, particularly dry and porous wood.

Potential hazards: poison oak, cacti (know your local flora!), splinters (just kidding, but be gentle).

Cholla cactus in Joshua Tree National Park
NOT this, this is a cholla cactus. Too spikey. (Joshua Tree National Park)

Pantyliner Method

Let’s be honest, some of these methods can leave things a bit less than pristine down there. Especially in an area without plentiful water sources at camp each night, it can be hard to keep clean – both ourselves and our underwear – despite our best efforts.

For short trips I used to bring a stack of those little pantyliners that you can use for light days on your period. I would wear one per day, remove it each night after cleaning up with water or a baby wipe, and pack the used ones out in a plastic bag. It worked well but I wouldn’t want to carry enough of them for a longer trip.

Pee Rag Method

This one is popular with long distance thru hikers. We’re often obsessively focused on keeping our backpacks light, and commonly hike for many days without seeing a trash can, so carrying loads of used toilet paper isn’t a good option.

Simply wipe with a bandanna and then attach it to the outside of your pack so it can dry. For a premium pee rag experience, consider the antimicrobial Kula Cloth.

Seem gross? Just remember, unlike poop, urine doesn’t usually contain dangerous germs. If you let the bandanna dry in the sun and wash it periodically on a long trip, there’s nothing to be squeamish about.

Here in the desert, plentiful sunshine will keep a pee rag from getting too funky. (Arizona Trail)

Squirt Water Bottle Method

I discovered this after putting the pieces together from two recent adventures: travel in Southeast Asia (where toilets have squirt hoses instead of toilet paper) and bike touring (where I carried a typical squirt-nozzle water bottle in my bicycle bottle cage).

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this… While squatting, squirt water onto yourself, then optionally follow up with any of the methods above if you want to feel drier.

Important: squirt from the front / above if you intend to also drink out of the water bottle! Experiment with the angle, you’ll get it eventually.

You can also make this work with a hydration pack hose, but personally I always bring one of these collapsible water bottles when backpacking. They make this method easier, and I also like them for brushing teeth and drinking out of in the tent at night (no risk of rolling over onto my hydration pack nozzle and drenching my sleeping bag).

Backpacking pack with two Platypus foldable bottles in back pocket and foam pad strapped to back
Collapsible water bottles in the pocket of a backpacking pack, ready for extra water capacity or a quick post-pee rinse.

Left Hand Method

If you have water with you but no squirt bottle, this works well if you can get used to it. It’s perfect for hikers, long distance cyclists who don’t use bottles, adventurous travelers, and basically a substantial portion of the world’s population.

While squatting, hold a water container in your right hand. Make a cup with your left hand and pour some water into it, then splash it against yourself.

It takes a bit of practice but works well once you get it. As with the pee rag, it’s not actually a major sanitation issue, but why not wash your hands or squirt on some hand sanitizer before eating.

In countries where this is normal, it’s even used for #2. I cannot say I’ve made my peace with that yet, but more power to those who have.

Travel etiquette tip: this is also why it’s considered rude and gross to eat, shake hands, or basically touch anything with your left hand in those countries.

Skier / Snowboarder Method

Have you ever needed to sneak off into the trees mid-run? Then you know how this works. A handful of snow is all you need. Brrrrr…

Snow on the Tahoe Rim Trail in August – perfect!

Finding Privacy

Now that you know how to do the deed, what about where? Choosing the ideal spot requires a bit of experience and a good eye. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Ideally, leave the trail in a place that leads to a hidden area, perhaps behind some rocks or bushes, but doesn’t trample delicate vegetation or erode the trail.

Watch out for switchbacks and sharp turns! Many of us have learned this the hard way. You might think you’ve moved further from the trail only to move closer to a different part of it. The best places are often off-trail just past the corner of a switchback, where the trail turns back the other way.

Don’t pee within 200 feet of a lake or stream to avoid affecting water sources and the delicate life in them.

If forced to choose a spot on a relatively busy trail, head uphill instead of down. People have a tendency to notice what’s below the trail more than what’s above it.

In flat open areas like desert, sometimes cover just isn’t available. In these cases your privacy comes from distance. No one will notice you way over there, I promise, and if they do they can’t see you very well.

If you do leave the trail, look behind you periodically to note landmarks and make very sure you can find your way back. It’s all too easy to get turned around.

Especially if hiking alone, bring your pack with you. If you do get lost, you’ll be in a much better position to find yourself if you have food, water, and your navigation tools with you.

A Note On Modesty

No matter how hard you try to find a hidden spot, if you spend enough time in the outdoors, some day it will happen.

The trail will be too busy and too exposed to guarantee privacy. Or, perhaps you’ve seen no one all day but the moment you pull your pants down, someone appears out of nowhere.

Disastrous, right?

I was raised to value modesty, so for a long time going to the bathroom outside made me really tense. What if someone sees?!! But as I’ve gotten older and a bit more comfortable in my own skin, I care less.

Of course I make an effort to not be blatantly visible or very near the trail (seriously, watch out for switchbacks). But if I’m obviously trying to hide and someone sees me anyway, guess what, they don’t have to look!

And if they do, well, that’s weird but I can deal. My body belongs to me, and nothing about it is changed by someone else’s eyes.

Adventuring with friends? It’s perfectly acceptable, no matter their gender, to ask them to hike ahead a bit and look away. You don’t need to waste valuable time and energy bushwhacking to the perfect spot half a mile away from your hiking party. Sometimes that’s not even possible or safe.

Just request a little privacy to “use the ladies’ room” and then find the best spot you can. Everyone will understand. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

Rocky John Muir Trail
Not a lot of cover out here on the John Muir Trail, so just walk a little ways off the trail and ask your hiking companions to avert their eyes.

Happy Adventuring

While some of this might be TMI and not every method will appeal, I hope it’s at least convinced the ladies out there that you have plenty of options.

Don’t hold it, don’t intentionally dehydrate yourself, and don’t stress. If you’re out in nature when nature calls, just take care of business and get on with your adventure.

Read NextWhy Female Hikers Love Menstrual Cups (and how to use one)

Read Next

Since you seem to be an outdoorsy lady, you may also enjoy these other resources:

About the Author

Hi there, I’m Alissa, founder of Exploring Wild. I’ve had the pleasure of hiking the Arizona Trail, Colorado Trail, John Muir Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, and countless shorter amazing trails throughout the US and abroad. I love solitude, big views, and a good lightweight gear setup. Learn more here.

Excited about backpacking but need help getting started? The Backpacking Trip Planner Workbook will help you start off on the right foot.

Hiking resources in your inbox?

There’s more where this came from! Sign up here for occasional emails full of inspiration and information about backpacking and hiking.

59 thoughts on “14 Ways to Pee Outdoors for Women (yes, I’ve tried them all)”

  1. I found this very helpful information, but would like to add that I have heard in some parts of the USA, being caught urinating in public can be a “public exposure” arrest, which means you become a registered sex offender. This may be urban legend, but I personally wouldn’t take any chances. Find somewhere as private as circumstances allow.

    • Hi, thanks for sharing this warning. Yes, I think that’s true in populated areas and I totally agree! I’m not suggesting people just go in the street. :) But out on trails I don’t think this is a concern even if someone accidentally finds you. Still, I certainly agree privacy is ideal. Thanks and happy trails!

  2. This is a great article! I try to spend a lot of time outdoors with my family, but I constantly do the 3 things you say not to: I stress, dehydrate myself, and hold it. It’s definitely affected some of our trip making decisions. Next time we go for a hike I will not dehydrate myself and I will try this (especially since it’s already consistently triple digit temps where I live). This article was not TMI. Some of us city slickers have wondered how this works for women for awhile :o)

  3. I enjoyed your article and helpful comments. One tip that you might consider adding for the horse riding outdoorsy girls :
    If you are just getting used to wearing spurs on your boots, keep your heels down when you pop a squat. Squatting low on the balls of your feet can bless you with a few extra dimples on your buns.

  4. Thanks for the post! I also like to keep in mind that well hydrated urine isn’t bad if I get a few drops on myself. Peeing outdoors is nothing to be ashamed about, I’ve started to teach my step daughter how to use rocks, trees and inclines to make the process more comfortable. Thanks again!


  5. You are a ROCKSTAR!! I’m a Boy Scout assistant scoutmaster, most often, the ONLY female leader OUTside. This article is beyond fabulous! Thank you, I mean REALLY thank you!!

  6. I’m transgender male to female and getting gender reassignment surgery to become a woman, Found this info very helpful. Learning to pee your method is an adjustment (sit/squat, then wipe) and this info is helpful for me when I go hiking after gender change.

  7. After peeing down my legs and in my shoes for years one day While shaving my lady parts I notice my lady parts looked like a up side down pitcher hmm natures spout. Try bending at the waist spread legs you don’t need to squat at all easy on legs I’m 67 very hard to squat at this point. Haven’t Watered my shoes in 15 years.

  8. I’m not a woman and shamelessly take advantage of my anatomical advantage, but I find this fascinating because it busts so many preconceptions and misconceptions men may hold and need to let go of whilst sojourning in the wild with a woman partner. And ways, perhaps, to be a little sensitive and supportive. At least one of the methods described here, guy style, could theoretically be done without a device, as described by Samuel R. Delany in his eccentric sci-fi classic, DHALGREN. It’s a massive book, so I’m not going to find the page reference, but the character Lanya is depicted demonstrating the process, and Delany draws on real life experiences. . .

  9. I agree that the woods is everyone’s bathroom if you have to go. My wife is always self-conscious about where to pee when we camp. She should just relax a bit and understand it is okay to go in the bushes.

  10. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you
    aren’t already ;) Cheers!

  11. Thanks so much for this article! I have only just, at rather advanced age (mid 30s *Wilhelm Scream*) gotten interested in camping. And I mean, *real* camping; the feral stuff.
    The only thing is, that my only people to go with are male friends.
    The other only thing is, that I am so – how should I say – …-oversocialised- as a person that it is a constant source of affectionate teasing from my husband and friends. Will-carry-used-tissues-around-with-me-all-day-if-I-have-a-cold-rather-than-risk-allowing-the-friend-whose-house-we-are-at-to-see-them oversocialised. Will say,-“Oh! Oh, excuse me!”- and-get-all-embarrassed-about-unexpectedly-passing-wind-when-I-am-totally-alone oversocialised.
    (My BFF, who is very salt of the earth and has been since we met in our teens, thinks I’m hilarious.)

    So I must say, the question of, “Can I hold it for 2 and a half days solid without giving myself a kidney infection?” had been a source of concern, before I read this article. But you’re so informative, and so informal yet simultaneously so clinical that it feels like it would be quite silly, and even self-important, of me to continue to fret about something so basic and human now. The breadth of your experience, and your casualness about it, makes my own uptightness look comical by comparison.
    Believe it, lady, that you are helping the world relax, one overly anxious civilophile at a time.

    And these didn’t even gross me out!
    *eyes the cliffhanging and trailrunning tricks*
    …well, -most- of them. ;-)

  12. One of my favorite reasons to camp and hike is getting to pee outdoors! When we go camping, I use reusable, washable, panty liners. You can buy them on Amazon and they come with their own little bag. So I take a bunch with me on camping trips and use the liners to collect any extra drip page, then when I get back to our tent, I remove the dirty one and put in the little bag. Please don’t use TP, people survived for centuries, peeing in woods without needing to use TP. Your hoo-haw will survive!

    • Cute mention of history, but they also got sick more, and used leeches and literal wrist-slitting to try to heal themselves from things we now have cures for. Butt wipes and ziplock bags exist. Urine has toxins, all my nurse family can attest to that. But if you enjoy urine just sitting on your skin, ready to assist in yeast infection growth, go for it. Honestly just use depends. At least they’re made for urine, not catching menses blood. Panty liners are meant to be ran through a sanitation cycle on your washing machine.

      • Hi Lynn, you sound a bit offended by all this, which I find perplexing. But to answer your question honestly: long-distance backpackers regularly go a week at a time between encounters with trash cans. That makes for a LOT of wipes, toilet paper, etc. to carry around (not to mention Depends, hah! But I know you weren’t serious about that). Hence the need for creativity. If you don’t feel a need for it, then you’re right, it’s not the thing for you.

      • As a nurse, urine is sterile … my profession (prior to laboratory tests) used to taste urine to determine diabetes and other issues. All of the methods described here sound appropriate in most circumstances.

        Yeast infections are more often caused by changes to vaginal pH which these methods are less likely to cause.

        Failing to regularly urinate and becoming dehydrated to prevent bathroom trips can cause an increased UTI risk.

  13. All these wipe methods are kind of disgusting. Pee rag? Panty liners? Just wear Depends, in that case, like a spec ops who literally can’t do anything else. Use flushable wipes, baby wipes, and/or disinfecting wipes, and pack them out. You’ll stay fresh & clean without toxins clinging to your body.

    The one tip that wasn’t mentioned here was how to squat in a way that avoids your pee hitting your pants. For complete newbies, learning to squat to find that right angle is difficult. Some tips that would have helped would be to make sure you’re not squatting at the angle where you’d be aiming directly at your pants. I think this is a habit for those only used to sitting on a toilet. Not everyone went camping as kids or did girl scouts.

    • One tip for learning to find the right squat angle is to practice in the shower at home a few times. (You can thoroughly scrub the shower afterwards if you feel the need, but if you share that shower with a man, what you might not have known hasn’t hurt you yet.)

    • Hi Lynn, you can practice peeing outside in the privacy of your own garden. The rain will wash it away or if it doesn’t rain, use a garden hose to water the lawn afterwards. Every woman got a different vulva, some got big protruding labia minora, which serve as a good low point fort he pee to drip off, some got big labia mayora which can deflect the pee onto your legs etc. You need to experiment and find what technique works for you. Spreading your labia with two fingers before peeing is a quite common trick though. And as Alissa said, use a lot of force to piss out a strong and long arching stream instead of just dribbling it out between your feet. Another trick is to step on two stones which are close to each other, peeing onto the ground in between them.

  14. I go hiking a lot and often just squat and airdry. But I’m going on a a day hike with 2 male teachers and 14 other students in a week and in a month going on a overnight tramp with them too. So idk what to say or if they’ll trust me to go off trail alone??

  15. Thanks for your article! I found myself in a predicament today with a very full bladder in a remote area. I luckily had cell signal and opened up an incognito Google tab to google “how to pee outside”. Your article gave me the confidence after 2.5 hours of holding it in. I knew from experience camping that I can’t not pee on my pants so I took off my pants in the car. Luckily I had some fast food napkins as well. I did take them back with me too. LOL! Thanks!

    • Fantastic article. Well written and very helpful. Thank you.

      Growing up in Africa we did a lot of long distance driving and it could be hours before you come across a petrol station – your best chance of finding a toilet. Unfortunately most were an afterthought, fuel and food being the sellers. Toilets were seldom ever clean. Better to stop the car between settlements and agree boys on one side of the road, girls on the other. There’s a camaraderie that comes with peeing together that females seldom experience.

      I’d add that it’s a good idea to scan the area thoroughly before you squat, and pay attention to your surroundings while doing what you must. There’s nothing worse than having to flee for safety mid-pee, believe me!

  16. To answer the question posed in your 5th paragraph, why read this article if you’re not a woman: trans men and some non-binary folks also have vaginas and might find this information useful. I’m not a woman, but my vagina and I are grateful for the tips.

  17. I don’t hike much, but I hunt, fish and ATV ride. Usually as the only woman in a group. I just say hey this side of the rock/tree/truck/atv is mine for a minute. Or riding, just I’ll catch up. On a boat in the lake I have them swing us around so my side is not visible to the whole lake and pee over the side. Modesty is maintained when possible, if not I am sure they have seen a butt before.

  18. Kula cloths are amazing for clean up! They work like a pee rag, but everything gets absorbed into the cloth like a pad so it stays dry to the touch. You can also fold it in half and snap it shut so the pee side isn’t touching anything. It can be snapped to the outside of backpacks for easy access.

  19. For tent camping, I bring a big plastic Ragu jar with a handle and it’s lid. I squat down on my knees, pee, gently scrape off any dribbles, and put the lid on. It goes to the toilet with me in the morning to be emptied and rinsed.

  20. Thanks for your article. I have a bladder injury (nerve) and have to pee 80-120 times a day/night. Every day. Every night for years now.

    When I want to go for a neighborhood walk, I go after dark and squat down quick where no lights are shining. I am EXPERT at squat pees. At this point I also squat pee in my room in a little container bc it’s a pain to go to bathroom 10 times an hour all day long!

    The annoying thing for me is the wiping. First I used tp, then a ‘pee towel’ (which dried infront of space heater) but eventually after years and years I got to the point where I just run my hand across my vaginal opening a few times until it’s dry. Then I either wash off my hand (if there’s water) or if not I rub it into my thigh. Rub hand over thigh a few times and there’s no wetness. I shower off my legs a few times a day (but you could use a wet wipe on a walk) I have found this to be surprisingly comfortable (no lingering wetness etc!!!!)

    Believe me, when you pee 80-120/day and night for years and years you become completely impervious to being squeamish about pee and wonder why other people are! (Seriously!!!)

    To me it feels like wiping off my nose.

    PLus staying well-hydrated = less concentrated pee and less odor

  21. Get yourself a Kula cloth! It’s a designated pee cloth, but WAY better than just using some random bandana. Antimicrobial fabric, folds to keep the pee side clean but in such a way that it will still dry over time, waterproof liner between the pee side and the outside. Has improved my peeing in the woods experience 500%!

  22. As an (older) male, I obviously don’t have any first hand experience here, but I have had many outdoorsy girlfriends, and your article seems to have covered almost everything they have encountered or mentioned. One point I would add is from a gf who used a sailing analogy. A good sailor will shorten sail at the first sign of a squall and not wait until the weather is upon them. So too, she suggested that women should always start looking for a good location when they first have to pee. Women and girls are raised to think that toilets are essential, so often their reaction is: no toilet–I’ll have to wait. Waiting until desperate can result in a last minute sprint behind the nearest tree regardless of terrain or privacy.

  23. Hi Alissa, as a man I always found female urination endlessly fascinating, as far as I can think back. I cannot understand why many women are so afraid of getting caught by the eyes of some random stranger on a hiking trail. Relax, it’s not a big thing if it should ever happen and he will not attack you or try to rape you or whatever your fear is … and if he does, he would have done it anyway, with or without you peeing. So hopefully your detailed instructions and insights will get more women to enjoy their life some more and pee outside without fear and whenever nature calls. By the way, I think the tissues are not a big issue as long as you throw them somewhere where they are not readily seen, or if you bury them. I have seen places in southern Europe where in certain locations, near popular hiking destinations, hundreds of tissues covered the ground in spots like the ruins of an old house or a secluded spot between some rocks etc. and all the women who peed there obviously just dropped the tissues they used to wipe themselves right on the spot where they peed, or throwing it a meter or two from them — and at any rate not giving a care in the world about their littering. Due to the hot and arid climate the tissues there never degraded … Some also threw the plastic sleeve of their last tissue on the ground or they even pulled out their female hygiene products and left them on the spot, though those latter cases are much less common, thankfully … All of that is not right, obviously, and it’s good that you remind your readers not to do it. Even on a hot day you can put it in a plastic bag and it will not stink much until you get a chance to throw it into some dustbin. You’re doing nature and other hikers a big favor. Best regards, Steve

  24. Thank you so much. Literally sitting in the woods by a river RIGHT NOW, having my own little picnic while my family plays disc golf, and realized that no one left me the car keys. As someone who has zero outside pee experience, this was super helpful, and the result was a success. Seriously, thank you!

  25. I’ve tried pee rags and Kula cloths and they always end up smelling rather rank in just a day or two. So much that I can smell them even when they are attached to the back of my back. Doesn’t matter how well I hydrate and rinsing them every time isn’t always an option if water is scarce. I feel like I’m doing something wrong when so many people say it works great for them. Thoughts?

    • Maybe it depends on where you’re hiking? I imagine a rag would dry out faster and stay more sanitary in sunny dry climates. I do think rinsing it out every day or two, as water allows, is helpful. These days I personally prefer a splash of water from a squirt bottle (Platypus SoftBottle), which keeps everything clean with no need for a rag.

      • Does no one know that bacteria and viruses can and do grow in the presence of the sun and wind? Are we all gonna overlook the fact that puddles of urine stink because they have germs growing in them? It is NOT SAFE to have a pee rag and keep reusing it. As women, all of you should be concerned about the fact that it could cause a yeast infection, urinary tract and bladder infections. Those last 2 can progress to sepsis which you can die from.

  26. Hi, my name is Emma.

    Whenever I read an article on the internet, I never normally react to it by posting a comment. However, this is an such a brilliant article…so well thought out and beautifully written. Therefore, I feel like I would be doing you a massive injustice by not commenting on it. It has really struck a chord with me!

    I am a very keen hiker. I normally go for a day-long hike around the Derbyshire or Yorkshire region of England about every two weeks. It’s such a beautiful part of the country to go hiking and so many amazing places to visit. Normally only two of us go hiking and my hiking partner is almost always a woman.

    Something that I have always found quite troubling, as a woman, is that so many of the women I have gone on hikes with over the years are absolutely terrified of peeing in the outdoors. The most extreme case came a couple of years ago when my hiking partner misjudged the amount of water that she drank in the early part of the day – as it was a baking hot day – and she needed to do a pee. At this point, there were around six hours of the planned route still to go and there was no civilization anywhere for an eternity. Throughout the rest of the day, she was in so much discomfort and stress and the terrain was quite rough. She was unable to drink any water so she got really dehydrated but she was determined not to go for a pee under any circumstances whatsoever. By the end of the day, she actually started to get quite delirious and it was a really traumatic experience for her, and for me also to see her suffer so much, and this experience is one that has deeply resonated with me ever since.

    There is something morally wrong about the world that we live in and the peeing situation is just a microcosm of that. These women have grown up in a male-dominated society in which they’ve been made to feel from an early age that it’s okay for guys to pee in the outdoors, but it’s considered unfeminine and grubby for a woman to do the same thing. Such double standards! It may sound trivial but being able to hydrate yourself properly when you are out hiking for the day is such an important thing, especially on challenging terrain or when the weather is very hot. Peeing in the outdoors, as long as it is done out of the public view, is not only a pleasurable, satisfying and stress-relieving experience but it’s also a necessity that is essential in the world of hiking. There could not be a greater contrast between this compared to the world of pain suffered by any woman who feels too inhibited to pee. Women deserve to enjoy the great outdoors just as much as men!

    I have three regular hiking partners and they all come from completely different points of the spectrum in terms of their attitude towards peeing. The first of these women is very similar to the woman I previously described to you – she would not go for a pee under any circumstances whatsoever. I spoke to her about this on the first ever hike she accompanied me on and she explained to me that the thought of being caught peeing terrifies her more than anything she could possibly ever imagine and it would emotionally scar her for the rest of her life. So since then, I feel really reluctant to even talk to her about it, knowing how uncomfortable it makes her feel. Every hike she goes on with me, she finds the last couple of hours pretty tough and she’s close to bursting by the time she eventually finds a toilet.

    The second of my hiking partners is what I would refer to as “very reluctant” in terms of her attitude towards peeing. Whenever she needs to go for a pee, she just disappears for about 20 minutes and leaves me standing still while I wait for her. She is meticulous beyond belief in trying to find the perfect peeing spot, creates as much distance between herself and me as possible and walks between 500 metres to 1 kilometer in order to do so. I certainly commend her for her bravery as it clearly makes her feel uncomfortable, even though it’s annoying to spend about 40 minutes each day waiting for her (she normally goes for 2 pees).

    The third of my hiking partners is very similar to me. She is completely at ease in the great outdoors and peeing is just second nature to her. Whenever we go on a hike, we always carry plenty of water with us in order to stay as hydrated as possible and we often pee around 4 or 5 times on each hike. Whenever we both need to pee at the same time, we stand side-by-side and have a contest to see who can pee the furthest. I seriously don’t recommend this to anyone but it provides us with a great source of entertainment that never seems to tire, no matter how many hikes we go on. Sadly, she’s pretty formidable and wins most of the time!

    So I really applaud you for shining a light on something that is very much considered a taboo and something that is just never spoken about. In fact, I can’t say I’ve ever seen or heard it discussed before, yet it is such an important issue. I actually think it’s something that many women aren’t brave enough to discuss due to the stigma attached to it and this is why I commend you for not just talking about this issue but for educating the readers about it so eloquently. It’s something that resonates so deeply with me!

    I really hope that many women, especially those who have a love of the great outdoors, have read and continue to read this article…because it’s something that deserves to be read by as many women as possible…and honestly, if only one woman has read this article and it changes her experiences of the great outdoors for the better, then that’s a victory in my book! Hopefully it will be many more than that though!

    Sorry that this message is a little long. I just thought it was important that I showed you my appreciation and explained to you just how big an issue this is based on my own experiences.



    • How on earth is this brilliant? This is a very ignorant article. Urine is not safe to have just hanging around. Especially a pee rag just hanging out, being a breeding ground for microbes. Does no one here really know the function of urine? It’s to remove waste from the body! And she’s telling people to use the left hand method too! It’s the most unsanitary thing you could do!

  27. actually, i have learned how to pee “man style” I can actually hit a tree while peeing standing up. It can be done, you just need to be a little closer to the tree than a man. I showed my mom how to do it while in the shower, she was amazed and she actually tried it successfully. just put a finger on each side of the meatus and pull up then pee really force full and you will hit the wall or tree or whatever you are aiming at.

  28. I never imagined reading an article about this subject but I am so glad i did! Growing up in the Rocky Mountains I have many memories of squating and making a mess! You share great ideas to stay clean. But I especially like the idea of using a water bottle to clean up! So smart, thank you for the tips!

  29. Hey Alissa, this was really fun and inspiring to read. I talked about toilets in the woods a couple of times on my Instagram, but I didn’n know its such a big topic. Thanks for this very detailed articel and happy hiking :)

  30. Ok, I have to say this. Stop telling people that urine is safe to keep around. Urine straight from your body, if removed using sterile techniques is sterile. As soon as it comes out of your body through urination, it is no longer sterile. Even urine that has been in a foley bag, which is a closed environment (eg no outside germs can reach it), can’t be used for testing because the waste products have had time to start growing bacteria. So, just leaving a pee cloth flapping in the sun or urine sitting on skin/clothing is not a good idea. Urine is a breeding ground for germs. Why do you think old urine stinks? Even urine that’s been sitting in the sun. Urine is one of the top skin irritants and is a major contributing factor in skin break down. People please, do not have a pee rag tied to your bag.

  31. This article is a very irresponsible post and the author should remove it immediately. Does no one know that bacteria and viruses can and do grow in the presence of the sun and wind? Are we all gonna overlook the fact that puddles of urine stink because they have germs growing in them? It is NOT SAFE to have a pee rag and keep reusing it. Where do you think yeast infections, urinary tract and bladder infections come from? Those last 2 can progress to sepsis which you can die from.

    • Do you know there are probably billions of women who do not have access to a flushing toilet? How do you think women relieved themselves 10,000 years ago? It might be very concerning to you, but think about it… she is giving women options for when they are going on long hiking trips. It’s not unusual if you happen to live in a country that doesn’t have toilets. Also, literally all other animals pee and poop outside so how is it any different when humans do it?

  32. Hi Alissa. I’m a retired long haul trucker. Whether peeing outside or at nasty rest areas and truck stops, I find the use of a Pibella is the easiest and cleanest way to go. It’s designed to be used standing up, so there is no squatting required.

  33. I live off grid in rural Arizona and have been relieving myself outside, in the wild for about 5 years now. When I tell people they usually cringe, but the few times I’ve had visitors, they end up loving peeing, and pooping, outside. So far, no one else has seen me, but I have had plenty of animals see me. Anyway, I loved your article! Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

  34. Misty and Lynn don’t hike. Misty and Lynn don’t travel. Misty and Lynn need to read the entire article before commenting because their opinions are ridiculous to those of us who do.

    Alissa, great piece of writing and informative. I really like the squirt bottle bidet idea. I agree about the mountains of toilet paper all over the woods… completely uncalled for and more disgusting than people like Misty and Lynn realize if they actually explored nature.

  35. I’m 59 years old and have been peeing in the woods for decades. I found your article funny and amusing and very informative too. I’m heading home and adding a squirt bottle to my hiking backpack immediately. Loved your article and your writing style. Thank you!


Leave a Comment

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00