Adventurous women pee in strange places – a comparison of urination devices (and other useful info)

When first we wander

I started using a ‘pee funnel’ while on a bicycle tour in Alaska. It was late fall with crisp days and cold nights. There are many reasons to not hang a bare butt out for a pee and freezing weather is chief among them. Since then, I have used a number of brands in a variety of situations – there are definite pros and cons, depending on your needs.

Situations? What situations?

Cold, yes, is a great reason to pee without de-panting. Not just as you adventure through your day – being able to pee while in your tent (even mostly still in your sleeping bag!) is a major gift in the night-time. Keep a plastic pop bottle or other well-sealing container handy and simply kneel up for a moment. Your feet stay cozy in your sleeping bag and there’s no wake-up shock of chilly night air on your bits. Recommended: a bottle with a narrow top to decrease the chance of spillage in the dark.

There are other advantages to not leaving your tent at night to drop your drawers. As a woman traveling alone, I value privacy and a low-profile while exposing myself.

Confession: now that I’m happily habituated to the weirdness of peeing into bottles and bushes, I find myself using the funnel in other situations when a bathroom is not handy. It’s very useful for long drives when there is too much traffic to pop a squat by the road; just open both doors on the shoulder-side and you have enough visual privacy to stay right there at the car. Sharing a house with too many people and only one bathroom? Perfect pee-bottle scenario. Crazy clouds of mosquitos or other biters and stingers? Don’t care.

How do I know which device I should try?

Once upon a time, not that long ago, women only knew about these gizmos if they spent time in the army. Now you can choose from many options and pay a lot or a little. Honestly, if you really don’t care about anything fancy, convenient or discreet, you can get a specialty funnel from an auto parts store for a couple of bucks.

When comparing the brands Freshette, Go Girl and Shewee, I used the following guidelines:

  • price (all prices are US Amazon)
  • weight
  • packability
  • ease of use
  • ease of cleaning
freshetteFreshette (with extension tube)
  • $22.89 US
  • 28.3 grams
  • really easy to use and direct, most idiot proof option of the three, can pee fast
  • keeps clean pretty well, inside fairly hydrophobic
  • only disasters were user error (I stuffed my tp in funnel and forgot it was there in the night)
go girlGo Girl
  • $22.95 US
  • very hydrophobic
  • easy to use unless trying to get through layers of clothing or tight clothing
  • doesn’t have the same kind of reach the others have, so harder to direct stream
  • packs well, squishy
sheweeShewee Extreme (with extension tube)
  • $18.12 US
  • 30 grams
  • somewhat hydrophobic
  • not easy to figure out angles that are safe, fast stream is dangerous
  • peed on myself first 2 times, good on third, failed on 4th
  • good reach, comes with case
The winner?

Well, let’s just say that of these three, Shewee comes in last. My tolerance level for peeing on myself is rather low.

I like the Go Girl for its packability and very hydrophobic material. It also works pretty well, regardless of how intense the flow is. The squishability can be a problem. In cold weather with layers of clothing, or with tight jeans, it’s hard to maintain the shape of the funnel. This courts disaster and is annoying.

The all-round winner is Freshette, being easy to use and easy to clean.

Yes. You can get used to peeing in a funnel. Don’t worry about being weird. Go where you want to go and live how you want to live.

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