Alright Ladies! It’s time to have a serious chat. We all want to ask, but nobody does. How on earth do you pee in the woods?
What happens when nature calls on your next backpacking or hiking adventure? We’ve got you covered…or maybe, uncovered??? There are three main things to look for
Slope of the Ground
"How on earth do you pee in the woods?"
This point is self-explanatory. You'll want to find a spot where you are comfortable pulling your drawers down. That said here are some pro tips:
If you’re in an open area and little to nothing to hide behind you’ll want to face the other people. This way when you squat they see less. Your bare bum will be facing away from them.
You don’t need to walk far, instead be strategic. Place tress and other bushes between you and the other people. The object will obscure the other peoples’ view and give you the privacy you seek
Finally, nothing is more jarring than being poked in your nether region when squatting down. Ensure you scan the area and position yourself so that leaves, bushes, or branches won't get fresh with you. We've all been there. It's unpleasant!
Slope of the Ground
You may be asking yourself why does this matter? It comes back to grade school physics. If the ground is sloped away from you your pee won’t end up in your shoes. The spatter will also direct away from your ankles. A rookie mistake is to pee and have it run back into your shoes…we’ve all been there!
We all need support at times. Here are four main positions you can utilize when needing to answer natures call
The Classic Squat
Place your feet in a comfortable wide stance and drop your bum low to the ground. The lower you are the more stable you’ll be as your center of gravity gets lower to the ground. You can also then bunch your pants together in front of you to minimize the chances of peeing on them.
Ok, not everyone can squat. My knees no longer tolerate a deep squat. Instead, face a tree, loop your hands around the trunk, place your feet close to it's base, bend your knees to at least 90deg, and lean back. This will put you in a “chair” position with your arms supporting you.
I’ve Got Your Back
No trees around that can support you? No problem! Look for a rock, or something that you can reach back for. Reaching behind you your arm will support you while you hold a “chair” position. Arms too tired? Lean your back against the tree as you hold a wall squat position. Be careful with the second variation as there is potential for increased splatter.
Take a Seat
Finally, this was a classic when I was a kid and refused to pee in the woods. Find a fallen tree, pull down your drawers, and sit on it with your bum over hung over the other side. It’s also a great pooping position. It minimizes the chance of peeing on your shoes or pants and doesn’t require a lot of leg or arm strength. Just ensure you won’t end up with bits of tree stuck to your bum when you stand back up.
OK, you’ve picked your favourite position, maybe even practiced in the shower, and now you’re a peeing expert. But what the heck do you do about the “dripping”? Let’s face it, something needs to be done. Letting your underwear absorb the extra moisture is not a pleasant experience. Here are some tips I’ve used. If you have your own method please share. We’d love to know!
Shake it Off
Not as effective. I’ve always felt funny waving my bum around trying to get those last drops to shake off. Holding the “chair” position bounce your bum up and down in quick succession.
I’m embarrassed to release this into the interweb. I usually keep this advice for the pre-trip meetings of our Women's Intro to Backpacking course. This is my go-to method. While maintaining the “chair” position place a hand over your pubic mound (you know you just googled it) moving it quickly side to side. This method moves the skin and therefore shakes the droplets off without waving your bum around.
Cool and a bit of a shock, snow is an excellent way to absorb extra moisture. Make a little snow ball and use it the same way you would toilet paper. This brings us to the classic suggestion
Pack it Out
Toilet paper. It’s handy, but bulky. Take the toilet paper off the roll and store it in a large ziploc with a smaller ziploc inside. Use the smaller ziploc to store and tightly seal the used toilet paper. When you get home toss the small Ziploc in the garbage. To reduce your plastic footprint keep a plastic peanut butter jar. Peanut butter jars are great for storing used toilet paper and other used famine products until you reach a proper garbage can. After your hiking adventure wash the jar and place it back in your backpack to be reused on your next adventure. Please, please, please, I cannot stress it enough, please don’t leave toilet paper in the woods. Pack it out! Let’s do our part to look after our parks.
Pants Too Low
Keep your pants around knee height. If they are too low you'll pee on them
Feet Too Narrow
A wide stance will give you better blanace and better splatter clearance
Standing in a Depression
This will lead to standing in a puddle. If this happens shuffle to the side. We've all made this mistake atleast once.
Standing With Bum Down Hill
Standing with your bum downhill will make it extra tricky to keep your balance. With your bum up hill your pee will simply run between your feet and the slope will make it easier to squat
Forgetting Bear Spray
The last thing I want is to have a bear encouter with my pants down. Keep your bear spray in your pocket or on a holster. When you step away from your pack you'll still have your bear spray handy.
There you have it ladies, you are all peeing Jedi’s now! Now get out hike, explore, and have adventures while drinking copious amounts of water! Your body will love you. Don’t overdo it with the hydration now that you have been liberated from the peeing fears.