Men, look away now. And women, if you never knew you wanted to pee standing up, this article is for you.
First, let me make clear that I have no problem squatting in the woods. I can even handle grotty bathrooms (I’ve had my fair share of practice in squat toilets) but sometimes on our trip, I longed for the advantages of the male plumbing system.
Mostly it seemed to happen in Asia, when I’d be dying for a pee and yet there wouldn’t be a tree or a bush to run behind for miles. Then, just when I spotted somewhere perfect, something would always happen. Like this time in Laos, when I was just getting ready to run behind the only cover I’d seen for hours, and this man showed up with all his friends to film a karaoke video (no, I’m not kidding).
Other times, fences and pastures formed barriers to more discreet spots so Andrew was put on guard. “All clear!” he’d yell, as I whipped down my pants and tried to pee before the next car or truck came flying by. Sometimes it worked. Other times the passing motorists probably got more than they bargained for. And let’s not even talk about exposing yourself at the call of nature when hungry mosquitoes are swarming…
So, with all of these situations in mind, I decided it was time to try a few of the female peeing devices on the market. Here’s what arrived in the mail:
|The Whiz Freedom
|The Go Girl
Now, if you never knew that these sorts of things existed, the fact that there are 3 to choose from may come as a bit of a shock.
The idea between them is all the same. Unzip your pants, or pull them down slightly in front if you’re wearing trousers without a zip, slip the device into place and pee away. Sounds easy, right?
I wasn’t so sure. Honestly, I was slightly afraid that I wouldn’t know how to work one. Maybe I would be a peeing failure, when it came to stand-up peeing at least. So, I started with what appeared to be the simplest of the 3 to me, the pStyle. Into the bathroom I went, taking care to read the directions:
“Tilt the open end slightly down, relax, and pee. It may feel strange at first but don’t worry – relaxing is key. When you have completely finished peeing, bend your knees slightly and pull the pStyle forward to remove the remaining drops.” – How to use the pStyle
Of course, there were other considerations too.
“It is possible to pee on yourself if you tilt the pStyle sideways or get it caught in your underwear. This often happens when you are so confident about it that you don’t focus on what you are doing. Also don’t pee into the wind…”
Well, at least there was no wind to worry about in my bathroom. I took my place in front of the toilet, hesitantly put the pStyle in place (or at least what instinct told me was the right place) and let nature take its course. To my amazement, it worked perfectly! I particularly loved the fact that I could use the pStyle to clear any drips as well by simply pulling it forward. So often on our tour, the toilet paper was buried at the bottom of the bags and we when we did find it, carrying it to the next garbage can was never very pleasant. Eliminating toilet paper was an unexpected bonus of the pStyle.
Feeling emboldened, I drank a lot of tea and then returned to the bathroom to try both the Go Girl and the Whiz Freedom. Their funnel design made me think about writing my name in the snow (hasn’t every girl always wanted to do that??) and the pStyle’s slightly wider, less flexible design didn’t seem so well suited to that task. Unfortunately, these dreams were interrupted by an unpleasant dribble down my leg…. twice.
Was I doing something wrong? Well, yes actually. With the Go Girl, I apparently needed to hold it at the ends and not the sides of the funnel, to help keep the seal.
As for the Whiz Freedom, it’s a bit stiffer so how you hold it is not so crucial. I think my troubles with the Whiz Freedom came from simply letting it all flow out too quickly. Apparently you can overwhelm a funnel. How embarrassing.
I tried each one several more times and while I got better with my technique, I still prefer the simplicity of the pStyle. You just don’t have to worry about how you hold the pStyle as much. It’s hard plastic, so there’s no danger that you fold it on yourself, creating a mini tidal wave of disaster. I also find it’s much easier to slip into place beneath my clothing.
Do I have any critiques? Nothing is perfect and it’s worth noting that the pStyle is not as flexible as other peeing devices, so you can’t fold it into a small package to tuck away somewhere. It would never fit in the back pocket of your jeans, for example, so if you’re not wearing a cycling jersey or a jacket you’ll have to think about where to store it for easy access. Your handlebar bag, perhaps?
Also, I didn’t find the length a problem for hitting the target but if you think you might need a slightly longer hose (maybe you’re not riding a bike but stuck in bed and need to pee into a bottle, for example), then there is the option of an extension tube for the Whiz Freedom, so that may swing some people’s decisions.
Finally, you’ll probably want a bit of water to wash off all of these devices (even though urine is sterile) so if you don’t have any to hand, you’ll need a plastic bag to store it in until you get to a water source. The Whiz Freedom and the Go Girl can be shaken reasonably dry (a little more so than the pStyle) but keep a ziplock baggie handy nonetheless.
Thanks to all 3 companies for supplying a sample so that I could test their products.