Here's how to pee while you're hiking or camping in the woods or outdoors...for girls of course. Guys should have no problems.
To Pee or Not to Pee
This should never be the question. Trying to hold it in or not drinking water is not only uncomfortable, but bad for you, and can even be life-threatening if you're trekking in the desert. The national parks in Utah recommend taking a gallon of water per person for an all-day hike.
Anyway, once you have tried letting it all out, it's great relief, even liberating, as my friend felt the first time peeing in the great outdoors outside our tents at Karakuli Lake, situated between Kashgar and Tashkorgan in Xinjiang, China. We even admired the stars while at it.
Girls may need to walk quite a distance from the trail to find a secluded spot, blocked by bushes and rocks. Sometimes, when even the wilderness is crowded, as in some parts of China, I had to crawl into a bush and get my travel companion to keep a lookout for me.
Always check that you are the only one around. I once found myself and a yak choosing the same spot.
Learn to control the flow...coz you don't want your legs to be splashed.
The 'leave no trace' principle means you take out the tissue you use and even the poop if it comes to that. Put them in a ziploc.
It's great to pee in the snow. You watch the snow melt away in a dash of yellow colour and there is no risk of splashing. Then I assume the proper etiquette is to cover it up because it would otherwise be quite unsightly.
Try not to be stung. Some plants sting and leave red painful marks on your butt. I had a very bad encounter outside some log cabins in Kanas Lake, Xinjiang.
Outhouses & Toilets
The toilets at the national parks in US were fine. The public toilets in China out in the small towns tend to be really grotesque, as were the ones on the campsites on the Everest trail in Nepal which I encountered more than 10 years ago.
I had taken a bottle of Lavender essential oil with me to Nepal. It was a last minute decision and was I glad I brought it. A few drops of the oil on your sleeve and inhaling it does wonders to relax you when you need to poop. Except that now, whenever I smell lavender, I don't feel relaxed or think of flowers. But it certainly reminds me of the toilets in Nepal.
If you were to stay in the villages in China, you don't have to worry about the toilets in the pig/animal pens. They generally smell grassy. The only thing to worry about are the ticks that party on the wood which you squat on. They leave a nasty itch and rash on your ankles for weeks. So insect repellant should help And try not to look into the hole at the shit pile.
The toilet cubicles in a China small town school I visited had no doors and the cublicles were in two rows. Students may choose to squat facing each other so they can hold a conversation while they poop. This is also the style of the public toilets in the small towns or villages. I don't know how Singaporean aunties do it with the umbrella to shield themselves. I would rather hold my breath, get on with it and run out.
Six years ago, I noticed that the Chinese were so used to their doorless cubicles, they don't even close the doors. Then they got petrified when I used my camera flash. Hehe.
Return to the Correct Tent
When camping with a group of people in similar looking tents, make sure you return to the correct one after you pee. I once dove into a two-man tent and ended on top of a guy in the middle of the night. They guy was peeved at me for scaring him. I beat a quick retreat in the dark. I didn't know who he was until a very angry guy complained at breakfast the next morning...he never knew I was the culprit. :P
While Traveling on the Road
If you have your own vehicle, you can just stop along the highway and using the car as a shield, pee away.
Sometimes, you face a very flat land with few bushes and rocks. Worse, it may snow and all crevices and crannies may be filled up. There is nowhere to hide. Then go to the back of the car, get a friend to be on the lookout and get her to count down on the distance between the advancing car and you so you can pace your peeing.
My Worst Travel Pee Moment
Once I traveled on a double-decker sleeper coach from Yili to Kuqa in Xinjiang, China. My girlfriend and I were the only Chinese in the bus full of Uygers (a minority race in China but a majority in its west). I presume the Uygers were shepherds because the cotton blankets smelt like sheep. They blare loud music at 5 am to wake everyone up for their morning prayers. Unfortunately, a Uyger toddler had eaten my ear plugs.
The bus stopped in the middle of the night for us to pee. I followed the ladies to the left of the bus. The guys went to the right side. Then the ladies stood in a line facing the road and peed. I instinctively followed suit, except their ethnic attire includes a little mini skirt which proved very handy in such moments. When I returned to the bus, I suddenly felt weak and faint from the sudden exposure to the extreme cold outside and then returning to the heated bus, so I leaned on another lady's bed to regain my composure which was below my bed. The small lady glared at me then pushed me off. I think Uygers don't like the Chinese.
How Do Women Rock Climbers Pee?
I had a question in my earlier post Zion National Park and Zion Narrows, on how rockclimbers pee. Actually I meant how women rockclimbers pee. I have now learnt that there are special pee funnels developed for ladies so we can just unzip like a guy and don't have to remove our pants. The funnels then direct the pee into a bottle. Another lady posted an innovative way to pee standing up without removing your pants in How to Pee in the Woods (a Girl's Guide): Prepare a mini toilet paper roll, hold it in place and pee into it, then carry it out with you in a Ziploc.
I think that could be quite environmentally unfriendly (poor trees whose fate is to soak copious amounts of pee as toilet rolls). I might just try to look around for that pee funnel.