how to pee outside while camping
Home » Articles » Beginner's Guides » How to Pee in the Woods: What You Need To Know

How to Pee in the Woods: What You Need To Know

This article may contain links from our partners. Please read our disclaimer for more information.

Camping is all fun and games until someone needs to go to the bathroom. 

Our family is camping enthusiasts. We don’t discriminate against sites based on the availability of flushing toilets. Some of our fondest memories are trips where we roughed it. Of course, roughing it leads to the issue of creating a toilet area and determining the best methods to go.

frog on a toilet peeing outside

If you’re a female or someone who sits to pee, you may panic at the thought of having to pee in the great outdoors with no toilet. I completely understand.

Peeing in the woods doesn’t need to be a stress fest. Whether an adult outing or a family trip, there are ways to streamline (pun intended) the peeing process. Here’s our guide on how to pee outside.

How to Successfully Pee Outdoors

  • Choose an appropriate spot
  • Get your clothing out of the way
  • Urinate
  • Clean up
  • Leave no trace

Choose a Good Spot

Just like setting up your tent, the first step in learning how to pee outside is simply choosing a good spot. Animals go in the woods all the time, so it’s safe to do so. But are there places you should and shouldn’t pee?

One rule to follow is to keep bathroom spots at least 200 feet from your camp, natural water sources, and hiking trails. There are a few reasons for this, including:

  • Hygiene
  • Deterring animals
  • Privacy
  • Courtesy to other campers
Where to pee or poop outdoors

It’s best to avoid peeing near a water source even if you’ve brought your drinking water for camping. It’s kinder to the animals and campers who prefer boiling water from the site. Not to mention, many campsite water sources are used for bathing or swimming, yuck!

Follow Local Regulations

You’ll want to check to see if there are local regulations for how to pee in the outdoors. You don’t want to hurt the natural environment or attract wildlife if at all possible. It’s always best practice to pack out used paper or wipes.

I know in Glacier National Park, they require all visitors use the latrines or pit toilets and not pee in the snow as that attracts the deer and goats who crave the salt. They also ask that campers pee on a rock or other hard surface so that the deer don’t dig up the local flora trying to get to the human-made salt lick.

How to Keep Your Pants Clean

For those who have a penis, outdoor peeing doesn’t usually cause a lot of trouble in the dry pants department. For the rest of us, things are a tad trickier. There’s always a risk that our clothes (and shoes) will get caught in the crossfire. 

tan pants

As the only woman on several camping trips, over the years I’ve perfected peeing in the woods. There are plenty of ways to do it, and it’s best to find one you’re most comfortable with and stick to it. Here are a few suggestions and tips:

Squat Position

This is the typical go-to for most girls in the woods. It’s also a traditional stance for toileting in Southern Asian countries like India, China, Thailand, and Malaysia. In some of those countries, they even have public washrooms with squatting toilets. They’re thought, by some, to be more hygienic and easy to keep clean. 

woman squatting

You won’t be scrubbing any toilets in the woods (hopefully). But, you can create your own squatting toilet space by finding even ground with some surrounding coverage for privacy. 

I find it helps to pull your bottoms forward slightly as you go. Keep your feet spaced wide enough that you don’t pee on them. 

Leaning Against a Tree

Another option for peeing outside is leaning against a tree trunk or large rock. I find this one replicates the stance most Americans take sitting on a toilet seat. It makes for a more comfortable, balanced, and mess-free urination. 

Find a tree in an area with good coverage for privacy. Pull down your clothes before trying to lean on the trunk. It’s harder to remove your pants once you’re leaning.

tree with green leaves

Ensure your feet are far enough apart that you won’t pee on your shoes and that your pants are out of the way. 

A tip with the tree-pee tactic. Always check for ants or other insects, especially if you’re using a fallen tree. Nobody wants bug bites on their bottom. It makes for a very uncomfortable and itchy camp experience. 

If you’re going in an area with a lot of underbrush, watch out for poison ivy or poison oak.

Stand Up Urination Device

If keeping your balance while squatting low isn’t something you can do, look into a stand up urination device. They’re also called female urination devices, but they are not just for females. Even people born with a penis could benefit from the way pee funnels assist with going to the bathroom while wearing clothes.

A pee funnel is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a small funnel used to direct urine away from your body. Think about the way a penis works to direct pee toward a toilet (or in this case a tree in the woods). You use pee funnels (or female urination devices) to do the same. 

pStyle - Stand to Pee
$11.99
Learn More
03/11/2024 03:47 pm GMT

Pee funnels come in different shapes and sizes. You may need to try a few before you find one that works for you.

One piece of advice is to make sure the cup side has a good seal. Otherwise, you’ll wind up in the same predicament you were trying to avoid. 

I love using a pee funnel because it allows me to pee standing up without removing my pants and as a female, that is a rare luxury. I live in a cold climate and I don’t always want to “bare my ass to the wind gods” as Daddy Critter’s aunt likes to say.

Now that I own a stand up peeing device, it is packed on every trip, whether we’re camping or hiking or fishing. It’s perfect if you need to pee outside while it’s snowing or raining.

Best Pee Funnels

If you’ve never used a pee funnel, you might find the selection process daunting. It’s not the type of thing you want to walk into a store and start asking about. I’m comfortable to admit that I’ve tried, and successfully peed in the great outdoors, using a funnel. 

Here are two of the top brands:

P Style

The pStyle funnel is unique in its design. The shape is made to cup your body and funnel urine away from you. Unlike some vertical funnels, the pStyle is constructed to sit horizontally. This makes it easy to use without removing your pants (a major bonus for those of us who need to pee outside in the winter). 

pStyle - Stand to Pee
$11.99
Learn More
03/11/2024 03:47 pm GMT

I have used my Pstyle to stand up and pee on a long hike while wearing pants and my heavy backpack. When you’re on a backpacking trip and need assistance to get your backpack on and off, this is an amazing accomplishment.

I think the best part of the Pstyle is that I don’t need to use toilet paper when I’m done. The idea is that when you’re done urinating, you pull the Pstyle forward and it acts as a squeegee leaving you mostly dry.

The funnel is made from hard plastic and comes in multiple colors, including realistic skin tones. There are also pCases you can purchase to carry the pStyle in.

Pros: Horizontal pee system. Easy to clean. Custom cases.

Cons: Spout isn’t as long as some funnels, so you do need to be careful.

Material: Phthalate-free polypropylene and BPA (There’s also a pStyle made from recycled ocean plastic)

Length: 7.75”

Go Girl

The Go Girl motto is, “Don’t take life sitting down”. I couldn’t agree more, especially while camping. The Go Girl is more of a traditional funnel design, but the cup is made to fit snugly around your body. It’s also softer than the pStyle, as it’s made of flexible silicone.

GoGirl Urination Device
$24.95
Learn More
03/11/2024 03:52 pm GMT

I like the accessories for Go Girl. You can purchase a package, like the Adventure Pack, which comes with an extendable spout, carry case, and sanitizer. They’re latex free and hypoallergenic. 

Pros: Custom accessories and extendable spout options. Hypoallergenic. Made in the U.S.

Cons: Not as horizontally designed as the pStyle. Need to remove your pants to use them properly. 

Material: 100% medical grade silicone.

Length: 6” with optional 6” extension spout

How to Clean Up

Even the best squat or funnel will require a little post-pee cleanup. There are two ways to go about this, disposable or reusable. We like to be as green as we can when camping. If it’s just a pee-type bathroom situation, a reusable cleaning tool is a great way to cut back on waste.

Here are a few options for cleaning up. 

Kula Cloth

Kula Cloths are designed for any camper or hiker who squats when they pee. One side of the cloth is waterproof, keeping your hand dry and clean. The other side is made of silver-infused fabric. It also has convenient features including:

  • Snaps to connect it to your backpack
  • Retro-reflective thread pattern to make it visible in the dark
  • Double snap to fold the cloth in half (for privacy and easy storage)
Small Business!
Kula Cloth

Kula is a pee cloth for anybody that squats when they pee.


A Kula Cloth® is the first of its kind an reusable antimicrobial pee cloth!


I used to pack in a lot of non-flushable wipes that needed to be packed back out. The whole situation was a hassle.


Now I have a Kula cloth and it's a game changer! No waste, no packing several plastic bags with clean and used wipes in my backpack. The Kula cloth snaps to my backpack and uses its antimicrobial properties and the power of the sun to stay clean!


Learn More

I love these because they’re designed specifically for convenient peeing in the woods. It doesn’t stain or discolor the way a cotton bandana might. It’s also incredibly absorbent (Kulas absorb up to ten times its weight in liquids).

I literally own the one that says “I pee in the woods” but I’m a nurse and I think things like that are funny.

Pros: Durable. Eco Friendly. Soft against the skin.

Cons: Not as big as a bandana, so it may not be good for multiple wipes.

Material: Silver-infused cotton, polyester, and bamboo viscose

Size: 6” by 6”

Bandana

Bandanas come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They make great cleanup tools because they’re discreet. Keep one tied around your wrist or looped through a backpack strap while you hike. When you need it, simply untie and unfold it. 

I like bandanas because they’re so large. It makes it easy to fold or roll the cloth after use for privacy and easy transport until it can be cleaned. A lot of campers tie their pee rag to their backpack to dry and get UV from the sun.

Wet Wipes

Of all the items I use for camping bathroom breaks, wet wipes are my least favorite. They’re handy in a pinch, but not as nice for the environment. 

If you use wet wipes try biodegradable products like Sea to Summit Wilderness Wipes by REI. Remember, even biodegradable wipes shouldn’t be flushed or left in the woods. But, they do make me feel a little better about using a non-reusable product.

Bring 2 plastic bags, one for clean wipes and one for dirty. I usually organize by putting the clean wipes and the ziplock bag for dirty wipes in the same bag, it’s less to keep track of. Label each bag so there is no confusion on which wipes are dirty and which are clean.

What to Pack in Your Bathroom Kit

The best way to ensure your outdoor pee experience goes smoothly is to come prepared. Packing for going to the bathroom outdoors is essential, especially if you plan to be on a site without traditional plumbing. Here are some tools to keep in your bathroom kit.

Shovel

A shovel is necessary to prep a bathroom area. If you pee directly onto flat ground, it could spread out and get your shoes, or trickle back toward something important.

Coghlan's Backpacker's Trowel
$3.49 $2.99
Learn More
03/11/2024 04:07 pm GMT

Digging a small cat hole ensures everything goes in one spot. Before you leave your site, cover the hole back up. It’s best if you pack out your used toilet paper, but if you’re not going to, you need to bury it.

All solid waste needs to go into the hole as well. We cover how to poop in the woods in a different article.

Pee Funnel

This thing is pretty self-explanatory. If you want to avoid awkward squat positions or balancing against trees, a funnel is key. Give it a try and see what you think.

As I mentioned, you might need to try a couple to find one that works for you. We’re all made differently.

Clean up Accessories

Wipes, toilet paper, or reusable pee rags are all options for cleaning up after the fact. Some people don’t need any dry-up aftercare, others aren’t a fan of drip drying and want to bring a cloth. 

If you choose a non-reusable cleaning accessory, be sure to properly dispose of the wipes or toilet paper. We always bring a plastic bag and dirty laundry bag to dispose of these types of items. 

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is a staple for most people over the past few years, and it’s a major benefit for campers.

You probably have some in your first aid kit anyway. Bring a small travel-size tube to slip into your pocket when you head out to do your business. It makes for a more discreet and sanitary pee experience. 

This topic isn’t everyone’s favorite, but hey, we all pee right? It’s better to know how to pee outside than to hold it uncomfortably. Avoiding proper hydration or holding in your pee can cause issues like UTIs or dehydration.

Headlamp

If it’s dark and you’re answering nature’s call, bring a headlamp. You for sure do not want to trip over something and get caught with your pants down (literally).

It may seem like the campfire will light up the area enough, but once you step away from the smores roasting area, it gets dark fast.

FAQ:

Whatever method you choose to relieve yourself, stay safe, don’t pee into the wind and remember to wash up afterward. Baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and mobile hand washing stations are all great ways to maintain hygiene in the woods.

Happy Camping!

Similar Posts