Let’s face it. Whether we like talking about it or not, everyone who has ever ventured into the woods for a significant amount of time must eventually pee in the woods. It’s going to happen…unless you are severely dehydrated, which I do not recommend. For boys, like Mr. Dirty, this is such a small issue that it doesn’t event register on his radar as an issue. Boys are taught to pee on trees from a very young age. In fact, our son – Dirty Boy – went through a stage (when he was 2… not recently) in which he would ONLY pee outdoors. It disturbed the neighbors so we had to put up a privacy fence. For those of us who are less equipped for the situation (read: females), peeing in the woods can be traumatic. The misters who are reading this right now are probably thinking that I’m over exaggerating by using the word “traumatic.” Trust me, guys, I chose that word for a reason. Want an example?
Just this summer, Mr. Dirty & I took Dirty Boy and his friend (shall we call him Dirty Friend? I don’t think he would be offended) on a short backpacking trip to one of our favorite destinations: Panther Creek Falls in North Georgia. The trip was amazing. We pitched our hammocks right beside a large gazing rock that overlooked a small series of falls. It was perfect. Perfect weather, perfect food, perfect setting, perfect company. In summation, it was perfect. Except for the peeing in the woods part. Before I climbed my worn & weary body into my well hung hammock for the night, I had to venture far into the dark woods to pee. Did I mention that the woods were dark? I grabbed my yellow bandana (reusable toilet paper – just wash & dry) and forded a HUGE stream – okay, now I’m exaggerating. I hopped over this tiny stream to find a nice secluded spot, well off the trail and away from the water source, where I could do my business. I found an awesome spot with a downed tree that I could use to balance in order to avoid peeing on my shoes. It’s not as easy as guys might think. JUST as I was unzipping my pants and they were traveling to my knees, from behind me came a low but steady growl. It makes the hairs on my arms stand up when I even think about it! Needless to say, I whipped my pants up and took off running. I jumped that stream like I was Lolo Jones at the London Olympics!! All of the boys on our trip like to tease me about it being a rabid squirrel, but I know in my heart of hearts that it was something much bigger and with scarier teeth than that! After that trip, I made it my mission to find an easier way to pee in the woods.
I researched hiking in skirts – with or without undies. I was all set to go sans skivvies until my lovely mother informed me that I would be quite miserable if I happened to get ticks in places where ticks should never go. Thanks, mom. I had already purchased a few running skirts for my upcoming section hike of the Appalachian Trail. These are awesome skirts. They wick moisture & are quick drying. At the time, I planned to remove the inner compression short so that peeing in the woods would be an easier task. But that was before my conversation with mom – who, by the way, thinks I have lost my ever loving mind.
As I was stalking the trail journal of a female AT thru hiker, I came upon the mention of a certain product that I never knew existed: the pee funnel. Apparently, this is a big industry! A quick perusal of Amazon.com brought multiple options for how to pee in the woods ranging in price from $8 to $30. Being the cheapskate that my mother raised me to be (thanks again, mom), I knew that I had to find a cheaper alternative. Off to Wally World I went in search of a funnel that I could use as my very own pee funnel.
My search of the Wally World shelves made me feel a bit like Goldilocks. The first one I found was much too wide. It was bigger than both of my hands splayed side by side. It simply wouldn’t work. The second one was too long & much too phallic-looking. I could imagine the looks and comments that I would receive with THAT thing attached to the outside of my pack! The third one that I found was – as we all know from the story – just right.
“What funnel did you find, Mrs. Dirty?” you may be asking. Well, in the camping section of my local Walmart, I found Coghlan’s fuel filter funnel… (also available on Amazon.com)!! Let me tell you about this funnel. It is made of a yellow (love it!) polypropylene and is 2.25 inches in diameter. The best part is that it only weighs half an ounce and comes with a handy little chain that I can use to attach it to a small carabineer for hanging on my pack. I didn’t measure it; I promise. I looked it up.
Yesterday, Mr. Dirty & I went out for a small hike at our local state park. I wore my new North Face Cirque-U-Late running skirt – which I highly recommend for its total awesomeness.
When the need arose to pee in the woods, it was magical & completely liberating! What is to follow may be a little TMI for some of you (read: guys), but the ladies will want to know. So here goes. The compression shorts under the running skirt are very easy to move to the side; therefore, enabling the use of the pee funnel. I didn’t need to remove my pack to pee. I didn’t need to expose my backside to bears, bugs, boys, or baneful botanicals (read: poison ivy or poison oak… I needed another “b” word to keep up the alliteration). Another bonus of using the pee funnel, which I have dubbed the shenis (don’t judge, just laugh), is that it cut down on wasted time on the trail. We covered more ground in less time.
I highly encourage any hiker who is feeling emboldened to purchase a pee funnel. Yes, I said ANY hiker. Guys, help your lady hiker friend out… gift her with a pee funnel. Ladies, get you a pee funnel. It’s equal to the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution.
Mr. Dirty’s Comments:
I will unfortunately admit, that although awkward looking from a guy’s perspective, it is actually quite functional! What’s embarrassing is having your wife “stand” beside you and pee on the same tree…and then beat you to the finish! I’m disturbingly impressed – Mr. Dirty