As we all know, ladies weren’t built with the same plumbing as men and can struggle with finding some privacy when nature calls on an outdoor adventure. Female urination devices (FUDs) have aimed their sights at relieving this issue and allow females to urinate while standing up without having to remove any clothing. However, not all FUDs are created equal. There are a few things you should know before taking one for a test ride.
Common Feminine Urination Device Issues & How to Fix Them
As with any new piece of gear, you need to learn how to use a female urination device. Most women agree that it’s best to try it out in the comfort of your own home (we recommend the shower) before using it on a rafting trip or other wilderness expedition. While you practice your aim, keep in mind some of these common issues and solutions:
1) Overflow, spilling, and splashing.
Solution: If overflow is a consistent issue for you while using a straw-shaped FUD, it may be wise to upgrade to a wider, funnel-shaped model. If you continue to have issues, constricting your flow may help fix the problem, as well.
As far as splashing, try angling the device closer to your body or controlling the speed of your urine. Make sure to keep a wide stance to avoid getting it on your shoes and keep your back to the wind.
2) My body won’t relax.
Solution: You’ve spent your whole life squatting or sitting down to go to the bathroom, so it’s simply going to take time for your body to trust that it isn’t doing something wrong. Allow yourself some time to retrain your brain to this new way of life.
3) I still feel like I have to pull my pants down.
Solution: It may be that you can’t find a way to make the device suction or because it just feels more natural. Even so, you can still get the added bonus of not having to squat and potentially land in your own puddle if you lose your balance (and who doesn’t want to avoid this scenario?). Over time, you may become more comfortable with just unzipping and moving your underwear to the side. Don’t rush it.
What Real Women are Saying…
If you’re a lady who loves the outdoors, investing a few dollars to see if you like using a female urination device is definitely worth considering. It could be a total game changer for your next outdoor trip.
Carrie Aronson, OARS’ former private & charter trips manager, has been using one for more than 20 years. “Not only is it good for adventure trips and the backcountry, but also on road trips when accessing some not so pleasant toilets in campgrounds and gas stations,” she says. “I’ve also used it extensively in Greece, India and Nepal which tend to have ‘starting block’ style toilets where you have to squat.”
She adds that feminine urination devices are also amazing for ladies who have knee issues and find it harder to squat, regardless of location.
6 of the Top Feminine Urination Devices
Ready to give one a try? While we’d love to tell you exactly which brand is the best, different designs work better for some ladies and not for others. To help you narrow down the choices, however, we talked to a few outdoor women to find out what they had to say about some of the most popular brands…
1) Sani-Fem Freshette, $24
“I’ve had a number over the years but personally prefer the Sani-Fem Freshette Feminine Urinary Director. The cup fits comfortably and fully over the female anatomy. There is only one place for urine to go – down the tube. So no leaks. And because the cup and tube of the Freshette are hard plastic, they don’t tend to bend when you are maneuvering into place. Some other models are rubber or soft plastic and they can bend and create spills.” ~Carrie Aronson, OARS Private & Charter Trips Manager
2) Sheewee – $22
“Just unzip! Takes a couple of weeks to train your body that it’s okay to pee standing up so it’s best to practice a few times before you have to do it for real in the backcountry. The Sheewee came with a pouch that I keep it in, but I do rinse it off in the snow before putting it back in my vest.” ~Falls Creek Ski Patroller
3) Tinkle Belle – $27.50
“I love the TinkleBelle for all my outdoor adventures. It’s a little bulky but I don’t have to worry about it bending in a way I don’t want it to. I especially love it when rafting in the fall months, when the water isn’t as inviting. I appreciate that it has the wiping technology and have never had an issue with overflow like I have had with other kinds.” ~Northeast Oregon Rafting Guide
4) pStyle – $12
“pStyle worked the best out of commercial ‘she-nises,’ but hard to get placed just right and my high flow sometimes breached the sides. I use an old fashioned 99-cent oil funnel out of my truck which is foolproof so I don’t have the problems of pee fear like with the pocket-friendly and wipe-friendly pStyle. In my experience, the other soft plastic versions just collapse on themselves.” ~Boise Smokejumper
[Editor’s note: pStyle has recently updated their design so that it’s easier to use, which might alleviate any placement issues that this user reported above.]
5) GoGirl – $10
“Totally flexible, the GoGirl fits me perfectly from front to back. My pee completely went away from me, no leaks. I’ll never squat again! The only thing I didn’t like was [that] there was no way to clean it so I had to put it away with the residue. It’s not something I would loan out, not even to my bestie.” ~Colorado Camper Extraordinaire
6) Whiz Freedom – $15
“My experience with the Whiz, although liberating to be able to stand and pee, [is that] it has some limitations. The hose needs to be twice as long and the cup needs to be twice as big. It tends to back up and overflow if you let it all go at once… a lot of self-control is needed to use it.” ~River Runner, Big Al
There are may more brands on the market, including straw-shaped and disposable options, but hopefully you now have plenty of info to decide if a feminine urinary device might be a good choice for you.
Featured photo: A happy pStyle group from Australia featuring an older model of the device. Rafting photo: James Kaiser.