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Tips for Hiking with an Overactive Bladder

Hi there. I wanted to ask if anyone had any tips for using the bathroom outdoors for women? I have been studying leave no trace principles but sometimes when I make it far away from the outhouse *like half hour away, not nearby mind you* I can't hold it anymore.  Does anyone have any tips/tricks, helpful ideas ? I also wanted to ask those of you who do use outhouses if anything is more helpful/less nasty *I shutter at the idea of putting my backpack in there or leave it on*  Someone suggested fanny packs in another forum so that may be worth checking out. Thank you.

6 Replies

@Shana13  Great questions and thanks for being so focused on LNT! I love peeing in the woods (when there is no toilet around) because there's nothing better than squatting with a view! In fact, I love it so much my husband actually included it in his vows he wrote for me. But that's a story for another day.....

Here are a couple of great articles on REI Expert Advice and the Co-op Journal about just that subject: How to Go to the Bathroom in the Woods , How to Pee in the Woods as a Woman and Backpacking with Your Period 

As for where to put your backpack while you are using an outhouse, I would recommend wearing your pack on your front so you can keep an eye on it and make sure no straps or buckles are dangling. You can also leave it outside if you feel comfortable doing that. If you don't feel comfortable leaving your pack outside, you could bring a simple carabiner with you and use it to attach to something inside the outhouse to hold it in the air, or attach it to something outside to make it slightly harder (but not impossible) for someone to make a quick grab. 

Hope this helps! Happy squatting 🙂

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
helpful for me also.

@Shana13  When by yourself, step off the trail, take off your pack, do your business, if using TP, bury it, but do not burn or leave on top of the ground.

with a group, announce a break, step off trail only far enough for privacy, take off pack. I warn folks to ‘avert your eyes’.

at an outdoor privy, just lean pack on outside of door.

also with a group, consider pairing up for rest stops.

Never wonder off too far from  trail, keep your map with you, don’t become disoriented from the trail.

at night, take your head lamp (duh), stay within light-beam distance from tent.

pro tip, put reflecting tape or glow-in-the-dark tape on your tent to make it easier to spot.

REI Member Since 1979

Get a pee funnel!  You never have to take off your pack, and it works even in an outhouse.  I use the pstyle, and it has changed everything for me.  I like that one, because it is rigid, but can be used at any angle, so works no matter what you're wearing.  No more showing your moon!  And you can use the end of it to wipe any drips, which is very useful if your backpacking.  Give it a try!

Oh yeah, me too! I got a Kula cloth ( which eliminates toilet paper for a day's use. If using toilet paper, I've typically taken a zip lock bag and just carry out. Have fun in the woods!

I was so peeved recently when I had to pee on a hike. Why? Well I kind of splattered by brand new Oboz hiking boots- Ugggh! So I really appreciate my REI membership, this conversation, and the tips from fellow female hikers 😁