I was going to write about my solo winter camping trip. But instead I wrote about a pee funnel.

January 25, 2015


Last weekend, I went on my first ever solo winter camping adventure.

And, you guys, I LOVED IT.

And before you think I’m totally insane (Heck, who am I kidding? By now I’m sure you’re all pretty convinced I’m full-on crazy-pants, and if you’re not then you obviously haven’t been reading this blog very closely), let me inform of you of a few things:

a. I stayed in a cabin.


My home-away-from-home for the weekend.

b. With heat (kind of).

c. And electricity.

d. And a microwave.

e. And a mini-fridge.

f. And a Michigan State Parks board game.


So this exists. Who knew?

But before you start thinking I had too cushy of a time or accuse me of glamping (GAH! Why does that word even exist? Am I the only person who thinks glamping sounds like an STD?), let me inform you of a few other things:

a. It was January.

b. In Michigan.

c. I was by myself. Like, REALLY, by myself. I mean, there were absolutely no other people camping in that park.


My camping neighbors were the quiet type. They were also the nonexistent type.

d. Probably because there was no plumbing.

e. Or running water of any kind.

f. And the only toilet access was to something called a “rustic restroom” (which is just a romantic euphemism for a wooden porta-potty).


My toilet-away-from-toilet for the weekend.

Prior to my leaving for my trip, I wasn’t really so worried about the whole January in Michigan thing. After all, I’m from Buffalo! I’m not afraid of a little ice and snow! I’m also not afraid of piling every article of clothing I have on to my body until I resemble the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.


This is me. Wearing ALL THE CLOTHES.

I wasn’t even worried all that much about the whole no-running-water thing. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from traveling through China and Southeast Asia where public bathrooms with running water and hand soap are not always a given, it’s WET WIPES AND HAND SANITIZER FOR EVVEEERRRR.

But I was really, super worried about the lack of toilets.

You guys, not to get all TMI on you (I AM TOTALLY ABOUT TO GET ALL TMI ON YOU), but I have a bladder that is roughly the size of a pinto bean. And I drink about a billion gallons of water per day. So I pretty much have to pee ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

When I went camping by myself this summer, I would invariably find myself crawling out of my tent to run halfway across the campground to the restroom at least twice a night. This was annoying but not entirely awful. After all, it was warm out, and the restrooms were clean and well-lit. Plus, I started wearing my Fitbit at night so by the time I got up in the morning, I’d already clocked two miles.

But I knew there was no way I’d want to brave the cold and the ice to run across a deserted campground in the middle of the night to a dark, dirty porta-potty.

So I did something I never thought I’d ever do.

I bought a Female Urination Device. Or FUD as it’s called by people in the know. (Sadly, I have become one of those people in the know.)

You guys, I have done many, MANY things that have made me seriously question my life decisions. But browsing the internet for a plastic pee funnel? That’s seriously one of those things which has made me wonder, “How the heck did I get to this place? And is this the point of no return? IS IT? Or is there hope for me yet?”

Now, if you’ve spent anytime browsing the Internet for plastic pee funnels like I have, you know that the companies selling such devices do everything in their power to keep you from pondering such dark thoughts.

In fact, I have to give credit to these companies as they almost make the idea of peeing into a plastic funnel sound fun and adventurous and very “girl power”. Like, one of those women only mud runs.

The devices all have breezy names like “Shewee” and “P EZ” and “Go Girl.”

They come in variety of fun colors, mostly from the girly-end of the color spectrum, like hot pink and lavender.

You can even buy cute little animal-print carrying cases for your pee funnel. I mean, just because you need a plastic funnel to pee into doesn’t mean you can’t be fashion-forward, AMIRIGHT?

I finally settled on something called the “Freshette.” It was higher priced than the other funnels, but the reviewers were just so enthusiast. Like, much, much more enthusiastic than anyone should really be over a plastic pee funnel. The reviews featured lots of capital letters and exclamation marks and were entitled things like: “I can’t believe how well this worked!” and “Best FUD I’ve used by far!” and “FINALLY!”



It also helped that the Freshette qualified for free two-day shipping, and, I, of course, had waited until the week before my trip to order it.

I waited two days.

And then another day more.

Until it was the day before my trip, and I had yet to receive the package. I worried that it had been mistakenly delivered to one of my neighbors. I imagined having to knock on their doors, asking if I could maybe borrow a cup of sugar, and, if by any chance, they had accidentally received my plastic pee funnel.

I checked the shipping information online, only to discover I had had the package sent to my parent’s house in Buffalo. And, of course, when I called my mom she told me she had not only received the package but opened it. Because that’s EXACTLY the kind of thing a mother wants to discover — that her daughter has taken up ordering plastic pee funnels online.

In my mom’s defense, when I first asked if she had received any packages for me, she responded with, “Well, we did get something. But I can’t imagine why you would order it.” She went on to say that she thought maybe a company had sent it to me, so I could review it on my blog.

(Coincidentally enough, I do remember getting an email a few years back from a company offering me a free plastic pee funnel in exchange for writing a review on my blog about it and I remember thinking, “NOT NOW. NOT EVER.” Ahh, the naivete of youth!)

Needless to say, I did not get my plastic pee funnel in time for my big winter camping trip.

Luckily, it turns out you really don’t need a fancy, hot pink, plastic gadget with a breezy name and an animal-print carrying cases to pee into.

A bucket works just as well.

(Seriously, you guys, how have I gotten to this place — where I’m browsing the internet for pee funnels and spending the weekend night-peeing into a bucket? HAVE I REACHED THE POINT OF NO RETURN? You would tell me if I had, right? RIGHT???)

Okay, fess up, people, have you ever used to a plastic pee funnel? When and why and did you totally question your life choices afterwards?


I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On January 25, 2015 at 4:26 pm judi said:

    We have a “Luggable Loo”-basically a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat on it. I won’t camp without it.

  2. On January 25, 2015 at 5:29 pm Jasika said:

    I’ve never used anything so fancy as a pee funnel… but, I have, for both #1 And #2, used coffee cans, cups, buckets, bushes, elephant foot toilets and just the plain old ground out in the open. Some of them I’ve used while in a moving car. Being able to do your business anywhere and in anything is a valuable skill! Don’t be ashamed!

  3. On January 25, 2015 at 8:08 pm Rose said:

    I taught my kid how to pee outside which was great for camping or hiking, but not so great when she dropped her pants in the Walmart parking lot.

  4. On January 26, 2015 at 12:08 am Rebekah said:

    haha- I love this. I have seen those and even wished for one at times. I’v never wished I was a man but I think peeing standing up is pretty nifty. Glad you survived your camping trip
    Rebekah recently posted..The Little Things

  5. On January 26, 2015 at 1:48 am Anita said:

    Haha, a great post. I plan on spending a couple of months camping this year and I’m dreading the thought of possibly needing to buy a she wee. Hopefully, not anytime soon if I’m lucky πŸ™‚

    • On February 1, 2015 at 11:14 am Sally said:

      If you go during the summer, I wouldn’t think you’d need a she wee. Unless you’re hanging off the side of the mountain or something where it wouldn’t be safe to squat.

  6. On January 26, 2015 at 6:51 am Priya said:

    I could have used a plastic pee funnel in the outback! Because, trust me, you DO NOT want to go to the toilet in the outback.
    Priya recently posted..On Getting Out Of My Comfort Zone In The Outback

    • On February 1, 2015 at 11:12 am Sally said:

      Was there actually a toilet or did it involve just squatting? I can’t imagine that it could be much worse than a lot of the places I went to the bathroom in China. But at least I didn’t have to worry about snakes or attacking wallabies in China.

  7. On January 26, 2015 at 7:03 am Naomi said:

    Poor Priya.
    Squatting out in the great aussie bush comes pretty naturally to most of us brought up camping and bushwalking where there are no amenities whatsoever, but I did get a Pstyle a year or so ago for camping and hiking when there’s a crowd around. Haven’t used it yet though.
    Naomi recently posted..Garden notes, January 2015

  8. On January 26, 2015 at 7:54 am Ali said:

    I’m not sure if I should be happy or disappointed you didn’t get the pee funnel in time for your trip. This could’ve been a completely different kind of post. I’m not a fan of situations where I might have to pee in the wild. Toilet situations can make or break an activity’s appeal. BTW Candice from Candice Does the World wrote about a pee funnel on her blog several years ago. Hilarious.
    Ali recently posted..Embarking on a Different Kind of Adventure

  9. On January 26, 2015 at 1:35 pm zoe said:

    Oh wow, the “history” section of that wikipedia article on FUDs. Part of me thinks: I should learn to pee standing up, 18th century style. But part of me realizes then I’d really be questioning my life choices.
    zoe recently posted..22 hours in Beijing: long enough to know I want to go back.

  10. On January 26, 2015 at 1:38 pm becky hutner said:

    i am actually really into the idea of an FUD. i hike a lot & go to festivals so it’s kind of a no brainer, right? err…right?
    becky hutner recently posted..How to become a travel writer. No, really.

  11. On January 26, 2015 at 1:50 pm Aurora said:

    The freshette is awesome. I used it on the train in India (waaaaay safer than crouching) and backpacking and winter camping (now you just need a pee bottle) – and pretty much anywhere there are toilets that are less than…. well, you know. Totally great and useful when squatting is not an option (or not desirable) – or it’s winter.
    Aurora recently posted..Intentions for this new year

    • On February 1, 2015 at 11:09 am Sally said:

      I’m hoping to take more winter camping trips (and maybe ones that actually involve a tent and not a mini-cabin), so I’ll be bringing the Freshette with me!

  12. On January 26, 2015 at 5:43 pm Michele said:

    i got one of when we headed off on our overland adventure a year ago so far 41000 kms later it is still in the bag it came in and unused. But you just never know when it may come in handy
    Michele recently posted..Captivating Chefchaouen

    • On February 1, 2015 at 11:08 am Sally said:

      Yeah, I have a feeling mine will be equally unused. I feel like if I’ve traveled as much as I have already and not needed a pee funnel, when on Earth am I going to need one? But you never do know!

  13. On January 26, 2015 at 7:21 pm Isabelle said:

    Never used one of those but have used a Tupperware!

  14. On January 26, 2015 at 11:25 pm Sarah Somewhere said:

    Yes. A she-pee, bright pink, with case, for the Glastonbury Music festival. Because female urinals are preferable to open shit-pits… Then there was my unfortunate incident pooping into a bin in China (food poisoning + shared bathrooms + couldn’t make it, in my defense). Great post. Hilarious πŸ™‚
    Sarah Somewhere recently posted..The Dance of Nothing

    • On February 1, 2015 at 11:07 am Sally said:

      Ahh, China. I had a lot of unfortunate pooping (and peeing) incidents in China. In many ways I have to thank China for making me a lot less squeamish about stuff like peeing in a bucket.

  15. On January 27, 2015 at 5:19 am Dominique King said:

    So am I the only one here curious about where you went camping in that cute little cabin? I think I saw one of those in Ludington…
    Let me know when you find a yurt. I need to stay in a yurt some day…or maybe I just like saying “yurt” πŸ™‚
    Dominique King recently posted..Visiting Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio

    • On February 1, 2015 at 10:57 am Sally said:

      Ha, ha! Actually a couple people asked me on Facebook where I went. Apparently, people actually want information and not just stories of pee funnel follies. πŸ™‚
      And, yes, I was in Ludington State Park. They have 3 mini-cabins there, and they’re pretty reasonably priced compared to other state parks I looked at (at least in the winter — not sure if they go up in price in the summer). And a yurt is definitely on my agenda! But they book up super fast — pretty much all the weekend dates are already reserved, so I’m going to have to go on a week that I have off from school.

  16. On January 28, 2015 at 8:50 am Laura Strachan said:

    I bought a Shewee to use at Leeds Festival… it didn’t go so well. They are really hard to use if not practiced with! Long story short I emerged with some rather soggy trousers and some rather squelching willies. πŸ™‚

  17. On January 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm Sofia said:

    I haven’t tried using pee funnel, and now the thought of using one is crossing my mind after reading all these crazy stories/ideas you’re sharing with us. I have peed in buckets many times, and I find that quite fun, but maybe I should upgrade a little, right? πŸ˜‰

    • On February 1, 2015 at 10:43 am Sally said:

      I don’t know if I’d describe my bucket experience as “fun,” but I feel it was probably a lot easier than peeing into the funnel. So maybe just stick to the bucket? It seems to get the job done. πŸ™‚

  18. On February 13, 2015 at 2:59 am Mrs. Goodlife said:

    Guilty here! I bought the Go Girl for a camping trip in Canada in which I would invariably have to pee in the middle of the woods during the day on long hikes. I thought, well, it beats having to drop your pants and squat and risk giving other hikers something to remember. I have to say, it worked out great, but since I also have a bladder of the size of a pinto bean, by the end of the trip, I could care less if someone saw me dropping my pants, squatting and peeing in the woods.

    • On February 14, 2015 at 1:12 pm Sally said:

      Luckily, I didn’t have to worry too much about other hikers seeing a bit more of me than I cared for, seeing as there were absolutely no other hikers/campers/human beings where I happened to be camping. One more benefit of camping in the winter!

  19. On February 18, 2015 at 8:05 pm Ada Wilkinson said:

    HAHAHA! Lots of lot here I can relate! I have been thinking of buying a pee device as I pee a lot no matter where I am. When we’re hiking in the woods with lots of people I had no choice but to pee somewhere semi-private away from the trail and cover myself with scarf when all of a sudden I felt an insect bite on my butt. This post made me decide to finally go buy this device!

    P.S. I love your blog it’s so entertaining!
    Ada Wilkinson recently posted..Winter Wonderland Is Real: Visit Hida Folk Village

    • On February 21, 2015 at 9:36 am Sally said:

      Thanks, Ada! Glad you enjoyed the post. Although I should probably mention that I have not actually used my pee device yet so I cannot endorse the use of other peeing devices (and should not be blamed should something go horribly wrong). Just wanted to put that out there… πŸ™‚

  20. On March 4, 2015 at 1:40 am Ceri said:

    I’m assuming the pee funnel is like the plastic cup thing that are for women to wear on long bus journeys during their time of the month. Now you know you have to go somewhere else and try out your funnel and let us know how useful it was.
    Ceri recently posted..My Five Favourite Things in February

    • On March 6, 2015 at 8:18 am Sally said:

      I don’t think they’re “time of the month” specific. They’re just to use when you can’t use a bathroom or don’t want to/can’t squat. And, yes, I do realize I’m going to have to test mine out one of these days. For blog purposes, of course.

  21. On May 23, 2015 at 5:14 pm Marion said:

    I was once in a tent in an African park where there were lions. We were told NOT to leave the tent during the night and we’d be fine. We heard them roaring during the night but we stayed in our tent and survived. I still don’t understand how the lions couldn’t detect our presence by smell! I had a very messy event with my husband’s pee bottle – fortunately I had put a towel under it just in case. Sure could have used a FUD then …


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