Van life isn’t all glamour all the time. That’s what we keep hearing at least. So far though, we’ve been super lucky. By super lucky, I mean we haven’t had to use the pooper yet. That will be the day we can really call ourselves van dwellers. Forget about all our building and power tools and planning, no, the real mark of a van dweller is pooping in a personal honey bucket.
But look at me, I’ve already jumped to #2 without even addressing #1. Between men and women, there’s a slight variance in how we see peeing in the outdoors.
Guys #1: “No problemo. A-OK. I go where I want. I’m a man who invented the WHEEL!”
Girls #1: “Ehhh.”
While #1 is significantly better than #2 for the female population, it’s still not super convenient. Going #1 outside includes a bare bum open to all the elements (tall grass, bugs, snow, a swift breeze, Colin’s sense of humor). You can’t just go off the side of the road, you have to find somewhere more secluded. Also, I can’t write my name in the snow. That sucks.
So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Quite literally. In serendipitous timing, my friend, Kristina, posted a blog about getting a pee funnel so women can pee standing up, with or without TP. As a result, I bought myself a freshette (I’m in the “without TP” category – waste not!). If you’re actually curious about logistics, you can read Kristina’s blog, but I’m skipping the educational hour.
There’s a learning curve to be sure, but with two days of practice under my belt and a big trip on the horizon, I felt ready. My first few go’s at going were successes. Then, we made our way up to the Sahale Arm. It’s a long ass hike. A few hours in and I was ready to use my handy dandy little helper. I found a wonderful plot of land, making sure not to face into the wind, and let ‘er go. I finished my business, packed up my little bag, and took two steps. And WHAT THE FLYING HELL WAS THAT. Unbeknownst to me, after 33 years of squatting, apparently my body wasn’t fully trained to execute the standing order successfully. While I (thought I) was done, my body wasn’t. It didn’t realize that I had packed up the show and moved on. It wanted to carry on. So it squeaked out an encore – down my thigh.
That was the first time on this massive hike that I got cranky. In an unusual role reversal, I was actually crushing it that morning and felt fantastic. Colin, a little less so (maybe because of the bag of wine and failed mac and cheese he had consumed the night before, but I’m just speculating). I lamented to Colin.
“So, are you cranky now?” – Colin
“Yes, I’m cranky! I just peed on myself!” – Me
In full transparency, that happened to me one more time on the glacier before I said F it, I’m squatting.
Since that hike, I have practiced a few more times with my funnel. The trick is to remain standing, relaxed (hard part), and at the ready for a full 30 seconds following what I believe to be the end. Every time, I am rewarded for my efforts and time. Maybe someday I’ll go in a bottle and really feel legit.
It’s not the glamorous part of van dwelling, but if you want to be immersed in nature, it’s best to be prepared when she calls.
Over one year in van life and loving it. Hiker, rock climber, novice mountain biker, and professional napper. Official “documenter” of our time with Vaniel. Favorite podcast: Stuff You Should Know.