Human beings need to pee regularly throughout the day. Unfortunately, there are not always accommodations for everyone to pee when out and about, and sometimes, peeing in public is their only option. Most governments in the world need to make a more significant investment in sanitary and ecological waste management systems so people can pee when necessary.
Until those investments are made, citizens sometimes need to get creative to care for themselves, others, and the environment when nature calls.
Is it Legal to Pee in public?
Lawyers and law enforcement officers will tell you it is illegal in all 50 US states and many countries worldwide. The reality is more complex.
Many laws do not specify outdoor urination as illegal and rely on police officers interpreting how other offenses, such as damaging public property or indecent exposure, apply. The enforcement of laws is very different depending on whether you are in a city, park, or wilderness setting.
Cities and Towns
These are the places you are most likely to end up to be desperate peeing in public if public facilities are unsanitary or unavailable. They are also the places where you are most likely to violate the law or put yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
Damaging public property
Urine is full of nitrogen which can eat away at concrete, brick, and metal and cause damage to the urban infrastructure people rely on. Nitrogen converts to strong-smelling ammonia when exposed to the air. Even a few men peeing in public on a city street will leave a foul odor for others to endure.
Tip: Bring an empty plastic beverage bottle to use as a urine collection device when you go out.
Most places have laws like this — "It is illegal to knowingly expose your genitals, breasts, or buttocks to someone else in a way likely to cause affront or alarm."
While you may not intend to offend anyone by exposing yourself to pee in public, it could still happen, putting you at risk of being arrested and charged as a sex offender.
People of all genders can use a pStyle to stand and pee without exposing any part of their body.
Tip: Even though it doesn't violate the law to use the pStyle to pee in a plastic bottle in public, it is best to be discreet. Turn your back to others while peeing in a bottle. Talking on the phone or talking to a friend are good ways to camouflage your actions. People usually don’t suspect those presenting as women to be peeing in public.
Peeing in Nature
While it is preferable to pee outdoors in nature, we still need to respect other people, plants, and animals. Too much urine or urine in the wrong place can be problematic.
Tip: Pee 6” away from a plant’s center, never directly on leaves or stems, as this can burn them.
Public Parks or Wild Areas
Many of the same public urination precautions for cities and towns apply to public parks. The more people who frequent the park, the more critical it is to be respectful.
The National Park Service has some helpful guidelines on how to pee in public when visiting their parks. They distinguish between developed areas like campgrounds and undeveloped ones like hiking trails and wilderness.
- In developed places, visitors should use the provided toilets or a pStyle with a urine collecting device so other people are not offended and urine does not cause problems.
- In undeveloped areas without toilets, urinate at least 200 feet (75 adult paces) from water, camp, or trails.
- Use toilet paper sparingly and pack it out in an airtight container.
Tip: A pStyle is especially useful for women peeing in public in a wild location. It allows you to remain fully clothed in case anyone comes around a bend in the trail and keeps you away from bugs and itchy plants. It also reduces or eliminates the need for tp; many women feel comfortable wiping with the pStyle. If a pStyle isn't enough, check out the Kula Cloth for a reusable antimicrobial pee cloth.
Outdoor jobs traditionally considered masculine such as tree work, military, or landscaping, often expect workers to pee in public.
Women, trans men, and non-binary/gender non-conforming workers are often in places where it’s ok to pee on the ground, such as in a forest or field, but exposing their bodies to squat and pee is not desirable. A stand-to-pee device like the pStyle is perfect when it is critical to stay hydrated and pee when needed.
Tip: The side tool pocket on many carpenter's pants is perfect for carrying the pStyle when out working. Tuck it in the pocket, big end facing down, and you will only notice it's there when you need it.
Peeing in Public Made Easy
A stand-to-pee device like the pStyle helps people of all genders go discreetly and respectfully when needed - no matter the location.