When hikers think of backpacking essentials, their minds run to the tent, frame pack, trekking poles, and headlamp. But there are other kinds of gear that can make your backcountry adventure an enjoyable experience. Many hikers, especially women and trans people, know that bodily safety and physical comfort are essential, especially when the trip takes you far away from the comforts of home.
It’s number one on our list for a good reason. Every backcountry hiker uses creative problem-solving to figure out the where and how of peeing and pooping. A stand-to-pee device solves part of the equation instantly. Why squat in poison ivy if you don’t have to
You can pee out from under the cover of your rain fly during a midnight thunderstorm. Plus, if you’re thru-hiking a long trail with the boys, all you have to do is turn your back behind the nearest pine tree. Comfort, safety, and privacy are more accessible. And you won’t have to sit on any nasty backcountry compost pits just to pee.
It might not be on your backpacking essentials list yet, but it should be. “Pack out what you pack in” is how it’s done in the backcountry. Wouldn’t you rather pack out one single cleanable, reusable silicone cup?
Using a menstrual cup eliminates paper waste, and for many people, it’s a simple and economical option for everyday life. It’s a no-brainer for backpacking, especially on multi-month thru-hikes like the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail.
Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty details. A simple handkerchief is an essential backpacking gear. There’s no reason to use your precious toilet paper to wipe up after peeing. Old-timers swear by a bandana that gets rinsed and dried once a day—no muss, no fuss, no smell.
Bandanas are cheap and available everywhere, but you can also buy antimicrobial pee rags made specifically for hikers. Pee rags are useful for wiping out your pStyle or menstrual cup, too. Save the toilet paper for what matters.
Sweating up a mountain, you’ll be grateful for clothes that aren’t glued to your skin. If you’re using a stand-to-pee device, you’ll be doubly grateful: sometimes, it’s true, people get careless with their aim.
Underwear, thermals, pants, and tops all come in moisture-wicking fabrics like polyester, merino wool, and blends. (Bring an extra pair while you’re at it.) Casual hikers, beware: cotton kills!
Water Bottle and Water Filter
What do hiking and peeing have in common? Staying hydrated, of course! Water bottles, pack-integrated water reservoirs, and water filters are the most critical items in your gear list when you’re on an extended trek.
Well-hydrated hikers will inevitably take more pee breaks along the trail. That “pee in the car device” you packed on a whim just might save the day!
Backpacking Is for Everyone
Walking deep into the wilderness is a profound human experience. Backpackers use many tools to experience wilderness safely and smoothly, and to lower the stress that might come when you’re hiking and camping.
Backcountry hiking can get complex, but peeing is simple. We believe that pStyle is for everyone across a wide spectrum of genders, and we know that, for many women and trans people, it is on the list of backpacking essentials.