Don’t Drink The Gatorade: Backpacking And Pee Bottles

Sorry ladies, this one’s for the fellas. If you have any opinions on the matter, however, feel free to chime in.

backpacking and pee bottle

Last June, I was on a backpacking trip with Columbia Sportswear and a handful of other journalists. At around 2am the first night out, I had to hit the restroom, which was a tree about 100 yards out from where we slept. I went back to my tent, and as I unzipped the flap, I noticed a strange pair of shoes at the door. Just as I was wondering who put their shoes by my tent, another writer (who was sleeping peacefully in her own tent) popped up and whispered/yelled “What are you doing?!”

Then I remembered – all of our tents looked exactly the same.

All this could have been avoided if I had remembered the backpacker’s buddy, the Pee Bottle. Now, I know it wouldn’t have been a good idea in bear country, but if you’re in a spot where nothing is going to rip/chew your tent open to see what that smell is, they can come in pretty handy.

Yes, it takes up space. Some consider it a luxury. When you’re warm and comfortable in your sleeping bag and you have to pee and it’s 5 degrees and dumping snow outside your tent, it’s the only thing that matters. Trek Tech took our followers top suggestions and some of our hard-learned lessons and put together our top three tips for safe, effective use of the pee bottle. Someone had to write it.

#1. Make Sure the Opening is, uh…big enough. Gatorade bottles are ideal with their standard wide mouth. It’s not hubris – you’re trying to pee into a bottle while half asleep AND lying down AND wrapped up in a sleeping bag. The bigger the target, the better.

#2. Remember the Tilt. This is so basic, but so often neglected. Make sure you’re aware of the tilt of the bottle while you pee. Otherwise, you may be surprised at how quickly it fills up and overflows. Urine-soaking does not improve the sleeping bag experience.

#3. Make Your Pee Bottle Distinct. You do not want to mix up your pee bottle and your drinking bottle in the middle of the night. The best case scenario would be you having two pee bottles and no drinking bottle. The worst case scenario, well…

In the dark, having a green Nalgene bottle for pee and a blue one for water does you no good. Some people wrap duct tape around their “UriNalgene,” but for me, this is where the Gatorade bottle comes in very handy yet again. Its distinct shape makes it ideal for instant identification in the middle of the night.

Done. There you go guys – now you can pee in the middle of the night without leaving the warm coziness of your sleeping bag.

Just make sure nobody has a hankering for Gatorade with their breakfast.