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Hiking 101: For women only

Is there a washroom on the trail?

Is there a washroom on the trail?

Ok ladies – this is probably a huge concern for you. I know, because I used to worry about it too. Sure…maybe you won’t need to pee if you avoid drinking water, but staying hydrated on the trails is very important. Dehydration can be dangerous for your health. Plus, why be uncomfortable trying to hold it in?

In the past, I found that planning my trips often revolved around the presence of plumbing or at the very least – a portable toilet. And if no toilet available, the duration of the trip had to be short. As women we’re programmed to relieve ourselves privately, so by peeing in the forest, we’re exposing ourselves. Maybe it’s the fear of soiling our pants if we have to squat.

I overcame the mental hurdle of peeing outdoors by close “accident”. I was on the Nokiidaa Trail in East Gwillimbury. I held “it” in for as long as I could, but I knew the trail back to the car and the drive home would take too long. It became a matter of wetting my pants or going in the forest. I made my choice. I haven’t looked back since then. I even did a two-night camping trip at Algonquin Provincial Park. What’s funny is that my male companions were asking me where they should pee. I told them to pick a tree.

Let me be the one to tell you – learning to pee outdoors is completely natural, empowering and liberating. It’s an action that may seem small, but it’s a monumental gain! It gives you the freedom to roam any forest and see the world as you please.

Here’s what to do:

1) Hide behind a big tree away from the main trail – preferably find a spot with loose soil and leaves (my preference is pine needles) on the ground. Compact dirt can cause splashing.

2) Squat as low to the ground as you can with your feet apart. If you have trouble squatting low, I recommend finding a sloped area where you can place your butt at the higher point – then squat. I suggest pinching the fabric of your pants between your legs together to avoid them getting wet.

3) Bring tissue, wipes and a small plastic bag in case you need it.

4) If you don’t want the hassle of disposing of tissue/wipes, I recommend simply wearing a panty-liner or pad. I had this stroke of genius recently lol.

5) You can pack spare clothing in your backpack if you’re really worried.

Have to poo? Well…I’ll save that for another post.

p.s. if you’re a guy and you’ve read this post – I’m glad you did, because now you can help empower your female hiking partners by sharing this post.

Monica's shadow on cedar
Monica Ng

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