I have been espousing how much camping adds to the outdoor experience. However, there is one aspect of camping that is never fun, which is waking up in the middle of the night with the need to relieve oneself. There is no way to candy coat having to climb out of a comfy sleeping bag, put on some clothes and boots, unzip the tent and climb out into the cold air to urinate.
A Better Way for Guys
Fortunately, there is another way. For guys it is about having a wide-mouth bottle, with cap, empty and available from inside the tent. I advocate adding a bottle of an electrolyte drink, such as the Gatorade G Series, to your equipment list. A 20-ounce bottle is about .6 liters, which translates to a half liter less water needed in your water bladder and therefore no increase in weight to your pack.
Drink the Gatorade while backpacking to your campsite so that the bottle is empty by nightfall. If your tent has a second small zipped window, place the bottle outside the tent right there in easy reach. Otherwise place it just outside the main zipped entrance to the tent.
When the time comes, kneeling inside the tent, urinating into the bottle, replacing the cap and putting the bottle outside again is a LOT BETTER approach to this need.
As a guy I acknowledge the above solution doesn’t work for women. However, there is a device that does work. It is called a feminine urinary director and it can be used in conjunction with the bottle mentioned above. For sanitary reasons, I would recommend bringing it along in a baggie – and returning with it the same way.
For Gals and Guys
By the way, I have found that the female solution using the Freshette with the bottle also works for guys– even better than the bottle alone. That’s just me sayin’ from lots of experiences.
There is one more item that improves the odds of aiming accurately. Get a “chandelier” for your tent – ok, how about a hanging mini-light. Most tents have a loop in their ceiling about mid-tent through which you can hang a mini light. Such a light makes a lot of things easier in the tent once it is dark out. It is a great substitute for wearing your headlamp on your head. That lighting is very directional, whereas the hanging mini-light casts a diffuse pattern of light in the tent.
With the above technique you will be all set to stay within the comfortable confines of your tent all night!