Pee in Style

Dec 13th, 2022

Twelve years ago, I worked in a bike shop with all men and raced mountain bikes on a team with only three other females. My fellow women racers were wonderful riding partners, but my work schedule usually matched the boys’, so I rode with them. Morning rides before work and weekend trips to races were my life. Bikes, bikes, bikes, all day every day. Me and the boys. They were a great group for the most part, cheering me on at races, helping me get tougher and faster on the mountain bike. When they jokingly told me about a funnel type thing made for women to be able to pee standing up, I was offended. I didn’t even look into it. “I’ll pee how I pee, thank you very much.” I thought, Just because I’m ‘one of the guys’ doesn’t mean I want to pee like a guy.  

Fast forward to November 2021, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. It was 20°F, and the sun was setting fast, the cold sinking into my bones, slithering between my skin and my clothes. My all-female work crew was camping for 10 days, working on a forestry project measuring trees. The weather forecast called for more freezing temperatures, rain, and possibly snow. As we were considering starting a fire, my coworker and longtime friend Claire handed me a ‘present’ wrapped in cloth. It wasn’t Christmas or my birthday. I hesitantly unraveled the cloth to find an odd-shaped plastic thing.  

“What is this?” I asked. 

“It’s a pStyle! So you can pee without having to take off all your warm clothes and rain gear! Because you are so cold-natured! I got myself one too.” 

Skeptical, I tucked it away while smiling politely, wondering if it would fit in my vest pocket along with a thermos of tea. 

The next day, I used my pStyle for the first time, wearing long underwear, bib overalls, bib rain gear, wool sweater, thick rain jacket, and forestry vest. I peed standing up, it was smooth and easy, and my worries that I would get urine everywhere proved to be unfounded. Best of all, I didn’t have to freeze my butt off, huddled behind a huckleberry bush, getting rained on. It doesn’t have to be about peeing like a guy unless you want it to be. For me, it was about peeing standing up and remaining comfortable. I yelled out, “Claire! This thing is awesome!” 

A woman stands in the bushes near some rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
No undressing and freezing with the pStyle.
Hollie Ernest

According to their website, the pStyle is a Personal Urination Device (PUD) that “allows women, nonbinary folks, and trans men to stand and pee while fully clothed.” The design is simple: it’s about the size of a stapler and weighs only 0.8 ounces. It’s made of rigid plastic, and now there’s one made of recycled ocean plastic! Even with my stiff, thick rain gear, it was easy to move it into position, and the funnel is shaped so it’s easy to direct the pee away from you. The rounded edge acts like a squeegee, meaning that there are no drips. This was impressive to me; after 10 days in the backcountry, there were no mild pee-like smells on leggings or underwear. 

I used it that whole winter on all our work trips, without having to remove my double layers of overalls or any other layers. I then started taking it on camping trips and cycling trips. When it fell out of my pocket somewhere in a swath of steep creek drainages, I immediately ordered a new one from my phone, right there in the woods. I knew it was now a crucial piece of gear for me. 

Just for fun, I looked into who else uses pStyles. The list is long. Not only people in the woods with a ridiculous amount of clothes on like me, but people anywhere who want to pee without removing a backpack, a climbing harness, chaps, or waders. A researcher in Antarctica, people on a salmon fishing boat, a rope-access welder, and those with physical restrictions that make squatting difficult. And now I’ll add traveling cyclists to the list.  

Hollie shows how the pStyle fits easily into the side pocket of her backpack.
pStyle is fairly small and compact.
Hollie Ernest

They are easy to clean, and with a good shake, most of the urine simply comes off. You can rinse it with water and wait to wash it with soap and water when convenient. They are also dishwasher safe. There are custom carrying cases sold from the website, but you can carry yours in any small bag, preferably with Velcro.    

Now pStyles come in a rainbow of colors, and a range of skin tone shades too. At only $12 each, I highly recommend adding this to your packing list for your next bike tour. With the holidays around the corner, go ahead and get one for a friend too.  

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