Tiny but mighty, the pStyle is the perfect addition to a backpacking kit for ladies, non-binary folks and transmen. Considered a Portable Urination Device or PUD — also commonly referred to as a pee funnel — it’s not only a practical and versatile piece of gear, but also one that’s changing the narrative.
When nature calls while on an outdoor adventure, wondering where to go can cause anxiety. Squatting comes with the risk of ticks in your nether regions and urine-saturated bottoms — something I have experienced one too many times. This can be full-on humiliating and detrimental to self-esteem.
Additionally, venturing off trail to urinate can be jarring for some who may be concerned about safety in such a compromising position — think mountain balds where there may be no tree cover or bushes to maintain privacy. PUDs can also be exceptionally helpful when wearing a harness, drysuit or several layers of clothing to protect against the cold.
For transmen and non-binary folks who may be battling with emotional and physical discomfort when approaching the topic of using the bathroom, having the ability to urinate in a way that aligns with their gender can be self-rewarding and give a sense of confidence and independence. For many, that’s life changing.
I was truly impressed and exuberant when I first tried the pStyle, an 0.8 ounce rigid plastic device. I discovered a newfound sense of confidence and freedom that I had not felt prior.
I’ll admit, at first, standing face-to-face with the turquoise 7.5-inch long funnel was intimidating. I wanted to pull down my pants or perhaps take them off for fear of soiling my clothes. But in a leap of faith, I decided to try with my pants on. The pStyle’s sleek and glossy body fit perfectly in the cusp of my hand, like a gentle feather, as I removed it from its artistic and discreet pCase.
Even with a little bit of a learning curve, I managed to be successful the first time. The rest was smooth sailing.
What I Loved About the pStyle
Lightweight - Made from rigid plastic, the pStyle comes in at a whopping 0.8 ounces. The length is 7.5 inches making this a super lightweight option that won’t add significant weight to your pack. I am an ultralight hiker and there’s not a noticeable bump in weight.
No Chemicals - I am a huge lover and protector of our dear planet Earth and I appreciate that the pStyle is composed of BPA and phthalate-free polypropylene. Many plastics are known to cause cancer and release other toxins. Polypropylene is generally considered safer than other plastics and therefore I feel better about what I am handling, especially near my genital region.
Discreet - Squatting is a thing of the past, now freedom abounds. Without having to derobe from the waist down and worrying about a place to go, you can literally pee anywhere that nature and leave no trace principles allow. You can simply turn around from the crowd and do your business while safely watching your surroundings. When done, just slide the pStyle in its cute case of your choosing and keep on trekkin’.
Cleanliness/Easy to Clean - The pStyle’s rounded back edge is a gem and it is used to wipe with, so there are no unwanted drips to fret about. In addition, the plastic is super easy to clean with soap and water, baby wipes or a few firm shakes ... and bam!
What I Didn’t Like About the pStyle
The Splashback - Because of the funnel’s shape, which is comparable to a miniature waterslide, there is a potential for the urine to splash. Like a waterfall, once the force of the urine hits the ground, it splashes in all sorts of directions including toward your face. However, this can be avoided with practice by angling the device closer to your body.
If you have a faster urine flow, as I do, I noticed that the urine did splash against the walls of the device at times, which I could only correct by slowing down the speed of urination itself.
Learning Curve - There is a bit of a learning curve when figuring out how to maneuver the device through clothes and into the genital region. Vaginal placement can be tricky at first, in terms of locating the urethra and making sure the rounded back edge cups the area in a comfortable manner. Too far back or too far forward could lead to accidents.
Note: if you’re worried about the learning curve, using the shower as your practice grounds can be a good idea.
The Bottom Line
I fell in love with the pStyle and have found it to be a very effective device in giving women, trans and non-binary folks peace of mind and an added blanket of safety. It is ultralight, durable, discreet and easy to clean. Despite the learning curve and potential for urine splashback, with practice, the pStyle can definitely enhance the experience for and give confidence to all who tote it. My pStyle, enclosed in a lemon-printed pCase, now always sways back and forth in the wind, clipped to my ULA Circuit pack, as I trek merrily down the trail.
Shilletha Curtis is a 28-year-old New Jersey native. She’s thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2021 and plans to be the second Black woman and first Black Queer woman to get the Triple Crown. She graduated from Rutgers in 2014 and got a degree in Social Work. She loves her dog, hiking and speaking her truth. Her goal is to bring diversity to the Appalachian trail and the hiking community as a whole. She also loves to do art and skimboard in her free time. Ubuntu!
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