In My Hammock: To Pee or Not to Pee

It’s 3am. You’re snuggled up like a baby caterpillar in a cozy cocoon and then… it happens. You realize you gotta pee like a racehorse and know there’s about a 25-second decision window before a hammock tsunami hits. So what are your options? How do you do it? What do women do when most solutions are NOT female-friendly? Let’s figure out how to prevent soaking your sleep sack during a midnight pee storm...

So, what kind of pee-er are you?

The “normal” guy 

Get up, dig a hole or find tree away from camp and let ‘er rip! This is the most obvious and usually what women have to do as well. While a lot of hammockers say they’re too cold, too lazy, or just too tired to get up in the middle of the night, the “normal” guys say they’d rather have fail-proof assurance that they didn’t pee on their stuff or themselves. Just get up, get away from camp, get it over with, and get back to sleep. 

The Keepin' It Close to Home Guy

Some people say they get completely out of their hammock, at least, but then unplug the water valve right there under their fly, rather than going to find a spot in the forest like “a normal person”!... Sure! That’ll work guys! Pop a squat ladies! Likely it’ll be absorbed into the ground by morning. You’ll certainly avoid spiders to the face, roaming wildlife, rainfall, and fiddling around to find your headlamp - hope your hammock fly wings and under quilt are splatter proof!

The Roll, Aim, Drain Dude

Many air campers say they’d rather play the rollover game instead of getting out of their hammock - especially during the winter. So this one’s just for those of you with the exceptional aim. Just watch out for your UQ, your shoes, your fly, your pack …and your dog… and your friend you forgot was hambunked in a Pares below you… Just find that perfect window, point, and shoot... 

(Side note: this one quickly becomes the “Keeping it close to home guy” (see above) when the sleepy pee-er rolls just a tad too far and finds himself face down in his own pee puddle. Yea, some hammocks are unforgiving body dumpers like that. So roll, just don’t roll out!  

(Second Sidenote: I don’t see this one as an option to us females. Unless any of you have tried and can prove me wrong, I’ll stand corrected... and wildly impressed. To each his... or HER own!)

The Perimeter Pee-er

If you enjoy consuming a fair share of meat, don’t waste your predator-smelling urine. Keep those sneaky varmints scared and at bay by circling your camp perimeter with your own, natural repellant. If you’re a vegetarian, you can buy predator urine and spray it around the perimeter of your shelter area.

From butterflies and moths to goats and reindeer, there are some salt-hungry critters who are actually attracted to your excrement. Some suggest finding other hard surfaces like rocks, trees, or bushy plants to pee on. This is not only to help with the trace they leave but to help keep critters away from camp and give them a salty treat to find. The guys at GIZMODO provide the low-down on who and what is attracted to your pee.

The Gatorade Guy

SO many campers suggest wide-mouth Gatorade bottles. With a tight seal and large opening, you just dunk your junk, let it go and seal it up, I guess!? Until you’re half asleep and accidentally spill your own waste on you… but I can only speak from imagination on that one. 

My only advice… just like “don’t eat yellow snow”… don’t drink the yellow Gatorade!!!

The Don’t Drink that Nalgene, Gene! 

Very similar to the Gatorade bottle, a Nalgene has a wide opening, a tight seal (hehe, what do Nalgenes and walruses have in common…), and you more than likely have one. You can also throw your pee-filled bottle down by your feet to keep the toes warm. If you are gonna go the Nalgene route, maybe not a bad idea to carry two Nalgenes CLEARLY marked “water” and “urine”. 

The Diaper Wearer

Okay, maybe this was thrown out as a joke, but I could definitely see this working out well for winter camping! Just like not wanting to get out of bed when it’s cold, you definitely don’t want to get out of your cozy hammock when it’s cold! Just wake up, relax, let it go, and go back to sleep. All you gotta do is clean yourself up the next morning! 

Ok, I’ve convinced myself… now, how much will diapers weigh in my pack?? 

The No Time for Nonsense Lady

Okay ladies, I know these options are mostly dude-oriented. Thankfully, our friends at GoGirl have designed a device for females to easily “let it go” without squatting or dealing with uncomfortable positions in the wild. “Pee with ease and Save your knees!”

How Do You Pee?? 

There are plenty of options when it comes to peeing on the trail, lucky for you, all hammock shelters from Sierra Madre are spacious enough to keep you protected when you sleep, AND when you need to open the waterline… With a few options, it might be difficult to know which one is right for you. We have modular and integrated shelters, so here’s a quick explanation for the difference between them!

 Until next time,

- Maddie 


  • As someone who slept about two years in a hammock for my injured back, (zero pain!). Since it was suspended in our bedroom, next to my wife in bed, I did both the trip to the bathroom and a bottle. I liked the bottle because not having to get up was easier on my back. But the sound of me relieving in the bottle would wake my wife. Tried insulating the bottle with a sock which helped. If sleeping outside, I would most likely use the bottle method. My hammock remains in our bedroom whenever it is needed for back pain relief. TMI?

  • Hands down always “keep it close to home” bc at 2 am I didn’t want to have to suit up or find a headlamp or get rained on or deal with running into anything in the woods. Typically just squat right under the wing of my fly or just outside of it.

    Poppa Squat

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