Best Portable Toilets and Pee Funnels | Reviews by Wirecutter

2022-06-15 16:33:41 By : Ms. Willo Zhong

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Want to avoid using public restrooms right now? I do too.

I never had penis envy until the coronavirus pandemic took away all the places I could easily pee when I was away from home. Whether we’re protesting police brutality or picnicking at the park, for those of us whose urethras are ensconced in labia, peeing without access to a standard toilet can be messy, at best.

No matter our genitalia, as we all navigate the current circumstances—opting for road travel over airline flights, meeting friends for socially distanced outside playdates—we have to eliminate our waste somewhere (including, as a last resort, outdoors). Over a period of several weeks, I tested a combination of 20 pee funnels, urinal pouches, and portable toilet seats. I then asked a colleague who has a penis to test the urinal pouches, too. Here’s what we would get.

Sturdy and accommodating yet packable, the Tinkle Belle is easy to use and clean.

These collapsible, single-use funnels aren’t as foolproof as reusable ones, but they still work well.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $13.

Thru-hikers, truck drivers, and field researchers have long devised innovative solutions for peeing while on the go. And for people with vulvas, female urination devices—colloquially (and more inclusively) called pee funnels—have been a game changer. I consider myself an expert on all things “down there” (I even wrote the first and only health book to feature dozens of un-airbrushed vulvas). But somehow, until the coronavirus pandemic, I’d never before tried to pee while standing with the help of a funnel.

To figure out the best tools to help me overcome my urinary anatomical limitations, I spent a lot of time in my bathroom and backyard peeing on and into 18 different disposable and reusable funnels. A pee funnel essentially acts as a urethral proxy for a penis, directing urine away from your body—and clothing. Peeing through one is very much like using a funnel to pour gasoline from a can into a car, except that the gas can is a bladder full of urine and the car is anywhere that’s not your legs and shoes.

Standing up to pee is delightfully freeing. (Oh, how this would have saved my sanity in the third trimester of pregnancy.) Now that I’ve been inducted into the “free to pee” movement, I can’t imagine going anywhere without a pee funnel, even post-pandemic.

After a lot of trial and error (including two utter disasters), I recommend the Tinkle Belle for most people who want a reusable pee funnel. It has a stable, rigid base and a flexible spout, both of which make it sturdy and impossible to collapse during use (a nightmare that I experienced using a lesser funnel in my shower—which is, by the way, the perfect place to practice). The Tinkle Belle is also among the longest and widest of all the one-piece reusable pee funnels that are available, and this makes it easier and less messy to use than the competition. The more coverage a pee funnel affords, the lower the leakage risk. And the longer the spout, the farther it shoots your pee away from you.

In terms of cleaning the funnel, a simple rinse works when you’re on the go, and it’s easy to clean it with soap and water once you’re back home (the manufacturer even says the Tinkle Belle is dishwasher-safe). Although it’s larger than most funnels, the Tinkle Bell folds up for more-compact stowage. For an additional $8, you get a matching case with your funnel—though I prefer to carry mine in a plastic baggie, along with a pack of tissues and some hand sanitizer.

If the Tinkle Belle is sold out, the perfunctory but popular Freshette also works well. This rigid funnel has a more traditional, conical base, and it comes with a separate extension tube, which makes the Freshette slightly more of a hassle to stow and keep clean. But it’s the same length as and slightly wider than the less expensive Tinkle Belle.

I also peed in a multipurpose funnel (the one I used cost me 97¢  when I purchased it in the automotive section of a big-box store, but they’re generally more expensive online). In my experience, it worked as well as the Tinkle Belle and the Freshette, though it’s not nearly as portable.

If you prefer to pee and discard, the water-resistant paperboard PeeBuddy is by far the best of the four single-use pee funnels I tried. It folds flat and can be stored anywhere from in a notepad or a pocket to up a pair of Spanx. When it’s time to pee, the PeeBuddy easily pops into a funnel that’s as long and wide as the Tinkle Belle, though it’s far less sturdy. If you’re not careful to set it up just so, the PeeBuddy can collapse, potentially causing a mess. At around 60¢ per funnel when purchased in a multipack, it’s affordable enough that you can use a new one every time you need to pee outside of your home.

Anyone with or without a penis can use these simple disposable pouches to catch and contain pee.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $28.

Unlike the Tinkle Belle, which just redirects pee, the TravelJohn is a urine-collection device that has a rigid, vulva-friendly opening. We found that it’s a relatively inexpensive and hygienic way to safely pee anywhere: in a car, at the park, at the drive-in movie theater. Each single-use pouch costs around $1.50. You pee into the opening, wait a few seconds for the expelled urine to turn into a leak-resistant gel, and then simply toss the whole thing in the trash when possible.

The company’s TravelJane, which is typically more expensive, is the exact same pouch, but in pink. The TravelJohn Jr. has the same size opening as the TravelJohn, but the pouch has less capacity. We wouldn’t risk overfilling it—get the TravelJohn. (To avoid confusion and spills, have your kids practice at home in the shower or outside before springing this on them when they need to go while on the go.)

When I compared the similar Peebol by SheWee with the TravelJohn, I preferred peeing into the Peebol, because it has a larger capacity and zips closed (but at the time of writing, it was sold out everywhere).

Surprisingly comfortable to use, this bucket with a toilet seat attached is a relatively affordable upgrade compared with a bucket that has no toilet seat.

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $23.

If you need to sit to pee, or you want to have a place to poop, Reliance’s Luggable Loo is a worthwhile step up from “any old bucket.” This five-gallon vessel has a surprisingly comfortable toilet seat and, importantly, a secure lid. You can line it with conventional garbage bags or, if you’re feeling fancy, get the brand’s Double Doodie deodorizing liners. Wildly popular with campers and road-trippers, the Luggable Loo is usually sold out. But you can BYOFGB (bring your own five-gallon bucket) and buy just the potty lid, which is generally more available but costs almost as much as the whole shebang.

To use the Luggable Loo, you need to be able to squat down onto a bucket that sits 15 inches off the ground. If you’re on the taller side or otherwise could use a higher—and therefore more comfortable—portable toilet seat, the Green Elephant Folding Commode is a great choice. At almost triple the price of the Luggable Loo, it looks nicer and takes up less storage space (it can even fit into large suitcases), but there’s also more room for user error. Although the Green Elephant’s height makes it easier to sit down on, compared with using a bucket, this folding seat requires more setup and takedown, and it’s much easier to topple over or for a bag to come loose due to wind, clumsiness, or both.

Free or low-cost pee funnel and collection options include a rolled-up paper plate (doable with practice) or any old wide-mouthed bottle (doable with substantial practice). You can also make your own pee funnel out of a plastic soda bottle (video), and legend has it that some impressive souls with vulvas have figured out how to use finger pressure to pee upright, no apparatus needed.

No matter what you choose to use, be sure to be considerate of others (and local rules) when deciding where you eliminate, and pack hand sanitizer to hold you over until you can wash with soap and water. And as any experienced on-the-go urinator will tell you, stand uphill of your splash spot and never, ever pee into the wind.

Nancy Redd is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter covering everything from Santa hats to bath bombs. She is also a GLAAD Award–nominated on-air host and a New York Times best-selling author. Her latest picture book, The Real Santa, follows a determined little Black boy's journey to discover what the jolly icon truly looks like.

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