To pee or not to pee, that is the question…

This is an image, I reproduced from an etching by Rembrandt. It’s a nice introduction to the next story. Actually, this story is not about men but about a woman making water. We perceive the British as polite, and at the same time, after crossing the Minch or any another four or five-hour crossing, they ask curiously “But what if you have to go?”. They look at Charlotte with that question because for girls it is much more difficult to pee in a kayak then for men. So for those whose imagination is triggered, this is the story.

Men are already ‘designed’ in a way that it is easy to make a device that lets you make water in the boat. A cheap, one euro PVC insert from your local DIY store, some old bicycle inner tube and a plastic sanitary towel bag, does the trick.

However, for Charlotte, and for woman in general, it is a different story. Even before we went to Scotland, paddling from the Dutch Wadden back to the mainland, on a 25 km crossing we discovered that it is important that you can relief yourself while kayaking. The first step into a successful pee in the kayak for women is a suit with a zipper on the right anatomic position. Not many suits have that luxury for women, You need to be handy with a sewing machine and a zipper of around 35 cm. With the zipper installed, it was easy, the weather was absolutely calm and the water flat. We rafted the two kayaks together and Charlotte threw one leg over my kayak opened up the zipper in the suit and peed between the boats. We concluded this would not be an option in anything above a force two Beaufort.

We know a few female club members, who just drinks less and solve the problem of going by not going. But on a five-week trip, this is a dangerous and unhealthy solution.
We looked for a ready-made solution in outdoor shops, I mean, there must be more girls with this problem, right? We found the Uribag and for our first couple of years, Charlotte used this device.

But the uribag was not always successful, urine could escape over the rim of the device because of the sitting position. Unfortunately, the thing was a little bit big and had to be stored in the deck bag, between all the fishing gear. After using it for four years, when rounding the Mull of Oa, it slipped off the deck and disappeared into the deep. A big disappointment, not only because it littered a beach on Islay but also because the Uribag is not cheap (about €24) and we were far from any form of an outdoor shop to buy a new one. Panic, what to do now?

The only solution was for me to become the creative handyman. With an old Marmite jar found on the beach, a small plastic bag and an elastic band I crafted a replacement. The plastic jar was first modelled with a knife and later sculpted with some heat from a lighter. It was a crude device, modelled after its predecessor. Charlotte, however, was impressed and the device was more successful than the first one!

This made my engineering curiosity flame up. Back home, I decided to do some research. At first, it was not so easy, I learnt some very strange things and visited some very dodgy websites…
The solutions I found was for woman visiting festivals trying to avoid dirty toilet seats by peeing standing up and ill ladies confined to their beds. Useful, but not where I was looking for.

Then one day I spotted a glider, soaring high in the sky. I realised that the girl-pilots were spending a long time in a seated position. So I restarted the research like a true scientist and learned some new few useful things.
Broadly, the glider-girls use three systems; nappies, external funnels and internal funnels. Charlotte thought of the nappy idea; ‘Seriously, nappies? No way!!!’
That plan was dismissed immediately to be too bulky to carry around, create a lot of waste but foremost, ‘I’m not a baby/I don’t have that fetish!!’.
Our Uribag and later the Marmite Bag where the external funnel types. Festival girls and ill ladies use this as well. This device, you place over the Labia majora. More or less the ‘take it all’ approach. This makes the device large, and in the sitting position might give you some leakage through the creases between your legs.

For the next device, the internal funnel, you need a bit of knowledge of the female anatomy. Get out your biology book and open it on the chapter describing the human female bits. (the Internet can also help you in your research)
This smaller device only covers the Urethral orifice. This is a much smaller device and it sits between the Labia majora for a bit. Some small plastic draining pipe in the right shape, a bicycle inner tube and an sanitary towel bag are all you need to create your own pee-device for girls.
After some prototypes and practice trails by Charlotte in the shower (I don’t think Google will allow these pictures), this looked like a successful design. According to Charlotte, it takes a bit of getting used position it on the right spot and to letting the pee flow and trusting the device.
But the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. (Strange use of words in this context) So we went on a larger trip to try out this new design and it worked. It really did!! No leakage and no fuss. It was great. Charlotte recommends this pee solution to all girls in a kayak.

In the picture gallery, you will find how you make your own pee device for kayak girls. Be sure to practice the handling of the device in the shower!! Have fun!! Let us know how you get on with using it!!

Charlotte and Alexander Gannet

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