I found the PeeBuddy – the portable female urination device – intuitive, easy, and wide enough to put my mind to rest. PeeBuddy works as it says it does to help women use questionable public toilet facilities urinate standing up. But, I found that the disposable variety does not appear to be bio-degradable and there is a short learning curve.
How I found it
I am not a big fan of road trips here in India. The reason being the almost guaranteed lack of clean toilet facilities along the way. Sure, I have no qualms handling nature’s call behind the bushes but very often bathroom breaks involve going to a dingy highway hotel’s overused, dirty toilet with mosquitoes, flies and plenty of other germs. Then one day, I decided I was going to go on a trek – up to a mountain. To put my mind at ease, I researched female urination devices available in India on Amazon and I came across the PeeBuddy disposable funnel pack. There is also a reusable version. I did not end up using the PeeBuddy funnels on the trek – turns out there were many clean toilet facilities on the way. But ever since, I got my hands on the pack I have wanted to test it out and I did.
How I tested
I tested using the disposable and reusable funnels in indoor bathrooms and the great outdoors (the things one does in true fieldwork). A friend of mine also shared her experiences using the disposable PeeBuddy when she was pregnant, so I have factored in her opinions into this review.
- Shape and Size:
- Each disposable funnel in green is paperboat-shaped with an opening on one end. The reusable PeeBuddy in purple more closely resembles a funnel with a narrow opening on one end. See the gallery above.
- The good thing about the disposable PeeBuddy funnel is that it feels wide and long. This felt like an important detail to share because while the funnel itself is fairly intuitive in usage, what did not feel intuitive was a woman was standing up to pee. But that is more of a mental manacle that I easily got over. With the resuable PeeBuddy, the spout of the funnel is shorter but I found that it did not impact how effective it was.
- All that the packaging says is that each disposable funnel is made of waterproof coated paper. This holds true to a large extent, I did not find any leaking or a mess even on using it. In fact, it almost seemed dry, with no odors which made it easy to dispose of.
- The reusable funnel is made of TPR (thermoplastic rubber) – so that means its made of plastic – its not silicone, not latex, can be porous but I found that with repeated use, with a quick wash under water between uses on the road and with soap at the end of the day – it dried pretty quickly and left no odors.
- Each disposable funnel comes packed flat and you open it up to use it. The flat-pack makes it convenient to stash a few in your bag or car to take along on trips or in case of emergency, to have one handy on your person.
- The reusable funnel comes in a sandwich bag out of its box – which I would recommend throwing – and instead getting a cloth pouch for storage that allows a bit more aeration. While it cannot be flat packed, the reusable funnel can be folded and regains its shape quite easily.
What does not work
- Non-biodegradable: On doing a little research, I found that most waterproof coated paper is non-biodegradable. Since the type of paper is not explicitly stated on the packaging, I am inclined to think it is of the commonly used variety. As for the reusable funnel being made of Thermoplastic rubber, it is unclear if this material is of the biodegradable variety.
- Positioning: This is more of a usage instruction but while the funnel is long, you still have to set your feet adjacent to the bottom half of the toilet seat to aim right. When using outdoors, it’s better to dig a small pit in the ground in front of you with your feet to avoid splatter. Have a few tries at home before hitting the road and you should be good to go.
But keep in mind…
Using a PeeBuddy funnel to pee standing up within the confines of a toilet felt very easy because of the privacy. However, when using a funnel outdoors it will require unfastening and loosening pants or hiking up a dress for room to leverage the funnel- so if you are keen on privacy, find yourself a smattering of tall shrubs or a tree.
Do you need to use toilet paper? No – with a good method, you can probably eliminate the use of toilet paper and more waste on the road when using either of the PeeBuddys.