Okay, I agree Portable Urinals isn't a very attractive phrase.
Until you get caught short that is...
You know what I mean, that leg crossing agony wondering if you're going to be able to hold it in.
The short answer is "Yes - definitely". They're used regularly by troops, fire-fighters, hikers, skiers, truckers, festival goers, campers and people going on long car journeys.
Even if you can find a toilet it might not be one you want to use. Cleanliness is of course the main issue and trying to wee without touching the seat is a form of gymnastics that requires strong arms.
For people with joint issues, or who have had a hip replacement, there is also the issue of whether even a sparkling clean toilet is really accessible. As our joints grow stiffer we can't bend as much and need a higher seat. These are never provided in public or work places and very rarely in friends' houses.
Peeing away from home can become a nightmare and portable urinals are a very good solution.
I do truly mean this. Life is easier for men in many ways but one of their greatest assets is the ability to pee standing up! Moreover it seems to be socially acceptable for a man to pee behind a tree or with his back to a busy main road whereas a woman (even if she could keep her modesty) would be just too embarrassed. This where a portable urinal comes in.
Not only do they work for men but men are probably the main buyers. Imagine being stuck in a traffic jam for a couple of hours with an important meeting to get to. Now imagine the relief at knowing you could have a wee right there without even getting out of the car. Enough said?
Basically they come in two types, which can be used in conjunction with each other.
The most well-known brand is probably the Shewee. They come in a range of colours including NATO green. The Extreme version comes with an extra long spout for people who wear very bulky clothes such as skiers or climbers. It's made of hard plastic and is very easy to clean.
Of all the portable urinals on the market my favourite is probably the Gogirl . It's basically the same thing but is made of silicon and is much more bendy and a bit softer in use. Again a range of colours is available.
Back to the traffic jam example. I cant imagine anyone hasnt sat squirming in their car seat begging for the next rest room to show up and then find they're in a 2 mile (or worse) tail back. It's agony isn't it?
But what if you could pee into a pouch. A pouch so cleverly designed that it instantly solidified your urine so there was no possibility of smell or leakage. Sound's too good to be true but true it is. And the name of the product is the Travel John.
Travel Johns unique gel formula works immediately on contact with urine and the bag can be sealed, opened, re-used and re-sealed until it's full. Once finished with it can be thrown out with the rubbish and the contents are fully biodegradable.
Although Travel Johns can be used without a Shewee or Gogirl - it's a bit of a balancing act to wee directly into a pouch and does mean taking your pants down. So I strongly advice women to use it with one of the urinary devices.
Although urine has a strong smell it is pretty well sterile - it's the smell that makes us gag!
A Shewee or Gogirl should be rinsed after use but, from a hygiene point of view it doesn't matter if this isn't done straight away.
The Travel John is perfectly clean and odour free.
When people read this they often ask if I really have one and if I do, do I really use it.
The answer is I have three! Two pink and one lavender and I usually have a few Travel Johns to take with me if needed. I travel a lot in India and some of the toilets there can rival those at Glastonbury for being absolutely disgusting. I've also had a hip replacement and, during the first few weeks post-op, peeing without a raised seat meant risking dislocation.
I honestly and truly recommend all women get one. Portable urinals rock!