Skills & Techniques

How to Use a Pee Rag

Jessie & Matt - March 12, 2020

Don’t want to worry about bringing tons of toilet paper and packing it out on your next outdoor adventure? Or maybe “natural t.p.” just isn’t your thing? Or want to reduce your trash or your backpack weight? If so, let’s talk about a toilet paper alternative: pee rags. Interested? Check out our video on all things pee rag, then read on below for FAQs.

What is a pee rag?

A pee rag is a reusable option to wipe after you pee – and only after you pee. It’s not for poop!

pee rag on hiking backpack
Reusable pee rag

Where can I get one?

You can DIY and make one out of a bandana, microtowel, old t-shirt, etc. Cut a bandana in half to save ounces or to have two pee rags. Or you can buy a ready-to-wipe option, like the Kula Cloth.

It doesn’t take much to clean your pee rag

How do I keep my pee rag clean and dry?

Hang your pee rag after you wipe. We attach ours to our backpack as we hike and it dries surprisingly quickly! Plus, getting some sunshine on it can kill bacteria. If you want to clean your pee rag before you get home, all you need is a little biodegradable soap and some water. To keep water sources clean, walk 200 feet (around 70 big steps) away from streams, lakes, rivers, campsites and trails. Get it wet, add a few drops of soap, rub and rinse. At home, we either hand wash our pee rag or wash it with our laundry, and it comes out fresh and clean.

Dark colors can hide menstrual blood

Can I use a pee rag when I’m on my period?

Sure! And if it makes you more comfortable, use a dark-colored cloth to hide menstrual blood.

Mountain goats in the Washington Cascades seek pee for salt

Will it attract animals?

Not more than anything else with a scent will! That said, it’s important to store  your pee rag, toiletries, food and other “smellables” in a place where animals can’t get to them whenever your gear isn’t with you, like bedtime. Plus, some animals are attracted to the salt in pee and you don’t want a nibbled pee rag!

A lot of us were hesitant to try a pee rag and we know you might be, too. One way to see if it’s right for you is to do some pee rag practice in your own bathroom before you head outside. And, if you prefer to use traditional t.p., that’s perfectly fine! Just remember to bring a bag to pack it out.

Enjoy Your World. Leave No Trace.

Leave No Trace’s Jessie Johnson and Matt Schneider are part of the 2020 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of AmericaREIEagles Nest OutfittersDeuterThuleFjällräven and Klean Kanteen.

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