How to pee when you live in a van.

Only because everybody asks.

Some people have toilet set ups of varying comlicatedness (bucket, anti-stink bag, sawdust, kitty litter, grey tanks, black tanks, who knows what else), and when I lived in a bus I had a sawdust composting toilet that I loved. But I live in a van now, and really people, it’s just a van. There is no room for such complications. So. How to pee:

The ideal situation is to be out in the woods and you just squat and pee. My dad always said you should never live someplace where you can’t pee off your porch every morning, and I totally agree.

If you’re not out in the woods, you might be in a 24 hour WalMart parking lot, in which case, just go in and pee. Don’t worry about buying things, they’re used to people coming in and peeing and the people who work there really don’t care.

Now, if you’re not out in the woods or near a bathroom, hopefully you’ve arranged your van along the side of the road or in a parking lot so that the sliding door is facing nothing. You can open this door an still have total privacy, because it’s late/dark/secluded enough that that’s the way it is. So, open the door. Step down to the very edge of the step, squat, and pee. You may need to adjust your labia to prevent drippage, but you’ll catch on quick.

But if all of that fails, don’t worry, there are other ways! You might be in a residential neighborhood or a parking lot of a building that’s closed but there are still some people around. Or you might just think that toilets are freaky and wierd because they steal your pee and do something other than give it back to the dirt. Whatever the reason, there you are, and you gotta pee. So wear a nice long spacious skirt. Take your dog out, and squat down like you are playing with your dog. It’s best if you do it at the edge of a cement-around-the-grass thingy, so that the back of your skirt hangs down and is protected by the cement edging. Pull the front of your skirt up just a tad so that it’s not on the ground but still brushes the grass. It takes a little practice to keep your skirt dry, but once you’ve got it down it works like a charm. I’ve even had people come over to pet my dog and have no idea that moments before I was talking to them I was peeing.

So there ya have it, folks: how I pee.


  1. You tell it like it is Tara! I too discovered the “just pee” principle while living in my van. It’s something men have always practiced, the freedom to “just pee” as nature requires.

    Here’s another “lady pee” tip: for those times when peeing outside is impossible, or the 2 am traipse into the WalMart is too much, I would carry a simple 1 qt plastic container with a wide top. I use the kind you get when you order take out soup from a chinese restaurant–sturdy, flexible, and a tight snap on lid. (Also works well are those large plastic cups the casinos give you to hold your change while you’re gampling at the slot, but they don’t have lids.) Flexible yet sturdy plastic is the key, not rigid plastic. You want it to conform into an oval when you’re peeing, so your legs don’t have to be too far apart.

    Just pee into this thing while inside your van. You can either lid it and dispose in a toilet later, or….just pour it out onto a shrub. It’s nitrogen, and it’s good for plants.

    Either way, the actual peeing process takes place inside the van, and the pee disposal process takes place outside the van. Observers just think you’re dumping a cold cup of coffee. Rinse out container and wipe clean with a baby wipe to keep it from smelling bad over time.

    Fair winds, Tara.

  2. Umm… doesn’t the van stink of urine while you’re pissing away in there? I can imagine the funk rolling out of it when you open the door…This van smells of feces 😆

  3. Hey they make urinals for women. Im going to keep one to avoid those long treks to the bathroom in the middle of the night in the state camp grounds.

  4. Ha!!!! Hee hee! Yes, I do feel for the ladies on this. It is so easy to pee as a guy! I have peed in a big gulp cup while rolling 70 down the CA freeways; and then I made a 2″ hole right in front of my seat with a little more than 2 feet of plastic vacuum hose attached. I shoe gooed a small funnel to the top of that for ‘aim’ comfort. so as soon as I go…IT goes! A woman could do this…with a bigger funnel. if you don’t want to punch a hole(but haven’t you already WISHED you HAD!?)in the floor in front of your seat, you can find a low profile/wide/stable container to hook the hose to.
    Hey…for those of you who think that is gross…remember that all those people paying big bucks for plane tickets also have THEIR pee dropped out of the plane! Trains have done this for years(remember that next time you walk down train tracks).
    As for the number 2 side of things(hey! yours is just like mine…only sexier I will bet!) get a coffee can and swome small trash can liners. USE an ounce or 2 of fresh coffee grounds sprinkled atop your ‘cookie’ and it will totally wipe out the smell…I mean ‘odor’, for a few hours! go ahead and wrap securely in the trash bag and you can flush it ‘somewhere’ later. Just don’t put a stamp on it and mail it! The post office won’t know what to do with it.

  5. I just found your site.. i love it. I have a old 1990 dodge truck wtih camper shell on it and went and bought a 2 person tent for it and shoved it in the back of my camper shell. i have fit 13 inch tv and computer and suitcase in there i have a small electric heater and extension cord for my electricity. been camping out it in for 2 weeks now.. its not the best cause of the cold air drafts between the rusted floor and tailgate but the tent is nice on the cardboard that i layed on the bed of truck. anyway.. I would rather have a van and this v8 full size 400,000 mile engine has about had it and drinks alot of gas.. I would rather have a Van.. and generator. but i dont think the astro van will get that good of mpgs.. So my question after all this is.. How do you take a shower and are you still living in your van ?

  6. Also Truck Drivers use what they call Trucker Bombs Which is basically Milk Jugs. i think for us guys them 1 quart gatorade bottles work great :0) and Yes i hate having to Walk a mile into walmart when im about to explode. when i can just go in the truck campershell or van if i had one 🙂

  7. Sounds like Tara has her system down, but for anyone still skeptical about the squat-n-pee method (or for those of us who don’t always wear skirts), there’s the pStyle! It’s the most fabulous $15 I’ve ever spent. I work wilderness camps and the freedom to just zip my fly down and pee standing up is so totally necessary when I’m in the backcountry on my own with a dozen pre-teen hoodlums.

    I’ve peed on city streets, next to the freeway, out the tent flap without getting out of my sleeping bag, and in public restrooms without having to touch the toilet. It’s fabulous and I think everyone without a penis should try it. I’ve heard people say that they’ve used similiar products that have a funnel and hose thing and that didn’t work, but this one is just one smooth piece, so there’s no joints for leakage or anything.

    You can check it out here if you’re curious.

  8. People are just too freaked out about peeing!

    I lived in the city and in the middle of no-where in the mountains of KY. I know plenty of girls that would go by a tree like any guy and do there thing.

    But you take stealth to the next level!

    PS. Did you know sweat IS pretty much pee also! It actually is good to pee on a not too deep wound to keep out infection.

  9. Hell yeah! Like the skirt tactic. I too live in a van (well, more of a caravan/decrepit fairy tale hut on wheels), but that’s one I hadn’t thought of. Nice blog.

  10. lol. great tips. I live in my van and I finally bought one of those little Lady~J portable urinals from Campmor. Ahhh I love it.. I just wake up, pee into my little portable urinal and get rid of it later. Now there is no need to rush, get dressed, and hurry out to pee somewhere.

  11. @Vanner: Airplanes don’t dump pee (or anything else) overboard during flights. They used to, on transoceanic flights, but that was 30 years ago. It’s no longer legal. The few stories you hear about “Icy BM”‘s are due to drain valves not sealing properly on the waste tanks, not due to a conscious decision to let the matter drop, as it were…

  12. About poop…
    Is there anyway to do humanure style composting on the road? Looking at the manual, it said its more practical to have 4 buckets once one is full. can’t do that in the van. have had experience with vermicomposting in an apt and same thing, needed more than one to handle all the waste. am i eating too much? :O) anyone have any thoughts? throw it in the forest? dig it in? i have a garden shovel.

  13. Maybe you’re eating too much, victoria, or maybe it’s inconvenient to empty buckets when you live in an apartment? If you have a big van it shouldn’t be a problem. I didn’t have one in my Astro, but when I lived in a bus we had a sawdust/bucket toilet, and we just dug a hole and buried it when it got full. Smelled great, but the sawdust took up a lot of room.

  14. Thought i might put my 2 cents in (little late but whatever XD) I give to you a trick i learned from a female to male transexual. When i’m on the road(or anywhere that’s not home really) i use a medicine spoon to piss standing up like a dude. You just get one of them baby medicine spoons (the cheap ones) and cut the closed end off at a 45degree angle (the angle make the pee go farther) It’s alot like the fancy piss funnels cept cheaper and smaller(i think they’er smaller at least, never seen one of the fancy ones in person) I just slip it back in to my pants when i’m done, use the little hook bit on the top of my underwear to keep it from slippin down.

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