The Pee Rag

Accessorize the pack with a pee rag.

Accessorize the pack with a pee rag.

I’ve heard a lot about pee rags from other hiker girls, but I have always thought the concept was kind of gross. I’ve been putting off trying it until recently, and now I think I will always use one in the future.

Pee rags are pretty simple: just use a bandana to dry yourself after you pee, then hang it off your pack to dry in the sun. I’ve read that the sun sterilizes the pee, but I haven’t actually found any scientific sources backing that up, so who knows?

Why should you give the pee rag a try?

  • Less smells. You will probably start to smell like pee after a few days of only drip drying. Try a pee rag, and you won’t smell as bad.
  • Reduce chafing. I find that I chafe more when there’s extra moisture between my thighs or butt cheeks (TMI?). I don’t get chafing nearly as frequently when I use a pee rag.
  • Comfort. Because feeling damp after peeing is uncomfortable.
  • Easy to clean. Just throw the pee rag in with the rest of your laundry.


  • The pee rag gets pretty gross looking if you go too long without washing it.
  • You have to be extra cautious not to brush up against anybody when your pee rag is dangling off of your pack. The boys I was hiking with were particularly horrified of the pee rag concept.
  • Be careful of prickly plants. I was hiking the the high desert region of Colorado, and I had cactus prickers all over my clothing. I became pretty paranoid of getting cactus prickers in my pee rag.

Give it a try and your hiking life will be slightly easier.

15 thoughts on “The Pee Rag

  1. I’ve used a pee rag for quite some time, but have never hung it on the back of my pack before. The sun has amazing powers, but it cannot sterilize the urine on the pee rag, since urine is already sterile when it leaves your body. It isn’t bacteria that makes the urine smell, it is metabolic byproducts filtered out by the kidneys that have the odor. I will definitely try the solar method!

    • FYI It is a misconception that urine is sterile. It is not. It contains bacteria and it also picks up bacteria from your skin on its way out… We are germy little creatures.

      • I’ve read that pee is sterile when it leaves your body, but then it quickly gathers bacteria? I’ve found a lot of contradictory sources on the subject of pee rags and sterilization, which is why I wanted to make it clear that I haven’t found any scientific data backing up any of the claims. Thanks for the additional info!

  2. I had a camp counselor swear by the pee rag, and had a specific place on her pack for it, since her sweat rag had to share space. I always wondered if she mixed it up.

    The sun does have the power to sterilize things, but to a point. I usually give it a wash every morning with treated water to keep it cleaner.

  3. A definite must have when backpacking. You can wash it pretty easily when you get to camp. Boil water, wash out out with a bit of camp soap, then wash the rest of your stinky self. 🙂

  4. I love it! The pee rag…lol…I was wondering how I was gonna carry enough TP and how many bags of used TP I would be carrying around just to go pee…The answer is obvious and I am laughing my butt off! I am going on my first distance hike next spring, and it will be the AT…Thanks for the info and the chuckle…

  5. I have maybe a silly question. Does the pee rag not smell? I’m starting to (maybe) plan a thru hike and this seems like an awesome solution!

  6. I usually take a pack of baby wipes with me. I can use them to wipe both pee and poo, put away in zip lock bag and throw away when I get to trail head. They are usually easy to obtain when going into trail towns. I also use them to do a little bathing after a long day. You feel a little more refreshed wiping everything down before climbing into your sleeping back. Worth the little extra weight.

  7. I tried the pee rag once and gave up on it pretty quickly because the concept was too gross. On the other hand, I was able to do that because there was still snow on the ground. No cleaner toiler paper than a snowball. I might give it another try.

  8. Pingback: Shewees, Pee Rags, and Diva Cups | Two Turning Turbines

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