Well, here's the situation. You're on an outdoor trip in winter. It's cold outside and after a long day all you want to do is crawl into your warm sleeping bag and not get out of it until the next morning. Unfortunately, shortly after reaching the warmth of your tent, you feel the urge to pee and have to get up and out again.

The obvious solution to just pee right before you go to bed doesn't seem to help as somehow the act of warming up in the sleeping bag seems to encourage a second round of peeing.

It's ok in summer, but in winter it REALLY sucks, especially if you're traveling light so you only have your ski boots to get into and your tent is small and cramped anyway...

Any ideas?

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    So, some people keep a jar in the tent to pee in. I prefer not to. :) Commented May 1, 2013 at 22:34
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    @DonBranson - I think that's the Answer. I'd upvote it, if you wrote it up. Death & Taxes aren't the only two certain things in this world.
    – DavidR
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 22:42
  • I did several years of research at high latitudes where we would spend 2+ months sleeping in tents and keeping a pee-jar in the vestibule is the only way to go.
    – DQdlM
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 2:40
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    Spike Milligan told a story of a soldier he knew who used a length of rubber tubing, one end outside the tent and the other fitted over his bits. All worked well until the night a "friend" tied a knot in the tubing.
    – aucuparia
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 9:44
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    One of my most memorable moments was watching auroras and full moon over a frozen Lapland landscape in -30°C and 20m/s wind while taking a leak wearing my boots and boxers. I never really thought of it as a problem but I'd hate to sleep with my pee in a jar next to me. Knowing that it'll be frozen solid by the morning. So maybe learning to enjoy the moments might help? Commented May 7, 2017 at 5:39

7 Answers 7


Three things

  • pee right before you go to sleep. I know it seems obvious, but people forget
  • keep warm and sleep well. You can wake up just bursting to pee in the morning, or you can wake up kinda needing to pee at 3am and you can't get back to sleep. The sounder you sleep the more likely you can sleep through kinda needing to pee
  • don't drink a LOT of liquid in the evening. Don't deprive yourself, but if you chug back a litre of something just because you like the taste of it, you know where that litre will end up :-)

In my opinion, a pee jar is a terrible idea, especially with kids. It would just lead to pee all over the tent one way or another. Not wanting to go out in the cold to pee is a good motivator and if you don't get up in the night at home, you shouldn't have to get up in the night when you're camping.

  • That's awesome argument to use next time girlfriend will start to talk about kinds. Thank you dearly!
    – Val
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 13:15
  • FWIW, my family all used a "pee cup" (a re-used bottle of some sort) when we went camping, from a young age. Keep it just outside the door, in the vestibule area. Never had any problems from it, and saved a lot of bundling up at night.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 23:03
  • I've used a pee bladder for years and never spilled a drop. Of course as a guy I have certain inbuilt advantages when it comes to aim. Females of my acquaintance swear by the SheWee as a way to overcome this... Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 15:32

From my comment - Some people keep a jar in the tent to pee in. I prefer not to. :)

When the kids were young and we all went camping, my wife did this so she and the kids wouldn't have to leave the tent, warm weather or cold.

  • Or a plastic bottle, but yes. Commented May 3, 2013 at 11:45
  • I assume "jar" is British English for "plastic bottle", as opposed to its Stateside default of "glass bottle", yes? Urine-filled glass bottles in subfreezing temperatures would be a bit unwise...
    – requiem
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 4:22
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    In England "plastic bottle" is plastic bottle, jar is the container we keep jam for 5 o'clock tea.
    – Val
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 13:22
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    On Everest people carry a third Nalgene bottle with them to pee into at night. They don't even get out of their sleeping bags to pee, and they sleep with the warm bottle until morning.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 14:15
  1. What has already been said: pee and don't drink before sleeping.
  2. Have a bowel movement in the evening if necessary. The full rectum pressing upon the bladder can trigger urination. From the same reason, avoid eating a lot of fruits, beans and other foods that cause gas, which can also trigger urination.
  3. Avoid eating large amount of salt. Sodium keeps water in your body for several hours, but during the night, the kidneys will excrete both the excessive sodium and water, which will likely make you get up and urinate.
  4. Keep yourself warm in a sleeping bag. Low temperatures stimulate the excretion of the urine - "cold diuresis" The critical thing, at least for me, is to keep feet warm.
  5. Try to be in peace with yourself before you fall asleep - anxiety can stimulate urination.

More causes of frequent urination and nocturia (urination at night) Frequent Urination

  • would be great if you added some kind of link or other reference to support each one of these claims. There's a lot of misinformation on the internet about people's biology, so it's always best to double check the accuracy of these types of things. Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 4:59
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    OK, I added few links. It's also not hard to try and see, which should be convincing enough.
    – Jan
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 9:47

I would recommend using a pee jar for all middle aged and older men who prefer not to get up at night. I do this at home all the time and I barely have to wake up to use it. A wide-mouth salsa jar is perfect because it has a lid that seals well so there is no oder escaping.

I empty the jar in the morning and rinse it out. I was getting yellow urine deposits in the jar that I would clean out with a Brillo pad every now and then however I recently started putting a small dab of hand soap in the jar with a small amount of water and shake this up on the way back to the bedroom. So far in two weeks no urine deposits have appeared. I also was going to try a small amount of vinegar as a deposit preventer but the soap is working. The jars hold 16 ounces and I almost always fill one jar with one to three uses at night or in the morning before I get up to dress or shower. One advantage of using a jar is that it interrupts my sleep less and is much less likely to wake up my wife even if she is in another room.

  • 1
    In the Himalayas everyone carries a Nalgene or similar for a pee bottle, glass jars are heavy for hiking, and have the potential to shatter.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 14:12

What you’re experiencing is called cold diuresis, a phenomenon that occurs for reasons that are not entirely clear. One theory that remains popular—though it has been contested—explains how it works like this: When your temperature starts to drop, your body will attempt to reduce heat loss by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the surface of the skin. When that happens, your blood pressure will rise, because the same volume of blood is flowing through less space in your body. In response, your kidneys will pull out excess fluid to reduce your blood pressure, making you have to pee. “A full bladder is a place for additional heat loss, so urinating will help conserve heat,” writes Rick Curtis, the director of Princeton University’s Outdoor Action Program.

  • Hi and welcome to TGO. This is a great explanation WHY you have to pee during night. But you could expand this to get an answer to the real question. So it seems like having the proper gear that keeps you warm will reduce the chance that you have to pee during night.
    – Wills
    Commented May 7, 2017 at 10:26

Disclosure - I work for this company:

GottaTinkle! Female Urination Device is a great alternative. Unlike funnels, GottaTinkle! does not come into contact with pee or the privates. Rather, it holds a small ziplock style baggie. Simply pee into the baggie and either pour-out right away, or zip the baggie and dispose of the pee at a later time. We've used it in our SUV, tent while camping, on our small fishing boat when we did not want to jump into the water to go.

GottaTinkle! Female Urination Device (Woman & Children Can Pee Standing-Up) YouTube.

  • 3
    This somehow is commercial but hey, it is on topic. I guess you are working for them @Sherry? If so, you should've say that.
    – Wills
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 3:55
  • This is a little overtly advertising?
    – user2766
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 7:49
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    I have added in the disclosure - however this is still a huge image. Sherry - can you please replace it with a smaller one.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 8:02
  • All the ladies I've been sharing tent with didn't really had any problems peeing in to the bottle. I would say that if girl is comfortable with the fact she pees in tent she'll be fine with using any container available.
    – Val
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 13:50

Using a pee bottle is very common among climbers and backpackers, especially in winter and bad weather.

I make sure I drink what I need to during the day but nothing excessive near evening. At night or during storms I will have something like a Gatorade bottle to pee in.

Here is discussion by experienced backpackers.

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