Owner Review - Whizz Freedom - Kerri Larkin
- I'm pleased to offer my second Owner Review for your consideration and hope it recommends itself to you.
Whiz Freedom: Female Urine Director
BY KERRI LARKIN <<IMAGE 2>>
August 24, 2009
NAME: Kerri Larkin
EMAIL: kerrilarkin AT yahoo DOT com
LOCATION: Sydney, Australia
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 284 lb (129.00 kg)
I've been a car-camper and bushwalker for thirty years. Mostly I do day hikes as my passion is photography, which means I walk very slowly! I've returned to walking after some years away due to injuries and I'm learning to use Ultralight gear (and my new hammock!). I've traveled most of eastern Australia, walking in landscapes as diverse as tropical rainforest, snow fields, beaches and deserts. My fortieth birthday was spent trekking in Nepal which was a truly life changing experience.
Manufacturer: WhizBiz Pty Ltd
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.whizbiz.com.au">>
MSRP: AUD $24.95
Measured Weight: 0.5 oz (13 g)
Length: 15 cm (6 in)
Maximum Width: 9.5 cm (3.7 in)
Other details: The Whiz Freedom is designed to help women with one of the difficulties of camping and bushwalking; urinating discreetly. This plastic funnel-like device channels and directs urine away without the need to undress, squat, hide behind trees, or any of the other contortions women employ to retain their dignity. The instructions are clear and detailed enough to allow success from the first use.
Testing: I used the Whiz Freedom at home to get used to it, then on day walks, and at public toilets which either looked particularly unsanitary or had those freezing cold metal pedestals with no seat. I've used the product a couple of times a week for three months now.
Urination. It's a topic we don't particularly like talking about, but it's close to the heart of all hiking women. So, for the sake of my fellow women hikers, I'll bite the bullet and bare all, so to speak.
What's bad? My knees are not the strongest so many's the time I've ended up falling in a wet heap on the floor after trying to balance over a squat loo. Worse? I end up soaking my knickers and trousers as I lose the aiming battle in a half-squat. Worst of all? That night I finally managed a full squat, only to realise it was over a patch of Stinging Nettles.
Or there's the usual scenario: 3 am, cold, wet, very dark and there's no way to sleep through the incessant call of nature. Another common problem is having to wee in full daylight on a busy trail with no trees to hide behind. It seems no matter how secretive I am, or how far off the trail, someone (usually male) walks by every time I drop my trousers. So, it's fair to say I'd leap at the chance to do the blokey thing and let it all hang out whilst whistling out of tune. That's where the Whiz Freedom comes in. Known as a Urine Director, it makes it possible for girls to urinate fully clothed and standing up.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1" IMAGE CAPTION = "The spout directs the flow">>
This nifty little device has proven easy to use and, once my confidence levels built, is reliable and safe. Since my first days of using the Freedom, I've only had one 'incident' where the funnel part caught on my knickers and became curled around rather than sitting flat. That resulted in a few stray drops of urine landing on my hand. Otherwise, a three-beer bladder has proven no challenge to the device. It doesn't seem to matter how fast or how slow I pass my water, the Freedom copes with it.
Perhaps the hardest thing about using the Freedom is the psychological issue. Initially, I found it very hard to relax enough to actually let the flow start. There's a fear it's going to be messy, leaky and generally unpleasant, yet once I pushed through the fear I found it was none of those things. The company recommend using the Freedom in the shower for the first time to get a feel for it, which I did with no problem. As my confidence increased, so did my daring. Now I find it easy to use standing, fully dressed, and have only a moderate case of nerves each time!
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 5" IMAGE CAPTION = "This way up! Even though it seems wrong.">>
The Whiz Freedom is made of medical grade Thermo Plastic Elastomer (TPE) which has been impregnated (oops, poor choice of words!) with antimicrobial and antifungal agents to ensure safety. The TPE has a lovely soft feel, a bit like silicone, and does not feel cold against the skin. It's also safe to heat to 40 C (104F), so can be thrown in the washing machine on a cool or warm cycle to clean it. As the instructions suggest, I usually rinse it after each use. The TPE is hydrophobic, meaning it repels fluids, and a quick shake will have it virtually dry. Although urine is sterile, there's a psychological barrier about having contact with it, so I store my Freedom in a zip-lock bag between uses and give it a good wash when I can.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 7" IMAGE CAPTION = "The device is hydrophobic. A single shake removes most fluid">>
USING THE WHIZ FREEDOM
One of the nifty things about the Freedom is that it all but eliminates the need for toilet paper, and I usually feel pretty dry after using it. I've found the best option is to wipe myself using the funnel part, just like using paper, give it a shake to dry and pop it back in its bag. So far, I've noticed no odour (either personal or on the Freedom) using this system. The instructions recommend using an antimicrobial handwash gel or wipe after using the Freedom.
The only counterintuitive thing about using the device is it must be positioned upside down to what I would have expected. The soft, lilly-shaped part sits uppermost, is held close against the skin (it is used on the outside rather than inside) and once in place the only other important check is to make sure the spout is pointing down so gravity can take care of the flow.
Initially I found it easiest to disrobe my nether region to use the Freedom. I found if I took my time to make sure everything was positioned correctly, there was no leakage. After practicing, I now feel comfortable simply unzipping, pushing my knickers aside and, well, going for it! As I mentioned above, when I first tried this I found the soft material caught against my knickers and curled one edge. That broke the seal and allowed a bit of bypass. Still, considering it was only a few drops, I'm very impressed with the device.
When walking, I carry it in a zip-lock bag for convenience but the manufacturer's web site provides a list of Frequently Asked Questions suggesting it's safe to fold or roll the Freedom for short periods. That's handy when I need to inspect the back of a tree as it allows me to be discrete about what I'm doing rather than pulling out a very obvious funnel shape.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 4" IMAGE CAPTION = "I carry the Freedom in a "lunch" size bag.">>
I haven't tried the Freedom in my hammock yet as I think it would be too hard to get the angles right, however, it's easy enough to stand next to the hammock and wee into a bottle (just like the boys do!) rather than have to trek off into the distance in the black of night. That also means I'm out of my cozy sleeping bag less time so I get less chilled, which means I can get back to sleep quicker.
With a bit of practice I found it's possible to aim the Whiz fairly accurately, either into a toilet bowl or bucket, but out in the wilds the stream is directed well away from my boots and so far there's been no splashback effect unless the ground is very hard. When practicing Leave No Trace hiking and camping, it was easy enough to dig a small cat-hole and direct the stream into the hole.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 6" IMAGE CAPTION = "Okay, it's a bit bit for a cat hole but you get the idea.">>
WHO CAN USE THE WHIZ FREEDOM
According to the manufacturer's web site, clinical trial were conducted using over 1,400 women and the results indicate anyone can use the device regardless of age or shape. In fact, the Freedom has been used in the Himalayas, the Arctic and the Antarctic, all places where dropping ones trousers could be seriously uncomfortable. It's been issued to female officer cadets at Australia's Duntroon Military College as well as Sandhurst in the UK.
With the optional latex extender piece (which I didn't buy) it is reportedly possible to use the Freedom while laying in bed but extra care is needed to ensure the flow will go downhill rather than up. That may be a great idea for those rainy trips.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 8" IMAGE CAPTION = "Is she, or isn't she? No one will know with the Freedom!">>
For someone like me who has trouble squatting, who want to be more discrete, or who simply want more control of their urine, the Whiz Freedom is ideal. After three months of use I have found the product easy to use, reliable, odour free and easy to clean. It has improved my enjoyment of The Outdoors enormously and has a permenant place in my hiking kit now. I would heartily recommend all women give it a try.
THINGS I LIKE
Easy to use
Removes the need for toilet paper
Soft against the skin
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
Can be hard to overcome years of conditioning and trust the device
Softness of the material means it can become folded if tangled in clothing
kerrilarkin AT yahoo DOT com
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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*** The company recommend using the Freedom in the shower for the first time
*** It's also safe to heat to 40 C (104F),
EDIT: need a space after 104
*** The soft, lilly-shaped part sits uppermost,
EDIT: I believe you mean "lily-like" as in the flower.
***According to the manufacturer's web site, clinical trial were conducted
EDIT: clinical "trials"