OR - Freshette - Andrea Murland
- Here's another one for the editor's red pen, to add to the growing list of devices available to help a girl pee. :)
Owner Review by Andrea Murland
August 18, 2012
Manufacturer: International Sani-fem Inc.
Manufacturer's URL: www.freshette.com
Model: Sports & Travel
Year of Manufacture: 2008
MSRP: $23.95 US
Listed Weight: None
Measured Weight: 32 g (1.1 oz)
The Freshette is a female urinary director, to allow a female to urinate while standing. The basic piece that is part of all models is the hard plastic funnel which gets placed against the body. The Sports/Travel model comes with a 5 in (12.7 cm) long tube, and a plastic zipper-lock pouch. The tube is cut on an angle at the discharge end, and is slightly wider at the end which inserts into the funnel, with a seal. The tube can be pulled back into the funnel for more compact storage, and extended for use. The funnel itself is smooth on the inside but has a slightly rough texture on the outside.
The instructions for the Freshette are as follows: "Stand facing the toilet or with your back to the wind. Pull the extension tube outward from the spout until it locks. With your feet apart, move clothing aside enough to place the opening of the trough snugly against your body and proceed."
The plastic funnel can be pressed upwards and drawn forward when finished urinating to capture any remaining drops.
I added my Freshette to my gear in 2008 before embarking on a several-month long backpacking trip. I carried it in my backpack for 4.5 months, and then have carried it intermittently since then. I have probably used the funnel a couple hundred times, but only 20 or so times in the backcountry. It has been used in trains, planes, public restrooms, and occasionally in the bush, in all seasons. I have used the Freshette while wearing hiking shorts or pants, climbing gear, winter clothing with various levels of layering, and coveralls.
When I first heard about the Freshette, I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and I made sure I purchased one before embarking on my long trip. I found on that trip that the Freshette remained in my pack just about every time I went to pee. Early in the trip, while backpacking, I used it quite frequently, but quickly found that the effort required to take off my pack, dig it out discretely, tromp into the bushes, use the Freshette, put it back in its pouch, put it back in my pack discretely, and re-shoulder my pack was more trouble than just squatting to pee. It quickly fell out of favour, and for the rest of the trip it was used almost exclusively in really disgusting bathrooms on trains...if I'd remembered to get it out of my big pack before getting on the train. The other issue I had while hiking was that after using it once or twice and putting it back in the pouch, it started to get a little rank, and using it was highly unappealing. I've never carried it while hiking in the summer since that first long trip. When I'm dayhiking it's certainly slower to use the Freshette, since I don't even take off my daypack to squat.
I tried using the Freshette with my climbing harness on, thinking it would be great for long climbs or rope rescue. Although it certainly is good from a modesty point-of-view, I found no other benefits to me personally. On a climb, I'd have to carry it along, and at a rescue I'd have to go find it in my pack. I am capable of squatting to pee while wearing my harness and being tied in. I should say that the first time I tried to use it with my harness on I was wearing 4 layers of pants without a fly, in addition to the harness, which made actually getting the funnel against my body next to impossible.
I have had success using the Freshette in the winter while ski touring, purely from a "staying warm" perspective, but even then I don't usually bring it with me. I often wear 3 layers of underwear and long underwear that do not have a fly, and I have found it difficult to get the Freshette manoeuvred into place and sealing properly with so many clothes.
There is one situation in which I use the Freshette on an almost daily basis (co-workers stop reading here!). It has a semi-permanent home in my desk drawer at work. In order to use the toilet at work, I have to remove a vest, radio, and the top half of a pair of coveralls (plus pants and underwear), which is a pain. I use the Freshette either with the 2-way zipper on the coveralls (they are clearly designed for a guy!), or by unzipping the vest and coveralls for a little more access room. I can then rinse the Freshette immediately and put it back in its pouch and in my desk.
When I first got the Freshette, I practiced at home to make sure I knew what I was doing before venturing outside. I've thankfully never had any issues in the backcountry, but I have had the odd "leak" event, usually caused by getting a piece of clothing caught between the funnel and myself, and once caused by not pulling the tube out fully until it sealed. Those events were rather embarrassing (to myself, no one else knew until now!) and I am now very careful to make sure everything is set up right.
I mentioned already that the Freshette gets rather rank after multiple days of use. I am happy to note that it returns to being smell-free once washed with soap and water, and the plastic pouch does as well. In general, the Freshette is easy to clean, I just give it a rinse most of the time and it stays scent-free.
I find the Freshette quite bulky and large, which makes it hard to carry discretely. It takes up a lot of space in the top pocket of my pack, and is too large to carry in a pocket. I almost never carry a purse, so using the Freshette in an urban setting is generally not an option.
The Freshette is a female urinary director with a funnel made from rigid plastic and an extendable tube. It has proved to be occasionally useful to me on winter trips but has made a home for itself in my desk at work.
Good for preserving modesty
Excellent for using with clothing designed for males
Good for staying warm in winter
Easy to clean
Leaks if clothing gets caught between the funnel and my body
Leaks if tube not extended fully
Smelly if not rinsed shortly after use
Hard to use with multiple layers without a fly
Too big to carry discretely
For me too much trouble to dig it out while hiking
- PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!
Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. If you are new to BackpackGearTest.org, welcome to the community! The Editors will work with you, within their own time constraints, to get your first two Owner Reviews approved and upload in a timely manner. Do not worry if nothing happens with it for several days. All our Editors are volunteers and your report will be subject to an official edit within fourteen days. If you have not had a response from an Edit Moderator via the Yahoo Groups list within this timeframe, please let me know directly at jdeben(at)hotmail.com
To assist in this process, if this is your first Owner Review we ask that you post only ONE Owner Review for edit at a time. Our experience is that it is more efficient for both the Editors and
yourself, if you post your first review, have it edited, approved and uploaded before you post your second and subsequent reviews.
Once your first two Owner Reviews have been approved and you have submitted your Tester Agreement you will be eligible to start applying for Tests. If you'd like more assistance or guidance with the process you can request a mentor by sending an email to Jenn K., the mentor coordinator, at mentor (at) backpackgeartest.org.
You may receive edits or comments from other members of the group. These edits and comments, while not official, should be considered carefully, and if you find them substantial, revise and re-post your review. Incorporating member edits and re-submitting to the list
will usually result in a better review, as well as making things easier for the official Editor. Please put REVISED in the subject line of your re-submitted review if you take this route or make any
changes to your review BEFORE the review has been taken by an Edit Moderator.
Additionally, it is important for you to monitor the Yahoo Groups list to keep track of the progress of your Owner Review. Once an Editor has taken your OR and made the necessary edits they will post their comments to the list with EDIT in the subject line. Once you have incorporated these edits into your review please use REPOST in the subject line. When your OR has been approved by the Editor they will use APPROVED in the subject line.
If you'd like to keep track of the progress of your OR while it's in the edit queue, the entire Owner Review Queue is posted to this yahoo group list on either Thursdays or Fridays.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask via the list or contact me directly.
Editors Team Director