Help! I'm a woman and I'm getting ready to go on my first long backpacking trip. We'll be camping out for a week and I'm afraid of having to pee late at night. What if we get stuck in the tent because of bad weather? I'll be sharing my tent with another woman, but neither of us thinks we can pee in a bottle like the guys do. Can we?
Urinating into a bottle is one of the best solutions if you get weathered in or just don't want to go bashing around in the dark by yourself to find a good pee spot. And yes, women definitely can pee into bottles too.
Although we don't have quite the aiming capability that guys do, with a little practice we can develop pretty good control over our urine stream -- enough to pee into a wide-mouth water bottle if you get it up close to you. Other alternatives I've heard of ladies using, but never tried myself, include recycled plastic food tubs and zip-close plastic bags.
Practice at home to get a feel for what you're comfortable with and, until you're feeling really confident, go ahead and spread a bandana beneath the receptacle to catch any stray drops.
Once you're done, you can either rinse with a little water (if you think you can get the resulting flow into your pee receptacle -- I'm nowhere near that coordinated!) or wipe off with a bandana/pee rag. And remember that wiping front-to-back is more important than ever when you're in the backcountry, far from relief for any incipient UTI.
Of course, there's the obstacle of having to drop your pants to pee. If neither you nor your tentmate are shy, this might not be too much of an issue. But if you ever find yourself sharing a tent with someone to whom you don't want to display your bare bottom, I recommend exploring the fine world of female urine directors (which make peeing into a bottle much easier) or using my "coat around the waist" pee technique. It works in a tent, too, as long as there's room to turn your back and squat.
Also, at least one urine director -- the Lady J -- comes with an optional jug for holding urine. I prefer to make existing items multi-task for me but, if you're worried about peeing in a tent, having this purpose-built interface makes it easy to get a clean catch every time.
Last but not least: If you do pee into an extra water bottle, make sure you clearly label it or can otherwise distinguish it from your drinking water supply!