Should You Pee Near Your Tent? (The Surprising Answer)

We all know there are certain rules with tent camping. For example, don’t feed the animals or leave food lying around, but when nature calls, should you pee near your net?

If you are a grizzled camping veteran, or a first-timer, it’s good to know whether or not urinating by your tent is a good or bad idea. 

Let’s answer so you know the boundaries of relieving yourself while tent camping.

Should You Pee Near Your Tent When Camping?

As a general rule, you should not pee right next to your tent. It’s best to pee away from your campsite, including your tent, food, water, and other supplies. Try to pee 100 or 200 feet away for good separation from your campsite. Peeing near your tent can cause issues for other campers in your tent, especially if someone else steps in your fresh puddle of pee.

What to Do When You Have to Pee While Camping?

First and foremost, if you are camping in a campground and there are restrooms or vault toilets available, by all means, use the restroom. Yeah, the last thing many people want to do is get up in the middle of the night, fumble around for a flashlight, slip on some shoes and make their way through the cold dark night to hit the bathroom.

It’s so much easier to pee by your tent. And it’s easier for men than for women.

But there are times when you camp in the middle of nowhere, and there are no toilets around. In that case, you will most likely pee in the woods. You can buy a portable toilet, and we might get into alternative ways to pee.

Try to get away from your tent when forced to relieve yourself in nature. If you are camping alone, you likely won’t remember exactly where you went pee, and then you might step into a nice squishy spot in the morning. Ick!

If you are camping with others, they will thank you when you pee somewhere other than right next to your tent.

Are Animals Attracted to Human Urine?

Honestly, there is no definitive answer to whether or not a bear or other giant animal is attracted or deterred from human urine. At least none of the research going into this article was definitive.

Bears have an insane sense of smell, but we don’t really know if they are attracted to pee. Some people think peeing around your campsite is a way to mark your territory to keep animals away. Feel free to test this on your own.

How to Find a Spot to Pee Near Your Campsite

As we mentioned earlier, if you camp in a developed campground with facilities, for goodness’ sake, use the toilet. If not, designate an area away from your campsite for bathroom business. Having a designated spot for potty is an excellent way to keep smells and messes away from your camping area.

You don’t have to hike a mile from your campsite to pee, but make sure you are a reasonable distance away so nobody steps, slips, or falls in your business. Maybe you can find a spot with some cover, like bushes, small trees, etc.

Somewhere that you can have a little bit of privacy and dignity while doing your business. Also, try to make sure your tent is upwind from where you are peeing so you don’t accidentally spray your tent with you know what.

Tips for Camping and Peeing

Since we have covered what you should do if you are camping in a developed campground, let’s chat about tips for camping and peeing in primitive areas. Depending on the terrain, if the area is rugged, sandy, rocky, etc., there might not be a great place to pee other than close to your tent.

Use your best judgment here. You need to properly dispose of the TP if toilet paper is involved. This might mean digging a hole and using biodegradable toilet paper. Or, depending on how long you are camping, you might pack it out.   

What Are the Risks of Peeing Near Your Tent?

The risks of peeing by your tent are mainly the grossness of stepping in your own or someone else’s stuff. Or, if you pee close to your tent and you pee uphill from your tent, you could deal with runoff and stuff getting under your tent. Plus, if you have stinky pee, there is that too.

Alternatives to Peeing Near Your Tent

There are a few alternatives to peeing near your tent. First, you could purchase a portable toilet, which is nice if you need squat or sit while peeing in the woods. Portable toilets also make it easier for visitors to enjoy camping trips without leaving a negative impact.

Another alternative is to pee in a bottle, which is easier for some folks than others. If you have to get up in the middle and don’t want to leave the comfort of your tent, a plastic bottle might do the trick. You can even purchase a funnel specifically for the job.

Of course, you must dispose of the mess in the portable toilet or the bottle, so consider that.

Wrapping Up

Deciding whether or not to pee near your tent is a tricky proposition. Not only can it leave a smell, but some unlucky soul might end up stepping in your puddle of urine. If you are in a developed campground, use the facilities, but if you camp in remote areas, you don’t have that luxury. Therefore, it’s always best to separate yourself from your campsite and pee spot.

Featured Image Credit: ©[Cliford Mervil] via

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About the author
Steve Morrow
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.

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