The background to my purchase of the Shewee Extreme was a 14-hr epic mountain day in Scotland this winter with three men, during which time I had to perch on a snow ledge sandwiched between two men with their eyes closed while I crouched for a wee, with another man ascending up to the stance at the same time. The ascending male had to be asked to hold on for fear of receiving a face full of warm yellow liquid. An interesting tale, but not an experience that I particularly wanted to repeat after that journey. I’m sure the men would rather it weren’t repeated too.
A lot of friends had discussed the Shewee and I thought that perhaps it would be a good investment, particularly considering my plans to climb outdoors at Stanage this coming summer, which has notoriously few places to protect ones modesty when nature calls.
For those of you not aware of the existence of the shewee, it’s described as a portable urinating device for women. I ended up purchasing the device from Go Outdoors, as Cotswolds didn’t sell them. This really should have given me the hint – the staff at Cotswolds on Oxford Road in Manchester are very good and have never tried to sell me anything that they think isn’t suitable or relevant. It’s for that reason that they are my ‘go-to’ people for mountaineering gear. Their words of advice were to ‘definitely try it in the shower’ before I use it outdoors. So try it in the shower I did, only not fully clothed or within a hair’s breath of other people, a mistake that turned out to be a crucial one.
The device travelled with me to Scotland, again, on a Women’s Club Winter Skills Course, in February 2013. I was so excited about this new fangled device that I thought nothing could go wrong. What I failed to realise was that when trying to wee outdoors, with many hundreds of items of clothing in the freezing temperatures, it’s not always easy to ‘position’ the Shewee. After minutes fumbling around, in a forested area (no pun… seriously), with my co-walkers only a few arms’ lengths away, I managed to get it into what I thought was the correct position. Then the trickiness started – it felt like I was trying to wee into a thimble and I just couldn’t do it. After what seemed like an interminable amount of time, the wee did start coming, but at such a rate that the shewee couldn’t cope. The resulting overflow was unavoidable and I spent the rest of the day hiking and digging my way through the beautiful Scottish snow safe in the knowledge that I had, at the age of 34, reverted to childhood and actually wet myself.
The epilogue to this is that you also have to clean it out as it gets smelly, so don’t forget to clean it straight away!
I think I’d rather have people see me urinate with my trousers down than wet myself again. If you are going to use this item, practise in every position, with people watching and when you’re desperate for the loo. Good luck!