Of all the years I have been teaching women to ice fish, one of the most asked questions I get asked is about going to the bathroom on the ice. Most experienced female anglers have their own system in place, and the one thing all of them agree on is that it’s not a big deal. Being on the ice is very dehydrating and those that limit fluid intake so they don’t have to pee are making a huge mistake.
Squatting over a five-gallon bucket is probably the most common method, and many a time gals kick the others in their shack outside so they can stay in the warmth while they drop their britches. This is where having a one-person flip over is very convenient. One big disadvantage of wearing bibs is that a lot of undressing has to occur. Striker Brand ice suits do make a drop seat pant version for women, but women either seem to love it or hate it.
In the past few years, several devices have come out to aide the outdoorswoman to stand and pee without dropping her drawers. We did some testing and found our favorites. We have tested the Freshette, the Go Girl, and the latest one out, the Tinkle Bell.
The Freshette has been out for several years. It has a pink rigid plastic funnel with a hose that attaches to the end. This is a favorite of one of my fishing buddies and she has successfully used it for years. She said “ It's the best thing since indoor plumbing” She did use lose the tube and needed to replace it with a piece of hose from the hardware store. She stores it in a plastic bag and uses it year-round.
The next one if the Go Girl. The Go Girl is made of soft pliable material and comes in a round tube case. It is made in MN and is a great seller. My experience has been that the softer material has more give when trying to place it while wearing multi-layers of clothing including bulky outerwear. Ice fishing makes it more difficult to get it in place and keep it from bending.
The third one that we reviewed is the Tinkle Belle. The Tinkle Belle is a one-piece design that folds into itself for storage. It comes with a handy carrying case. The website says it is “Antimicrobial- Nobody likes germs down there!” and “Hydrophobic! The Tinkle Belle sheds liquid making toilet paper unnecessary.”
I gave one to my 72-year-old fishing buddy. She has two artificial knees and limited mobility. She is an avid hunter and ice angler and gave it a try. I was happy to hear she loved it and was able to use it with ease, and did not have any spillage. I like the fact that they say you don’t need toilet paper and the device can be used as a squeegee.
My best piece of advice is to practice before you go into the field. Especially ice fishing! I will admit one time I did have an “incident” and one of my Frechette experiences ended in a disaster. Start by practicing in the shower a few times. When you think you have it figured out, put on your multi-layers of ice fishing clothes and give it a try. If you have it figured out and can keep everything dry, you are officially ready to take it with you to the outside world. As my buddy said, “Once I got over my modesty, I never worried again about having to go when ice fishing. No more cold bottom!”
Other handy tips: be sure to always bring a plastic bag and toilet paper or wet wipes. There is that rare occasion where your bowels decide it’s time to go, and you want to be sure to have a bag to deposit the waste into. This is a great tip for those fishing with the kids.
Slice a pool noodle to make a “toilet seat”. Seems as if the edges on some buckets are very sharp and this will give you better balance and comfort.
If you have ever fished in a sleeper shack complex, you will see the black plastic bags outside the shacks waiting for pick up. Well, that is frozen poo, waiting for a lift off the ice from the crews maintaining the sleeper shacks.
Not sure if this article will help you or create more apprehension, but the main thing to remember is, it’s not a big deal, and practice makes perfect.