Well girls, it’s time to put a stop to the envy - I have an answer (perhaps even ‘the’ answer) that will make that nasty jealousy go away. Recently I got a hold of a GoGirl and extracted some information about the product from Sarah Dillon, the president and founder of GoGirl, which is based in the USA. What is a GoGirl? Well, after consulting the GoGirl Fact Sheet, the GoGirl is a “simple, sanitary device made from germ-resistant, medical-grade silicone” which (apparently) lets women go to the toilet standing up. If you don’t have access to or don’t want to use a sit down toilet (anyone who’s travelled in a third world country will empathise with this), you simply take the GoGirl out of its little tube, unzip and off you go. Each GoGirl comes with a plastic bag so if you want to throw it away afterwards you can, otherwise it’s washable and reusable. They cost $6.99 each, or $18.99 for a pack of three (US Dollars).
So there’s the theoretical facts and figures - but what about the practical, out in the wilderness, stuck up a cliff sort of situation? Would the GoGirl live up to the claims and be the answer to all our problems? Might we never have equipment envy again?
The device arrived and I popped it out of its little tube (which is decorated fetchingly in pink and white, and features a little toilet door lady with her legs crossed above the phrase “don’t take life sitting down”). My partner Dave looked on, intrigued. Out the GoGirl popped, pink and funnel-like, accompanied by its funky pink/white/toilet door lady adorned plastic disposal bag. I set it on the kitchen table and Dave and I looked at it speculatively. “Small”, remarked Dave. “Pink”, I thought, and also “am I going to pee all over my pants?”
According to the Sarah and the GoGirl crew, the GoGirl is for “bikers, brides, business women, campers, climbers, concert goers, hikers, hunters, marathon runners, medical patients, missionaries, skiers, travelling women and more”. Aside from bride, business woman (in the power dressing, high heels sense), hunter, medical patient and missionary, I am all those things at different times (including “and more”, of course). However, I decided to try out the GoGirl in the bathroom for my first go - except in reverence to my supposed “outdoorsy” reputation and my tendency to like the higher risk outdoor activities, I avoided the shower and total clothing removal (tempting though it was) and went for the toilet.
With a touch of nervousness, I prepared the GoGirl and myself for our first trial run. Last time I peed my pants I was in pre-school and I had to wear a pair of brown scratchy trousers all day - not a good memory. Needless to say, it took a little while to overcome the years of training that were shouting “you’re standing up, don’t pee or you’ll have to wear brown scratchy trousers!!” However - success! I let out a whoop and Dave came running to see what was wrong. But nothing was wrong - everything was right. There I was, standing proudly upright with my little pink tube depositing my business with deadly accuracy at the toilet bowl. I resisted the urge to swagger a little, scratch my non-existent balls and lean casually against the wall. Dave eyed off the device, perhaps thinking he might have to compete with me at the urinal, but left with his manly ego intact - the GoGirl is rather small and soft and therefore no threat to those with the organic version.
Devices like the GoGirl seem to be the way of the future and growing in popularity. There are even some major institutions installing permanent women’s urinals. In the outdoors or for travelling, the GoGirl is a great option. The units are very affordable for a reusable device - I’ve used and washed mine several times now, even though Dave wouldn’t let me put it in the dishwasher (just joking). The only problems I’ve had with it were when I tried it sitting down in the kayaking position (not good, not good at all) and when I let go with a bit too much enthusiasm, things backed up and I had a minor flood (urgh). I also couldn’t get the GoGirl back in its little tube, but it’s small enough that this isn’t an issue.
Despite these minor issues, the GoGirl was a success for me. The package is so tiny it will fit in the pocket of any pack. If it falls out, you won’t be embarrassed - to test this it’s been sitting on my living room mantelpiece for a couple of weeks and it was rare that anyone noticed it unless I pointed it out. For hiking, travelling, camping and a variety of other outdoor activities, the GoGirl will help you do the business.
Have a go at a GoGirl and see what you think. Remember, you don’t have to take life sitting down!
The GoGirl is available in the US (you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook to see where they’re turning up at an event near you), and through the GoGirl website to the rest of the world.
If you liked this article, you might also like A Little Bit of Equipment Envy and the reviews of the P-Style and Shewee.