The Golden Shower

Sunday 13 December 2015, 3:02am -- daniel.joll

A piss bottle admiring the view of Bugaboo Spire.

Creator: 
Daniel Joll

I feel warmth as it leaves my body. Cold plastic, warmed by a steady stream of 40 degree fluid. On a cold night there is mild relief for my frozen fingers as they firmly wrap around a 1.5L Nelgine come piss bottle. Brett Gilmore a friend from Hawkes Bay first introduced me to the guilty pleasures of the piss bottle in a tent on Mt Ruapehu. At the time I was less than convinced, especially as he was trying to negotiate the confines of a narrow coke bottle mouth, which for anyone who has tried knows, extra care and attention is required. The small opening leaves little room for error, blow back from to tight a seal is a real and ever present danger.

Over the years however I have become a convert, moving on to a dedicated wide mouth large Nelgine. Fit for purpose and plenty of space for an extended stay in the tent. The main advantage to the piss bottle is that you do not need to leave the confines of your warm sleeping bag or bivvy to relieve yourself. Urinating is one of the body’s main ways to regulate temperature. On a cold night if you really want to get back to sleep going for a quick slash is usually the only way this can be achieved. Often though the thought of leaving your dry tent, warm sleeping bag or comfy bivvy spot to go and stand out in the cold, wind and rain is just too much to bear. Many will just hold on, tossing and turning, with a full bladder and a cold body. A piss bottle however is your road to salvation. Simply roll over to the side, ensure you’re inserted correctly and that the angle of the bottle is such that overflow will not occur, then breath, relax and enjoy. Before you know it, you’re back to sleep.

I have known for many years that this day would come. A day of reckoning . The night in question comes on day one of a seven day stay in the Torre Valley. I am on a trip to Patagonia with Steve Fortune and Jono Clarke. We have just walked into our base camp below the east face of Torre Egger and are tucked up under our tent fly. I am snuggled next to Steve in a double quilt sleeping bag. This is a prototype design we have been working on with Macpac. The underside is completely open, with the sides wrapping around you held in place with several compression straps. The idea is that by sharing body warmth you can save on sleeping bag weight. Sometimes we just touch feet, other times as the morning chill bites we spoon for warmth. Puffs of warm putrid air rise and fall from deep within the confines of the bag. On occasion I wish I had a nose plug to go with my eye patch and ear plugs.
In the early hours of the morning my body begins to cool and I am woken by the need to pee. From my position nestled up against Steve I reach under the side of the quilt. My piss bottle is cold, my ungloved hands know that soon however they will feel the warmth that comes from a freshly filled bottle. Sometimes I will hold onto the bottle for a while just to enjoy the heat passing from bottle to hands before dropping it back outside the sleeping bag to once again freeze. I begin the process, roll over, unscrew, test positioning, yes everything seems right. Relax and release, I begin to feel the warmth spread from one part of the body to another. That’s nice, my hands begin to warm. For a brief moment I revel in the satisfaction of a job well done. This certainly beats what Jono is doing by pissing into an empty freeze dry packet.

My satisfaction suddenly begins to change to a feeling of mild worry. The extra warm feeling in my hands is spreading out. Now my side is enjoying a sudden increase in temperature. Ahhh thats nice I think, my brain still shrouded in a fog of sleep induced numbness slowly begins to register this is not the usual warming that comes from holding onto the piss bottle. As the feeling spreads to my back I know the game is up. The day of reckoning is upon me. Thanks to the double sleeping bag and close proximity to Steve it will also soon be upon him as well.
Ahh shit, Steve, Steve, wake up mate. I think we have a small problem.
Fortunately my one piece suite is quite absorbent, combined with the shape of my ridge rest which is ideal for collecting excess urine the problem is spreading quickly towards Steve but it has not quite reached him.
Quick sit up I say to him.
What’s going on?
Small problem with the piss bottle, I think I might have pissed on you.

Steve takes this news remarkably well. I guess what can you do, perhaps he has been waiting for this day as well. Each to their own I guess. I unzip my one piece fleece suite and begin the drying out process. My ridge rest gets turned over I’m now dry side up. It’s all relative, as we are under an open tent fly and it’s raining so the underside will soon be washed clean by the small stream that flows beneath our tent. What a way to start the week. I have made my bed and now I will have to lie in it.