Happy Bottom Portable Bidet Review
I recently thru-hiked the John Muir Trail in California, spending 270 dreamy miles walking amidst jaw-dropping alpine lakes and stark Sierra peaks. My days were spent ooh-ing and aah-ing atop every mountain pass, swimming in crystal-clear turquoise pools, and watching the alpenglow against the wall of mountains every night. The less romanticized aspect of living on trail for three weeks, however? Hygiene. More specifically, doin’ your business in the woods.
I’ve backpacked for years, but until recently, I never considered giving the bidet a chance. It was always one excuse after the other. I didn’t want to carry the extra weight, it sounded like a waste of money, and, truthfully, I didn’t think it would live up to the hype. What’s the point of a bidet if you just have toilet paper? While prepping for the JMT, I caved and decided to try out the Happy Bottom Portable Bidet.
I’ll spare you all the details, but I can tell you this: after spending three weeks digging cat holes in the woods, I can confidently say that the Happy Bottom Portable Bidet was my most valuable piece of gear on the JMT. And I can guarantee it’ll be your favorite too.
Happy Bottom Bidet At-A-Glance
Weight: 2.8 ounces
Volume: 13.5 fluid ounces
Dimensions: 2.5 inches x 8.5 inches (collapsed); 2.5 inches x 14.25 inches (extended)
This BPA-free portable bidet will have you worry-free about your hygiene forevermore. The slim bottle makes it easy to grasp, with an extendable, angled sprayer head for water-pressure adjustment. The backcountry bidet is packable and flexible, so you can discretely stow it away in your pack when it’s not in use. Plus, it even comes with a soft travel bag to pack it away.
How Do I Use It?
Really, it’s quite simple. After unscrewing the top and filling the bidet with water, make sure to secure the cap tightly and extend the nozzle to its maximum length.
Invert the bottle and position it with the nozzle facing the desired direction. Squeeze gently and repeat as needed.
Most people opt for the back-to-front rinse method. However, this method poses a risk of UTIs in women. As a female, I recommend doing a final rinse in the opposite direction to ensure there’s no cause for concern.
Backcountry Bidet vs. Toilet Paper
You might be thinking, why fix something that isn’t broken? Toilet paper works just fine and has for years. You may be right, but there are many reasons to make the switch. Water helps get rid of bacteria and can potentially prevent you from spreading bacteria from your hands to your surroundings or other people.
While toilet paper certainly serves its purpose, it’s not necessarily the healthiest way; bidets are gentler and more hygienic. When you’re a thru-hiker living in a constant state of grime on the trail, a bidet is just one way to prevent infections like UTIs, keep you from smelling even worse, and give you some sense of cleanliness.
In addition, a bidet eliminates your toilet paper waste, so you’ll carry less used toilet paper (and less weight) on the trail.
Leave No Trace-Friendly
Digging Cat Holes
Besides being better for your overall hygiene, bidets help keep the trail clean too. The LNT practice of “pack it in, pack it out” applies to your used toilet paper too. You should always consult specific land management agencies for waste rules in a particular location, but oftentimes*, it is best practice to dig a cat hole six to eight inches deep and at least 200 feet away from all water, camp, trails, drainage, and other people before depositing solid waste into the hole.
*In places like the Whitney Zone on the JMT and PCT, though, due to the lack of dirt and excessiveness of people, all hikers are required to pack out their waste in something like a Wag Bag to maintain the beauty and integrity of the landscape.
How A Bidet Comes Into Play
What you shouldn’t bury in that hole, however, is your dirty toilet paper. Even if permitted in some locations by the land management agency, you should always pack out your toilet paper—even if it means rolling into town with a bag full of bathroom trash.
So how is a bidet more LNT-compliant? Less toilet paper usage means less of a chance you’ll find someone’s feces-covered TP buried underground or stranded on the side of the trail. Nobody likes stumbling across waste in what should be a pristine wilderness; don’t be that person.
Happy Bottom Portable Bidet Pros
I’ve been converted to a backcountry bidet user, and there is simply no going back. I take the Happy Bottom Portable Bidet with me on just about any trips, whether I’m spending one night or one month in the wilderness.
Hygienic: One of the biggest pros to the bidet is how hygienic it leaves you compared to the traditional method of using toilet paper (or, when you run out of this hot commodity, having to resort to other natural products…). The bidet provides a sense of freshness and cleanliness like never before, which is a delightful feeling when you may not have access to a shower or real toilet for days on end.
Toilet paper wastage: With the bidet, you’ll never need to skimp on saving toilet paper again.
Capacity: The 13.5-ounce volume was just the right amount of water, and the water stream was pressurized enough to serve its purpose.
Compact: It’s lightweight, ergonomic, reliable, and discrete in its design, so keeping it tucked in my pack was never a hassle.
Happy Bottom Portable Bidet Cons
While there are only a few, I would be remiss not to include some cons you may encounter when using the bidet.
Access to water: First and foremost, you cannot utilize a bidet without access to water. While finding a source of clean, abundant water was quite easy in the Sierra, this may not always be the case. I wouldn’t recommend sacrificing precious drinking water for the bidet in areas where water is scarce.
Brace yourself in cold weather: While the bidet was mostly refreshing and welcomed, using it on a particularly cold morning could be, well, quite the wake up call. Many of the lakes in the Sierra were frigid and glacial-cold, so a word of caution when using the bidet in a cold spell.
Still requires toilet paper: Due to some of the challenges a bidet can pose, I must also mention that I did carry one roll of toilet paper with me when thru-hiking the JMT to use in emergencies or when the bidet was not appropriate to use, such as during longer water carries. Furthermore, I occasionally needed to supplement the bidet with a square or two of toilet paper. While this still drastically reduced my toilet paper waste and therefore was not a problem for me, some people may dislike the bidet because of this aspect.
Takes some practice: Some may be natural at this; others may require a bit of practice. Getting the right aim and pressure can take a few tries. I’d suggest trying this one out at home in the shower or on a shorter trip before solely relying on it in the backcountry. Once you’ve nailed the technique, it’ll be smooth sailing from there.
While I regret taking this long to discover how beneficial the Happy Bottom Portable Bidet can be, this piece of gear is an absolute game changer, especially if you’ll be spending weeks or months on trail and away from the hygienic luxuries of civilization. The couple ounces of additional weight, the value you get for just under $17, and the compact design are all the more reason to prioritize your cleanliness on your next thru-hike. You won’t regret bringing the Happy Bottom Bidet on your next backcountry excursion.
Even More Backpacking Bidets
- MSRP: $10
- Weight: 0.42 oz
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- Weight: 3.5 oz
- MSRP: $5
- Weight: 1.12 oz
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