Another Arrow in the Leave-No-Trace Quiver

Anyone who has spent time on popular thru-hike routes or in dispersed campgrounds knows that improperly discarded toilet paper qualifies as the official flower/flag of such places. Enter the reusable pee cloth.

A reusable pee cloth?! This was my response when I heard about Kula Cloth from a bikepacking friend a few years ago. Like many outdoor enthusiasts, I carried around a baggie full of toilet paper that I’d use and pack out in a separate bag afterward. The Kula Cloth eliminates the need for some of that paper. Leave no trace intensifies.

Kula Cloth seeks to reduce the amount of toilet paper necessary for a trip into the backcountry. It provides a reusable, highly absorbent, and antimicrobial cloth for anyone who squats to pee. That all sounds great in theory, but how does it actually work in practice?

I mean, listen, I can shove a washcloth in my pack and call ‘er a day. Do I really need a specific, colorful cloth specifically marketed to wipe my bits in the bush? And if so, why?

In short: Well, the Kula Cloth performs and it performs well. The antimicrobial properties make it a cleaner option to pack with you and a more environmentally friendly one. It’s found a place on my pack and is pretty slick so long as you have access to water at some point and you don’t lose the dang thing in the trees.

Kula Cloth Review: Another Arrow in the Leave-No-Trace Quiver

  • Weight
    0.5 oz.
  • Size
  • Fabric
    Bamboo viscose, cotton, organic cotton, polyester
  • Silver ion antimicrobial treatment
  • Double snap closure
  • Reflective stitching
  • Made in the USA

  • Replaces the toilet paper you need for urination purposes

  • Absorbs 10x its weight in liquid

  • Antimicrobial silver ion treatment is environmentally safe and won’t release silver particles into the environment

  • Reflective stitching makes it easy to find at night

  • Available in many colors (some designs fundraise for various causes and artists)

  • Waterproof side can be customized for an extra $10 (the orange one in these photos is custom printed)

  • Easy to lose in the woods if you get a dark or earth tone color

  • Not 100% smell-proof (see details below)

  • Washing on-trail requires additional water (only an issue in dry, desert environments where water needs to be packed in)

Kula Cloth Review

Kula was born from the company founder’s search for a reusable pee cloth for backcountry hiking. She initially used a piece of microfiber fabric. Then, she had the idea to create an intentional piece of gear made specifically for the task of absorbing urine in a cleaner, less smelly, and much cooler-looking way. Three years and many tests later, the first Kula Cloths were put into production.


I purchased my first Kula cloth 3 years ago. After losing it in the woods, I purchased two more to keep in rotation. I take one with me any time I’m venturing away from a toilet, and I wash it after each day of use whenever possible.


Kula Cloth inside lining
(Photo/Andrea Wilson)

The Kula Cloth is a multilayered square. One side is printed waterproof fabric. The side used for wiping is a black, dimpled fabric infused with antimicrobial silver. According to the company, this silver ion treatment is environmentally friendly and will not release silver particles into the environment.

Kula Cloth
(Photo/Andrea Wilson)

Double snaps sewn into opposing corners of the fabric allow the two corners to snap together. The narrow strip of fabric with a snap at the end works in conjunction with the corner snaps to allow the Kula to hang from a pack when not in use.


Testing the Kula Cloth
(Photo/Andrea Wilson)

There’s not much else to say other than it just works. Pee, use the Kula Cloth to pat dry, and then either hang it or fold it up and stick it into a pocket. It’s just as absorbent as any toilet paper. Between the waterproof layer and the ability to snap it shut, my hands and pocket stay perfectly dry.

Cloth attached to pack
(Photo/Andrea Wilson)

It can easily hang from a pack using the built-in snaps. However, given my tendencies to bushwhack, I’ve always shied away from hanging it in order to prevent snags.

The big question is, does it smell? Yes and no. Prior to closer investigation for the purposes of writing this review, I’d never noticed any urine smell. However, I took one for the team and gave mine a proper sniff after a full dawn-to-dusk outing. The verdict? Yes — when I held it close to my face and sniffed, I smelled urine. However, without intentionally close sniffing for investigative purposes, no.

What does this mean for the hunting crowd? Realistically speaking, probably not much. When it comes to animals, humans smell like humans. A faint urine smell isn’t going to be the one thing that gives you away if the wind is not in your favor.

(As a side note, if you live in a house where the laundry is typically washed in fragranced detergent, you and your hunting clothes likely smell like fragranced detergent, even after a scent-removing wash. That stuff is horribly tenacious. Source: I smell it on most other hunters before I see them.)

customizable art for Kula Cloth
(Photo/Andrea Wilson)

It seems obvious, but it is worth mentioning that the Kula Cloth is for liquids only. Its intended use is for absorbing urine and menstrual blood. They recommend dabbing from the front rather than a full front-to-back wipe. It is not for cleaning yourself after a bowel movement. So, you’ve still got to pack some toilet paper in and out, unless you want to risk sacrificing an unfortunate sock or glove.

Washing the Kula Cloth

While the Kula website suggests hand-washing in a sink, it also says that machine washing is fine as long as you snap it shut to prevent snagging. I’ve always just tossed mine into the washing machine with the rest of the laundry. Even with regular trips through an old agitator-style washer, I’ve never experienced any damage.

For trailside cleaning, it can be washed with a few drops of biodegradable soap and whatever clean water you have available. Note: washing in a creek or lake is not advised, based on LNT principles. It dries very quickly, and because of its highly absorbent nature, still effectively absorbs urine even if it’s still slightly damp from washing.


The only issue I’ve ever experienced with my Kula is one that’s my own fault and has nothing to do with the functionality of the product. Once I’ve used it, and by the time I get my pants up, layers arranged, and pack on, I tend to forget about the Kula. It’s not them, it’s me.

I’ve found myself turning back many times to retrieve it from where I laid it on the ground after use (choosing a bright color helps here). Unfortunately, I once wholly forgot about it until the next time I needed a nature break. Miles and mountains away from where I’d left it, I didn’t go back.

So, this means I left something much less biodegradable than toilet paper out in the woods. It still bothers me. I make it a point now to get my Kula secured in its pocket or hung in a spot where I’ll remember it before I even retrieve my pants from my ankles. My go-to is hanging it from whatever method of take I’m using for a given hunt (mountain lion with a side of coyote, in this case).

Kula Cloth: Conclusion

Kula Cloth
(Photo/Kula Cloth)

If you’re looking to reduce waste and simplify your backcountry packing, the Kula Cloth nails both of those targets. The little details like waterproof backing and antimicrobial properties make it an easy choice over other reusable options like bandanas or microfiber. If you squat to pee, it’s a vital piece of gear for your kit.