Sometimes that time of the month falls right in the middle of your adventure plans but there’s no reason your period should stop you! Being in the great outdoors is a wonderfully rewarding experience and our tips will help you have a happy period while you enjoy them.
If you’re feeling up for some outdoor action but wondering to yourself, “how can I still go hiking on my period?” - we’ve got some tips to help you make period hiking a breeze.
Managing your period in the great outdoors is actually easier than you think - especially with the right period products - which brings us directly to tip number one:
Planning ahead for your period when you’re away from home IS one of your camping essentials, and the best way to have a happy period in the woods. To make a period plan for outdoor adventures, ask yourself these questions:
There are essentially three options for managing your period while camping and hiking: sanitary pads, tampons or a menstrual cup.
Tampons have to be changed often and pads can bunch up during physical activity, plus they’re a little more prone to leakage when you’re on the move. Both produce trash which has to be dealt with and carried out if you’re backpacking.
Lots of folks who menstruate choose menstrual cups for outdoor endeavors not just because of how comfortable they are, but also because they provide all-day protection and offer zero-waste reusability (which creates no trash to pack out). Woohoo - automatic bonus points from Mother Nature, right there.
Not all camping is glamping. Being sure you have your menstrual essentials is key to a comfortable period outdoors.
What to Pack for Camping and Hiking on Your Period:
Some periods come with symptoms that make it a bit more uncomfortable to experience your cycle away from home. Prepare for things like possible menstrual cramps and have pain relief on hand, just in case.
There’s nothing wrong with a comfort item here or there either as long as you have room, like a small hot water bottle you can boil up some water for at camp.
While cotton is comfy and good for absorbing moisture, but don’t overlook fabrics with special technology designed to keep you dry. There’s nothing worse than feeling sweaty and knowing you don’t have a shower nearby.
Synthetic fabrics like nylon, rayon, or polyester can help keep sweat and moisture off your body during physical activity. They’re also fast-drying so if you have a heavy period and are prone to leakage, they’re easy to give them a rinse and quick dry so you can reuse them.
If you’re at a campground with limited bathroom facilities or backpacking in the wilderness, you may well find yourself without a sink or clean running water. This is where planning ahead comes in handy. Carry an extra bottle for cleaning your menstrual cup and your hands (squirt tops are the best).
With clean hands, remove your period cup as you would at home, empty the blood, and squirt water on your period cup to rinse clean. It doesn’t have to be perfect as long as you’re comfortable popping it back in!
Properly Dispose of Menstrual Blood
When you’re camping in the backcountry or backpacking on a long-distance hike during menstruation, it might be days before you have access to a sink, toilet, or trash can. Since your menstrual blood is a natural part of your body, it can be disposed of outdoors when done properly.
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics asks wilderness goers to dispose of menstrual blood by digging a six-inch deep cat hole no less than 200 feet from water sources, and pouring all blood and cleaning water into it before burying.
Rinse your cup and voila! You’re ready to keep on trekking.
It’s a common period myth, but bears are not anymore attracted to the smell of menstrual blood than they are to humans at all. It’s things like our food, trash, and scented menstrual products that attract them. Always keep these items out of bear reach when making camp, but rest assured that having your period won’t attract bears to your campsite.
There’s nothing about your menstrual cycle itself that will prevent you from enjoying a jaunt in the woods or a night under the stars. There’s also nothing wrong with just wanting to stay home and relax on the couch during your menstrual cycle either. We believe you should always listen to your body, and know your period doesn’t have to slow you down if your body still says, “GO!”
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