Camping on Your Period; Helpful Tips To Manage Your Period
Argh! You’ve planned this hiking and camping trip for months but it just so happens that your period starts as well. Camping on your period can be a major hassle on top of the usual camping preparation, especially camping with no toilet facilities around!
You might be wondering how to deal with your period while camping in the back country. Will I get sore cramps, made worse by sleeping on a hard mattress in the cold? Do I have to carry loads of spare tampons and pads just in case? How to dispose of tampons while camping? Will bears attack when I’m on my period?
Be Prepared while Camping on Your Period
The thing about camping or any outdoor activity is to always be prepared, and even more so when you're camping on your period! You can even make your own camp period kit. Make sure you pack enough supplies and make a plan. Once this is sorted, having your period in the back country won’t even be an issue. And no, there have been no recorded accounts of bears being attracted to a woman menstruating!
There are a two main options that you can plan for when camping on your period.
Menstrual Cups may be known by their brands, such as The DivaCup, LENA cup, Blossom cup, Dutchess cup, etc. These are flexible, re-usable silicon cups that you can place inside, like a tampon, but instead of absorbing the blood, the cups collect the menstrual blood. You can then go to the bathroom (or the bush!), tip the collected blood out, and then reinsert.
These are very handy if you are camping on your period, or during outdoor activities, as they are safe enough to leave in for up to 12 hours, according to your flow. They also come in a range of sizes depending on your age, flow, and childbirth history.
To use, you just need to go and find a secluded place to do your business. Dig a small cat hole, empty the cup, and then rinse it off with clean water. It’s handy to carry a small drink bottle with you when you go to the toilet, to rinse yourself off and your cup, but if you don’t have water available, then you can also just wipe the cup down using some tissue. Then you just reinsert, ready for the day’s adventures!
Menstrual cups can last up to 10 years with care. If placed correctly, like a tampon, you should not be able to feel it inside. It is the preferred choice for many active women as it is discreet (no tampon string hanging out of the bikini, or changing your tampon every 4 hours), environmentally-friendly (no monthly waste, no chemicals used to create the product), and economical (think of the money you spend on tampons and pads every month, every year)!
Menstrual Cup Comparison Table
- Well established brand since 2001
- Designed and created by women
- 2 sizes available
- 12 Hour Leak-Free Protection
- Made of un-dyed silicone, no latex, rubber, plastic, or BPA
- Extra durable so will last longer!
- Comes in a set of two, in cute colors, purple and pink
- 100% body-safe, made of soft medical grade silicone, which is also used in infant pacifiers
- 2 sizes available
- Very soft silicone, perfect for beginners
- Unique specs which fits most women
- Great value for money!
- Made and manufactured in America
- Comes in a 'Sensitive’ version, for those with sensitive anatomies or bladders
- BPA Free, Made of medical-grade silicone, and FDA approved
- 2 sizes available
- Grip rings on stem for easy insert and removal
If you prefer tampons and pads, and don’t have time to practice with a menstrual cup just yet, then make sure you bring enough supplies depending on the length of your period, or your outdoor adventure.
Remember you will need to change your tampon at least every 4-6 hours to avoid Toxic Shock Syndrome, and ideally you should not leave it in while you are sleeping. Even though these items are individually small in size, they will add up and end up taking space in your bag.
Bring enough zip-locks bags, or small plastic bags that you can use. Use a clean zip-lock bag inside a waterproof bag, to ensure your new tampons and pads stay clean and sterile, and don’t get wet while kayaking or rained on.
If you’re out in the bush with no camping toilet, then make sure you bring some toilet paper to wrap it up, and bring a plastic bag to store your used tampon. Do not ever bury your tampon or pad, used or not, as animals may dig it up. Tampons and pads also have chemicals and bleached cotton, and leaving this buried in the bush is not environmentally friendly.
Comfort while Camping on Your Period
If you are prone to cramps and discomfort during your period then try to make your backpacking or camping adventure as comfortable as possible. You may want to try Glamping (What is Glamping?), or if you still want the rugged simpleness of adventuring then perhaps bring a few, small luxury items to make it a little easier. Here’s a list of handy items that won’t weigh you down too much.
- Hot water bottle for those night time cramps - This durable bottle is of higher quality and holds the heat in for longer!
- Camping pad or mattress to soften your tossing and turning - We love this one that keeps the heat in, packs up small, and only weighs 18 ounces!
- Waterproof dry-bag to keep your supplies dry regardless of the weather - These dry-bags come in a couple of colors and different sizes!
- Small zip-lock bags to hold your used tampons, pads, and toilet paper - We reckon these sandwich sized bags are perfect. Comes in a pack of 150 too!
- Camp trowel to help you dig a cat hole - We love this lightweight trowel that comes in funky colors! Lifetime Warranty too!
The 'Bottom' Line
Yes, getting your period sucks sometimes, but get your mind off your cramps by sleeping under the stars, or going for a scenic hike. Don’t let Aunty Flow stop you from enjoying a campfire cookout with your friends and family. Camping on your period can be manageable as long as you make a plan, and prepare your options. Having your period should not stop you from going on your wild, or not quite wild adventures!