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Camping for women is a very unique experience because you have to plan your trip according to your menstrual cycle. It can be heartbreaking to realize that your planned camping trip coincides with the first day of Aunt Flo’s visit. So what do you do when this happens? Read on to learn how to go camping on your period.
If you’ve ever tried this, you’ll know that it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Truth is, bears won’t come running after the smell of your menstrual blood so you won’t need to repel them. This is an old wives’ tale that has been proven false time and again.
All you need is to prepare properly for your camping trip and you’ll find that it’s pretty easy to enjoy a fantastic backcountry trip while on your period.
Camping on Your Period Hacks
It doesn’t matter what condition you’re in, the key to successful camping is to prepare sufficiently beforehand. It’s even more important to be diligent with your preparation if you’re on your period.
You can even create a period kit which will make this a fun and enjoyable time for you no matter what happens.
Here’s how to go camping on your period.
1. Get the Essentials with You
The best way to avoid stress (on top of PMS) is to get prepared. You should be familiar with your cycle and know when your period is coming so you can get ready.
That way, you can bring what you need instead of being stressed due to a lack of access to sanitary products. Regardless of where your cycle is at the time of your trip, it’s recommended to get essentials like liners, pads, tampons or a menstrual cup, depending on what your favorite sanitary product is. You must also bring extra-extra underwear just in case an unexpected leak happens.
Here are some viable options to explore when preparing for camping on your period:
Menstrual underwear is one of the things you should wear camping and is the ultimate camping solution because although I can’t explain the scientific process of how it works, it’s worth noting that it’s awesome! From what I can gather, it basically absorbs the liquid without sustaining any leaks or stains.
It fits comfortably and looks good. It doesn’t look like granny undies. It’s absorbent enough to not require the use of tampons and menstrual cups.
If you’re familiar with menstrual cups you’ll know them as either the Dutchess Cup, the Blossom Cup the LENA Cup or the Diva Cup. These are the leading brands on this market and they’re basically silicon cups with the capacity to collect menstrual blood.
They will really make your life easier because you can just empty the cup in the bush, rinse it at the nearest stream and reinsert. It’s that easy!
Menstrual cups are a really convenient solution when you’re camping or doing any outdoor activity. You can leave them in for up to 12 hours safely and they come in a wide variety of sizes. The one you pick will depend on childbirth history, flow, and age.
If your preference is to use pads or tampons, then you need to make sure that you have enough to last through your trip. The number of items you need will depend on your level of activity as well as your flow.
Just keep in mind that you’ll need to change your tampon frequently, basically every 4 to 6 hours to avoid developing Toxic Shock Syndrome.
You shouldn’t sleep with a tampon either as this could cause you to go over the time limit. Also, taking tampons and pads will mean making more space for extra items in your bag.
2. Track Your Menstrual Cycle
You should be tracking your cycle anyway for health reasons but if you’ve fallen off this routine of late, then now is a good time to start tracking it again so you know when your period is due.
Consistent tracking will make it easier to plan accordingly for your trip. For example, if you start noticing swollen feet or bloating, then you’ll know that your period is coming.
Be sure to pack comfortable clothes if you notice this happening and snack on water-dense foods like watermelon and pineapple. They’ll help to reduce the bloating and dehydration during your camping trip.
3. Deal with Cramps
If you suffer from menstrual cramps then you know that they can be brutal. When they hit, all you want to do is curl up into a corner and you don’t even want to go anywhere!
The good news is you can still soothe your cramps while camping, not all is lost. Dark chocolate is one of the best ways to combat menstrual cramps because it contains valuable magnesium which is known for relaxing uterine muscles.
So, you should definitely pack lots of dark chocolate bars as part of your snack pack. You should also bring heating gel pads to soothe your cramps as well.
4. Get Rid of Tampons and Pads After
Your next worry when it comes to your period is how you’ll dispose of used pads and/or tampons.
These are really easy to do and they’re designed to help women dispose of sanitary items when camping or doing outdoor adventure stuff. These bags are super hygienic and seal tightly so you can still keep them in your bag until you have access to a proper bin.
They make it easy to enjoy the outdoors without littering or causing pollution. Alternatively, you can use menstrual cups which are reusable and easy to keep clean and store. You can also wear a menstrual cup longer than a tampon so you won’t have to go to relieve yourself as frequently.
If you don’t have access to water, bring a water bottle with you when it’s time to change the cup so you can rinse it out and sterilize it properly.
5. Pack Toilet Paper
Getting caught without toilet paper is no-one’s idea of an ideal situation. For best results, pack more toilet paper or tissues than what you think you’ll need so you can rest assured that you’ll always have access to it.
If you do decide to use a menstrual cup, then a toilet paper can come in handy by allowing you to wipe it clean when you don’t have any water access or make a hand washing station for camping yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to hiking and your period, it’s always good to expect the worst. Even if you’re not expecting your period due to your cycle, you should prepare for it anyway to avoid getting caught unaware. Keep a box of tampons and carry your menstrual cup with you all times. Tampons are essential because you never know, you might come across someone who needs them. Keep all your sanitary essentials in a zip-lock bag.
The simple answer is no. A recent report from the Yellowstone National Park shows that grizzly bears and black bears aren’t bothered by the scent of menstrual blood at all. But, the report did note that Polar bears might be sensitive to the smell of menstrual blood, but you’re not going hiking in the north pole, are you?
A lot of wild animals have a keen sense of smell which means they might be able to detect your menstrual blood. In fact, even dogs and cats have the ability to detect when you’re on your period through changes in your hormone levels and the odor it comes with.
There’s a special organ called the vomeronasal organ that dogs have which is able to detect pheromones and it’s not unique to dogs either, because other mammals, including humans, have the ability to secrete pheromones through apocrine glands which relay different types of information.
Well, there you have it! Now you know how to go camping on your period. We hope this information will help you to enjoy a camping trip no matter where you are in your menstrual cycle.
After all, your outdoor activity shouldn’t be limited by your cycle. Happy camping!