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Alright boys, move along. This post is solely for the ladies in the house. (Ok, you’ve now been properly warned so read ahead at your own risk!)
Camping On Your Period: As hard of a conversation it is, I am not one to shy away from being real. And let’s be honest, what to do if you have your period while camping is a VERY real thing!
How To Go Camping On Your Period: The Ultimate Guide!
What You'll Find In This Artcile
- 1 How To Go Camping On Your Period: The Ultimate Guide!
- 2 What Are Your Options
- 2.1 Menstrual Cup
- 2.2 Period Panties
- 2.3 Tampons
- 2.4 Pads
- 3 Staying Comfortable
- 4 How To Go Camping On Your Period: Your Packing Checklist
- 5 Other FAQs About How to Deal With Your Period While Camping
Preparation! You don’t have to be a BOY scout to know the motto of “Be Prepared” is essential when camping. But throw in that time of the month and you’ve got to step up your planning game! One of my worst nights camping was when I woke up to the arrival of Aunt Flo….and hadn’t brought anything!!!
Don’t be me! Since that really embarrassing night, I’ve been camping on my period a multitude of times without any issue.
1. Know When You Are Expected to Get Your Period
If you are planning a camping trip, simply have a rough idea of when you might get your period. Some women have the “luxury” of being able to know almost down to the hour when they’ll start! This will help you have what you need on hand in a jiffy.
If you aren’t sure or have irregular cycles, then have supplies regardless, just in case!
2. Know The Facility/ Where You Are Staying
- Are you staying at a campground with bathroom facilities? Is the water potable/ clean in these?
- Does the location of where you are staying have places to efficiently eliminate any waste products?
- Or are going backwoods camping where you are going to be left to your own devices?
Knowing all these things will greatly help you prepare for the following section…..
What Are Your Options
I’m just going to jump right into my very top tip for camping while menstruating (or for ANY travel and shoot, for ANY time you are on your period!)
Learn about and invest in a Menstrual Cup!!!
Since this is, by far, my top tip, I’m going to go into a lot of detail here. If you already know and love your menstrual cup, skip ahead to your other options as well as my other tips and tricks.
TABLE Best Menstrual Cup: Diva Cup vs Luna Cup vs Moon Cup and Others
What is a Menstrual Cup
These are small little reusable period cups (typically made from silicone or latex rubber) that easily insert into your vagina to collect your blood flow during your period. Sound scary? Don’t worry, you’ll quickly start to wonder why you’ve used anything else in the past!!!
While most people learn about products like the Diva Cup or Luna Cup because they are wanting to be more economical or care about what they are putting into their bodies (More on specific menstrual cup comparison below), it is a great tampon alternative for camping, travel, and life in general!
|Menstrual Cup||Image||Sizes Available||Made In||Advantage Over Others|
|Diva Cup||Model 1 |
Model 2 (For women 30+ or who have children)
|Canada||One of the most reputable and used cups on the market|
|Luna Cup||Small and Large||????||Great to have two sizes in one order to find right fit|
|Ruby Cup||Small and Medium||China||For every cup bought, one is donated to a girl in a developing country|
|MeLuna||Small and Large||Germany||Extremely Diverse in Offerings: many options in sizes, colors, lengths, firmness, and types of stems (handles)|
|Lunette||Model 1 and 2||Finland||One of the easiest to insert in comparison to others|
Why Use a Menstrual Cup For Camping While On Your Period
There are so many reasons to use a period cup in general. But I love it for travel because
- It’s so lightweight and easy to pack
- It is compact to pack (you only need 1-2 instead of a whole box of tampons!)
- It is much more discreet than a box of tampons
- Much cleaner than pads
- You can just keep one stashed in your bag at all times so you never forget
I love using reusable menstrual cups for when going camping on your period because
- For ALL of the reasons above!
- There is zero waste (GREAT for backwoods camping or even while camping at things like music festivals)
- I don’t have to worry about where to stash used tampons or pads
How To Use a Diva Cup and Other Reusable Menstrual Cups
I’ll be 100% honest and say that there is a bit of a learning curve to using a menstrual cup. The first step is that you can’t be shy with your body. That’s just the cold, hard truth!
There are a few methods for insertion and removal, but here is a great video from one of the original cup companies
What To Do With Your Menstrual Cup Contents
You may be wondering what the hell you do with your filled cup. Great question!
If There Are Toilets
This couldn’t be easier. Simply pour out the contents into a toilet and flush. Then skip ahead to the next section on how to clean your cup. Voila! EASY!
This is a little bit harder, but the reality is that if you are camping, get your period and, there are no toilets, no matter what you do, you are going to have to figure out what to do with your flow. Luckily, using a cup is one of the easiest ways to handle this situation vs something like tampons.
You’ll need to learn how to dig a hole. It’s pretty darn easy:
- Find a location at least 200 feet from any water source
- Dig a hole that’s at least six inches deep (you’ll want a little trowel, like this lightweight backpackers trowell)
- Dump your period blood into said hole
- Cover up the hole. Done and Done.
How To Keep A Menstrual Cup Clean While Camping
Hygiene is everything when talking about your lady parts, am I right!? I love using a menstrual cup because I hate not knowing what is in those tampons that is getting leaked straight into my body (bleach, fibers and more!).
Making sure you clean your menstrual cup is actually quite easy, it just may take a few extra steps while camping or traveling.
Boiling Water: This is the cheapest option for absolutely ensuring that your menstrual cup is squeaky clean. This is best if you are somewhere with sketchy water.
- Using something like this lightweight camping stove (and don’t forget a compactable pot), boil enough water to submerge your cup in
- Boil the cup for 5 minutes to sterilize
Note: When I am traveling, if I am in a location with a trusted water source, I will use a gentle (non oil based) soap and water after dumping it’s content and wiping it down with toilet paper. I always dry it very thoroughly (it won’t seal well if it’s wet) and then when I return home, do a complete boil/ cleanse.
Use a Menstrual Cup Cleaner: This is a great alternative if you don’t want to pack pots and pans or don’t know if your water source is clean enough (and bonus: you can even use it as body soap, too so you have one less thing to pack!)
- One bottle of menstrual cup cleaner will go a long way. Follow the instructions on the bottle and you are good to go during your trip
- When you return home, do one good boil of your cup
If you are on Facebook, chances are, you’ve seen some of these ads for “period panties” swirling around. There are a variety of options (click here to see more on Amazon), but basically, they are underwear that helps protect against leaking and can even be used independently on light flow days.
While I can’t advise you to use these as a tampon, pad or menstrual cup REPLACEMENT, they surely are great for camping if you are worried about leaks and don’t want the fuss of dealing with pads. It’s a great supplement to your main protection (cup, tampon, etc)
Pro Tip: Bring along a wet/dry type bag like this so that you can put any soiled or used underwear in without the fear of smell or mess.
Obviously, another option while going camping on your period is to use tampons. If you go this route, I can’t advocate for tampons without applicators enough! They are SO much easier/smaller to pack and you have to deal with less after each use!
What To Do With Tampons When Camping
- If you are in a location that has frequently manned/ cleaned bathrooms (like an actual campground), you can dispose of them in a trash receptacle like normal
- If not camping at a campground, bring plenty of ziplock baggies or wet/dry bags. You’ll have to stash them in your bag and take them home with you
- DO NOT bury them (animals can dig these up)!
- Technically you CAN burn them, but it takes a VERY hot and long flame to actually completely dispose of them. Any “remains” are still an enviromental hazard.
I know some women are just most comfortable with pads. This is the lowest on my “options” list for a reason though, as it is the messiest and hardest to “leave no trace.” You can use the above tips though the same way you would need to dispose of tampons if you do decide that pads are most in your comfort zone.
Again, this is almost 100% about being prepared! If you know you are going to get your period while camping, having even just a few supplies or things on hand can make your trip so much more comfortable!
Have a bottle of your favorite period pain management packed away in your bag. Ibuprofin works in a jif, or of course, use something more targeted for menstruation, like Pamprin.
Camping Sleeping Pad
If you are one of the lucky women who get horribly bad back aches while on your period, sleeping on a cold hard ground during that time of the month sounds excruciating!!!
Whenever I am camping, I bring along a sleeping pad, but it’s even more essential if I am achy and uncomfortable due to being on my period!
Hot Water Bottle
At home, my electric heating pad is my saving grace to excruciating cramps, but that isn’t really a possibility while camping!!
Instead, having something like this hot water bag that you can place on your stomach or back can make all the difference out in the wilderness….no electricity needed!
How To Go Camping On Your Period: Your Packing Checklist
In addition to packing the camping essentials for ANY camping trip, you need to take into consideration packing a few more must-have items if you know you’ll be on your period.
- Chocolate!!!! Ok, this is only sort of a joke…..but seriously, consider it!
- Gentle hand soap
- Hand sanitizer
- Extra toilet paper or tissues
- Baby Wipes (Bonus points for biodegradable wipes!!!!)
- Extra/ Spare Underwear for any accidents/unexpected leakage + Period Panties
- Wet/Dry Bag for soiled clothing
- Dark colored clothing/ pants
- Any of the above items you’ve chosen to help stay comfortable (sleeping pad, meds, water bottle, etc)
- Whichever method of collection you’ve chosen (cup, tampons, etc) and the appropriate removal method to go with each (trowell, baggies, etc)
- Tea (I often find warm drinks help with hydration as well as cramping)
Other FAQs About How to Deal With Your Period While Camping
Should You Be Concerned About Camping On Your Period & Bears?
A lot of women want to know if their odor is going to attract a starving bear. After hundreds of bear attacks were analyzed, most experts agree that just because it’s that time of the month, the bears in your area are more after your food than you.
If you are still overly concerned, here are a few of the top tips from the National Parks Service to help you feel a bit more at ease
- Use only unscented products
- Use internal products instead of pads
- Never bury tampons
What Should I Do If I Am Camping On My Period with No Toilets?
Again, this is going to depend on what “collection option” you have chosen (see above). Regardless of if you’ve chosen a cup, tampons, pads, etc, have lots of sanitation options, like wipes, hand sanitizer and know the best removal method (packing out, burying, etc). This is all covered in the previous sections depending on what you are most comfortable with.
How To Deal With Your Period At Summer Camp
1. Again, be prepared! If you are a teen and know that you might get your period while away at a camp, just make sure you have packed all of the necessary items (and plenty of them!!!)
If you use pads, be sure to have ones with wings, since you are much more active during camps.
2. See If There Is a Nurse. Most camps have a nurse on staff who not only will have supplies for you but will help and talk to you without judgment if you need any assistance in using any products. If there is no nurse, find a female counselor who you feel comfortable asking for help. If she doesn’t have something, she’ll find one for you! Remember, there is absolutely NOTHING to be embarrased about! We’ve ALL been there!!
3. Talk To Your Mom. For all you younger campers, if you’ve never had your period before, it is worth asking your Mama some questions before it ever starts.
EVERY women/girl has gotten their period! It can feel awkward talking about it at first, but ask your mom for advice, she’ll be more than happy to bond with you and give you tips on how to deal with it. If nothing else, having her explain HOW to use a pad or a tampon BEFORE you ever need it can really help when in the moment.
4. Be Discreet. Again, having your period is NOTHING to be ashamed about!! However, every woman has learned ways to be discreet about their period, whether that is just out of wanting privacy or because you don’t want others to know. You can easily tuck products in your sleeve or waistband on your way to the restroom. You can bring ziplock baggies and return your used products to your suitcase if you don’t want to leave anything in trashcans.
Being a woman just simply means getting your period. I am a HUGE believer that just because of this inconvenience, it shouldn’t define my travel and adventure plans!!! I have traveled and camped all over the world while having to deal with my period and I’m glad to say, I’ve survived them all! 😉
What other questions do you have about best practices for camping while on your period?
Are you an avid female camper? What other tips do you have to share with fellow female campers?