So, you’ve had this backpacking trip planned for a while now, but you know that you’ll be getting your period at some point during the trip. Don’t worry! It doesn’t have to be a killjoy. If you haven’t been hiking during your menstrual cycle before, this is the backpacking guide for you. There are some things you will want to prepare for, but when it comes down to it, backpacking during your period is similar to doing any other activity during “that time of the month.” Here’s what you need to know.
Products You Need
Your menstrual product of choice will have to be either tampons or a menstrual cup. While some women may only use pads, and it’s possible to backpack with them, we seriously advise against it! Note: A menstrual cup is by far the most convenient menstrual product to use on the trail. However, it does take some time to get used to. Be sure to practice beforehand.
Other products you may need include:
- Waste bags (if using tampons or pads)
Know Your Backcountry Guidelines
On the trail, you need to be aware of proper disposal techniques. Never bury any menstrual products as animals can easily dig them up, and most are not biodegradable. In general, paper products should never be buried. The best way to dispose of the waste is to double bag it and dispose of it in a waste bin when you can find one. If you want more privacy, get bags that are not clear, or wrap your bags in a colored cloth. You could also line the inside with aluminum foil or even cover it with duct tape. If you have a menstrual cup, use unscented wipes or paper towels to clean it accordingly.
The Bear Myth
One of those most important things to cover in a menstruating-related backpacking guide is… the bear myth. This myth is unfounded and unproven, and as such shouldn’t be a worry for you or your female hiking companions. Though the blood from your period will not attract bears, it is important to note that scented menstrual products can. If you make sure your products are unscented, you’ll have nothing more than usual to worry about.
Chances are, after your first hike on your period, you’ll realize it’s not such a big deal after all. The most important thing to remember is to always dispose of your waste properly. Pair that with some painkillers just in case, and you can consider yourself good to go. If you’re looking for some more hiking tips, check out the Where is Simon? blog.