An outdoor women’s guide to handling everyone’s favourite time of the month: your period.
Those pesky periods shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your outdoor adventures. With a little preparation and knowledge, you won’t have to think twice about heading into the wilderness at any time of the month. Operations guru and wilderness guide, Anna shares some key info on managing your period in the outdoors.
– See our Wilderness Walking – What to Pack guide for a more general walking holiday kit list.
What should you use?
Your main choices are between tampons and a menstrual cup. If you use pads at home, bring pads, as it’s not the time to start experimenting with something new and you need to be comfortable that everything will be ok. However, pads are more bulky and not suitable for water activities, so it makes things easier to take some time to learn to use tampons or a cup at home before you go.
This is a flexible silicone cup you insert to catch menstrual blood and remove later to empty the contents. Brands may have different sizes based on your age, flow amount or childbirth history. It’s reusable, often up to years at a time, making it an eco-friendly and money-saving option and you’ll only need one product for your entire trip. You can safely keep it in for up to 12 hours, depending on your flow, as it holds up to 3 times more than a regular tampon. It does take practice to insert correctly, so do get used to using it before you head off.
Tampons and/or pads
Some folk strongly prefer tampons over menstrual cups and there’s nothing wrong with that, just make sure you bring enough supplies to last the trip. Its best to bring the non-applicator tampons, to save some weight, space and waste.
Knickers with a waterproof layer have recently undergone a revival. Their moisture-wicking fabric captures leaks and protects against stains, but they look and feel the same as everyday underwear. They can’t really replace the need for other protection entirely (especially if you have a heavy flow) but they are great as a back up when your menstrual cup runneth over, providing peace of mind when you’re not in a position to be able to empty/change your product.