Years ago, I wouldn’t set any plans in stone without referring to my period tracking calendar to ensure I would be able to leave the pads behind. Since making the switch to reusables, Aunt Flo is allowed to invite herself along on any highly anticipated camping trips. Here are some tips from my days hiking the Appalachian Trail and from some ladies in our community:
- Is there a bathroom nearby? While camping near RV sites or other established campgrounds, there are probably flushable toilets and running water. This makes menstrual hygiene super manageable albeit less private. Upside: there is probably also a convenience store to satisfy your chocolate craving!
- Don’t let cramps cramp your hiker style. Waking up in nature is pure bliss, but body aches and pains can put a damper on your morning. The good news is that natural remedies can be implemented even when you’re roughing it! When you’re not hiking (exercise!), boil some water on your stove and fill your water bottle to make a “heating pad.”
- Pack it in/Pack it out. Thankfully, we reuse our GladRags, but we still have to pack out our preferred products, used and unused. We can stow them in a Ziploc (or one of our gorgeous carry bags) and wash them when there is access to clean water at home (or in town during longer treks).
- Consider the Moon Cup. The cup has a high volume capacity. By day 2, I can easily wear it for the full 12 hours before emptying it. Unlike disposable products (which are never to be buried or dumped in a campsite privy), our menstrual flow can be discarded like solid waste: in a hole 6-inches deep and 150 feet from a water source. The cup also cuts down on pack-weight!
- Most backpackers prefer to use biodegradable soap (like plant-based Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator) for all their cleaning needs (hands, dishes, oral hygiene, etc). Before and after emptying a cup, squeezing out a sponge or changing a cloth pad, be sure to either wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer (another backpacker’s accessory). At the end of the cycle, wash it with soap and stow it in its special spot in your pack until next time
- We’ve already debunked the rumors that bears are attracted to your period. However, it is advised to stow used products overnight as you would food, deodorant, or anything else with a smell–in a suspended bear bag or canister.
Chances are your love for the earth was a factor in your choice to try GladRags. Feel free to appreciate nature in all its forms by camping and hiking during that time of the month!
About the author of this post:
Deborah is a summer intern at GladRags who loves books, Madonna, and reusable menstrual products. She lives in Portland with her husband, cat, and — sometimes — foster kittens!