The alternate title for this piece was “How To Pee, Poo, and Have Your Period in the Outdoors Without Leaving A Bunch of Garbage” and though it’s too long for a title, it’s pretty much the point, so I’m gonna leave it in here.
Mostly though, I want to address the Third P, in order to address this issue:
Pack it out, people.
Menstruation should never get in the way between you and time spent in the woods, or in the water, or wherever your happy exploring heart takes you! So if you’re feeling the flow and a hiking you will go, here are some tips for treading lightly:
Use A Menstrual Cup – This is my top tip for menstruating in the great outdoors. Why? Because there’s simply nothing easier, if you ask me. An XO Flo or XO Flo Mini menstrual cup can be worn for up to 12 hours. That’s a long hike, folks! And if you plan on staying out there for longer, like for camping or backpacking or rafting trips, you can use one cup the entire time. No waste required.
Tampon Users, Go Applicator Free – Minimize the amount of potential trash that could be left behind by simply bringing less of it. Applicator-free tampons are a thing and have been a thing for a long time. I’d like to never have to pick up someone else’s plastic applicator on a beach or in the woods again, please. How about you?
Bring BioBags – If you’re using disposable period products while outside, you MUST pack them out. Don’t dig a hole. Bring a baggie with you for disposing of your used products, and if discretion is key, then opt for opaque baggies, like the biodegradable BioBags for pet waste. Flip a bag inside out over your hand to keep it clean, take out your tampon or remove your disposable pad, then flip the bag back over it. Then take it with you until you find a proper garbage bin.
Cloth, Cloth, Cloth – Yes you can use cloth pads in the great outdoors! Zero waste, comfy, breathable. Staying awhile? Bring enough to cover you for the duration of the trip, or hand wash and air dry in the sun.
There’s No “Ew” in Earth Day
Earth Day is every day, right? Right! So let’s enjoy our time outside as if we really, truly mean it. Reduce and reuse! The two most powerful tactics we have toward making a world where we no longer need to clean up other people’s trailside period trash.