Camping On Your Period – Tips & Advice To Help You Go With The Flow

a woman resting and listening to music in a tent

The day has arrived!

It’s finally time to set off on that camping trip you’ve been planning for months.

You’re buzzing with excitement.

That is, until your favorite Aunt Flo decides to drop in for a surprise visit.

This scenario is literally my worst nightmare, but hey – it happens. And while it sucks, you have to deal with it, just like you have to deal with it at home.

But dealing with your period on a camping trip isn’t quite the same as dealing with it at home. You’re going to have to do some things a little bit differently.

This article will give you all the information you need to survive the nightmare and make the best of camping on your period.

So, let’s get straight into it!

The Essential Info

A couple of things to start off with:

First of all, you need to know how to deal with your period without harming your surroundings. If there’s anything you take away from this article, this should be it.

It’s important to get acquainted with the Leave No Trace principles before any camping trip, but especially if it’s that time of month.

According to the third principle, you can bury toilet paper in a cat hole. But, you should never do the same with sanitary products like tampons and pads, because they won’t decompose.

Also, buried menstrual waste can attract bears, and helping them acquire a taste for menstrual blood probably isn’t exactly the best idea.

Instead, you should double bag your used products and pack them out in a ziploc bag, so you can dispose of them once you get back to civilization.

Secondly, before we go any further, we need to debunk a common myth.

A lot of people believe that if you’re out in the wilderness on your period, the blood can attract bears and other wildlife, making you a big red target. Pun intended.

This simply isn’t true.

Studies have shown no evidence of bears being attracted to the odor of menstrual blood.

Wait a second though, didn’t I just say that you shouldn’t bury your tampons so that you don’t attract bears?

That’s the thing, you see.

You still have to be careful about the way you store your menstrual waste when you’re in bear country, because that does have the potential to attract bears.

Staying Clean In The Wild

One of the most important aspects to take into consideration when camping on your period is hygiene. It’s important that you keep yourself clean at all times.

If you’re on the trail and you don’t have access to running water, you can use solar shower bags for a portable camping shower. Just make sure to always use biodegradable soap when showering in nature.

If you haven’t got a camping shower, you’ll need to clean yourself frequently using wet wipes.

Of course, when you’re changing your sanitary products regularly, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing it with clean hands.

That means washing your hands as often as possible, and using hand sanitizer when you haven’t got access to running water.

Reusable Sanitary Products

a woman holding a pink menstrual cup

When it comes to camping on your period, reusable feminine hygiene products are a way better solution than disposable products.

Some people like them, others don’t. Either way – they’re indisputably easier to use in the wild, because they take the entire problem of storing used products out of the equation.

And, let’s be honest. Not having to carry around your used menstrual products isn’t a small plus.

So, if you know in advance that you’re likely to get your period while on your camping trip, you should definitely look into some of these options.

Menstrual Cups

Now, I know there are a lot of women who aren’t super excited about menstrual cups. But, I’m here to tell you that they’re really not that bad.

Compared to packing out your used tampons – dumping the contents of your reusable menstrual cup in a cat hole, washing it out and continuing on with your day sounds a whole lot cleaner and easier to me.

And, it’s way better for the environment.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about bears.

It’s really a win whichever way you look at it.

If you haven’t used a menstrual cup before you should definitely give yourself some time to practice putting it in and taking it out before you head off on your trip.

It can take a while to get the hang of it, and you don’t want to be figuring it out in the wild with no running water.

Period Underwear

The period panty is another great alternative to classic pads and tampons.

Personally, I have a very heavy flow. So when I’m camping on my period, I like to wear period underwear, and use a menstrual cup. Combining the two means I never have to worry about any leaks – I’m completely covered.

If you’re using period underwear on your camping trip, make sure you take at least two pairs. That way, you can wash one pair at the end of each day, and wear the other pair while you sleep.

In the morning, put your clean, dry first pair back on, and wash the other pair so that they have enough time to dry during the day, ready for the next night.

Reusable Pads

And, finally, you’ve got the reusable pad. These work just like regular pads, except instead of throwing them out once you’re done with them, you wash them and use them again. Kind of like reusable underwear.

I personally prefer the underwear to the pads. But, it’s all about finding whatever feels the most comfortable for you.

Reusable pads are usually made of cotton, and they can be expected to last you around 5 years.

And again – these are way better for the environment than disposable pads.

Disposable Sanitary Products

two tampons on a menstrual pad

If it’s an emergency situation and you haven’t got any reusable sanitary products, then you’re left with your good ol’ disposables.

Tampons & Pads

We’re all very much familiar with pads and tampons.

But, you might not know what to do with them when you’re using them in the middle of the woods with no bathroom or garbage bins at your disposal.

As I mentioned above, you should never bury them in a cat hole along with your toilet paper. You shouldn’t try burning them on the campfire either, because there’s a good chance the fire won’t be hot enough.

So, what should you do?

Whether you’re using tampons or pads, you have to pack them out in plastic bags and carry them with you until you can dispose of them properly.

3 Tips For Camping While You’re Cramping

a girl with menstrual cramps lying down holding her stomach

I don’t know about you, but I have the worst menstrual cramps.

If you’re one of those women that can plow through their period like nothing is even happening – you’re insanely lucky. I envy you endlessly.

If you’re anything like me, you’re going to want to take these tips on board.

Stock Up On Painkillers

If you experience painful cramps during your period, I won’t have to tell you this twice.

You definitely don’t want to find yourself stuck in the middle of the forest without any ibuprofen – or whatever else your choice of painkiller may be. I’m an ibuprofen girl myself, but different analgesics work better for different people.

In any case, you’ll want to stock up to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Use A Hot Water Bottle

Another thing that can relieve your cramps is a hot water bottle.

A nice, warm hot water bottle on your belly when it’s hurting feels amazing.

Just be careful not to burn yourself. If it’s too hot, wrap it in some extra clothes before you press it against your body. As it starts to cool down, you can unwrap it, layer by layer.

And you know what else is great about a hot water bottle?

If you’re camping in cold weather, it’ll keep you nice and warm during the night.

Have An Orgasm

Yes, you read that right.

OK, so hear me out. I get that touching yourself is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re having bad cramps and you’re in pain. But, believe it or not, it’s one of the best things you can do in that situation.

When you reach climax, your brain releases chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These are all chemicals that make you feel good, and they relieve pain. Blood rushes to your uterus and just like that – your cramps disappear.

I actually discovered this by chance, and all I could think was “Why did nobody tell me this earlier?”

So, if you didn’t know, now you do.

The big O is the best pain reliever for period pain.

You’re welcome.

Or, You Could Just Skip It

a woman holding birth control pills

If you use certain types of birth control like the pill, the patch or a vaginal ring, you can alter the way you use it to skip your period entirely.

I’m not gonna lie – this idea freaked me out a little bit when I first heard about it.

But, as it turns out, it can be done safely if you take the right measures. Nonetheless, you should always consult a doctor before you do this.

And it won’t always go to plan, unfortunately. You could still experience breakthrough bleeding, which is bleeding that happens between two cycles. So, make sure that you’re prepared and you have all the stuff you need on hand just in case.

Wrapping It Up

Getting your period on a camping trip sucks.

But if it happens, you want to be prepared.

Remember – reusable sanitary products are better than disposables.

Take lots of clean water, wet wipes and hand sanitizer so you can stay clean.

And last, but most certainly not least – respect your surroundings by disposing of your used sanitary products appropriately.

Oh, and pack some of your favorite sweet snacks, of course.

That always helps.