Period + Adventure: How to Handle It

Check out these tips and tricks for handling that time of the month in the wilderness like a pro!

One of the best parts of rock climbing, hiking, camping, trail running and other outdoor ventures is that all genders are welcome. However, there are a few extra logistics and health concerns faced by women adventurers thanks to ye olde uterus. Luckily, your period doesn’t need to ruin an otherwise excellent excursion – check out these tips and tricks for handling that time of the month like a pro…

Get Prepared

A great place to start is to put together a convenient period kit. It is recommended that this has two parts: one portion carries some basic supplies, while the other holds everything you need for a bundu bathroom break. It would be best to pack everything into waterproof containers that will keep things sanitary; suggestions include toiletry cases, resealable plastic bags or, for an eco-friendly option, silicone Stasher Bags.

Standard supplies could include: 

– A hot water bottle or other warming apparatus for soothing cramps (top tip: a Nalgene bottle filled with hot water does the trick perfectly)

– Painkillers, anti-nausea tablets and any other medication that will help you manage unpleasant symptoms

– Herbal teas (such as chamomile, peppermint, ginger and rooibos) to help soothe cramps and nerves

– Your period products of choice

– A little treat to make you feel better about having to deal with this nonsense

As for your ‘bathroom break’ pack, you should include:

– A small trowel (no prizes for guessing its function…)

– Toilet paper

– Period products

– A container (or containers) to pack out used products and TP

– Sanitary wipes (bonus points if they’re biodegradable!)

The Nalgene hot water bottle trick
The GSI Cathole Trowel comes with nifty instructions you can never lose.

You can pick and choose what to include based on the duration, location and intensity of your trip and activities. As for period products, it’s all up to what you are familiar and comfortable with. Many women choose to stick with pads and tampons, and that’s completely fine! However, if you want to change things up, there are a bunch of innovative products you can try out, such as menstrual cups and period underwear. These items are reusable, making them more environmentally friendly AND more gentle on your wallet in the long run. If you are going to try something new, we high recommend you try it out at home first before venturing into the wilds.

Get Informed

When it comes to outdoor period management, it is essential to (a) ensure you are staying safe, healthy and sanitary, and (b) leave no trace. Depending on your product/s of choice, you’ll need to handle your period pitstops differently. As pads and tampons are not biodegradable, you will need to pack these out with you so they don’t poison the soil or get dug up by curious critters. As for menstrual cups, it is recommended that you empty the contents into a cathole and bury it as you would with other waste. Whatever you end up going with, make sure that you will be able to keep your environmental impact to a minimum, while still looking after your body.

For detailed guidelines and demonstrations, take a look at this guide from the Leave No Trace Centre for Outdoor Ethics, or check out this video:

Stay safe, stay sane, and happy adventuring!