Tips for hiking with your period

Hiking is a great way to get outdoors, enjoy the fresh air and exercise. But for many women, the thought of hiking while on their period can be daunting. It’s completely normal to feel unsure about how to handle your period while hiking, but with a little preparation and the right mindset, you can still enjoy your hike.

Here’s a few tips for hiking with your period:

  1. Bring the right supplies: Before hitting the trail, make sure you pack the necessary supplies. This includes extra pads or tampons, wet wipes, and a small plastic bag to dispose of used items. If you prefer, you can also consider using a menstrual cup, which is a reusable option that can last for up to 12 hours.
  2. Dress comfortably: Comfort is key when it comes to hiking, especially when you’re on your period. Wear breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics that will help you stay cool and dry. Consider wearing dark-colored pants or shorts in case of any leaks, and bring a spare pair of underwear just in case.
  3. Plan for bathroom breaks: When you’re hiking, it’s not always easy to find a bathroom. Plan ahead and know where the nearest facilities are located. If there are no restrooms available, try to find a private spot to dig a small hole and bury any waste.
  4. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is important for your overall health, but it’s especially important when you’re on your period. Staying hydrated can help reduce cramps and bloating, and can also help prevent constipation.
  5. Listen to your body: Hiking can be strenuous, especially when you’re on your period. Don’t push yourself too hard and listen to your body. If you need to take a break or slow down, do so. Remember that it’s okay to rest and take care of yourself.
  6. Stay positive: Having your period while hiking may not be ideal, but it doesn’t have to ruin your trip. Focus on the beautiful scenery and the joy of being outdoors. Hiking can actually help reduce period-related symptoms such as cramps and mood swings, so enjoy the natural benefits of being active.

Managing used menstrual products

It’s important to pack out used menstrual products when hiking. Leaving used pads, tampons, or other menstrual products in nature is not only unsightly, but it can also have negative impacts on the environment and wildlife. These products do not biodegrade quickly and can pose a risk to wildlife if ingested. In addition, leaving used menstrual products in nature goes against the principles of Leave No Trace, which is a set of outdoor ethics that encourages responsible outdoor recreation.

To properly pack out your used menstrual products, you can use a small plastic bag or a sealable pouch. Place your used products in the bag or pouch, seal it tightly, and store it in a designated trash bag or waste container. Make sure to follow any regulations or guidelines specific to the area you’re hiking in, and always respect the natural environment by properly disposing of your waste.

If you’re using a menstrual cup, you can empty and rinse it out in a designated restroom or bathroom facility, or dig a small hole away from water sources to empty and bury the contents. Make sure to pack out any used toilet paper or wipes as well.

Remember, Leave No Trace principles apply to all aspects of outdoor recreation, including menstruation. By packing out your used menstrual products, you’re helping to protect the environment and keeping our natural spaces clean for future hikers to enjoy.

Can I bury menstrual products?

As a responsible hiker, it’s generally not recommended to bury used menstrual products in the wilderness. Menstrual products, such as pads and tampons, are not biodegradable and can take a long time to break down in the soil. They can also attract wildlife and may not decompose properly, potentially causing environmental harm.

In some wilderness areas, burying human waste, including menstrual products, may be allowed in certain designated areas or under specific regulations. However, it’s important to check the regulations of the specific area you’re hiking in and follow them accordingly. If burying menstrual products is allowed, it’s important to do so at least 100 metres away from water sources to protect water quality and prevent contamination.

In general, it’s best to pack out used menstrual products in a sealed plastic bag or a designated waste container. This ensures that the products are properly disposed of and minimises the impact on the environment.

Remember, Leave No Trace principles promote responsible outdoor practices, including properly disposing of waste, to protect the natural environment and preserve it for future generations of hikers to enjoy.

What if I forgot to bring menstrual products?

Forgetting to bring menstrual products while hiking can be stressful, but there are still options to manage your period in the outdoors. Here are some tips:

  1. Use improvised materials: If you find yourself without menstrual products, you can use improvised materials as a temporary solution. For example, you can use clean, folded toilet paper, a bandana, or a clean cloth as a makeshift pad. This is not a long-term solution, but it can help in a pinch until you can access proper menstrual products.
  2. Ask fellow hikers for help: Hiking trails often have a supportive community, and fellow hikers may be willing to lend you a spare pad or tampon if you ask. It’s worth politely asking if someone has extra supplies to spare.
  3. Look for nearby facilities: Depending on where you’re hiking, there may be facilities nearby that have menstrual products available. Restrooms at trailheads, campgrounds, or visitor centers may have vending machines or dispensers with menstrual products for purchase.
  4. Plan ahead for future hikes: After experiencing the inconvenience of forgetting menstrual products, make sure to double-check and pack enough supplies for your future hikes. Create a checklist and keep a spare set of supplies in your hiking gear, so you’re always prepared.
  5. Consider menstrual cup as a reusable option: Menstrual cups are a reusable option that can be worn for up to 12 hours and are a convenient choice for hiking. If you haven’t already, consider investing in a menstrual cup as part of your hiking gear. They are eco-friendly, easy to clean, and can be a reliable option for managing your period while hiking.

Remember, it’s important to properly dispose of used improvised materials or any other waste, following Leave No Trace principles, by packing them out in a sealed plastic bag or designated waste container. Taking care of the environment is essential when hiking, even in unexpected situations like forgetting to bring menstrual products.

In conclusion

Hiking with your period can be intimidating, but it’s important to remember that it’s a normal part of life. With a little preparation and the right mindset, you can still enjoy the great outdoors and all the benefits that hiking has to offer.

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