Have you ever had to reconsider your hiking and camping expedition because your periods started just when you were set to leave?
Did you have to cancel the trip?
Most women cancel trekking and hiking plans due to misconceptions like physical exertion triggers menstrual cramps and increases blood flow. However, there is no scientific theory to back the claim.
So, is it safe to go on a hike during periods?
Where can you change your sanitary napkins and manage their disposal?
These common queries arise in the minds of adventurists who want to explore the mountains but fear those five days of the month.
Is it a Good Idea to Go Hiking During Menstruation?
Many people will tell you that exertion worsens period cramps. However, if you are physically active, the pain and uneasiness will reduce. Anxiety and frequent mood swings are other concerns that hold women back. But the beautiful landscapes and cool mountain breeze along the trail during a hike tend to soothe the mind and body instead.
These days, most hikers and expedition clubs arrange smart and eco-friendly toilet tents, making it easier for you to change tampons, pads, or menstrual cups as and when required. You can also change your clothes if need be.
Additionally, there are many hygiene and pain relief accessories available in the market. These help to reduce bad odour, discomfort, and leakage. For instance, a period pain relief device stops period pain immediately so you can continue doing what you wish to.
Many women athletes participate in rigorous exercise and tournaments during their menstruation cycle. They do not have the option to postpone matches. While you aren’t an athlete, you must understand that hiking on your periods is as easy as challenging, and it is all dependent on how you deal with it.
There is no harm in climbing a mountain during your periods. However, if you experience unbearable cramps, try menstrual cramp relief solutions for a few months before you plan your hiking expedition.
Tips to Handle Your Period While Hiking and Camping
It may not be easy to tackle your periods in the mountains, but with proper planning and these packing hacks, you can easily sail through.
- Use tampons or menstrual cups.
If you want to indulge in moderate to high-level outdoor activities, tampons and menstrual cups are the best. Tampons don’t take a lot of space in your trek bag. Moreover, they do not get wet, which means they are suitable for rainy weather, river crossing, or swimming. Tampons are also more comfortable than sanitary napkins.
Period cups are another alternative to managing your periods on a hike. Similar to tampons, they also do not get wet. They are washable and reusable, which makes them more environmentally friendly. With period cups, you do not have to worry about disposal as well.
However, if you have never used a tampon or menstrual cup before, continue with your sanitary napkin.
- Practice proper hygiene.
It is vital to maintain hygiene and remain fresh, especially when you are on periods while camping. Pack unscented wet wipes. Clean yourself when you reach a toilet tent or the base camp. You can also carry soft handkerchiefs to cleanse your body after damping them with a little water. To feel fresh and avoid infection, change your tampon, pad, or menstrual cup regularly.
Apart from cleaning yourself, make sure you brush your teeth, wash your face, comb your hair, and maintain your routine. Carry different sets of clothes depending on the duration of your trek. Make sure you change your undergarment and socks every day to remain fresh and prevent body odour.
- Dispose of pads and tampons in the right way.
One of the major concerns of having a period during hiking is the disposal of the used pad or tampon. But, there is a simple solution if you plan well. Pack Ziplock pouches and several plastic bags in your backpack. Each time you change your sanitary napkin or pad, wrap the soiled one in toilet paper and put it in the plastic bag or Ziplock. Store it in the side pockets or a separate chamber of your kit bag until you reach the nearest lodge or city where you can find a dustbin.
- Pack your bag wisely.
Keep lots of pads, tampons, or whatever you generally use in your bag. If you experience abdomen pain, carry pain killers and a period pain relief device to stay comfortable. Pain killers take time to give relief, while pain relief devices start working immediately. Add talcum powder to avoid a bad smell, clips to dry your washed clothes, panty liners, many undergarments, and chocolates to uplift your mood when the flow is heavy.
- Do not wear white.
Wearing light-coloured bottom wear while hiking and camping isn’t a good idea. If you get stains, it will become quite obvious. Go for a dark-coloured, loose-fitted bottom instead.
- Carry a hand sanitiser.
After you change and clean down there, use a sanitiser to clean your hands. You can also carry a soap bar to wash your hands when you have access to water. However, it is best to have everything bio-degradable since it will go to waste eventually.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
Periods or no periods, staying hydrated is mandatory while hiking and camping. If you do not intake sufficient quantities of fluids, you will feel exhausted. Staying hydrated also reduces the discomfort due to menstrual cramps. Many women think that it is easier to exercise and indulge in physical activity when they are well hydrated.
Having your period while travelling, exercising, hiking, or camping can be inconvenient. It is natural to feel anxious about how you will handle your flow and the associated pain. But if you prepare wisely, your cycle will not get in the way of your excursion. If you have sufficient pads, tampons, menstrual cups, a menstrual pain relief device, extra clothes, and other supplies, you won’t have to worry about dealing with the period in the wild. You can focus on the more important stuff like breathing in the fresh air, viewing the scenic beauty around, and reaching the summit.