Worried about Aunt Flo ruining your camping trip for the weekend? Calm down. We’ve got you covered with this guide on how to handle your periods while camping.
Uh, how annoying is it when you spend days planning for an awesome camping trip to the untamed, relaxing wilderness – only to have your excitement foiled the night before D-Day by the unwanted visit of the monthly blood monster, aka Periods?!
Many talks, rumors, gossips & discussions about the controversial relation between menstruating and staying in the wild have been floating around for decades.
Some crazy ideas like period blood attracting bears and other wacky taboos around period being considered a sign of impurity – are all but hokum.
Apart from all these strange, baseless myths, some concerns are genuine and need to be taken care of in a sincere manner. From painful cramps to hygiene risks – any form of traveling during periods can be a little too uncomfortable; especially for beginners.
But that’s why we’re here – to bust myths, share hacks, and make your camping experience during periods an overall comforting success!
Let’s jump right in.
#1 Hygiene: The Cornerstone Of Period Health
Periods are undoubtedly one of the messiest ordeals there is to deal with. Even on relatively less active & less stressful days, it can be difficult to deal with the mess created by this outflow of blood and raging hormonal tornado.
With constant checks for staining or leakage, lots of perspiration, lots of annoying acne, and frequent bathroom breaks – overall hygiene of body and environment should be the topmost priority.
How to maintain menstrual hygiene when you’re literally almost in the middle of nowhere? It really isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Here are a few hacks that might come in handy:
1. Carry Extra Sets of Wet Wipes
From wiping your face to helping you clean up after a change of tampons, wet wipes do come in handy when you’re traveling on your periods. Pick a mildly scented pack of wet wipes to feel fresh throughout the day.
2. Face Mist & Antiperspirant
While a face mist will help clean the excess oil secreted by the glands under your skin, an antiperspirant will help with the excess sweating that some have to deal with as a symptom of periods or pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
3. Reusable Medical Gloves
If you’re too worried about mess after every tampon change, we’d suggest getting reusable gloves that save you the trouble of unhygienic hands every now and then.
4. Hand Sanitizer
This is more a necessity than a hack – when you’re camping, you may not always be in a position to have access to running water or soap. In such cases, a hand sanitizer comes in handy. As a matter of fact, regardless of whether you’re on your periods or not, it is a good practice to carry at least a small pocket sized bottle of hand sanitizer for every trip.
5. Ziploc with Dried Teabag or Roasted Coffee Beans
Yes, we get it – it sounds offbeat, and irrelevant to the current topic on menstruation; but trust us – carry this set and you’ll be grateful you did!
Whether you use tampons, pads, liners, cups – whatever – storing and disposing of a used one can get tricky and difficult in the middle of wildernesses. At such times, sealing them in an airtight Ziploc helps. The added dry teabag or roasted coffee beans enhance the ability to absorb and lock odor.
#2 Period Pain: How To Relax During Periods When You’re Camping
Now that hygiene has been taken care of, let’s come to the monstrous facet of the monthly visit of Aunt Flo: Period Pain. If there were a contest on the shortest horror story, this would probably be the winning entry.
Period pain can manifest itself in many ways, some being:
- 1. Abdominal cramps;
- 2. Lower back pain;
- 3. Overall body ache and weakness;
- 4. Headache;
- 5. Leg cramps;
- 6. Muscle pain;
- 7. Stomach ache;
- 8. Uneasiness;
- 9. Nausea;
- 10. Hot or cold flashes;
Every person who has periods has a different set of challenges to be overcome. Can we, then, imagine camping on periods?
Well, to put in what is perhaps the most historic set of 3 words in the American saga –
As we promised in the very beginning of this article, we will not let Aunt Flo bum out your trip to the great outdoors. Here are a few tips on how to manage quite a lot of these symptoms that often cause uneasiness:
1. Hot Water Bags
Back pain? Body ache? Abdominal cramps? Muscle Pain? Leg Cramps?
5 problems, 1 solution – the classic Hot Water Bag.
Available in various sizes, a hot water bag is a handy piece of luggage even when you’re not on your periods. The warmth eases out inflammation and relieves pain. And in winters, it could be a good addition to giving you a cosy night’s sleep, too!
2. Home Spice & All Things Nice
There are a lot of tried and tested home remedies that help with nausea – from chewing ginger to smelling the aroma of peppermint and trying out acupuncture: quite a few of these remedies can even come in handy when you go camping.
For more details, check out the article here.
3. Ice Packs
This is for the ones who get unbearable hot flashes during periods. Carrying cold compression aids not just in sprains and injuries, but also during hot flashes.
Place an ice pack on your wrist and neck and focus on breathing for a few seconds – this helps you stay calm while your body adjusts and regulates its temperature.
An extra strip of Ibuprofen won’t be that heavy, after all! Make sure you double check all your period related medicines in the first-aid kit that you pack for your camping trip.
5. Roll-ons, Balms & Ointments
While this is largely based on how useful you perceive ‘em to be, if it does work for you – ensure carrying period relief cream in the first-aid kit too!
While we are on the topic of perceived and suitable remedies for menstrual cramps, here is an article on home remedies that help with menstrual cramps.
#3 Campers’ Hacks For Being Period Ready Every Season
1. Have a portable “Go-To” hit always ready with all the above-mentioned essentials.
Aunt Flo, like most of our literal flesh & bone relatives, is very unpredictable. Especially in times of strenuous activity, she doesn’t mind changing her schedule and giving you an early visit.
It is always better to be prepared to deal with Aunt Flo’s demands and tantrums well in advance.
2. Use reusable sanitary products.
Whether you’re a seasoned camper or not, using reusable sanitary products is good for both – global ecology and personal economy.
Many brands sell menstrual cups that can be used over and over again – for several years! Imagine all the money you’ll be saving by buying a single menstrual sup for years to come when compared to the continual, periodic restocking of tampons and pads.
3. Carry chocolates!
Honestly, does this even need to be told? Chocolates are the best friend of a poor period pain inflicted soul. Keeping the drama aside, chocolates do help keep your mood light; in fact, even the smell of chocolates almost instantly reduces a little bit of stress.
Moreover, chocolates have a high glucose content, which makes them a rich source of energy – something you especially need in times when your body is losing blood.
4. Take out time for mindfulness and meditation.
What could be a more beautiful and peaceful location for meditating than the lap of Mother nature herself! During your camping trip, if you take some time out to meditate during your periods, it will help put the mood swings at ease and save you from a lot of grumpiness and tiredness.
#4 Overall Period Health
While these hacks and tips come in handy during camping, your overall menstrual health is a result of daily habits and routines. Maintaining menstrual health is very important to year-round good physical and mental health; and vice-versa.
What you put in your plate is affects your health not just during periods, but during your entire lifetime. It is very important to have a balanced diet with all the vitamins & minerals required for proper functioning of the body.
However, when emphasizing on your diet during periods, here are a few things you’d like to keep in mind for the next time:
Hydration is key. It protects you from unwanted headaches at a time when you might already have other things to worry about.
Moreover, your friendship with hydration can protect you against your common period enemies: bloating and acne.
From fruits like watermelon that have high water content to juicier, sweeter fruits like strawberries and bananas – fruits help you in two ways:
- They help you meet your daily water requirements without being an annoying diuretic;
- They give you a taste of the sugar you so crave during periods, thereby reducing, if not completely eliminating, the prospect of bingeing on unhealthy sources of glucose like ice creams, fast food, and sweetened soda pops.
3. Leafy Greens.
Eating your greens is important, especially during periods. Loss of blood can cause a variety of issues ranging from dizziness to anaemia to prolonged bodily weakness.
Leafy greens have good iron content that help your body replenish the haemoglobin it loses during periods.
For a healthier and more visible impact, it is advisable to increase your intake of leafy greens at least a week before expected periods, and continue until a week after your period ends.
In minimal amounts, i.e. less than 4 grams a day, ginger helps your body in three great ways:
- Ginger has anti inflammatory properties that help soothe achy muscles and menstrual cramps;
- Ginger acts as a natural cleanser for the insides of your body – which means a cuppa ginger tea a day could keep toxins at bay!
- A few recent studies have also claimed that ginger can reduce nausea, which is one very annoying symptom during periods.
This iron- and protein-rich delicacy can serve not only to satiate your period time cravings, but also help keep you sated for long. Want to avoid overeating during periods? Include proteins into your diet in a substantial quantity.
Another iron- and protein-rich food, fish also has an additional value in the form of omega-3 fatty acids.
The former nutrients keep you sated and healthy and maintain your hemoglobin levels, whilst the latter is known to have helped with mood swings and depression: a common happening during periods.
While this list is inexhaustible, and diet and quantity also depend on personal factors, it is good to have separate meal plans ready for these days of blood loss – especially if you have a heavy menstrual flow.
For more ingredients that help with period symptoms, check out this article here.
Exercising and keeping your body moving is a habit that reaps many benefits. One of those many benefits is the relatively less painful and more bearable period cycles.
People who exercise daily tend to have lesser uneasy symptoms of periods than those with a relatively sedentary lifestyle.
But, it’s never too late to start something good. Here are a few exercises you could look into if you want a painless, or at the very least, a more bearable menstrual cycle:
1. Core Exercises.
Whether you have painful cramps during periods or not boils down to how strong your body’s core is.
You heard it right – core workouts aren’t just for those who aspire for a set of hot abs; in fact, core exercises are for everyone who wants better overall health and a less painful period experience.
Although, ensure not to do core exercises during periods. These exercises are meant to precede and follow periods – a lot like precautionary and aftercare workouts.
Yoga has a ton of benefits – and will require a whole new article(s) to cover each and everyone of those.
But it does suffice us to say here that the flexibility, strength, and mindfulness of yoga helps with your physical health as well as mental health during periods.
3. Light Cardio and Low-Volume Strength Workout
This is what you should do when you are on your periods. Gentle movements of muscles will help release endorphins and relieve you from an achy body and sad mind.
#5 Benefits Of Hiking During Periods
Whether you go for something as raw as free camping during your periods, or you opt for a lighter glamping trip – it depends on personal choice. But hiking on an easy trail is a common ground for all campers on periods.
Hiking on a relatively easy terrain during periods can actually have many benefits:
1. A walk through nature is sure as heck very calming. It enhances your mood while giving your joints and muscles the light exercise they need to not go sore.
2. Periods are a time of heightened senses. The slightest annoying noise or the slightest disagreeable sight can throw you off guard.
Hiking amidst nature helps you surround yourself with sweet natural sounds and the sight of greenery and fauna. This helps regulate your hormonal imbalance and helps you retain a sense of relaxation and peace.
3. Periods are stressful in themselves. Add to that a never-ending task list, and you have the perfect recipe for a burnout. Hiking gives you the much-needed break in a de-stressing environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether it’s a weekend off or a week-long off-the-grid plan – do not let anything hold you back; not even your nasty but inevitable periods!
Beginners might find it a little uncomfortable at first, but with a little practice and the right gears in your packing list – you will soon realize that it is really not that big of a deal, this notorious one word called the Period.
For a more comprehensive list of camping essentials especially for women, check out our article here.
How do you manage to go about your plans during menstruation? Let us know in the comments below.