It seems like nearly every time we go camping, it coincides with getting my period. It’s literally a pain because I get migraines and I’d rather not have an extra thing to manage, but at least using a menstrual cup makes camping with my period relatively stress free.
Menstrual cups are an environmentally friendly way of managing periods. They are flexible, re-usable silicon cups that you place inside, like a tampon, but instead of absorbing the blood, the cup collects it. You can then tip out the menstrual blood and reinsert the cup.
It might seem like this would be harder to manage away from home but it isn’t too bad and is actually nicer than dealing with disposable tampons and pads in the bush with very basic facilities or none at all, and in weather conditions ranging from very hot to very wet.
The first major advantage is that they are safe enough to leave in for up to 12 hours, according to your flow, and are discreet (no tampon string hanging out, or changing every 4 hours). So immediately you get to worry less and just have fun doing your planned activities, like swimming, hiking, and kayaking. Or just relaxing.
There’s no need to bring a supply of pads or tampons which then have to be stored after use, carried out, and disposed of later (don’t bury them or leave them behind as that is not environmentally friendly). And you don’t have to stress about keeping unused products clean and dry in your pack.
To use a menstrual cup when camping, you just need to find a secluded place to do your business. Take a water bottle with you for washing, some toilet paper, and a light if it’s night time.
Dig a small hole, wash your hands before removing the cup, empty the cup into the hole, and then rinse the cup with clean water. You might also want to wipe the cup down with toilet paper. Then you just reinsert, cover the hole and off you go.
When my period has finished, I do a complete clean of the cup at home by immersing it in boiling water for five minutes. But if you’re camping for a long time, it’s easy to sterilise the cup using your camping stove and pot.
If you want more detail about menstrual cups, check out my earlier blog here.
Reading your blog this morning was like reading something I had written. Period always timing in with camping and getting migranes along with it and trying to be zero waste. Lol. Only I haven’t had success with the cups Ive tried. They wriggle their way out no matter how good I think I’ve got the suction. I’ve tried when I don’t have my period to see if that makes a difference and no. Any tips?
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Lol, I’m sure heaps of nature loving women can empathise with us. 🙂 Now that you mention it, the cup does slide down by the end of the day as it fills but I take it as an indication to empty. I wish I could offer you a tip to try but unfortunately I don’t have any for that. We will have to google for an answer 😉.
Hi Lori, I know this question was directed at Tammy, but as a fellow reader I thought I might chip in on the off chance that I can help. I have had major suction problems in the past and after some experimenting it turned out that I was using the wrong size cup. It took me ages to realise it, because it seemed that the suction was fine when I was inserting the cup and doing my regular suction check (i.e tugging the base of the cup gently), but it obviously wasn’t because it would leak every single time. It was so frustrating. Once I tried out a cup with a wider rim, the problem completely disappeared. I’m no expert but I wonder if your cup wriggling down is a sign that it’s not wide enough and therefore not being held in place. It could be an idea to look into going a size up if you’re on a size 1, or looking at a brand with a wider rim if you’re already using a size 2? Hope that helps! 🙂
Try a larger size cup.
Wow, I’m so impressed that you use your cup while camping, Tammy! I stopped using disposable menstrual products years ago but, honestly, I still find using my cup a bit messy! Obviously it’s worth it, and it’s easy to use when I’m at home, but I often find myself resorting to my cloth pads when I just can’t be bothered. I can definitely see the advantage of using a cup while camping, since, as you say, you can go for so long without emptying it. 🙂
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