Women are as adventurous and adrenalin-pumped during treks and backpacking expeditions as men. But when aunt flow pays a monthly visit, many women hesitate to go on treks. We are here to tell you that if you follow a few ground rules, then, there is nothing to be perturbed about. Doctors actually recommend exercise and hiking to reduce the pain and menstrual cramps. Remember, periods can be uncomfortable, but they shouldn’t keep you off the trail and why should boys have all the fun?
Here are some handy tips that can help you stay hygienic and motivated for a great time with the gang.
Sanitary Hygiene Hacks
Maintaining your hygiene is of utmost importance during your periods. Many women fear infections which makes it difficult for them to adapt. It is said that periods really help your body in discovering its true potential. It does take some effort to pack up the right gear before you head for the trek.
Trek experts recommend tampons made of cotton during treks as they are lighter and absorb more blood. Tampons do not leak and can handle moisture, rains, and dampness caused while crossing streams or rivers. Unlike sanitary napkins, tampons do not get wet.
If you are not used to tampons, you can always opt for sanitary napkins (preferably cotton) but you will need to change them at regular intervals and they could get heavy while backpacking.
Divas who are comfortable with a reusable menstrual cup/ Diva cup can opt for the same as it is easier to carry and reuse. They also prevent toxic shock syndrome!
Ensure to keep your stained tampons/napkins rolled up in a newspaper and ziplocked in a pouch. You can also use dark-colored stuff sacks to stow the used napkins/tampons away. Do not dispose these anywhere at the trekking trail or bury them, you will need to get back to your city and dispose them wisely in the bin. Please ensure to store this separately from your fresh clothing and trekking supplies.
Keeping Yourself Fresh
Taking a shower during your trekking expeditions is out of the question. But you can carry some wet wipes/hygiene wipes with you. These may not be biodegradable, so you will need to carry them back to the city in a separate bag/pouch. You need to opt for the unscented ones as they irritate less and are nature-safe.
Alternatively, you can take soft napkins or tissue papers with you, dampen them and use as required. Carry a good deodorant to keep yourself and your clothes fresh. You could obviously wash your face, hands, and feet by using the available water resource diligently. Ensure that you have a separate freshness kit that has the following:
- Tissue Paper
- Soft Napkins
- Talcum powder
- Ziplock pouches
- Wet towels/Wipes (unscented please!)
- Fresh Sanitary Napkins/Tampons
- Fresh body mist
- Hand Sanitizer
Always use a hand sanitizer before cleaning yourself up or having food. An ideal time to freshen up would be in the afternoon when the weather is warm and you are exhausted/ sweat a lot.
Other Hygiene Hacks
These are easy to do and will keep you fresh throughout the trek. Carry at least 4 to 5 cotton panties as they are comfortable, absorb more sweat/moisture, feel light, and allow your skin to breathe if your trips last for three to four days. You can choose to carry a maximum of 3 innerwear for very short trips. Sports bras will keep you comfy during your periods.
Use petroleum jelly to get rid of rashes, friction, and chafing. Keep your wet clothes (napkins, socks, etc.) in a separate bag. Clip them outside when you stop for rest. Talcum powder can be sprinkled in your socks and shoes to keep them odor-free and absorb sweat.
Use organic products to wash your face and feet so that you keep yourself and mother nature happy.
Pack up a First Aid Kit
Include the pain backup when you pack up your first aid kit. If you feel better during your periods with a doctor-recommended pain killer, do include it in your kit. You could alternatively carry a hot water bag or an adhesive chemical heat pad and use it to relieve pain during the night time. A pain-relief balm or spray can also help at times to get rid of the cramps and the discomfort.
Leaving No Trail
It is important to carry your used sanitary napkins/ tampons/ diva cups rolled into a newspaper and tucked in a double ziplock bag until your touchdown at your source location or the nearest city with dustbins. The second thing that you need to take care of is to carry dark-shaded (preferably black track pants, trekking gear). This will ensure that your stains are not visible to others. You could wear two panties instead of one to be double sure of preventing stains on your clothes.
Wearing very tight undergarments can make things uncomfortable, while very loose ones will defeat the purpose. Your comfort matters the most during your periods and must be prioritized.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
It is important to keep your body optimally hydrated since you will be treading on dry terrains and may have to face the brunt of the scorching sun. Periods can make you weary and dehydrated. Sipping water or a drink with electrolytes will help balance your body with the right sodium, potassium, and oxygen levels.
Carry the Right Attitude
It is necessary to have the right attitude accompanying you on your trek during your chums. It’s the perspective that needs to change and not the method. Championing over periods during treks depends on how mentally fine-tuned you are for the challenge. Doing the trek once with periods will give you the courage to do it again. Seek for feminine strength among your lady friends in the group or talk to someone who is comforting to make things easy.
Remember, menstruation is natural and nothing to be afraid of. In modern times, having your period and moving around is never a taboo that should prevent you from achieving your dreams. Take a leap forward and watch the magic unfold, period.