Friday, February 29, 2008

Menstruation while backpacking: Not a problem

The snow is melting exposing dormant grasses. Trees are beginning to bud, flowers open their petals like sleeping children, and the squirrels are actively teasing my dogs again. These are all signs that spring is knocking at my door. Every morning I awake thinking and planning my next backpacking trip. While sharing my past adventures with friends, a couple questions continually arise, "What do you do when you're on your period?" and "Won't bears be attracted to the smell of blood?" While I know my preferred method, I decided to do some asking around. This was a much more common question than I thought, as I found it in multiple forums and bulletin boards. The best general consensus for dealing with your monthly visitor, and the one I agree with is:
  • Use tampons over sanitary napkins
  • Use unscented accessories
  • Pack it in, pack it out, freezer zip-loc bags and double up the bag
  • Hoist with all other food/garbage that you want to keep away from critters
  • Sanitizing hand gel, it's very important to keep as clean as possible while dealing with sensitive areas
That's it, it really is this simple!

You shouldn't bury the used accessories because animals could smell the blood and try to dig them up. Some burn their tampons. If this is something you decide to do remember that a very hot fire is needed, and a good bit of time to completely destroy them. You'll need to pack out the remains.

In the case of the myth that bears will be drawn to menstruating women, I have found this to be MYTH.

Several studies have been done and the results show that bears are NOT attracted to menstruating women any more than another person. For more information please visit

My fellow adventurous women, please go into the wild with ease knowing that our monthly friend does not have to put a damper on anything that we love to do. All we need is to be prepared for the journey.