Learn Skills OutdoorHer | Managing your period in the outdoors

OutdoorHer | Managing your period in the outdoors


Planning outdoor adventures comes with lots of preparation and adding a period into the mix can be one more thing to think about. While not everyone will be up for a hike or a climb on their period, if you are preparing for your next trip in the good company of menstrual blood, here’s what to do.


Even if you don’t think you’re due on your period, it’s best to take some products with you. Many factors such as activity and nutrition can cause changes in your cycle so it’s best to be prepared, just in case. Here are some essentials to take:

  • Period products (in waterproof bag/container)
  • Toilet paper, wet wipes or pee cloth
  • Hand sanitiser or environmentally friendly soap
  • Clean water
  • Trowel if using a menstrual cup or disc
  • Bags and/or dedicated box to pack out your waste

The best way to minimise your impact on the environment when managing your period is to not go in the wild at all! If you can find a public toilet, always use these first. You may need to pay to use public toilets or pick up a snack or drink from a café to use them there. So, bring a little change in case you need it. There are lots of apps and websites that will help you to find public toilets and it is a good idea to look these up when planning your day so that you can mark them along your route.

READ: How To Navigate Your Period When You’re Trans Or Non-Binary


Make sure you have enough of your preferred period products with you for the duration of your activity. You can use any product that works for you but it’s best to be familiar with them already – you don’t want to be experimenting on a windy hill! Here are some suggestions for particular activities:

Tampons and pads are easy to carry for day activities. However, if you’re camping or away from facilities for several days you may need to carry a lot which can be bulky. Make sure you keep them in a waterproof bag, or they’ll be no good when you need them! Used items need to be packed out in bags, not buried, and carried back with you until you are able to dispose of them responsibly. Remember that tampons need to be changed regularly, while it can be tempting to leave them in for longer as it can be difficult to stop for toilet breaks or find enough privacy, it is important to protect your health and avoid toxic shock syndrome.

Menstrual cups and discs are great in the outdoors as you only need one and they leave no waste other than the blood itself. They are compact and lightweight so they’re great to carry in your pack even if you are not sure if you will be on your period. Menstrual cups can be sterilised ahead of your trip, ready for use all week. Make sure your hands are clean before taking out and re-inserting. Hand sanitiser or environmentally friendly soaps are great but make sure you rinse off any residue as chemicals and alcohols can be damaging to the vulva. Blood must be buried in a hole at least 50m away from water and at least 15cm deep like when you go for a poo outdoors.

Everybody is different, so it can be useful to carry out some research thinking about your body, what activities you do and what environments you’ll be in before purchasing one. Put a Cup in It have heaps of useful resources to help you choose.

Period pants are awesome, they are comfy and you may not have to change them for the whole time you’re outside. However, some people find them a bit awkward to change and wash if you’re on a multi-day activity so plan this before leaving.

READ: How Christine Cornock managed her period on the South West Coastal Path

Infographic by Navigation with Harriet


When you need to, go and find a quiet spot where you feel comfortable changing. Sometimes this can take a little while so be on the lookout in advance – trees, rocks or dips in the ground can be your friend.

Make sure it’s a safe location (not the edge of a cliff!) and if you’re with a group, make sure they know and are waiting for you so you don’t feel rushed. If you feel worried about people coming by, ask a friend to keep a lookout.

It’s also a good idea to get everything you need out of your bag in front of you, or ready in a pocket if it’s windy.

If you need to pee or poo too, it’s easiest to do everything at the same time - follow our guides to toileting in the wild if you’re not sure how!

Pack out

Products can’t be left outdoors so they need to be carried out with you so that you Leave No Trace – this protects animals and the environment and is nicer for other people who come along after you. Place used period products, wipes and toilet roll in a dedicated bag. This could be a dry bag or just a doggy poo or sandwich bag. Double them if necessary. Some people have a small dedicated box or Tupperware instead. Dispose of your items when you get to an appropriate bin.

Wash your hands and enjoy your day

Don’t be afraid to ask! If you’re on a led walk, climb or workshop and are not sure where or how to go or you’ve forgotten to pack something – don’t be embarrassed, just ask your leader. All leaders of all genders know how to manage periods outside as it is an important part of looking after their group.

Leaders should carry some spares and will always be happy to wait for you if you need time to go and deal with your period.

Infographic by Navigation with Harriet


Return to Hub Page

Related Content