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OutdoorHer | Resources for outdoor leaders


We've gathered our list of resources for leaders who supporting people who are menstruating in the outdoors.

Some people worry about doing outdoor activities whilst on their period. Where do you go? What do you do with used products? How do you stay clean and comfortable? As a leader, ensuring you can answer these questions so that group members are comfortable managing their period outside is essential.

Helping group members manage menstruation can bring the following benefits:

Everyone can enjoy the outdoors

Your group will enjoy their time much more if they know how to deal with periods. Anxiety caused by a lack of knowledge or experience can ruin an otherwise fun day out. Or even worse, it can stop people who menstruate from being active outdoors.

Confidence and respect

Knowing how to manage all toiletry needs will inspire your group to respect you and will help you feel confident as their leader. Respect that people who menstruate will have their own unique experience and also how they manage it, there is no one-size-fits-all approach and support participants individually.

Reduced impact on the environment and others

Knowing how to keep clean, pack out products and dig holes a safe distance from water reduces the impact on the environment, removes risks to human health and wildlife and is nicer for other outdoor users.

Leader Checklist

Educate yourself

If you’re not sure of best practice outdoors, read our How to Manage Your Period Outdoors guide and check out some other resources online to familiarise yourself so you can better inform your group.


Pack some products in case people forget theirs or start their period unexpectedly. Period pads are good as most people can use them and they double-up as a first aid kit item. Wet wipes, toilet roll, doggy bags/box and a trowel are necessary too. Pack everything in a kit so it can all be handed to a group member easily. Some instructors include chocolate too!

Talk to your group

Let your group know how to manage their period outdoors when you give them an activity brief. Consider showing a video or using other resources to demonstrate how.

Remind them that many factors such as activity and nutrition can cause changes in their cycle so even if they’re not expecting to come on their period, it’s worth preparing just in case.

Let the group know that they can ask you if they have any questions and that you are carrying some extra products in case they forget. Be approachable and let your group know they don’t need to be embarrassed!

It’s best to do this brief in front of everyone as this avoids singling people out. It can easily be included in your toilet talk alongside peeing and pooing. Remember trans and non-binary folks may have periods too.
If possible, it’s even better to do this brief in advance of the activity as this means group members can bring the period products they prefer. Where relevant, involve a staff member e.g. teacher who can mention this in advance of a trip and may have a closer relationship with group members.

Help out when outside

Do the following during activities to make managing periods as easy as possible for your group:

  • Try and include a toilet stop just before setting off as this may mean no one needs to change outdoors
  • Include enough breaks and give people time to deal with their period when necessary
  • If you spot areas that are private, point these out where you can – especially if you know there will not be any for a while e.g. on an exposed ridge.

Remember it’s not just the period (time of bleeding) that can affect individuals who menstruate outdoors. Additional symptoms both physical such as stomach cramps and psychological such as increased anxiety could affect participants. Talking to your group can help manage and overcome some of these additional factors. Encouraging your participants to bring some paracetamol and ibuprofen (if there are no underlying medical conditions preventing use) just in case they start their period unexpectedly can be helpful and you may wish to introduce this within your preparation talk.

Sometimes participants may need extra support than usual or struggle more due to changes in their symptoms, everyone will be different and even the same person cycle to cycle can have a different experience of their symptoms. Try to be open to talking about this to make people feel more confident and comfortable.

Useful infographics for your groups by Navigation with Harriet


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