Outdoor Feminine Care: Staying Healthy and Clean While on the Trail

woman hiking

Adventure travel offers life-changing experiences that push you outside your comfort zone. Whether you’re doing an adventure and eco-tour in Alaska or hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail, these activities in the great outdoors test your determination and let you enjoy the beauty of nature.

One of the challenges of adventure travel, especially for women, is keeping clean. Unlike men, women are more prone to yeast and urinary tract infections if they don’t maintain proper hygiene.

With a few days outdoors with no bathroom in sight, how do you do your business and stay clean? Here’s how:

Going to the Bathroom Outdoors

Going to the bathroom in the woods for the uninitiated can be intimidating. When peeing, there are methods you can try for a more comfortable experience, and it’s a matter of finding what works best for you:

  • Pee Rag. Use an anti-microbial rag to wipe yourself, and then wash the rag with biodegradable soap. Attach the cloth to your bag so it can dry under the sun.
  • Pee Funnel. There’s no squatting involved, but you have to practice using it at home for a better experience outdoors.

When taking a dump, there’s no avoiding the squatting. The best practice is to deposit your waste in a six- to eight-inch deep cat hole that’s at least 200 feet from the water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cat hole, clean yourself properly, spray some sanitizer on your hands, and you’re done.

Taking a Bath

two women taking a bathDon’t just jump into the first water source you find for a refreshing bath. You’ll be exposing the water to harmful chemicals from body lotion and other products, making the habitat unsafe for aquatic life and other creatures.

If you decide to take a bath, opt for a quick sponge bath using water, soap, and sponge. Bring as much water as you need at least 200 feet away from the water source to avoid soap contamination.

Backpacking on Your Period

Sometimes the time of the month will coincide with your backpacking trip, but it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. There are a few ways to keep your period under control while hiking.

  • Create a waste bag. Place your used tampons or pads inside a resealable bag and toss it away when you get home. Add baking soda to the container to reduce the odor.
  • Use a menstrual cup. A menstrual cup is simple to use and minimizes your waste. You can keep the cup inside for 12 hours, and you just have to rinse out the cup each day. When cleaning the menstrual cup, dump its contents in a cat hole as you would if you were going to the bathroom. Use wet wipes to clean the cup, put it back on, and you’re good to go. If you’re new to using a cup, be sure to practice with it at home since wearing it takes some getting used to.

Taking Care of Your Nether Regions

Opt out of wearing synthetic underwear during the hike, as it can trap moisture and heat, making it a breeding ground for yeast. Choose natural, moisture-wicking and quick-dry fabrics instead. Bring a couple of extra pairs and wash them after use.

Make sure to have plenty of PH-balanced feminine wipes at hand so you can do a quick wipe-down when needed. Opt for biodegradable wipes, to lessen your carbon footprint. Store them in a waste bag and throw them away once the trip is over.

Feminine care in the backcountry needs preparation in the same way you would carefully plan other parts of an adventure trip. With these tips, you can feel comfortable and clean while enjoying the outdoors.

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