7 Tips to Leave No Trace While Embracing Nature's Rhythm
Going on a hiking adventure brings us closer to nature, allowing us to immerse ourselves in its beauty and serenity. However, for individuals who menstruate, managing your period while hiking can present unique challenges. Luckily, armed with knowledge and a bit of planning, you can feel confident managing your hygiene needs while on the trails.
- Plan Ahead:
Before you hit the trail, take some time to plan and prepare. Familiarize yourself with the route, noting the availability of amenities such as restrooms or waste disposal facilities. If these amenities are limited or non-existent, you'll need to rely on alternative methods.
- Choose Sustainable Products:
Opt for eco-friendly menstrual products to minimize your impact on the environment. Menstrual cups, reusable cloth pads, or period-proof underwear are excellent choices that can be washed and reused, reducing waste generation. Alternatively, if you prefer disposable products, look for organic, biodegradable options that break down naturally.
- Pack Appropriately:
Ensure you pack everything you need to manage your period hygienically. Items such as extra menstrual products, wet wipes, toilet paper, and sealable bags for waste disposal are essential. Remember to bring small, lightweight, and waterproof bags to carry used products until you can dispose of them properly.
- Proper Waste Disposal:
When hiking, it's crucial to follow the principles of Leave No Trace. Always dispose of used menstrual products, wipes, and toilet paper properly, ensuring they are well-sealed in odor-proof bags. Do not bury them. Carry them with you until you can reach a suitable waste disposal facility, such as a designated restroom or trash bin.
- Practice Good Hygiene:
Maintaining good hygiene is essential for your well-being and the environment. If water sources are available, use a small amount of biodegradable soap and a small towel or bandana to clean yourself. Ensure you are at least 200 feet (about 70 steps) away from water sources to prevent contamination.
- Respect Wildlife:
Keep in mind that some wildlife may be attracted to the scent of menstrual products and waste. Choose unscented products since perfume can attract wildlife. To avoid attracting animals to your campsite, store used products securely in a bear-proof container and away from your sleeping area. This helps maintain a safe distance between humans and wildlife, promoting the natural balance of the ecosystem.
- Educate and Empower:
As outdoor enthusiasts, we have an opportunity to educate others about hiking with periods and the importance of responsible waste management. Encourage fellow hikers to adopt eco-friendly practices, such as using reusable products or packing out their waste. By sharing knowledge and empowering others, we can build a more sustainable and inclusive hiking culture. Having your period should not be a barrier to the outdoors.
Menstrual health isn’t yucky, but leaving your waste on the trails is!
Hiking with your period doesn't need to be daunting or environmentally harmful. By planning ahead, choosing sustainable products, practicing good hygiene, and disposing of waste responsibly, you can leave no trace and enjoy a worry-free hiking experience. Let's embrace nature's rhythm, honor our bodies, and preserve the pristine beauty of the outdoors for generations to come.