How to hike and camp while on your period

How to hike and camp while on your period 1

By Krista Karlson

When my partner and I go for weekend trips, we pack like this: throw everything we might need in a pile on the living room floor, transfer the pile to the back of the car, and start driving north.

Last week, as Friday approached, I knew I’d be adding one more thing to the pile: tampons.

Having your period can be rough. If you’ve already got cramps, low energy, and high flow, spending your weekend outside without access to a bathroom can seem daunting and miserable. But with the right preparation, your period doesn’t have to derail your adventures. Use this guide to get out there and show your period who’s boss.

 

  1. Pack the essentials.

First, grab three Ziplock bags. The first one is for feminine products: pack a few more than you think you’ll need for the length of time you’ll be on the trail. (Click here for more information about menstrual cups.)  The second bag is for toilet paper: a small roll will help keep things tidy on the trail. The last bag is most important: this is for packing out all your waste, including used feminine products, wrappers, and toilet paper. If you want to be more discreet with your waste bag, wrap it in duct tape to make it transparent.

Next, pack a few anti-inflammatories like Aleve or Advil to keep you cramp-free and comfortable.

Make sure to pack one pair of underwear for each day. Changing into a clean pair when you get to camp will keep things smelling fresh.

Finally, be sure to pack hand sanitizer. Things can get messy, so it’s important to clean your hands afterwards.

 

  1. Plan a comfortable route.

You know your body, so if your period doesn’t usually inhibit daily activities, you might plan the same route that you would have sans period. But for some women, having their period can be debilitating, making it hard to even get out of bed. If you’re one of these people, don’t fret: plan a realistic route, and don’t worry if it’s not far.

How to hike and camp while on your period 2

 

  1. Practice makes perfect.

When you’re on the trail and you think it’s time to change your feminine product, here’s how:

Tell your hiking partners you’re taking a bathroom break. You don’t have to tell them you’re on your period; just take your backpack and find a spot 200 feet from the trail (and water sources) to set up shop.

If you’ll be using the bathroom in addition to changing your feminine product, be sure to dig a cathole 6″ deep for solid human waste.

Start by opening all your Ziplock bags and having them accessible. Remove the existing feminine product and place it in the waste bag. Tidy up your lady parts with toilet paper and put the used TP in the waste bag. Insert the fresh feminine product and place the wrapper in the waste bag. If you dug a cathole, fill it in and place a stick or rock on top so the next hiker knows to avoid that area. Seal all your bags, wash your hands with hand sanitizer, and head back to the trail feeling fresh and clean.

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Most outhouses ask that you only use them for going #2, because liquid waste slows down the composting process. Outhouses are a great place to change feminine products as long as you refrain from going #1 and pack out all your waste. Never throw used feminine products or wrappers in the toilet; trail crews have to dig through the sludge and pick them out by hand.

Hiking and camping while on your period is not only doable, but easy once you get the hang of it. Give yourself time to practice and be gentle with yourself if the first few times are awkward or frustrating. Pretty soon you’ll be an old pro.

 

About the author:

How to hike and camp while on your period 4

Krista Karlson is a freelance writer and curiosity follower based in Connecticut. Her latest adventures involve learning to camp with a dog.  She is a contributor at Peak Explorations/Brown Gal Trekker.

Winfields Best Outdoor, Walking, Hiking and Camping Bloggers for 2018

Winfields Best Outdoor, Walking, Hiking and Camping Bloggers for 2018

By Nicole Anderson

Winfields Outdoors has released its best blogs for 2018 and what a fantastic resource this is for anyone who loves spending time in the great outdoors.

In all, Winfields Outdoors has recognized 136 blogs from around the world across the following six categories:

Best General Outdoor Blogs

Best Walking and Hiking Blogs

Best Camping Blogs

Best Caravanning & Campervan Blogs

Best Outdoor Activity & Health Blogs

Best Travel Blogs

Within the announcement of their 2018 best bloggers, Winfields has included a brief description and links to every one of the 136 blogs included so readers can easily check out all the outdoor blogs shown under each category.  This makes a great page to bookmark so you can visit blogs that appeal to you.  You can visit the page which includes all the links to each blog HERE.

There is no doubt you will find a lot of excellent information, resources and even entertainment from looking through such a comprehensive list of quality blogs.

 

Recognition of Camping for Women

Camping for WomenEveryone at Camping for Women were really pleased to have been recognized as 1 of 7 blogs within the Camping category.  Ashley McGovern on behalf of Winfields Outdoors said it was a “no brainer” to include Camping for Women as a result for their search fresh, exciting outdoors content.  She said she thought our contributor’s writing was really informative – something thoughtful to share with their own adventure-happy audience.

 

Those we need to thank

Camping for Women is extremely grateful to all of its contributors who so freely share their own skills, knowledge and experience with fellow women outdoor adventurers the world over.  This recognition is absolutely a tribute to their generous spirit to share detail of what they love so much.

We also really appreciate the loyalty of our subscribers and readers who interact so well with our contributors via the blog posts so positively.  This level of communication between readers and contributors highlights very much of a community feel even though the people involved are often geographically half a world away from each other.  We are nevertheless bonded by our shared love of nature and spending time outdoors.

It’s times like these when people outside your own immediate community recognize your efforts to make a difference for lovers of the outdoors, that you feel very grateful for all that are involved.  We are extremely thankful to many for adding their voice, the latest being Winfields Outdoors.

About Winfields Outdoors

Based in Europe, Winfields Outdoors is a major outdoor retailer that can boast excellent outdoor and indoor displays across most of its 8 brick and mortar stores within the UK showing tents, porch awnings, motor home awnings, campervan awnings as well as all the camping equipment, caravan accessories, outdoor clothing, outdoor gear and footwear.  Established since 1971, they have strong relationships with leading manufacturers within the camping and caravanning industry and state that their advice and after sales service is second to none.  Their website is https://www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk/

Hiking the Hoh Rainforest

Hiking the Hoh Rainforest

Hiking the Hoh Rainforest 2

By Kristin Hanes

From the moment I started down the Hoh River trail carrying my backpack, I started to sweat. The place with thick with moist, hot air, like a tropical rainforest transplanted to Washington State. Drapes of moss hung from the huge branches of old-growth Douglas fir, Western Hemlock and cedar trees. Bright green ferns carpeted the soft, soggy ground. I breathed in, stuck somewhere between a steam room and a sauna, and tried to enjoy the stifling beauty of the Hoh Rainforest. My boyfriend and I were making our way 10 miles to our campsite on our three-day summer backpacking trip.

 

Hiking the Hoh Rainforest 3

 

The Hoh Rainforest is gorgeous, located in the northwestern most corner of Washington State in Olympic National park. It gets a yearly total of 12 to 14 feet of rain, which is heaven for moss and ferns. The first part of the trail runs along the Hoh River, tinged a milky slate blue from glacial sediment.

 

Hiking the Hoh Rainforest 1

 

When we first started our trek, we weren’t sure whether we’d do the entire 40 mile round trip hike up to Blue Glacier, which would mean 5,000 feet of elevation gain and loss in one day.

Usually, people spend their second night of camping at a campground near the glacier, but there were none available for us. So we’d have to set up in one spot and od the glacier as a day hike.

Our first day of hiking was an easy and mostly flat through the prehistoric-looking rainforest, and we found a secluded spot to pitch our tent on the gravel bar near the Hoh River. It looked like something out of Alaska, with mist that clung in the evergreen trees and an icy, fast-moving river. We hunkered down for the night with dinner and a fire, and decided that yes, we wanted to see the glacier. Neither of us had ever seen a glacier up-close-and-personal, and with the current state of climate change, we wanted to hike to a glacier before it was too late.

 

Hiking the Hoh Rainforest 4 small

 

Hiking the Hoh Rainforest 2 small

 

We got up early to prepare for the 17-mile hike and stuffed our daypacks full of food. The trail wound up, and up, and up, through the greenest forest I’ve ever seen. Gigantic nurse logs lined the trail, sprouting with ferns and baby trees. We refilled our water bottles with icy stream water fed from a glacier. We gained elevation like nobody’s business under a cloudy, murky sky.

Finally, by early afternoon, the clouds began to burn off. I started to catch small glimpses of the Olympic mountains through the trees; snow-capped, jagged grey peaks. The Hoh River rushed by in a deep canyon far below us, and I was reminded of just how high we’d climbed.

The trail started to get narrow and sketchy. I stepped slowly and carefully, very much aware of the gritty sand beneath my feet and the staggering drop-off to my right. At one point, we had to shimmy down a ladder into a canyon, then climb switchbacks up the other side. Meanwhile, the clouds had burned off completely, leaving an achingly beautiful blue sky in their place.

 

Hiking the Hoh Rainforest 5 small

 

My legs were tired, and we still had 1,000 more feet of elevation gain to go. My feet burned inside my my rigid hiking boots. But I was determined to see that glacier. We paused to fill water and have a snack in a flower-filled meadow, and drank in the alpine beauty as we sipped in cool, refreshing water.

The last 500 feet were up a rocky cliff, some of it we we had to trudge through snow. When we reached the top, I was blown away by the beauty and immensity of blue glacier.

It stretched before us, pouring down the mountain in a gigantic river frozen in time, the ice fall tinged an icy blue. Above, the jagged summit of Mount Olympus rose, as if daring us to climb. We saw some mountaineers don helmets and start their trek across the glacier, most likely to camp for the night before a summit attempt.

 

 

It’s one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. Thousands of years of glacier were at eye-level, and I stared at the expanse for a long time. Below us, a white mountain goat rooted around in the brush. I was so glad we’d hiked to see the glacier, but was dreading the hike back down.

 

Hiking the Hoh Rainforest 7

 

 

Hiking the Hoh Rainforest 8

 

It was 2pm and it was 8.5 miles and 5,000 feet down, down, down, back to our campsite by the river. We didn’t stay at the glacier long so we could get back before dark.

The hike was brutal. My muscles screamed with the effort, my feet felt like they were walking on pebbles. The balls of my feet and heels ached with the exertion and I practically ran the last 200 yards back to our site, just to take off my shoes, to find some sort of relief.

I collapsed on the sand after I pulled off my boots, letting the coolness soothe the fire in my feet.

But there was more work to be done. We had to gather wood and water, start a fire, cook dinner, empty our packs. We decided to fill one of our bear cans with water so we could take a hot shower. It was a painstaking process, heating two cups of water at a time to a boil on our Jetboil stove  and then adding to the cold river.

When the water was warm enough, Tom poured it over my head and I scrubbed the sweat and dirt from my body and hair. Cold air hit my wet skin and I ran to dry by the crackling fire. I’ve never felt more alive than in that moment, feeling the cleanness of my hair, hearing the rushing of the river nearby, smelling sand and pine and wood smoke. I feel that backpacking takes us back to our senses, the feelings in our bodies. We connect to the earth and ourselves with a primalness that can’t be found in the comfort of an apartment, on a soft couch, in front of a TV.

Both of us felt wild and in tune in those moments after we taxed our bodies to the limit, then bathed by the warmth of a campfire. Nothing has ever felt better.

Sleep and rest also felt good. Once our bellies were warm and full, we crawled into bed. My blow-up camping pad and sleeping bag felt like a 5-star luxury hotel, a much-welcomed rest from the grueling day. I fell asleep thinking of alpine peaks, glaciers, the vastness of the sky.

The next day, we hiked back out another eleven miles. My feet were still sore from the day before, and by the end of the hike, I could barely move. Each step felt brutal, and I was thankful to once again be at the Hoh Visitor’s Center, at the car, pulling off my boots for flip-flops. It was 2pm.

 

Hiking the Hoh Rainforest 5

 

We’d hiked to Blue Glacier and back in about 60 hours. Insane.

Sometimes I ask myself why we push so hard. One summer it was the John Muir Trail, the next this hike to Blue Glacier. And then this summer, we may hit the John Muir Trail again.

I think that in our mostly sedentary lives, it feels good to get out and test our bodies, to see just how far they can go. It feels good to be in the true depths of nature. It feels good to be rewarded with a stunning view, with a soothing, hot campsite shower. And I’m still rewarded today with vivid memories, with the knowledge that, “Yes, I can.”

 

Hiking the Hoh Rainforest 4

 

About the Author:

Kristin Hanes is a journalist and writer who lives on a sailboat in the San Francisco Bay. Besides sailing, she loves anything adventurous and outdoorsy, including hiking, backpacking and traveling. Besides staying active, Kristin also loves cooking, salsa dancing and drinking a good beer. You can follow her adventures on her blog, www.thewaywardhome.com

 

5 Games to Play When Camping with the Kids

By Gemma Tyler

Camping with the kids can be a wonderful experience, but we all know that’s it’s not always easy. After all, it’s important to keep them occupied and entertained so that they don’t get bored – especially on rainy days or the evenings where adventuring through the woods is no longer an option.

Camping games are often the best course of action, and they not only provide them with masses of fun, but they can also bring everyone closer together.

To help you choose the best camping games to play with your kids, we have gathered the top five – and they can be played with children of all ages. Plus, we have made sure to keep the mess to a minimum so that you have less to worry about.

5 Games to Play When Camping with the Kids Pic 1

#1 Campfire Stories

This is a classic camping activity, and one that is perfect for the evenings just before you all settle down for sleep. It’s perfect for kids of all ages, and you can decide what kind of stories are shared around the fire.

Whether you are exchanging scary tales or want to keep things calm with some relaxing bedtime stories, the choice is yours, and the kids will love it all the same. However, we highly recommend that this activity is accompanied by roasting marshmallows or a healthy dose of S’mores!

#2 Camping Olympics

This game might end up with your kids a little muddy, but it is great fun for every member of the family. It’s a fully customisable game, but the objective is to split into teams and race to complete an obstacle course. You can choose how difficult it is, but things like weaving between cones and crawling through hoops that have been wedged into the ground often prove to be popular choices. You could even go one step further and use some netting for everyone to army crawl under.

5 Games to Play When Camping with the Kids Pic 2

#3 Scavenger Hunt

This makes a great activity for hanging out at the campsite, but also works amazingly for when you are out on the trail, and the kids are starting to get a little bored. You can buy insect and bird bingo books or make them yourself, but the aim of the game is to find and mark off as many as you can.

For older kids, you can even increase the difficulty and include specific types of plant or leaves for a bit of a challenge. It’s an educational game and will help keep their minds engaged while you hike.

#4 Rock Painting

Rainy days happen, and they aren’t always the best, but there are ways to keep the little ones (and big ones) occupied. Ditch the classic colouring books and take some time to gather a few smooth rocks when you arrive onsite. You can put these aside and use them for rock painting when the rain comes.

Rock painting is a lot of fun, and you can create an amazing range of animals and plant life on them. Plus, it will keep everyone busy for hours as well as make for a wonderful bonding activity. It makes for the perfect memento from a family holiday.

5 Games to Play When Camping with the Kids Pic 3

#5 Ring Toss

This is a classic game, and one that we have all played at least once. You can pick up loads of portable kits for ring toss that you can bring with you to the site, and it’s a great way to entertain the kids in the evening while they are waiting for dinner.

The game has simple rules, and presents them with a fun challenge, Plus, it allows for some friendly competition between family members, and it is a game that the adults can join in with too. You could even up the stakes with a children vs adults round.

To Conclude

Hopefully, you have a few ideas for what to do with the kids when it comes to keeping them entertained on your next camping trip. There’s so much to do, and these games are sure to help get rid of some of their boundless energy. We hope that your next family adventure is a brilliant success!

About the Author

Gemma Tyler is a writer and blogger. If you are interested in more information on hiking and camping, then check out her ultimate camping guide and checklist for more details

Follow Gemma on FacebookTwitter, or Google +

Dear Natalie You’re in Danger

Ask Natalie Banner

By Natalie McCarthy

Dear Natalie,

Don’t you know it’s risky out there?

Signed,

Yourself, and society

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear everyone,

At first, I would have answered this question in one, easy, short, simple word: No.

Dear Natalie You're in Danger

I started hiking in Ohio. For my friends from outside the U.S., or those geographically challenged Americans, Ohio is flat and fairly developed. There are virtually no bears in Ohio, and any other large predator animals have been well hedged into forestlands by development and roadways.  Ohio has more than its fair share of wide open farmland, and quaint, eye-blink sized towns populated by old folks and Amish families, but I can’t say I ever lost mobile phone signal anywhere in the state. In fact, I can sheepishly admit now, I was nearly 30 years old before I realized it was even possible to travel by land to a place that didn’t have phone service.

Dear Natalie You're in Danger
Dangerous, aggressive animal from the wilds of Ohio

So, then, when I decided to start exploring, it never occurred to me that it could be any riskier than a walk through my neighborhood.

It wasn’t until my impending move, for work-related reasons, to Oregon, that I began to fully understand that exploring the outdoors could have some element of danger. Oregon is a state where over half of the land is owned by the government; that’s an American way of saying it is undeveloped and wild. If we could straighten out the state’s undeveloped forest roads and fashion them into one long ribbon, it would wrap around Earth’s circumference with plenty of roadway to spare. I was moving into a place where it wasn’t just possible, but probable, that I would find myself somewhere far removed from foot-traffic, passers-by, and easily navigated, paved routes to civilization. It was prudent, then, to start studying the 10 Essentials, back country safety, and planning for emergencies.  I learned that it could be risky to venture out without a water purifier, emergency shelter, and a box of waterproof matches. I learned it could be dangerous to find myself confronted by a startled black bear if I were not armed with bear spray.

I also learned it was hazardous to hike alone while female.

This immediately did not sit well with me. I started debates about it with – well, with pretty much anyone who would humor me without filing a police report for verbal assault. “What makes me, a woman, more at risk than a man, especially if I’m better prepared?” I asked, and repeatedly, I heard the following responses:

  • “No one sexually assaults men!” (This is a blatant falsehood.)
  • “There are a lot of creepy people in the world.”  (Well, sure, but why are they hiking fifteen miles into the national forest to creep out women?)
  • “I’m just saying, I’d prefer to be out there with someone who’s carrying a gun.” (Okay, that’s your preference, but does that gun-toting someone have to be a man?)
  • “What happens if you get hurt and you’re alone?” (What would happen if a man got hurt when he was alone? Popular movies inform me that I should be prepared to amputate one of my own appendages – not an appetizing thought but hell, I’d do it if it was required for survival.)  

Many people would groan and say, “Ugh, this isn’t some woman thing – no one, NO ONE, should hike alone.” This always puzzled me. I figured, sure, it is always safer to travel in groups, regardless of your gender. Isn’t that how human society started in the first place? The collective is stronger than the individual? That said, certainly people do adventure alone, and not just for a few dozen miles of walking on dirt. Some people climb mountains alone, or row their boat across big bodies of water alone. Some people traipse across continents with only themselves and a backpack. These people survive. The distinct message I was getting was that survival was less likely if these people were women.

Dear Natalie You're in Danger
Photographic proof of how stoked I was to be solo day hiking a section of the PCT

I found myself feeling defensive after a while. By this time, I was well-versed on basic safety, and while I was not wilderness medicine certified, nor an outdoors expert by any means, I definitely was no longer green when it came to hiking the Oregon wilderness. Why did my sheer femaleness make me more vulnerable than someone else of equivalent experience? Finally, when a man repeatedly voiced his (admittedly mild) protests about my solo adventures, I pressed the issue: “Why does this bother you so much?” I asked. “Do you think I can’t handle it?”

“You can handle it,” he said. “I just don’t like the thought of you alone out there.”

That’s when I realized: It’s about love. We women are loved, and the world has sent a very clear message: When you love a woman, you protect her from threats real or perceived. The outdoors and all that we are still exploring is full of The Unknown, and The Unknown offers up boundless potential for threat. Thing is, it also offers up boundless potential for love – love of self, love of the world, love of experience, love of life.

I’ve set out to minimize risk through experience and knowledge. I believe we can never be too wise or prepared, particularly when we are exploring the world. But I’ve also committed myself to conveying – through my own activities – that outdoor exploration is an act of love. I do not get outside to feel like I am starring in my own version of a “woman versus the wild” program. I get outside to fill my heart, to be connected, and to refill my inner emotional wells.

Being alone in the forest is not how I put myself at risk. It is how I offer myself protection. And I want to paint that picture for the people in my life, and for you, the friends who feel this, too.

Dear Natalie You're in Danger

 

With Love,  

Natalie

P.S. – What legitimate, or not so legitimate, safety warnings have you heard? How are the people in your life responding to your quests for adventure? What fears do you feel as an exploring woman? Let us know via message, video, or audio recording (you can use the voice recorder on your phone!), and feel free to share pictures as well! We’d like to include your contributions in future posts. Share via email at AskNatalieColumn @ gmail.com   

Contributors are identified by their first name, but you can request anonymity if you’d prefer.