Going with the “flow”: how a menstrual cup will make you a happy backcountry camper

Today, Market Development Specialist Andrea Coulter will take us through the many benefits of the menstrual cup while camping.

If you’ve ever camped with a period, you’ll know it can make the happiest of campers see, well…red. It can be a major inconvenience along the trail or portage. Instead of enjoying the view, you’re thinking about the closest place to change your tampon.

A little over a year ago, I made the switch to a menstrual cup and it forever changed my period, on and off the trail.

Here’s a few reasons to consider making the switch to a menstrual cup:

Less to pack in

Anyone who’s gone backcountry camping understands the importance of packing light.

backcountry equipment

Bringing tampons and pads means more items in your pack. A menstrual cup is small, lightweight, and can flatten to take up less room than a granola bar.

…and pack out

The “pack in, pack out” rule applies to used tampons and pads.

Two women carry gear

These products cannot be put in privies (a.k.a., “thunderboxes”) because almost all contain plastics that will not break down in our lifetime. Not the legacy most of us would like to leave for future generations visiting our parks.

Fewer animal attractants on your campsite

Used tampons and pads are considered an animal attractant, and should always be stored in your bear hang along with other waste you are packing out.

If you aren’t excited about hanging your used tampons from a tree, try a cup!

Fewer stops along the trail to change your pad or tampon

If you are experiencing a heavy flow, you may need to change your tampon/pad every few hours.


This can be an inconvenience when you’re on the trail. A menstrual cup lasts longer and you can often go a whole day and only empty it 2-3 times.

A greener period

One menstrual cup can be used for years. Think about how many tampons or pads you would use in that time!


If you are looking to reduce your environmental footprint, switch to a cup.

Tips for beginning your menstrual cup journey

Be prepared for the learning curve. Every person is shaped differently, and it may take awhile to learn the right insertion technique for your body.

Before you take your cup on the trail, I recommend practicing for a few periods at home until you are confident in easily removing and re-inserting your cup.


Not every cup works for every person. The length of each person’s cervix is different so don’t be discouraged if the first cup you try isn’t working for you.

Do some more research and try a different brand or size!

Ready to make the switch?