We at Wondery love the outdoors and don't mind getting a little dirty - it's all part of the fun - but it is important to keep up with hygiene, even when out backpacking in the wild. We’ve gathered some of our favorite female hygiene tips for camping and traveling to help keep you safe, happy and healthy on your next trip!
8 Outdoor Hygiene Tips & Tricks
Be Prepared For Your Period
Female hygiene is crucial, especially when your trip outdoors lines up with that time of the month. But don't worry, it's nothing to stress over, you just have to prepare accordingly.
1. Pack For Your Period
If you know you will be on your period, bring more than enough supplies because no one likes to be stuck in the wild without tampons or pads. Also, keep in mind that you will need to pack everything out! Double-bag two resealable bags (if you can) to dispose of your dirty tampons and pads in. You can sprinkle some baking soda in the bag to help absorb the odor.
2. Bring a Menstrual Cup
Another option is to bring a menstrual cup on your adventure. These are waste-free silicone cups that you can comfortably wear for up to 12 hours. When you need to empty your cup, you can dump your contents in a hole in the ground and simply cover the hole back up after you are done dumping. You can rinse your cup out with water or use biodegradable soap to clean it. If you do not regularly use menstrual cups, make sure to practice wearing one at home before your adventure, so you know it is the right fit and will not bother you during your trip.
Bathroom Tips and Tricks
Not having access to a toilet or porta potty can be nerve-wracking but don’t let this get in the way of your next adventure. Here are some easy to follow tips and tricks for when nature calls!
3. Pick Your Place Carefully
It may seem funny at first but choosing the right place to relieve yourself helps preserve the natural environment we all hope to enjoy. This will also help keep your campsite from smelling throughout your trip! Always choose a place where people are unlikely to walk or camp and at least 200 feet away from any water source according to Leave No Trace.
4. Pee Tips
Any woman knows that peeing in the outdoors can be a little tricky. Even with paying attention to the slope of the ground and making sure your clothes, shoelaces, and everything else is out of the way, inconveniences may arrive. To help with this, find a soft area of ground or gather a small pile of pine needles to pee on in order to avoid any splashing. You can also pack a small towel and use it to wipe every time you pee to make sure no leftover drops will trickle down. Then hang the towel outside during the day time and wash it when you get the chance (make sure you wash it at least 200 feet away from any source of water).
Photo by Leave No Trace
5. Pooping in Nature
When packing for your trip, you can create a handy “pooping kit” to carry all the items you will need. You can use a large Ziploc bag to put all of your essentials in. The standard pooping kit normally includes toilet paper, a small shovel, small ziplock bags, and scent-free hand sanitizer.
When it’s time to go number two on your camping trip, simply dig a hole about 6 inches deep and at least 200 feet away from any water source. After you dig the hole, you can poop in it and then cover it back up. Put your used toilet paper in one of the small Ziploc bags you brought to dispose of at a bathroom or at home. Keep in mind that in certain fragile alpine settings, land managers may require that all solid human waste must be packed out, so if unsure, check ahead of time! Afterwards, it is best to clean your hands with biodegradable soap and water or hand sanitizer.
6. Take proper precautions for COVID-19.
More people than ever are escaping to the outdoors during this pandemic. You may be outside but safety rules still apply. There are specific measures you should take to minimize your risk of getting and spreading the CoronaVirus. Remember to bring your mask! Even though you are outdoors, you will more than likely be passing people on the trails, in these instances make sure to wear your mask until at least 6 feet away from anyone else. People will be breathing heavily and germs can easily be passed along on the trails if not careful. You also want to steer clear of any visitor centers; any information you need from the visitor center (i.e., maps) can almost always be found online. It would be best to print any materials out ahead of time, before leaving for your trip. Keep in mind that with more people outdoors and limited staff, trash receptacles may be full during your visit. If this is the case, you will need to pack your trash out.
7. Make Sure Your Feet Are Taken Care Of Your Feet
Since you will be on your feet a lot for your outdoor trip, it is a good idea to take care of your feet. You will want to take your socks off every night when you return to your camping site. This will let your feet dry out and stay healthy. Designate a pair of socks that you keep dry and only wear around the campground or to sleep. Also, if you notice any hotspots on your feet, make sure to take care of them quickly, so they don’t turn into blisters. You can always use a padded blister bandage, moleskin, or tape. Finally, if you have any bodies of water near your camping site, you can soak your feet in there to help with circulation, reduce foot pain, remove any germs, and get rid of bad smells.
8. Pack Wipes
When in the outdoors, often times there is no shower in site. This usually isn't a problem for a quick weekend trip but after a while, things can get a little smelly with body odor, sweat, and dirt building up. That is where wet wipes come in. After a long day a quick wet wipe is perfect for a complete refresh. When choosing your wipes, look for natural and unscented wipes. One choice is HyperGo full body wipes which are unscented and made of safe, biodegradable vegetable fibers, and all-natural ingredients. No matter which brand you choose wipes are definitely a must for your outdoor traveling pack.
Got any tips for outdoor hygiene? Leave them in a comment down below!