This post is sponsored by THINX.
Men, avert your eyes.
I'll start off by admitting that the title of this post may be a bit on the dramatic side. I'm pretty much never afraid of being eaten by a bear when I camp. Except for that one time. For the record, I've always had a hunch that the whole ‘period blood attracts bears' thing was a myth invented by Steve Carell.
Actually, this weird misconception is rooted in SOME fact. Back in 1967, two women camping 20 miles apart from each other in Glacier National Park were attacked and killed by grizzly bears on the same night. The National Park Service took the bizarre, non-menstrual-related incident and ran with it in widely-distributed literature claiming that “women should stay out of bear country during their menstrual period.”
You men just want all the cool forest views to yourself.
And yes, I know you're still here.
Seriously, stop reading. This is about to get graphic.
The idea that bears are attracted to menstruating women has been thoroughly debunked, but the whole blood-coming-out-of-your-vagina thing can be a real concern when you're camping. I've had more than one friend sheepishly approach me and ask how I deal with it. Not gonna lie: it was a bit of a challenge at first.
I used to be a tampon-user. However, that's not the sort of thing you want lingering at the campsite regardless of whether or not those blood-soaked wads of cotton attract wildlife. Just sitting there, festering. Decomposing in some trash bag. Blech. So I switched to using a menstrual cup. That worked decently, until I had my tubes tied and my period suddenly became absurdly heavy. It was an unleashing-the-floodgates-of-the-Red-Sea situation for a few months while my hormones settled down. I needed something more. Enter THINX.
If you're not familiar with THINX, they're menstrual underwear. I've also heard them called period panties, which is adorable. They have some sort of magical voodoo high-tech crotch material that absorbs liquid and combats bacteria. They are totally washable and reusable. Depending on the style you order, they can hold up to two tampons worth of blood.
And you can do high-kicks in them. That is, if you know HOW to do high-kicks.
I obviously do not.
They come in all sorts of cuts and sizes for whatever shape and preference you've got going on. I'm a huge fan of the hiphugger, sport and boyshort versions. I don't personally need “cheeky” or “thong” and can't imagine putting on a “hi-waist” when I'm on my period…but this world takes all kinds of people. If you're the sort to slap on a ballgown and boogie down with Aunt Flo until the wee hours, THINX has your back.
As for me, I'll be hiking in the woods somewhere with my booty fully covered, immersed in nature.
The hiphuggers have this awesome little elastic-y material at the top that I'm totally obsessed with. I also love that there's a standard black selection as well as a beige color. Wearing white shorts on my period? Totally doable! Better yet, the beige actually has a black interior lining, so you don't have to stress over stains.
These people have thought of EVERYTHING.
As for blood disposal when we're camping? I walk waaay into the backwoods away from our tent, dig a big hole, and rinse these out with a bucket. If you're camping near the ocean or a rapidly moving stream, you can also give them the old-fashioned dunk-and-twist river laundering. I've asked a bunch of conservationists what the etiquette is with blood and other bodily fluids as it pertains to water, and the answer I've gotten time and time again is what's known as the Rafter's Mantra. “Dilution is the solution to pollution.”
Bears, fish and birds all poop, pee and bleed into the ocean. Your few tablespoons of blood won't make any difference as long as it isn't sitting in one place or milling around a popular fishing hole. Cattle dung mixed with fertilizers from crowded farms have been known to contaminate streams and rivers that are adjacent to them, but you are a single human with a grand total of 3-ish tablespoons of blood in the average period.
Don't overthink it.
Bury it. Send it downstream. Be one with the universe. Insert more hippie idioms here.
You can rock a pair of period panties by themselves or deal with the bulk of blood using a menstrual cup and rely on THINX for backup. You can rinse them in the woods or discreetly stash them in a sealed baggie. There are numerous ways to get out there in the wilderness and take your period along for the ride.
Just don't let tampons fester near your tent.
Want to give THINX a try? Use code somedayillflow to get $5 off your first purchase on the THINX website!
Do you have any camping questions? I seriously LOVE getting into the nitty-gritty details of this stuff!