by Emily Brown
You might need to sit down for this. Women get periods. Every month.
While I’m a huge advocate of spending most of that week melting away craps and bad moods in the bathtub, sometimes it happens while they are out on a multi-day bikepacking trip.
Luckily, I’ve got some tips for all of you ladies out there because, somehow, it seems all of our trips tend to land on that time of the month. Not to brag, BUT, I’ve kinda mastered the art of menstruating in the backwoods.
With a little preparation, you’ll care less about your period, and can focus more on your aching back and quadriceps. You’re welcome.
I have recently discovered god’s gift to the woman bikepacker. THINX underwear. They are absorbent underwear that can replace panty liners and even pads and tampons (depending on your flow). They are reusable and they are seriously amazing. They look and feel like regular underwear and they wick away and absorb your flow. For biking, I find them SO MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE than a bulky pad that tends to get lumpy and tattered by the bike seat all up in your business. You will need to carry a plastic ziplock bag so at the end of your ride each day you can slip on a clean pair (which feels glorious!) and throw your dirty pair in the bag. Pack at least one pair of these underwear for each day you are out. If you’re flow is light, that’s seriously all you need. If you have a heavier flow, read on. We’ve got that covered too.
Enter the Diva Cup. Think reusable tampon…kinda. It is a reusable, bell-shaped menstrual cup that is worn internally collecting rather than absorbing your menstrual flow. It can be worn leak free for up to 12 hours. The downside to bikepacking with the diva cup is not having running water to clean between uses, but you get used to it. When it gets full, clean your hands, take it out, dump, and replace. The upside to bikepacking with the diva cup is you do not have to pack tons of tampons and run the risk of running out mid-trip. You can carry this one little cup and it will get you through.
The beauty of the Thinx underwear and the Diva cup combo is you do not have to pack in tons of supplies and pack out blood soaked garbage (just dirty underwear, which you would have to pack out anyway). You can choose one or the other depending on comfort and the flux of your flow.
Lastly, bring ibuprofen. For me, this is actually a staple on ALL bike trips not just ones with periods. Take as needed according to the dosage recommendation. I always take some before hitting the sack no matter what. It helps with inflammation and makes the next morning a little more bearable when you realize you have another day of biking ahead of you. Seriously, these little pills are like gold for bikepackers.
If you can’t plan your trip around your period, still go! It might mean you move a little slower, take more stops, and plan shorter days, but, if you love biking and the outdoors, you already know you won’t regret it. Just remember to throw these items in your pack: Thinx underwear, the Diva Cup, a plastic bag, and some ibuprofen.
You’ve got this girl, now, go find yourself outside!
*virtual high five*