The Do’s and Don’ts of Using a Menstrual Cup While Camping

Last Updated on November 5, 2021 by foxintheforest

There are seemingly endless options for dealing with your period while camping. However, the easiest method is using a menstrual cup. With one handy little silicone cup, you can enjoy a hassle-free trip while camping with your period.

Using a menstrual cup while camping is a great set it and forget it way to handle that time of the month outdoors. In this guide to using a menstrual cup while camping, you’ll get expert-level advice about how to use one of these life-changing products while camping.

About this Guide to Using a Menstrual Cup While Camping

So if you’re looking for honest, real advice about using a menstrual cup, then you’ve come to the right place.

Listen, not everyone is comfortable with menstruation and that’s okay! This post is designed to help you learn how to use a menstrual cup and get comfortable with menstruation. Here’s what we’ll cover.

  • What is a menstrual cup?
  • How do you choose a menstrual cup?
  • What is the best menstrual cup?
  • The do’s and don’ts of using a menstrual cup while camping
using a menstrual cup

What’s a Menstrual Cup Anyway?

So if you get your period, you may find yourself buying pads, tampons, or other menstration products every month. A menstrual cup is a special cone-shaped cup that is inserted into your vaginal canal.

Since the cup is made of medical-grade silicone, it is folded as you insert it into your hole and it expands, catching your period and preventing unwanted leaks.

How to Choose a Menstrual Cup

There are countless products out there when it comes to menstruation, just like there are several different shapes and sizes of vaginas. When it comes to choosing a menstrual cup, choose something that fits your age, flow rate, and size.

If you don’t know, typically there are two different sizes, one for people who have had children or are older and one for younger folks. I don’t have kids and I’ve used both sizes. Personally, I don’t notice a difference. However, if I have had kids, I would opt for the larger size.

If you try a menstrual cup and don’t like it, go for a different brand before giving up. My biggest piece of advice is to go for a non-male owned company. Honestly, choose a founder that has a vagina and knows the ins-and-outs of living with one.

camping on your period
The Pixie Cup stays in place and is easy to clean on the go.

How to Use a Menstrual Cup

To use your new handy period cup, first read the directions. Every cup is a little different, but the concept is the same.

Fold the cup and pinch it, then insert it into your beautiful body. You can put the cup just above your lips, so it stays in place and you can’t feel it, but some people like to wear theirs lower.

You simply remove the cup every 12 hours (people who have heavier flows may want to experiment with timing) and clean it out, then re-insert it until your period is over.

It saves tons of money and waste compared to a disposable product. Seriously, they pay for themselves in about 1 to 2 months. Not to mention, you’re putting less in the waste stream so it’s also super sustainable.

Does a Menstrual Cup Hurt?

In my (and all of my friend’s) experience, no. If you’re used to inserting tampons, switching to a menstrual cup is a breeze. For those that are new to periods, the cup might hurt or feel weird at first. You certainly get used to it.

A lot of people also wonder if while using a menstrual cup it’s possible to get stuck. In short, your cervix will stop that from happening, it won’t just disappear up there I promise!

Sometimes, if it gets too high, it can be difficult to remove. Don’t panic! Just relax and slowly work the cup back out. Again, it isn’t painful, maybe mildly uncomfortable, when this happens. However, I personally think that tampons with their dry, sticky cotton, can hurt far worse.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Using a Menstrual Cup While Camping

Alright. Now that you’re armed with a wealth of kick-ass knowledge about using a menstrual cup, it’s time to level up! You don’t need to fret about getting your period while camping if you’re using a menstrual cup.

In fact, you’ll love using a menstrual cup while camping simply because you don’t have to worry about changing pads or tampons, disposing of a ton of waste, or any other stressors that come with tampons and pads.

Here’s a look at the do’s and don’ts of using a period cup while camping.

using a menstrual cup while camping

Do Give it a Clean

Camping can be dirty business. We all may love the feeling of dirt beneath our toes, but maybe not our camel toes! (YIKES!)

When using a menstrual cup while camping, be sure to clean it twice daily. Do this with some warm water. Remove the cup and dump the contents into the toilet or cat hole. Then pour in a little warm water (if you’re fancy you can use mild, non-smelly soap).

Clean your hands, then use your finger to clean out the cup. Dump the water into the cat hole or toilet. Repeat if needed, then put it back in. Voila! You’re ready to enjoy your adventurous weekend!

Once you get home, give your mensural cup a good cleaning with warm water and mild soap.

Pro Tip: You can also use specialized wipes if you feel more comfortable that way.

Don’t Use Hand Sanitizer

You might be tempted to use hand sanitizer to clean your menstrual cup. Please resist the urge! Seriously. It WILL burn and not in a good way.

Since menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone, they don’t harbor bacteria and other germs. You really only need warm water to clean your cup.

Do Dispose of Your Waste Responsibly

It should go without saying, but you need to be sure to dispose of your human waste responsibly. This goes for using your menstrual cup too!

Make sure to dig a cathole to empty your cup if there isn’t an option for a toilet. If you’re in an area that requires WAG bags, dump your period waste into the wag bag.

Pack out your toilet paper and wipes. One easy trick is to put a few tablespoons of coffee grounds or baking powder into a plastic zip baggie for your TP. This gets rid of the smell. You can even wrap it in duct tape if you don’t want to look at it.

Don’t Forget to Empty Your Cup

I wish I didn’t have to remind people to empty their cups, but it’s happened to me. OOOPSSSS. Literally, the cup is so un-noticeable, sometimes you forget it’s there. Sorry for the TMI, but it wasn’t pleasant to remember where it was!

Set a calendar reminder or be very comfortable using your cup at home before using a menstrual cup while camping.

using a period cup while camping

Do Bring Along a Baggie

Always pack out your toilet paper and wipes. One easy trick is to put a few tablespoons of coffee grounds or baking powder into a plastic zip baggie for your TP. This gets rid of the smell. You can even wrap it in duct tape if you don’t want to look at it.

Don’t Forget 70 Adult Steps!

If you don’t have access to a toilet, you’ll need to dig a cat hole to clean and empty your cup. The concept is simple: walk 200 feet (70 adult steps) away from:

  • Water sources of any kind
  • Your campsite (hungry critters love to dig this stuff up, some of which you don’t want at camp)
  • Trails

Then dig a hole that’s 6 inches deep to do your business.

Do Clean Your Hands

When you’re using a menstrual cup while camping, chances are you’ll be pretty dirty. Clean your hands both before and after emptying your menstrual cup to avoid an unwanted infection.

Don’t Be Shy About Your Body

Some people aren’t comfortable with bodily functions or they feel shame around mensuration. If you’re nodding your head, I’m here to tell you it’s okay to get your period.

Periods shouldn’t be shamed. Your body is capable of amazing things. Even if you don’t feel joy or pride in your menstruation, at least remind yourself that your body is beautiful no matter what it’s up to. Take pride in your body and love yourself for who you are!

using a menstrual cup while backpacking

What is the Best Menstrual Cup?

I’ve tried three different brands of cup at this point and I’m a huge supporter of the Pixie Cup. They are a women-owned company that offers up a variety of sizes.

I like the way they explain and package the product – making it easy (and comfortable) to learn how to use it. The best part? They donate a cup to a person in need for every cup you purchase. This improves menstrual hygiene across the globe and certainly is a product I can get behind!

Additional Outdoor Resources for the Things Everyone is Afraid to Talk About

If you’re looking to learn more about bodily functions in the outdoors, check out these posts:

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Going camping while on your period? The menstrual cup is one of the best travel items for women, and if you're wondering how to use a menstrual cup while camping, here is my list of tips, dos and donts, and advice! #Camping
Camping while on your period can seem like a daunting thing to do, but there's no need to cancel your camping trip. On this post, I share how to use a menstrual cup properly while camping that you'll forget you're even on your period! #Camping
Meg Atteberry
Meg Atteberry

Meg is a long-time Colorado local and outdoor industry professional. She's spent the last 15 years hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and canyoneering all over Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada in search of the best views. She's written for Outside Magazine, REI, Backpacker Magazine, and appeared on the Weather Channel.

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Meg Atteberry standing on a mountain sticking her tongue out

Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Toddler mom, queer, and neuro-spicy her favorite things to do are climb in the alpine and camp in the desert. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure.