I love being outdoors. Whether it’s spending the weekend trekking up mountains, or camping beside a natural lake, for me, there’s nothing better than being outside for as long as physically possible. There’s very little that can stop me from spending time in the great outdoors. Last year in Mae Chaem; a beautifully scenic province in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I completed a 104km ultramarathon through a typhoon. The year before, I battled a storm in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, as I attempted to hike Mount Kinabalu; the tallest mountain in Malaysia. Unfortunately the climb was rained off as it was deemed too dangerous to summit, but I wasn’t deterred by the heavy rain and still gave it my best shot.
However, there’s one time of the month where I’d really rather not be taking part in outdoor activities. Or at least that was the case, until I discovered menstrual cups.
It was rare that I would allow my period to stop me from doing what I had planned, but it wasn’t always particularly enjoyable. I like to go on really long hikes and can hike all day if time permits. However, there are obviously times when nature calls and changing a tampon mid-way through isn’t pleasant, or hygienic. Wet wipes and sanitiser were a decent enough substitute, but it’s always much better when you have access to soap and water, especially when your hands are filthy from the muddy trails. When hiking you should never leave anything other than your footprints on the trails, so there’s no other choice than to bag up your used tampon and carry it with you until you find somewhere to dispose of it correctly; usually right at the end of the hike.
Occasionally on weekend camping trips I’ve wanted to avoid having my period altogether and as I take a contraceptive pill, I have had the option of running two packs together to delay it. However, there have been times where I’ve been caught short, with a breakthrough bleed leaving me completely unprepared. Luckily, on these occasions I was able to find shops close to the campsites, but they didn’t stock tampons so I had to opt for industrial sized pads, resembling the nappies I wore as a baby. If I thought tampons were bad, these were even worse.
However, since discovering menstrual cups, my outdoor adventures have changed for the better and I haven’t looked back. I no longer have to plan my camping trips around my menstrual cycle. I don’t dread needing the toilet half way up a mountain. I don’t need to run packs of pills together when I have an important race coming up. It isn’t necessary to stock my bag full of tampons, always packing more in case a hike goes on for longer than planned, or I decide to camp for one more night. All of my period-related worries have been alleviated due to this one simple cup.
For someone who is so in love with the great outdoors, it’s so reassuring to know that my outdoor adventures can continue as planned at any time during the month. Menstrual cups have changed my outdoor pursuits for the better and are the best choice for those who love the great outdoors.