So, let’s dive straight into the guide for feminine hygiene essentials for camping and backpacking.

Five years ago, my husband and I were preparing to visit the Ozark National Forest and make the most of our 1-week vacation. Filled with joy and enthusiasm, the inner adventurist in me was yelling with excitement knowing I would be away from the daily hustle and surrounded by nature.

Going through my checklist, I packed my bag and got ready to explore the journey ahead of us. I thought I had packed all the essentials in my hiking backpack and didn’t realize I had left out several important feminine hygiene products until….

My camping trip turned into a nightmare when I found out that I had forgotten everything I needed for my period. While packing, I overlooked some of the essentials to take care of my hygiene. No Amazon delivery guy to come to my rescue.  It was painful for sure.

Anyways, how I managed the rest of my trip with and without some of these staples is another story. When we returned home, I learned a life-long lesson and come to you with a complete and research-backed guide for all the females out there.

Specifically, help you prepare your daypack with camping hygiene essentials before your next adventure.

What Feminine Hygiene Essentials to Bring Camping

female hiker camping hygiene

Backpacking essentials for feminine hygiene can be different depending on the place and duration of your trip. What might be needed for a week-long camping trip out in the wilderness might not be required if the campground has bathrooms. 

On second thought, you might be better off packing your own feminine hygiene camping products.

Here’s a list of products that you should pack to ensure you can stay clean in the backcountry.

What to Pack:

Don’t Pack:

  • Scented Deodorant to not attract pests, pesticides, and wild animals like bears.
  • Shampoo (unless it may bring harm to the natural environment. If you can’t stand not washing your hair, try a rinse-free shampoo.
  • Mirrors can be easily broken, and those broken pieces may cause an injury to the wildlife.
  • Non-biodegradable products are harmful to the ground.
  • Disposable products that you’ll have to carry out.

Best Way to Pee & Poop in the Woods

Okay! Let’s get real here when nature calls, and you can’t avoid it. First and foremost, don’t HOLD it. Holding your pee can cause irritation down there, potentially bring on a UTI, and leave you uncomfortable for the rest of your trip.

There are several ways to pee and poop out in the wilderness without having to hold it. I have listed some simple and practical steps to stay clean and enjoy yourself without worrying about digging your next hole.

Use a Pee Rug

Kula Pee Cloth
Kula Pee Cloth eliminates toilet paper when backpacking and camping

View price of Kula Cloth on REI

You can’t leave toilet paper behind for the safety of the environment, so how do you wipe your “V” and keep it dry?

Skip the backpacking toilet wipes and go for the ultimate savior, “pee cloth.” The Kula Cloth is a reusable antimicrobial pee cloth that keeps your hands dry on one side while sopping moisture into the absorbent, antimicrobial side that won’t show stains.

The kula cloth is perfect for camping hygiene since it has reflective threads to easily locate with your headlamps, no more guessing which side is the right one to use! After you wipe it off, attach it to your bag and let it dry. The benefit is that the sun and antimicrobial fiber works together to remove the germs.

Camping Hygiene Tip- Pee Funnel

PeeBuddy Reusable Female Urination Device for...

A female urinal pee funnel is a holy grail to serve as a portable urinal device.

Pee Standing

It might be tough a chose to find a place to pee without exposing yourself if you’re in the desert or wide open areas, and squatting adds to that problem. We can make it easier and pee like the boys! This pee funnel is the solution to taking care of your feminine hygiene on a camping trip easier.

With a pee funnel, you use it standing up! No need to squat, remove your shoes, or clothing, angle yourself so you don’t pee on yourself, and look for snakes or other critters that can bite you and the list goes on! Pee standing, what more can you ask for?

PeeBuddy Reusable Female Urination Device for...

Amazon price: $15.00

Pitch and Trek Female Urination Device, Silicone...

Amazon price: $9.99

View No products found.

How To Poop in the Woods

Disposal of your Waste. How do you dispose your waste properly and follow the Leave No Trace principle and mantra of outside adventurers is “Pack it in, pack it out.”

You need to look after your feminine hygiene, but you also need to ensure you take care of the environment by making it clean and safe. Another feminine hygiene essential for camping are backpacking poop kits.

Well! There is no escape from squatting here and taking your waste everywhere untreated isn’t the best idea.  We found this Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Toilet Kit?  that contains toilet paper, and hand sanitizer and their disposal bags contain poo power that turns waste into a gel for safe and easy disposal.

Is it me or do you also have the fear that your waste will leak out because that zip-close seal isn’t completely sealed?

Cleanwaste GO Anywhere Toilet waste bags are recommended by the Leave No Trace program in conjunction with the National Forest Service, as long as you take all your products out with you.

Leave No Trace Method

  • Dig a cat hole about 6 to 8 inches deep to bury your human waste and 200 feet away from water, camp, and trails.  This trowel or this potty trowel will make digging holes a bit easier.
  • When you have done pooping, cover the hole.
  • If you are pooping into a portable toilet, carry waste with you using the Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Toilet Kit. Turning your waste into a solid makes transporting it a bit less gross.

Backpacking on Your Period

You might consider being on your period as your setback, but trust me, its not that bad. If you take precautions beforehand and prepare yourself accordingly, then you can comfortably enjoy your camping trip without worrying too much.

Use Menstrual Cup

It’s time to switch to the menstrual cup from the pad if you have not already. It not only provides you extra protection out there, but safe for the environment as well. Remember to always wash your hands before inserting them inside. Keep it clean; we don’t want foreign germs inside our vagina, do we? Rinse it off with water after every use.

I have always used Lena Menstrual cups for feminine camping hygiene. These are reusable and lightweight with a filling capacity of 3-4 tampons. This means that you don’t have to pack tampons or pads and carry them with you. What’s more, you can leave it inside your vagina for up to 12 hours. 

Lena Cup Reusable Menstrual Cup | Purple, Large |...

I also like Saalt Menstrual Cups which have a filling capacity of 3-4 tampons. 

Saalt Soft Menstrual Cup - Super Soft and Flexible...

The same principle of Leave No Trace here. If you plan to dispose of it on-site, then dig a hole at least 200 feet away from water, camp, trails, and drainages. Use that trowel to dig a cat hole 6-8 inches deep.

Keep Waste to a Minimum

Always keep extra bags to carry your period products with you, following the disposal rule from the Leave-no-Trace principle. It might sound gross to you, considering the smell and irritation you might feel. But hey! Have some trust; I won’t leave you without a solution.

The best way is to keep your disposals in a zip close bag and carry some baking soda in it to keep the smell away. Put your used products and throw them away (or wash them if you plan to use menstrual underwear) when you reach home.

You can also bring a lightweight stuff sack to keep your unused item in it. It helps to keep a feminie hygiene essentials kit on you when camping and backpacking.

Birth Control Pills

On the pill? Don’t forget to pack them.

If you can plan your trip around your period, that would mean you would carry less in and out. Plan your trip before or after your periods to make hiking a lot less complicated. Let’s get real, PMS, period, cramps, always make camping less fun. Add the gassiness, bloating, mood swings, and bloody mess, staying at home during this time in a comfy sweats is a good idea.

If you decide to go camping or backpacking during your period, it should be your priority to keep clean during your period to avoid contracting infections during this time.

How to Keep it Clean Down There?

It might seem complicated to maintain your hygiene as a woman, compared to boys during all-day hiking or camping. When you are backpacking, you get sweaty, and you don’t have enough room to carry an extra pair of underwear. You need extra care; otherwise, you can catch a vaginal infection or Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

According to Stanford Medicine, UTI is the most common and increasing infection for females. It can lead to complicated situations like irritation, itching, or soreness. If you don’t want a UI to ruin your camping trip, then prevention is key.

Keep it Dry

Don’t leave your private parts moist. If your underwear did not get a chance to dry, it might attract bacteria. To avoid any uncomfortable situation, clean yourself carefully and let that part dry properly.

Wear Moisture-Wicking Underwear

Cotton underwear can cause a yeast infection. To avoid it, it’s best to wear moisture wicking fabrics that breathe well.  If you can’t decide on what type of underwear to pack, check out our article on Synthetic or merino wool underwear, and the Best Hiking Underwear, to see which is the best for you.  Change your underwear every day and wash your dirty ones with biodegradable soap.

Is it Safe to Take a Bath in Nature

campground shower

If you are wondering, is it safe for you to take a plunge into pristine clean water? Then the answer is, NO! Because it might be wonderful for you, but It’s not safe for water creatures and the ecosystem.

When you bathe in the wilderness, you may induce harmful chemicals into an already delicate water ecosystem. Sunscreen and beauty products don’t belong in lakes, so please watch and enjoy but don’t plunge in.

Sometimes you’ve got to bathe after a long day in trial or hiking, and need relief from a sweaty day, and that’s understandable. 

Use Camp Shower

If are setting up camp for the day, then check our article on the best portable camping showers. Finding the right camp shower can help you get clean at the end of a long camping day and sleep well at night. That said, showering at camp is quite easy and simple set up: hang a camp shower on a warm afternoon or use a portable shower with a heater to enjoy a warm shower at the end of the day.

Also, pack a quick-dry towel. These are lightweight, dry fast, and absorb a lot of water, which makes staying clean a breeze.

For a brisk camping shower, clean your face, feet, armpit, and nether region, then use one side of the towel as a sponge and another one to dry yourself. Finally, put the towel out to dry.

What Can You Do to Feel Clean

Body Wipes

If you will be skipping a shower because you’re winter camping or its just not an option take a pack of  Sea to Summit Wipes, Surviveware, or Combat Wipes Gaia along with you to wipe down your face, body, and especially the armpits to keep the foul odor away.

Remember, wipe from top down. Use a new wipe to clean your privates from your feet and hands.

Combat Wipes Gaia - Feminine Hygiene Outdoor Wet...

Unscented Deodorant

Use deodorant to cover the bad sweaty smell but make sure to use only unscented ones to avoid attracting wild animals.  I like Lume Natural Deodorant. It’s free of parabens, aluminum, baking soda and comes in either tubes or sticks. You can use it on your armpits, privates, and feet.

If using a whole-body deodorant, then don’t apply the stick directly on your privates or feet. Apply on clean hands before applying elsewhere.

Stay Hydrated

How much to drink? It depends on the weather, terrain, and how long you’ll be hiking. If you are leisurely camping, at least 2-liter water. Backpacking or going for day-long hikes in hot weather will need more water, and make sure to carry a hydration bladder if possible.

Pre-hydrate by drinking 1 L of water before you get started and you’re trekking through hot weather and rugged terrain, at least 1L every hour.

CamelBak Crux 2-Liter Water Reservoir - Hydration...

The idea is to prevent dehydration on those sunny and hot hiking days.  If your main source of water will be lakes and streams, then you’ll need to filter and purify your water.   Plan accordingly.

Keep Your Hands Clean

Always make sure to wash your hands or use hand wipes, or sanitizer before eating and after contact with your private parts. Unclean hands are the easiest way for bacteria and germs to get onto your gear, eyes, mouth, and food.

Use a Sleeping Bag Liner

A bag liner cannot only make you warm, but it also helps you to keep your sleeping bag cleaner. If you aren’t sure where to get started, then here are tips on how to choose a sleeping bag liner.

Tame Unruly Hair

Do you know what will save you from a bad hair day in the woods?

Braids! Yes, braiding your hair will keep your hair looking neat, keep it from tangling and make it stylish for pictures. In addition, you can protect your head from the sun or cold weather by wearing hats, and beanies.

Take Care of Your Feet

Happy feet mean happy trails. While stinky feet are likely to attract mosquitoes, which can be a hassle to struggle with. Preventing blisters is key but if you do get them, always treat blisters on time.

Choose the best hiking socks to keep your feet happy and healthy and give you the comfort of a cushion and keep you fresh day in and day out. The best way to prevent injuries is to change your socks regularly when you are backpacking.

Final Words

At the end of the day, what’s most important is to enjoy yourself without stressing about other things too much. It’s always better to take precautions before your trip to avoid any undesirable circumstances because you never know what might happen.

With proper tools and tricks, taking care of your feminine hygiene when camping is easy so that you can enjoy your trip without freaking out when you spot that first drop of blood. You’re all covered with this guide- Take care of your hygiene and leave no trace.

If you need to stock up on gear and clothing, we have our favorite items in 15 Reasons to Get Your Hands on the North Face Gear.

Happy traveling!

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Last update on 2024-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API