Should I be worried about hiking in bear country when menstruating?
Submitted by - Lisa from Fort Calhou, NE
Short answer: No. There is no evidence to suggest that bears are attracted to menstruating women. Many moons ago, on August 13, 1967, two women were attacked in Glacier National Park by grizzlies and there was speculation about menstruation being the cause. Many subsequent studies confirmed that there is no link. Bottom line: Bears are much more attracted to the smell of your peanut butter and chicken a la king, than your period.
Of course, having your period on a backpacking trip is a pain in the ass, but it shouldn't be a deal breaker. Of course, good hygiene is key, so here are a few tips:
1. Forget pads. Tampons are much more comfortable during activity and easier to pack out (don't ever bury any paper products).
2. Bring plenty of Ziplock bags for disposing of your "stuff", and pack baby wipes for maximum cleanliness.
3. Pack plenty of hand sanitizer; keep a small bottle with your toiletries, so it's always there when you need it.
I recently got a press release about a product called the Moon Cup, which is a re-usable diaphragm-like device that captures, rather than absorbs menstrual fluid. I can't say that I've had the guts to try it, but I did receive a letter from one enthusiastic reader. Check it out and decide for yourself: www.keeper.com/index.html