By Larisa Crippen-Chavez
I felt a sploosh in my pants, and every time I dug my paddle in the water and torqued my core to propel us further I could feel more come out. UGH, I knew I should have put a tampon in, but that’s so uncomfortable when you’re on a lighter day. I hoped I didn’t bleed through so the boys I was kayaking with wouldn’t notice when I got out of my kayak to run for cover in the woods. I was 18 and on a National Outdoor Leadership School kayaking expedition. Over the course of one month our crew kayaked among the islands of southern Alaska. So naturally, us ladies had to bring “sanitary napkins” for the trip, and since we were practicing Leave No Trace principles, whatever we used had to be taken back to the front country for proper disposal. -_-
That was eight years ago, and for the most part, women are still stuck with having to carry bulky “sanitary napkins” and carry the soiled products back out. How is it possible that, with all the fancy gear that exists at outdoor retail shops, there hasn’t been any progress with gear for this oh so important part of our lives? Well, worry no more my fellow outdoorsy-women. THINX are here. I took two pair (the cheeky and hiphuggers) with me backpacking and road tripping for two months and here’s why they’ll always be in my gear bag.
They’re antimicrobial, so they’re not stinky!
I like all my base layers to be wool because it’s antimicrobial, meaning I can wear the SAME SHIRT for a week and, though I may be stinky, my shirt won’t be. THINX are the underwear equivalent of that (because WHO would wear wool undies? Itchyyyyyyy) They have a antimicrobial layer so they won’t smell too bad. They’re easy to clean too. All I had to do was take my Nalgene with me when I went to change, poured water on ‘em, rang ‘em out, and left ‘em out to dry. I only had to pack two pairs of underwear because while I wore one pair the other could dry out while strapped to the outside of my pack or at basecamp.
No one has to know you’re on your period because you’re not carrying tampons and pads. Plus, I don’t know about you, but even when I’m roughing it I like to feel pretty, and these underwear are beautiful.
You can walk for miles in them without chaffing. Also, you also won’t have to stuff things in your vag when you’re dry-ish (like when trying to use a menstrual cup or tampon on light days) because these can act as a panty liner. Plus this way, you won’t ruin any undies on those light days.
There have been many adorable undies that I’ve mauled into ugliness because I tugged on the lace too hard or I’ve just plain stained them. The lace on these puppies doesn’t tear and the material endured everything I threw at it.
You know how when you wear a pad and you feel a bit of blood come out, and it just sits there and takes forever to soak in, which means you just feel like you’re wallowing in a bloody diaper? Yeah, these don’t do that. I don’t know what magic is happening, but blood is soaked up immediately. This also meant that I didn’t have to pack a bathing suit for that dip in the ocean. Even fewer things to pack! This is also super important if you’re roughing it in cold environments. Cotton holds water against your body and makes you colder, so if you were sweating while skiing and then let your body cool off, you’re going to get very cold. That’s not the case with these undies.
Cotton is bad for outdoor adventures because it doesn’t dry quickly. The only alternative was non-cotton undies that didn’t breath, which for me led to yeast infections and swamp-a**. This catch-22 made me second think going on adventures when expecting my period. THINX were my savior because they breathe- not quite enough to feel a refreshing breeze on hot days, but enough to keep you healthy. The ease of washing them promotes better hygiene too, preventing UTIs.
Because they’re so durable and they don’t stain, you’re not going to be buying as many underwear. You also won’t be buying panty liners, pads or tampons. Saves you money and keeps trash out of the landfill.
All these reasons meant I felt more liberated to enjoy what I love most-the great outdoors -while also showing my love for the planet. I can now travel and adventure with less weight in my pack, leaving me to just have fun.