I see more and more people with uterus’s moving in to vans and since I’m a uterus having person I thought I would dedicate some space to the period experience for van lifers.
So I have a really heavy period, that can last anywhere from 5-10 days and I get really bad cramps that make me nauseous and crabby. I’m all about low impact and minimalism so I don’t use pads or tampons, although they are great, I use the diva cup!
It’s the second best vagina related product out there.
I switched to the diva cup because it’s reusable, so I don’t have to use all that cotton and paper that pads and tampons have.
Another thing I like about it is the cost! It cost me like $30 one time at REI 2 years ago, that has paid for itself 30x over by now. When I was using pads and tampons I was buying them all the time! Also, because I live in a van I have to consider how much space things take up, and although pads/tampons are light, they take up a lot of space! The diva cup is tiny so I don’t need to worry about that. So, I use the diva cup, leave it in for 8 or so hours, and then I take it out and either dump it in the toilet, which could be a pit toilet or a flush toilet, and then rinse it off in the sink or with a water bottle. Often times I don’t actually wash it off, I just put it back in and then wait until there’s a place for me to wash it off.
When I’m in the van I don’t like to dump my diva cup down the drain, just because I don’t want human waste going in my sink, but I will rinse it off there occasionally if I really need to. Then I baby wipe my parts and wash my hands and I’m good to go.
The only problem with the Diva Cup is that it doesn’t create a perfect seal for me aaaand I have such a heavy period that I often bleed through it. I didn’t want to start using pads with my diva cup because that totally cancels out the environmentally friendly aspects of the diva cup:
Enter Thinx panties!
So, I bought 3 of these to wear with my Diva Cup. They are exactly like regular underwear except they are a tiny bit thicker on the crotch part. I got them in black because it’s my favorite color to wear, and I didn’t really see the point in getting colorful underwear that I was goin to actively bleed into.
They have a few different types, some are thicker than others and each size is designed to hold more blood than the others.
I have 2 pairs that are the medium kind, I think they hold 1 1/2 a tampons worth, and then one pair that’s designed to hold 2 tampons worth.
These are a little bit more maintenance than the diva cup, since I need to wash them out after a day. I typically wear them for around 12 hours, but I’m really starting to stretch their limits after that.
Once they get ‘full’ I wash them out with soap and water in either my sink or the nearest sink, and then hang them to dry on my side mirrors. I typically only wash them once my cycle has ended since I don’t have access to a washer dryer all the time. If I’m out of water, I put them in a plastic bag and they just kind of sit there until I can wash them.
I’ve experimented with doing both the diva cup and the thinx panties or just doing the thinx panties, and for me I need both for most of my period. The first and the last few days I can do just the thinx, which is nice, but even when I’m sleeping I need both.
Since I don’t have a shower in the van, I have to stay extra on top of my hygiene when I’m on my period. Using the Diva cup and the thinx panties at the same time helps with this because there is minimal leakage, so I usually just do the baby wipe thing and attempt to take extra showers that week. Other than that my life isn’t really that much different, except I have to take extra advil and manage my washing/drying schedule.
I also use the period tracker app ‘clue’ to track my period and symptoms.
I’m a fan of it for sure, it helps me look at my month and know when I’m going to get my period so I can schedule around that if I want to. Typically I won’t really change my behavior when I’m on my period, but its nice to know that it’s coming so I can do laundry right before or right after.
And thats that! Having a period in the van is only slightly more logistically challenging than living in a house, but over all it’s really not that bad.
If you have any questions please let me know down in the comments and if not I’ll see ya next time!