Top Ten Alternative Ways to Use a Tampon

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Fun and useful tricks for tampons when you're camping or hiking

There are a lot of ideas and hacks on how to use tampons for everything but your actual period. In all seriousness, my partner and I used one recently to plug up a leak during a rainstorm in our patio door recently. While this was definitely handy and creative, when you're camping or hiking you tend to be a bit more limited in what you are carrying with you in terms of problem-solving materials. Coming up with creative solutions to a variety of problems is typically a strong skill for a well-traversed back-packer. So we took it on ourselves to equip you with some ideas before you hit the trails.

Best alternative uses for tampons

  1. Nose bleeds

This one is key and really highlights why you should always have tampons in your first aid kit. Have you ever found yourself 2 hours into a 6-hour hike, the air so cold and so dry that your nose has suddenly had its own period? While not everyone has, it's definitely something that happens to me with my sensitive nose. Blood all over your face is not a great look and normally when hiking you don’t have enough tissues to stop the bloodshed, which is an obvious problem. Solution? Ditch the applicator and jam a tampon into your nostril. Now you can continue with your activity hands-free. 

  1. Extra gauze

While you’re off being a hiking and rock climbing rockstar, you often inevitably rub your elbows, knees and feet raw, completely depleting your first aid kit. Solution? Gently roll apart a tampon and use it as an extra bandage paired with some tape.

  1. Earplugs

The perfect solution for when you’ve found that dreamy tent location, right on the edge of that tree-lined stream only to wake up at 11 pm and discover it’s inhabited by mating bullfrogs; a noise that has been acutely described as a cow with a bad case of gas. Solution: Snip that tampon in half and wedge it in your ear hole as far as you can. Voila, those frogs can now mate in peace while you have some awkwardly inspired sweet dreams. 

  1. Tinder 

But not the swipe left swipe right kind. No, we're talking about the “all the wood is a little too damp and I’m going to have a sugar-craving induced-fit if I can’t roast my marshmallows” kind. Solution: Gather those tiny sticks, throw in a tampon or two, light the string and watch it burn.

*Bonus if the applicator is cardboard.

  1. Sponge for dishes

You’re fancy, you have taste, you wouldn’t dare have hamburger helper or ramen for dinner. You’ve cooked a delicious backcountry meal and now you’ve graciously offered to do the dishes too. Only it’s freezing and a quick rinse is just making the grease worse. Reach for your handy extra tampon and scrub away the garlic from tomorrow’s oatmeal.  

  1. Goggle cleaner 

It’s raining, it’s snowing, your neck warmer is up to your eyes and your goggles have completely fogged up. Use a tampon to wipe them clean and scrape that layer of ice off, too. 

  1. Zipper puller

That never really thought about, but ever so crucial zipper pull-tab has ripped right off. Just the thought of taking your gloves off every time you need to get in your backpack or pocket is giving you frostbite. Solution: Feed the string of a tampon through what’s left of your zipper, tie a few tight knots, and voila your fingers have been saved with you looking extra chic. 

  1. Not the best, but will do in a pinch, water bottle stopper

It’s an emergency, you’ve lost the lid to your water bottle. Solution: Try sticking a tampon (or two) in the opening, and dampen for a snug fit, it’ll keep the creepy crawlies out of the bottle overnight. It’s practical and fun, because seriously who doesn’t love watching how much a tampon expands in water. 

  1. Mini flotation device

Use the waterproof plastic wrapper to create a little pocket of air and use the tampon to attach it to your keys or some other small but very important item while you ford the river. Wrapper could also be used to keep matches dry in a pinch! 

  1. Wild cat toy

Making friends is fun, all cats like to play. After you spot that lynx or ocelot, fish your makeshift, irresistible fluff ball on a string and entice that kitty to come to play. If things take a turn, just chuck the tampon as far as you can and run! Not recommended for cougars.

One more obvious thing - make sure you dispose of your tampons responsibly! No littering your tampon-hacks across a beautiful forest, no one wants to see your nosebleed tampon on a trail 🙂 

Now, go play!