As anyone who is both outdoorsy and gets a period knows, there are times when you have to suffer through the throes of menstruation in the great outdoors. This is a fact of life, and it’s never fun.
On top of the absolute joys of dealing with the physical discomfort and sheer annoyance of this, you also have to worry about packing out your period waste. Since we’re all good stewards of the wilderness, we already pack out our toilet paper. Packing out period waste is a similar drag.
That’s where the idea for .pac (say it like “period pack”) started.
A few years ago, .pac founder and resident outdoors badass Jasmine Oeinck (Jaz for short) was on a mountain biking/ camping trip when she realized she had mistimed her monthly start date, and was scrambling to find a way to pack out her period waste during the trip. She wound up using a spare dog poop bag, which, while it worked, was less than ideal.
Getting your period on an extended backcountry trip sucks. Using a dog poop bag for your used tampons and pads? That just adds insult to injury.
Spurred by this experience, Jaz went home and started drafting ideas for a reusable, ultralight packing solution that anyone with a period could throw into their bag — using it to pack their items in and their waste out.
Think about any person who gets a period on a 2,000-mile thru-hike. This is their way to keep all the necessary items in one place, both before and after use.
For shorter ventures, this is what you take with you when you either know you’ll have your period or just want to be prepared.
In a nutshell, .pac is an organized, compact way to always have a period kit handy in the backcountry, and then have a clean, attractive way to pack period needs out. Each .pac unrolls to reveal four pockets to stash everything from pads and tampons to wipes. The tampon pocket can fit up to four “super size” tampons, and the wipe pocket comes with a rosewater wipe from Goodwipes.
Once you’ve filled your .pac with your needs, roll it up, secure it with the webbing strap, and stash it in your pack packet. When you use something from the .pac roll, tuck it into the waste bag, then into the “waste pocket.” For the visually minded, Jaz has a handy tutorial ...
Jaz describes herself as a “fun-loving, outdoorsy, dreamer of a gal who finds great joy in experiences and building relationships.” She raced triathlons professionally, even competing for a spot at the 2008 Olympics. She is currently based in Cimarron, Colorado, working at a private helicat ski operation and sewing the .pac kits in her kitchen.
The .pacs are all hand sewn, which makes each one unique. Jaz’s lack of sewing background added some serious trial-and-error as she was creating prototypes, but she wound up with new skills … and a new product
She jokes that “some of (her) sewing isn’t ‘quite right,’ but it adds character.”
Jaz has always had an entrepreneurial mindset, and while .pac is a side hustle for now, her dreams for the new company — she only launched in August of 2020 — are to expand to more backcountry period prep items and make this inconvenient fact of life a little less of a hassle.
Right now, .pac is just Jaz. She handmakes every .pac with durable materials that will hold up to miles in the side pocket of a backpack. She makes sure to choose colors that are appealing, but not too “in your face.”
As all new business owners experience, Jaz believes in her product but also harbors sneaky doubts. One of the biggest hurdles has been convincing herself that this is something people will need. A super positive initial response from the outdoor community has been a huge boost in confidence.
While the basis of the .pac idea is functionality, it means more to Jaz. “I wanted to make sure that .pac provided a sense of cleanliness and beauty to this time,” she said. “A period should never hiccup plans or put a constraint on any adventure... no matter what that adventure looks like.”