THE MOON CUP
BY KARA CHRISTENSON
March 04, 2008
5' 7" (1.70 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
I went on my first backpacking trip when I was 13; I've been hooked ever since. I am a Michigan-native and have backpacked throughout Michigan and in Pennsylvania on 4-6 day trips. I also completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2007. I am a mid-weight backpacker. My backpacking experience has been in all terrain and weather one can find in eastern USA, excepting extensive snow. I currently live in Oregon and do day and weekend hikes.
Manufacturer: The Keeper, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Manufacturer's Website: www.thekeeper.com
MSRP: US$35 (plus US$2 shipping from manufacturer's website)
Length including stem: 3 inches (76 millimeters)
Length of cup portion alone: 2 inches (51 millimeters)
Circumference of cup portion: 1 3/4 inches (44.5 millimeters)
Listed Weight: none
Measured Weight: 0.6 oz (15 g)
The Moon Cup arrived in a 3.5x4.5 inch (89x114 millimeter) cloth drawstring bag. It came with an instruction/care sheet and a 3-month manufacturer's guarantee.
The Moon Cup is a re-usable menstrual cup, designed to remove the need for disposable sanitary items of any kind. To put it simply, it is inserted, removed when necessary, then cleaned and re-inserted!
The cup is extremely pliable. It is easily squished and folded but pops back into position as soon as it is released.
|The Moon Cup and its drawstring bag.|
|Size comparison: Moon Cup and lighter|
I purchased the Moon Cup as it seemed a viable alternative to carrying out sanitary-supply garbage on my 2007 Appalachian Trail thru-hike. I purchased it about two months before my thru-hike to give me a chance to try it out a little ahead of time.
The first three wearings below took place in indoor environments. The final wearings took place on the Appalachian Trail in March, April, and May in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Weather temperatures varied from 8 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees to 24 degrees Celsius) and in conditions including light snow, rain, and clear weather.
Use 1: Around the House
My first impression when I opened the package was that the Moon Cup was bigger than I expected. Honestly, it freaked me out a little bit. The first insertion took about five minutes. I found it difficult at first to keep the cup folded in half (as the instructions state) while trying to insert it. Once I succeeded, however, it really did pop into place.
During this first wearing, I could definitely feel it. The stem (which remains outside) was particularly noticeable and I found it to be much more uncomfortable sitting down than standing up. The cup did keep me dry during this first wearing
The first removal was extremely uncomfortable and took about ten minutes. The mouth of the Moon Cup seemed too large to remove unfolded but was impossible to fold.
Use 2: At Work
This second insertion was easy and discomfort-free. It took the same amount of time as any other sanitary product would take.
During the second wearing, I was still 100% conscious of the Moon Cup, to the point that I couldn't focus on my work. I felt as though it needed readjustment every time I either sat down or stood up. If I didn't adjust the Moon Cup every hour or so, it would eventually shift to the point that the stem would be painfully poking me. The cup kept me dry during this second wearing as well.
The second removal was no better than the first.
Use 3: At the Gym
The third insertion was also easy and discomfort-free.
During this third wearing, I noticed that I was a little more used to the Moon Cup. I could feel it less in a general sense. While running on the treadmill, I had no discomfort whatsoever from the Moon Cup and was able to forget that it was there. The problems came, however, when I went to do crunches. The folded up position of my body made the cup a little uncomfortable and I found that it had shifted once I stood back up and needed to be readjusted. The cup did continue to keep me dry, however!
The third removal was no better than the other two.
The Real Deal: On the Appalachian Trail
The first time I used the Moon Cup on the trail I found insertion slightly more difficult than at home because I didn't have a toilet to sit on. It still only took about two minutes and wasn't uncomfortable. Thereafter, insertion was easy and discomfort-free again.
Wearing the Moon Cup on the trail had plusses and minuses. It was quite comfortable as long as I was walking or standing. However, as soon as I would sit down, it would become uncomfortable and, at times, painful. I found that I didn't mind wearing it during the day but as soon as I stopped I would need to remove it. This made it useless to me in the evening and overnight. I have my doubts that I was simply not inserting or positioning it correctly as I did make many adjustments to try to make it more comfortable.
I also found the Moon Cup to be quite messy to use on the trail. Despite following the instructions carefully and trying several adjustments to improve removal of the Moon Cup, my fingers always got quite messy. Rinsing them and also rinsing out the cup required use of my drinking water which I wasn't always thrilled to sacrifice to the cause. The cup did continue to keep me dry.
I ultimately stopped using the Moon Cup for three reasons. First, the mess. I found that conventional sanitary supplies (or even just rags) were a lot cleaner to use and didn't require any water. Second, the discomfort. Because it was extremely uncomfortable to use the Moon Cup in the evening and overnight, I had to have something else to use with me anyway. It was easy enough (and far more comfortable) to just use something else all the time. Third, the painful removal. Every time I inserted the Moon Cup I would wince at the thought of having to remove it later. Removal never became less painful and the reusability of the Moon Cup was ultimately not worth all that discomfort.
THINGS I LIKE
Things I liked:
Comfortable during walking/running exercise
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
Things I didn't like:
Use of water
Discomfort/shifting of the cup when sitting or otherwise not standing up straight
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
"Bucket", AT '07
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