I remember the time I inserted my first tampon in excruciating detail. It was a hot, summer afternoon in Texas and I was folded over myself in a public, outdoor bathroom with no lights or air conditioning, trying to figure it out by myself.
A group of us were going tubing down a river and I'd gotten my period the day before. Until that point, I'd never really needed to use a tampon (look, it's the South, and there was zero discussion of vaginas). But I knew sitting in a wet inner tube in my swimsuit for four to six hours required one, and so there I was, sweat dripping from my forehead onto the concrete bathroom floor, taking probably half an hour to insert the thing.
That sweaty, frustrating afternoon changed my life. Tampon securely in place, I had the realization that my period wasn't some prohibitive event that was going to ruin my entire summer. In that moment, tampons seemed like the greatest invention of all time.
So go forth. Enjoy the summer and all the summer activities that you please. And use these five tampons for all your beachy, poolside needs when your period inevitably comes.
FOR SWIMMING LAPS
Playtex Sport tampons
These are my personal OG tampons. They're comfortable, never slip out of place, easy to insert, and are good for any level of activity — whether that means thrashing about in the waves nonstop, or taking a warm and sunny beach nap (just don't forget your SPF).
FOR BEACHES WITH NO BATHROOM
U by Kotex Compact Tampons
Going pee in the ocean is one thing. But changing your tampon in the ocean isn't advisable (for hygiene and environmental reasons). If your summer plans include going to one of the beautiful, remote beaches where you literally can't spot another sunbather, much less a bathroom, you need a tampon that's up to task. Or in other words: You need a high-absorbency tampon.
These U by Kotex super plus tampons can absorb a whopping 12-15 grams of blood. Considering you lose about 30-40 grams of blood on an average period, these little guys should be able to handle even your heaviest days.
FOR KEEPING THE BEACH BEAUTIFUL
Tampax Pearl Compact Tampons
Think of how many little plastic or cardboard tampon applicators you've thrown away in your lifetime. It's so many! If you find yourself enjoying the soft sound of the waves and the warm feeling of sun on your skin and thinking, wow, it would be a shame if this was totally ruined, maybe it's time to give applicator-free tampons a try.
These classic tampons from o.b. are highly reviewed on Amazon and come in multipacks to accommodate all the days of your period. They're easy to insert (though it may take a bit of getting used to), and having no applicator means they're teeny tiny and easy to pack.