Condom Care Away From Home

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Dear Dr. Myrtle,

Where’s the best place to store my condoms when I go on camping trips? My husband and I are going on our honeymoon outdoor summer camping trip, but I don’t know where to store our condoms! The backpacks will be in the hot sun, and the car will bake in a parking lot. Help!


Very good question, and so *smart* of you to think ahead like this.

Latex and polyurethane barrier products (dams, condoms, gloves) are fairly stable, but can break and crack at extreme temperatures, and are useless if stabbed by a roving fork in your backpack.

TOO HOT!!

The trick is that you want your *sex* hot, but your condoms cool-ish. If you have a base camp, consider tucking a few of them into an inner pocket of your shaded tent, particularly if the pocket hangs down where air can circulate around. If the outside temperature is 70-80 degrees F (max) all of your supplies can be stored safely in your tent for the duration. Lube is fine at these temps. (Having an extra plastic bag in the tent for the used condoms is great too, and saves on rolling over in the middle of the night and finding one by accident.)

Alternatively, if you have a small section of an ice cooler available, place your larger stash in a plastic bag, and nestle them in the corner, or in a tray. Use paper towels inside the bag around the condoms if you need to keep them from being seen. It doesn’t matter if they are in ice water--at best, that temperature is 32 degrees F (0 C), and condoms can withstand that. The lube will be fine here too, although some lubes may become cloudy with the cold. (Note to self: Warm up lube on hands prior to application, or the whole campground may awaken to the scream!)

Places NOT to store condoms:

Don’t store condoms/barriers in your back pocket, near your camp cooking equipment (gets too hot when near metal or you pack everything up), in your CAR (anywhere--glove compartment, trunk, interior), or your tent if you have no shade, or have a significant part of the day where the tent is in the sun. If in bear country, storing your condoms with your food is asking for trouble unless you suspend the whole kit-caboodle in a tree. It’s horrible to know that you feel miserable that a bear ate all of your food and chewed through your condoms--leaving yourself few avenues for consolation.

Finally, DO take the lube. Many a camping trip has been saved by the judicious application of lube: on the frozen snowmobile ski shock absorber, the squeeeeeky bed, and a frozen door lock (all true stories--AWT customers). For these purposes, use a non-glycerin lube, such as Liquid Silk or any of the silicone lubes. You’ll be happy you checked with us before your trip.

Enjoy your trip, throughly.

Take Care.

Dr. Myrtle

P.S. Careful with sun-screen and bug spray contamination, too. Many are oils (particularly mineral oil) and can dissolve holes in your latex condoms (polyurethane = ok). Make sure you wash your hands (and body parts?) with soap before diving into to your au natural activities.