How do you keep insulin cool during wilderness trekking?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 52
   Posted 8/6/2010 6:49 PM (GMT -7)   
My brother has diebetes and is going on a primitive camping trip for about two days.  What do you do with insulin to keep it from spoiling?  What do you do for weeklong trips in the wilderness?  thanks.
25 year old 
college student trying to get a degree in philosophy
Diagnosed Jan. 2008 with Crohns disease.  Been on solumedrol, flagyl, Pentasa, Rowasa, Prednisone, Humira.
Currently on Pentasa and Humira.  Started Humira 4-8-10.

Lanie G
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5986
   Posted 8/6/2010 7:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, welcome to the Diabetes Forum.  I don't use insulin but there are some members who do and I hope they come and offer some advice.  In the meantime, here are two sites that might help.
forum moderator - diabetes
diabetes controlled so far by exercise and a low/no carb diet

Post Edited (LanieG) : 8/6/2010 8:29:37 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 204
   Posted 8/7/2010 12:23 AM (GMT -7)   
I think the insulin would not necessarily spoil after 2 days or a week as long as its kept under 30C. It might depend on the type of insulin but it's printed on the box of the Humalog insulin that I'm using that _after opening_ the insulin should be stored in room temperate and it'll be ok to use for 28 days. Unopened ones should be stored in a fridge (2 to 8C) of course. Levemir is the same but the manufacturer prints on the box that it should be used in 6 weeks after opening and kept under 30C, and don't let it freeze either.

I haven't done any long trips but I don't even put the insulin in a fridge at the office. Then again, my insulin intake is so high that I go through one pen in a week or two so it's in no danger of spoiling if the 28 days / 6 weeks is correct.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 547
   Posted 8/8/2010 10:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Frio wallet is the answer for me :-)

I like the Frio because it's not necessarily meant to keep insulin cold but rather at a constant temperature - this is the important part. They come in different sizes to accommodate your supplies, too. I have 2 insulin pens, 1 for Rapid and 1 for Levemir. The wallet I use holds 2 pens. It's as easy as soaking the inner liner for a couple of minutes (swells the crystals inside) and you're good to go for a couple of days. Just soak again for a few seconds if it starts to dry out.

Keep everything together: test meter, strips, Frio wallet with pens/insulin vials, needle tips, alcohol swabs or hand disinfectant and candy/sugar for lows... in a fanny pack or small lunch cooler bag (if you can wear it - the better). That way everything is always with you and easy to carry.

You can do the same thing without the Frio wallet by keeping it all in a special cooler. Wrap the insulin and put in zip top plastic bag if using ice or gel packs to keep cooler cool. Watch that the insulin stays away from the cold source so as not to freeze or get colder than acceptable. Again, the idea is to keep the insulin at relative temperature and avoid wide fluctuations.

Hope this helps and have fun camping!
- Phishbowl (Type 1 since Jan'05 - Levemir, NovoRapid)
"What's Not Measured Is Not Managed"

"It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows"-Epictetus

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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2386
   Posted 8/9/2010 1:35 PM (GMT -7)   
My brother has insulin. He'd stick it in a tupperware and stick it in the cooler with all the ice and foods that had to be kept cold. Also, he'd take along those instant cold packs for first aid. When the ice melted and no longer cold, he'd just grab the lunch box he packed and go put the tupperware of insulin in the lunch box with a couple of those instant cold packs. We always brought a lot of cold packs obviously lol
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