Kayak camping: how we ruined a Dexcom receiver

I was going to mention that at another time, but @Sam raised the topic…

Because the receiver is small and compact, and because we did not need any sharing where we were (a total of 10 days without wifi or broadband in the islands on Lake Superior), we took the receiver with us as a primary, well protected in a neoprene sleeve within a cellphone drybag.

Within a couple of days of the start, my son stumbled on a rocky shore and fell on the receiver – this largely demolished it, scrapped most of the screen, disabled most of the alarms and damaged the on/off switch.

I have come up with backup plans for the other devices, but I am still thinking about how we can better protect a small device such as the receiver from blunt trauma. Either way, my plan is, in the future, to use iPod Touch devices when camping because they are a lot cheaper. So far I have not been able to come up with good ideas for better protection though.

Really need someone like lifeproof to design a rigid and waterproof case for them…

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Could it be bubble-wrapped?

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This is what you want. A Pelican case.


If you get one with the clear top, you won’t need to remove it for alerts, you can see the numbers:

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That is exactly what I thought when we left – but that is basically what we had for the iPhone we ruined with water vapor :slight_smile: After trying it, I don’t think going with a fully transparent case works.

Are you sure it was water vapor? There shouldn’t have been any more moisture inside the case than outside it… unless you put the phone in there while in the shower. Sure it didn’t bake in the sun?

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But with desiccant packs?

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I am not 100% sure but I am 95% sure – I can’t see any other explanation for it since it never was in contact with liquid water. We occasionally touched the iPhone with somewhat wet fingers (unavoidable when kayaking I think), so that would have brought some limited amount of water inside the bag (never enough to actually see liquid water, but enough for water vapor to form).

Well, it did when it was on top of the kayak while we were paddling. I thought the occasional water from paddling would cool it off enough, but I was clearly wrong. That’s why I don’t think that a transparent box is the way to go.

I think it’s definitely worth trying. But I am afraid that even a larger box of desiccant (I have tons at home in gunsafe, reloading boxes etc.) would saturate very quickly the moment you open the containers because everything is so damp.

You know, one possible upside is you can actually do experiments now with your defunct devices. Try the same setup, place the broken devices in there, but use some kind of moisture/humidity detector, as well as a thermometer, to see which factor is likely to be most critical factor. My own sense is that if the humidity is high, you could get a steaming effect if you simply closed in very humid or moist air into the box and then the greenhouse effect does the rest…

You could try: clear case, ice packs inside ziploc bags to cool things off, dessicant inside clear case to remove water vapor. That’s a whole setup though.

Of course, all this assumes a lot more time on your hands than I’m guessing you have… You probably just want to hit upon something that reliably works without so much fuss.

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Do you have battery packs for recharging?

Is so, the way to set it up is for your low alert to be 100 and your high alert to be 120 (that is the narrowest band you can set them for on a Dexcom).

Turn off your settings for Rise Rate and Fall Rate (the arrows will obscure the actual number unless you hit the button). And have your High Repeat and Low Repeat set to zero 0.

If you set it up like that, any BG that is not within 100-120 will display every 5 minutes. You will only have to take the receiver out of the box for recharging, or for night if you don’t want the constant alerts. Basically, when in the boat, it will just show you the BG all the time (every 5 minutes) without needing to push a button (which means the thing stays dry in the Pelican box).

The downside is that the constant alerts will run down the battery quicker.

Or you could just put it in a ziplock bag in your pocket… with a receiver you wouldn’t even have to open the bag to push the buttons… that’s what I’ve done while fishing in waders

I do think that is a better solution than a hard case. You can get to everything without taking it out.

This is the one I have. It fits both the omnipod pump and dexcom receiver in the same pouch, and is more rugged than a ziplock bag. You can bolus without taking it out.

But the reason I mentioned the Pelican case is because Michel mentioned that his receiver got smashed, and was looking for more protection.

That’s what we were doing – but we broke the receiver by falling on it :slight_smile:

Couldn’t you have it in the ziplock type thing and then just keep that in a better padded waistpack or something? Just cushioning it a bunch might do it.

I imagine this would work


@Michel Maybe you should just go to a machine shop and have them fabricate a tight fitting stainless steel, waterproof Dexcom receiver case with a Lexan window and rubberized button covers. Also, be sure to have a cover for the charging port included.

Bet it wouldn’t cost more than $1000. :cheeky:

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Don’t forget the heating system and the steam exhaust to vaporize the water vapor before it becomes a problem.

Ok. Maybe $2500 then.