Overnight camping--what to do with backup insulin

Drumroll, please! It’s my first ever camping experience. I have to admit that I’m a little pleased to be taking it on so late in life post-diagnosis. I can already feel the eyerolls of you experienced campers, but it’s a victory attempt for me. So feeling unlimited(ish) today. Also taking all 4 kids including the baby and our eldest daughter, which brings its own challenges.

I don’t know what to do with my extra insulin. Hopefully my pod will be sufficient, so it’s just backup. Temps rising no higher than 85. I don’t have a frio bag.

What would you do?


If it’s hot outside, you definitely will need to find a way to cool it somehow! You can purchase frio bags at most Walmarts!

Recommendation for insulin outside the fridge is:
“Keep insulin cartridges and pens that you’re currently using at room temperature (between 56°F and 80°F.)”

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How long is the trip?

A few days of being unrefrigerated won’t hurt the insulin.

The biggest trick is to carry syringes for emergency, and an extra pod, and have an extra insulin source in a different location. If you lose your backpack, you have a different vial in a different place. Don’t keep everything in the same bag! The same goes for emergency sugar.

Don’t destroy any syringe until you are home. In an emergency you may have to reuse it!

If all the worst happens, as long as you have one syringe, one vial of insulin, and sufficient sugar left, you are ok.


Wish I could lend you our Frio. We haven’t really needed to use ours yet because we were camping in temperatures cold enough to not warrant it. If you’re car camping and bringing a cooler, it’s possible you could put the insulin in a portion of the cooler that is not directly touching the ice (for example, we have one of those soft-sided coolers and it has upper and side-pouches). If the backup insulin will be used in a month that should be just fine.


@Irish, beyond what others have mentioned:

  • we once broke our last insulin vial when installing it in the pen (-> more than one spare)

  • we misplaced our main supply bag once – found it again 1/2 day later, but thank God we had a spare bag right at hand

  • we were saved several times by having a Frio bag (if humidity not too high). But when it’s too humid, we use a PK2 Packit cooler bag with a couple of cooling bags in it too.

Like Eric said, don’t throw away the needles too often!

Here is a good travel thread we have had here: Travel!

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If you are bringing a cooler you can put it in a sealed plastic container and keep it on top of something else so it isn’t touching the ice. We did that this weekend when the temps were in the 90’s.

I would break down and buy the Frio, it is useful for more than just camping. In fact, we put the frio in a plastic container and threw that in our cooler, worked great.

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When is your trip?

Thank you all so much! Trip is this afternoon. Will stop by walgreens on our way out.

Sorry, @Chris, I am dense today – not much sleep… Kidding or not? The Frio bag would not work unless it can evaporate.

but can’t it evaporate into the plastic bag if it’s big enough and has air in it?

No: the water vapor will saturate the air in the plastic bag almost right away, unless there is huge ventilation. OInce the air is 100% saturated with water vapor, the Frio won’t cool anymore.

hmm interesting. But then at that point you now have multiple layers of insulation too: the frio, which was at least initially at the water temperature, the air with water vapor, which will presumably be more resistant to temperature fluctuations due to its water content, and the cooler and its environment, which is also temperature controlled.

You’re talking about conduction, convection, conduction, convection, conduction, convection to get to the outside temp… my guess is it will be fine for a day!

It could well be :slight_smile: But the Frio is useless unless it evaporates in dry-ish air. In this setup it just functions as a container with a little bit of thermal inertia, not a cooler.

Just put it in a ziplock bag in a cooler with some ice… you’ll probably have a cooler with you anyway for food? If not take a small one with some ice in it… insulin is much more durable than we give it credit for.


We used the frio as insulation in the cooler, not to evaporate. It just would take longer to freeze that is all. It certainly didn’t do it’s frio thing. But inside of the plastic container and inside the frio, we were assured the insulin didn’t touch the ice.

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makes sense :slight_smile: And – the water in the frio bag (that would have to freeze first) adds very significant protection. Great idea.

It’s fine for insulin to touch the ice. It will not freeze the insulin. I promise (unless it’s well below freezing outside the cooler)

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You are correct. The 2nd law of thermodynamics supports you!

That and the fact that the freezing point of insulin is actually lower than the freezing point of water.

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Can’t wait for tomorrow, we are doing part 2 of our frozen insulin test, where we find a flat line and administer the insulin with no food and look for the response.


I have some frozen too. Put it in the freezer when you did the last post on the Reeses experiment. I have been planning on doing that also.

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