I wonder if there has ever been a discussion of a type 2 going on an extended backpacking trip. Like walking the Appalachian Trail.
I’m not Type 2, but I do love hiking and backpacking. I tend to take extra precautions and treat the activity like any other long-term, strenuous activity (I prepare to go high, then low, and fight to maintain a level BG). I don’t know about T2-specific advice or experience, but there is an interesting set of conversations on diabetes and through hiking the AT on whiteblaze.
I’m interested in other people’s’ experience as well: although I haven’t done any overnight trips since diagnosis, I likely will this summer.
Like @David49, I’m not a person with type 2. And I’m not a backpacker, but more of a camper that does some easy hiking. This weekend, actually, I’m headed out to Mt. Diablo for an easy overnighter. My excursions are usually only a few nights and I don’t do anything with extreme temperatures. Aside from med-storage, my experience has been identical to people without diabetes, I believe.
I have done a little research about longer backpacking trips, but I think that I’m afraid to go too far off the grid because I never want to be too far away from a pharmacy. I’m keeping an eye on this thread to see if anyone else has stories from some really long back-packing adventures.
Where I’ll be this weekend:
I’ve been on two 2-3 week hiking trips since diagnosis (Type I Lada). One was true backpacking and one was “hut to hut” at high altitude (carrying a lighter pack).
For me the biggest issues were (1) those long strenuous days would not be feasible for me without a CGM. Only way to manage that is watch your CGM and carry lots of fruit and snacks; (2) meals are necessarily different than at home. I had trouble with high carb dinners causing evening and overnight spikes (portion control fell apart due to hunger). On my last trip it was a constant battle between adusting basal, correcting highs at night, and snacking during hikes to prevent lows.
I love backcountry hiking - one or more days. I’m T1 so maybe a little different from you but in my experience it got a LOT better after I started using a cgm. I did ok before that and wasn’t afraid of the “complications” of extra exertion and related non-routine stuff of a hike, but it’s so much easier to adjust when you can see things changing in more-or-less real time.
Get calibrated and get going!
I’m sure there have been several. Fool around with your search phrases. Maybe start with general Travel. Plus, as a T2, you will be able to glean a lot of adaptable insight from T1s.
You just need to plan for a lot of energy-giving high protein, low-carb food to pack. Careful of most granolas or standard trail mixes. And most Dried fruits are too high carb—something about how they are dried/preserved. I used to take well-preserved meats like salamis/pepperonis. Low-carb veggies for snacking. A big stash of my 3 or 4 carb pitas made with flax. And crackers like Flackers, which I like but many don’t. String cheese will probably survive Armageddon—it lasts a long time and adds little weight. A flask of high proof rum or bourbon for around your campfire at bedtime—less weight since only a sip will do fine.
There are a lot of variables. I am not insulin-dependent yet, controlling with diet and exercise. Altitude makes a big difference. On Mt Hood, things would get uncomfortable the higher we went.
How long you are out and what meds influence a lot…Etc…Good luck. With a little common sense and research, I am sure you will figure it out. It is always worth the effort to be hiking the beautiful wilderness areas of any country!..Judith in Portland…
A lot of the answer depends on how you manage your T2. If you use insulin and follow a strict low carb diet you will likely have more difficulty than someone who simply manages on a metformin pill and a regular american diet. There are a few stretches of the AT that have maybe 30-40 miles between roads/towns. For the most part it is not isolated like you would have in Alaska. To get an idea of the experience you might read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, which is his experience of hiking it in his forties. One recommendation would be to try to do this with others in a group. Most hikers end up teaming up anyway.
Mind sharing that recipe? Sounds like something I’d like to snack on myself!
One thing I suggest is using a Spot Satellite Tracker which allows you to check in with family with preprogrammed messages. It also allows them to know your location and summon help if they do hear from you or see movement with th tracker. In case of emergency there is an SOS button to summon help. I use this tracker when I am hiking in areas with no phone service.
I order them by the case. There are two sizes of soft, delicious pitas plus Lavash flat bread made with the same ingredients—basically one big sheet of yummy. I usually cut it in half for two roll-ups of whatever. The pitas also make great individual pizza crusts, soft or—toasted plain before adding toppings and broiling briefly, will give a crispier crust…
If I am going to be away from the house at a difficult time of day, I carry a buttered pita and a bit of cheese of some kind for a snack…You can order a mixed case of all three and they freeze well…Blessings of the universe to you and—Enjoy!..Judith in Portland
I have T1D and I attempted a solo thru of the AT last year, making it over 500 miles before an issue with my hip sent me home to heal. I had no problems related to the diabetes. With proper planning it is possible. I resupplied in towns and waysides and had prescription med supplies mailed out when needed. Long distance backpacking and thru-hikes are indeed possible! I went solo and had a blast for seven wonderful weeks. I am 58 and have lived with T1D for nearly 30 years. I have returned to the trail for short sections and one day plan to attempt another thru.
More Power to You!
Glad to hear you went 500 miles and that your T1 wasn’t the cause of your postponement. I’ve beenT2 for 3 years and am still trying to feel my way through the eating and exercising process. I live in MO and thought this year I would go on some treks along the Ozark Trail. I did that 35 years ago back when I had no issues.
I count my steps and pay a lot of attention to carbs. I’m also 30 lbs. lighter. I think backpacking would require a lot more carbs especially in the morning and afternoon.
Anyway I’m just feeling my way through this idea and hearing from you is very encouraging. Thank you,
My dr. recommended 500mg of Metformin twice a day when all this started and I’m still doing that, 3 yrs later. That and walking make up the majority of my T2 maintenance. I think I should plan on a lot more carbs for a backpacking trek. I bet I get a lot of good advice from this site. I don’t really understand how to translate how type 1 diabetics handle these situations, in my situation and I don’t have a CGM. But I could imagine that being and advantage for all of us, no matter the type.
Have you thought of taking some shorter hikes just to see how you go, before you take off on the big one?
Absolutely, I live in MO and I planned on working out the bugs on the Ozark Trail.
I’ve backpacked for a week years ago before diabetes was an issue for me.
I hope to work out a lot of the bugs this year.
Actually, you might find that protein and fat provide better sources of energy. They are digested more slowly to release their energy and fat in particular is very calorie dense.
I am going to depend on protein and fat. I currently try to limit myself to 130 grams of carbs per day. I’ve read that I need to have some carbs in my diet. It’s hard to decipher the best advise. I guess I’ll just have to experiment and see how it works out. But I think I need some and probably more than if I was at home. At any rate I will have my meter and will be stabbing myself as much as it seems appropriate ( I hope). I wonder who I should be listening to. 130 grams came from the diabetes community If I asked my dr. I’m sure he would say no less than 150.
I don’t think it is advisable to try to eat no carbs. Would you agree?