Keeping insulin cool

hi everyone

my name is martyn and i’m due to go travelling around the world next august.

the plan is to go to india, most of south east asia, oz, new zealand and south america.

i need some help in finding a product that will keep my insulin cool whilst in the hot climates that i will be travelling to.

i’ve got a frio wallet but ideally what i’m after is an electronic cool box that i can keep my insulin in, i want to take enough with me to last me the whole year so it needs to have the capcity of two large pop bottles.

does something like this even exsist? i’m not to sure but it will make my journey so much easier if i could find this product that i seek.

please please please help me, any information would be fantastic


kind regards


Hi Martyn-
Welcome to tudiabetes!

Regarding keeping insulin cool… in all reality, insulin does not have to be kept “cool”. It just has to stay under 86 degrees F. Now, I do keep my extra insulin in the fridge as that is the norm, but I’ve done a LOT of travelling in my lifetime (I’m 39 and diagnosed at age 2 1/2… I travelled to 104 countries between the ages of 13 - 19) and when I travelled I never kept the insulin cool.

My brother and I are actually both T1 and one summer we did 50 countries in 55 days. We did not refrigerate the insulin we took with us on that trip.

What type of insulin do you use? Are you going to very remote areas in your travels?

My thought:

  1. Contact the manufacturer of the insulin you use and see if they agree with what I’ve been told - just keep the insulin under 86 degrees F?
  2. now, if you’ll be in areas where the temps are averaging 90+ you will need some sort of cooling system.

Have a wonderful trip and take lots of pictures! We’d love to see them here!

Safe travels!

hi thanks so much for getting back

i will be going to areas that are above 90 degrees.

i use lantus insulin glargine and novorapid penfill.

any ideas?

I travel, but a year is a long time. You’re well beyond the limit of unrefrigerated insulin.

Out of the fridge you’ll get up to 3 months life if you’re lucky (and at moderate temperatures)

At 90 F - it’s about 3-5 days.

So you need a fool-proof way of keeping your year’s supply of insulin good… for a year. I dunno. You’re going to need a fridge of some kind.

For short term, there’s nothing better for me than a cooler with an ice pack.

How about a supply chain strategy? Contact possible suppliers (pharmacies) and also find spots where FEDEX can get shipments in. Plenty of folks where you are going have diabetes too.

Best of luck on this adventure and you better have photographs when you get back. =)

Okay, I did a little research and found the following:
Lantus is available in drugstores, does require a prescription, and requires refrigeration of unopened bottles or cartridges. It may be left at room temperature (below 86 F) for up to 28 days once opened. Another site with a pdf PRODUCT MONOGRAPH said that unopened bottles do not require refrigeration for up to 28 days.
See pdf here.

So, you will need some sort of refrigeration unit. There are electronic mini-fridges out there… I’ve seen them at places like Target or camping stores. I’d imagine that with a converter they would work so long as you have a power source.

I do have to say you are truly remarkable to be taking on such an adventure for an entire year!

hi bec

thanks so much for getting back

so this medi-fridge…where would i get one of those?

How are you traveling? If you have a cigarette lighter like in a car available, you can get a fridge/cooler at Wal-Mart or most anywhere like that that will plug into the cigarette lighter. Now I know you can’t be traveling that many places in a car, but if you are looking for something like that, you must be doing most of it by car or something. Below is the link for a Coleman at Wal-Mart. Hope this helps.

Dear Martyn. Exactly the same insulin as I use. Last year we went to France where the frio bag was fine. This will work in a hot climate only if the relative humidity is very low like here out west but not a chance in Asia. I have used the electronic coolers based on the Peltier effect for a fishing trip to B.C. ( not prehistory but British Columbia ). They are not that powerful so freezing is not a problem. Needs a 12 volt DC supply either from lighter plug or an AC/DC adapter. If yo go this route make sure that you adapter can handle 240 volt AC as this is the most likely voltage everywhere except the USA and Canada. Maybe a well insulated cooler with a container for ice water ( make sure to use an ice/water mixture as pure ice could conceivably be colder than the freezing point). This would not have as much junk inside and be easier to clean out with a bleach solution ( about 100 parts per million chlorine) on occaision to avoid mold and bacterial growth. Whent to Spain where it was at 90 F on occaision. Hotel rooms ha a small fridge and tour bus had a cooler that the bus driver assured me would not freeze. I took this as true in spite of my poor Spanish and his not existant English, or French.

hi thanks for getting back in touch

the electronic cooler you have mentioned, what is peltier effect? is that the name of the device and i will look in to it

thanks again
Above are 2 sites I found very useful !!!
Have a great trip!!!
I have looked at many cases. There was an episode on Dlife (TV Show)about world travel and tips to keep in mind.
Also you may want to keep a list of where along your journey you can buy insulin. (just in case)
Also they recommend bringing twice as many supplies as the length of the trip.
Also as mentioned above do not come back without photos !!!

Dear Martyn. Yes it is the principle by which you can use electricity to move heat from cold to hot. Maybe a better idea is to get an unbreakable thermos bottle with a wide mouth which has very good thermal insulation or a flexible cooler that would have poorer insulation but they come with a strap and probably can be carried aboard the plane as carry on luggage. You can put a container like a nalgene wide mouthed bottle with some ice in the bag to keep the insulin cool. You can get ice on the plane and at most hotels and restaurants. . So you should be able to get thru security with the insulin only. Remember there is a total limit on the volume of liquid you can carry on board the plane. Possibly they will be merciful about the insulin. Important not to have your insulin stolen so having at least a good supply on you at all time is important. I ran out in Spain and was able to purchase some novorapid of exactly the same strenght in Barcelona without a prescription and with very poor spoken Spanish and no Catalan. In Canada too they will sell you insulin without a prescription in an emergency.

Well Martyn, you asked a very good question at the outset. People offered up some very good responses, and your follow up questions were not quite as good. That is, you seem to lack either common sense, problem-solving skill, or an ability to use a search engine like Google to answer even a basic question. (I’ll leave alone any inference on why your posts lack punctuation or capital letters.) That said, I worry about your ability to safely travel the world for any amount of time. Good luck keeping your insulin cool, dude.

thanks for your help…dude…extremely helpful…!!!

you could buy one insulin cooling box, i got one and think it’s very good: powered by household current ,automotive 12V power supply, 7.4V battery, its size is small and weight is no more than 0.5kg, adjustable temperature of 2-8 °C , intelligent temperature control
in generally , it’s very portable and convenient for taking and cooling, you can bought one from online store

Hi Martyn,

Just to be clear, are you going to be carrying a years supply of insulin around with you, or do you plan to have your prescription refilled as you go?