Tips for Camping as a T1D

I haven’t gone camping since my Type 1 diagnosis. I’m currently on MDI using a pen. Next weekend we are going to attempt a camping trip. Does anyone have any tips or advice for camping as a T1D beyond taking all my diabetes ■■■■ with me?

pack all of your diabetes supplies 1st, including a box of pen needles, alcohol swabs, extra cartridges, basal insulin, extra over patch tape if you use it, an extra cgm sensor if you use one, glucometer, test strips, snacks for lows, etc,…and put it in The trunk of the car you are leaving in…the pens don’t need to be refrigerated, but will only last about 60 days if you don’t keep them refrigerated… at any rate, I’ve found its safer not to worry about refrigeration and more important to pack up the insulin 1st…have fun

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You know it’s funny, I backpacked the Appalachian Trail right out if highschool in '99 with little more concern than packing my extra insulin inside my sleeping bag, and switched to the pre-mixed 70/30 R and NPH mix for simplicity sake. I just assumed medical supplies would be easy to restock when I passed through a town. And for the most part, they were. I did have my parents start putting syringes in my mail drops, though. But that was mostly because I didn’t want to carry a whole boxes worth at a time. I worried so much less about stuff back then. I hardly ever tested my sugar. I bet a single vial of test strips lasted me the whole 4 months I was out there. I didn’t actually get to finish in one shot, though. I couldn’t start til the summer, and then it got too cold to continue.

The one big thing I learned is to have way more food than you’ll ever think you need. If you’re going into a higher altitude than you’re used to, you’ll probably go high thanks to the attitude sickness and dehydration, then battle constant hypos because your heart will beat faster in the lower oxygen content air. Even if you’re not straying in altitude, just the stress of knowing you’re remote in case of an emergency can wreak it’s own havoc.

Just pack plenty of extra supplies and enjoy yourself, and you shouldn’t have any problems.

Nowadays, it’s a very different story for me. I tend to “glamp” more than camp. As in, the car stuffed with comforts more than backwoods essentials. Since we have an electric car, I usually look for campsites with electricity… So I pack my instant pot for cooking and an electric blanket! Hey, I’m getting old. :grinning:

All my D-supplies go into a dollar store shoebox sized storage container it’s plenty big enough for spare supplies, prescriptions, and even my husband’s inhalers. Unlike the previous post, though, that box is the last thing that goes in the car. I want it on top and always easily accessible. It sits on the front table with my glasses, cell phone, water bottle, and purse… And that whole pile goes with me on the final trip to the car. There’s just no way I’d forget all of those essentials. So if they’re all together, it’s a foolproof plan for me.

Also, make sure you have a sharps disposal container. Even if it’s just a beach bottle or coffee can. You don’t know the regulations of everywhere you’re going, so your best bet is to just secure everything and dispose of it as usual back home.

I would also strongly suggest making a checklist, and taking it with you for the repacking, too. It’s a good way to make sure things don’t get left behind. It sounds like you don’t have much recent camping experience, so it might also suggest things you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of, like duct tape, paracord, spare flashlight batteries, or even toilet paper.

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You did not say what type of camping you are going to enjoy. Will you be hiking and using a tent? Will you be in a small pop-up or a larger camper? Will you have access to electricity? I have never NOT been diabetic when I have camped, and I have done it all from a tent to a 32 foot fifth wheel trailer with TV, queen bed, and refrigerator. The advice you have received about supplies is great. I agree with Robyn-H that you should maybe pack your D supplies first, but put it in the car last so that you have it handy. My added advice is that you BE AWARE of what you are doing and how you are feeling. When I hike, I KNOW I will go low, so I carb up before I start and have plenty of glucose (Tabs or Skittles) with me. Check sugars often through a meter or a CGM and catch yourself before diabetes ruins a good time. Keep hydrated! Water and/or fruit juice on a hike helps. You know how your body reacts, so just be self-aware. You will be fine. The fresh air is great, the exercise is good, and we all need the serenity that camping can provide. Have fun!

Pack spares for everything, and don’t keep them together.

Like if they are in two backpacks, if one gets lost/stolen/washed away in the river or whatever, you have spares in a different place.

Lots of small packs of glucose gels. Glucose tabs are not waterproof. If they fall in the water or get wet, that really sucks.

But these are waterproof:

Thanks for all of the great advice! I will be tent camping, but not hiking in. I will definitely pack extra snacks.

Take Bear spray :bear:

Only thing I will add is bring hand wipes, soap etc to keep your hands clean. Some of the car camping places I have encountered are pretty gross. I am not a germaphobe at all but have always washed/sanitized my hands after going anywhere near one of those campground outhouses or bathrooms.

Early in my career as a T1D … I’m guessing 1976 … I went backpacking in the Little Yosemite Valley (above Vernal and Nevada falls above Yosemite Valley).

The common recommendation was to tie ALL your food in a sack between two trees and bang pots and pans if a bear shows up.

Turns out, bears in Yosemite have merit badges in knot UNtying and like the sound of banging pots as they calmly eat EVERYTHING in your sack (including stick deoderant).

The next morning, with no food … fortunately I had a roll of 10 glucose tabs … I shot no insulin and was able to make it downhill the few miles to the valley and food. By BG when I got to the bottom? No clue … One Touch hadn’t begun to sell the first BGM.

The lesson? Try not to have all your supplies in one place … but don’t keep food in your tent in bear country.

Have fun!



Get a waterproof bag/box for your blood sugar machine and strips and phone.

Bring plenty of snacks.

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Have a good time. We are retired and like to travel. I have a “triplist” on my computer. I print it out before a trip. It has everything We might need on it. It stops me from lying awake the night before wondering what I forgot. I also have a sheet of paper with insulin written on it. I tape it to our exit door. My biggest fear is forgetting my insulin. Let us know how it goes.