Diabetes and Camping
Camping is a fun-filled adventure that is a traditional pastime for the whole family, and diabetes should not hinder this outdoor/remote vacation, that will be fondly remembered for years.
Some diabetics may forfeit this type of vacation, because cellular phone reception may be limited, and the nearest hospital maybe a 30 to 40 minute drive away. But, with a little extra pre-planning, having medical assistance nearby should not become a concern. First of all, you should locate the campsite “host”. The host family is a family that stays on-site the entire camping season. They are not only available to answer questions about the campsite and the surrounding area, but they often have a satellite phone and mobile home. In addition to the campsite host, it is also recommended that you locate the nearest ranger station. Rangers can be found patrolling campgrounds, to ensure that nature is being respected, everyone is having a good time and to assist you, if a crisis may occur.
One of the biggest challenges that is faced when camping with diabetics (especially during the summer months) is keeping insulin sufficiently cool. Some pop-up campers have a refrigerator, but if you are “roughing” it in a tent, then you may need to invest in a specialized cooling pouch. If you choose to use an ice-filled chest, do not place insulin directly on ice, without first putting it in a clean plastic container, and then sealing the whole thing in a secure zip-lock bag.
When a diabetic travels away from home for an extended period of time, it is advised to always take at least double the amount of medical supplies that are normally required.
Besides taking a buddy when venturing from the base camp (or at the very least tell someone where you are headed) take prepared and prepackaged healthy snacks (such as fresh fruit, portable peanut butter, juice boxes and extra water), as well as other means to raise blood glucose levels immediately, when you go on bike rides or hikes.
When on a boat/canoe, all diabetes supplies should be kept in a waterproof box. All these supplies should be “extra”, in case they are lost the bottom of the lake or damaged in some other way.
Roasting marshmallows over an open flame is an experience that every child and adult should experience, but it is important to know that one marshmallow is 6 carbohydrates, and the eating plan for the day should account for this treat.