5 Tips for Camping and Enjoying the Outdoors with Diabetes
The summer months are a great time to get outside and explore what nature has to offer. When you have diabetes, it’s a good idea to plan your camping trip with a little extra consideration to make sure you’re prepared while you hike, camp, and enjoy the outdoors.
1) Remember to pack sources of glucose with you in case your blood sugar gets low
Outdoor fun often means more activity than you might be used to, and that can be a recipe for low blood sugar. It’s important that you pack snacks with you when you engage in your outdoor activities, such as glucose tablets, juices, whole grain crackers, dried fruit, and nuts. If you are hiking or camping in an area where wild animals might come across your food, keep your food items in airtight containers so you avoid uninvited guests of the furry variety.
2) Monitor your blood sugar levels carefully, especially while you are active
Hiking, biking, canoeing, and other outdoor activities can lower your blood sugar levels, and spending a long time in the car to get to your campsite can substantially raise your blood sugar. Under these conditions, it’s important that you monitor your blood sugar levels carefully. Insulin pumps can be very handy when camping, as some models have features that are incredibly useful tools for diabetes management. For example, with the modern Tandem t:slim insulin pump, you can see the insulin you have remaining on board directly on the lock screen, making it easy to tell when you might need to return to base camp.
3) Ensure you keep your supplies at the proper temperature
Camping and hiking can present a challenge to keeping food and beverages at the proper temperature, but don’t forget that your insulin and other diabetic supplies need to be kept cool as well. Insulin will spoil if it isn’t kept at the right temperature, making it unsafe to use. To avoid this, keep your insulin in a well-insulated container such as a cooler, and out of direct sunlight.
4) Make sure you will be able to keep your electronic devices charged
In case you have an emergency and need to get help, it’s essential that you keep your important electronic devices charged, including such things as your cell phone and your BG meter. If you will be staying near your vehicle, consider investing in an accessory that supplies USB ports for charging your devices from the 12 Volt receptacle built into your vehicle’s center console. If you will be venturing farther afield, consider purchasing a solar-powered battery pack or a camp stove that features USB ports.
5) Ensure that you know how to get medical help should you have a medical emergency
Some of your outdoor adventures might take you to far-flung places where cellphone reception is spotty or totally nonexistent. When you choose to enjoy the outdoors in locations like these, it is important that you know how to get help in an emergency. Find out where the nearest ranger station is located, and make sure you will know how to get to it if you have a diabetic emergency. Alerting the ranger station that you have diabetes and informing the ranger of where you intend to be and when you expect you will be back is also a good idea.