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  1. #1
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    keeping insulin while touring

    How do you keep your insulin cool during a tour? have you tried the evaportive cooling pouches?

  2. #2
    Bike touring webrarian
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    I don't use insulin but I did carry a "cold" pouch on my recent trip from Portland to Jackson, Wy.

    It was a pouch of bubble pack with foil on the outside (like heating duct insulation) that I added some velcro to keep closed. For cooling, I put ice in a small baggie and then put that in a larger baggie as I didn't want it to leak water after it melted. I rode though some very hot weather and, for the most part, the pouch stayed cool all day.

    But, I was only keeping cheese and chocolate in the pouch and have no idea what the maximum pouch temperature was. Also, I wasn't particularly concerned about the pouch's contents so I didn't add ice to the pouch throughout the day.

    While it seemed to work, it was hard to keep the melt water from leaking out of the baggies and soaking everything in the pouch. Over time, the pouch took on an unpleasant odor, which may have been caused by the cheese that I was keeping there.

    It was pretty easy to get a baggie full of ice from restaurants for free. It would have been harder if I had a freezer pouch that needed to be refrozen each night.

    In the end, I discovered that the hassle of dealing with the pouch outweighed the usefulness of it. Unless there was some compelling reason (like insulin, say), I wouldn't take one with me again.

    I've also read about people who tour with small (6-pack sized) ice chests but have never used one myself.

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclist2000 View Post
    How do you keep your insulin cool during a tour?
    I don't. In the last 20 years, I can't remember refrigerating a single vial and I've never had a problem because of it. I generally just shove the insulin vials into the middle of whatever luggage I'm using. As long as the interior doesn't get boiling hot, it seems to be fine...

  4. #4
    Hills hurt.. Couches kill RacerOne's Avatar
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    I was thinking about this recently with an insulin pump, that insulin is stored outside on your body. No way to regulate the temperature there and it seems fine.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jcbryan's Avatar
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    I'm on a pump, and have had a couple of heat issues with insulin at hot temps. It appears that because of the exercise, my daily requirement drops pretty low. Thus I can get about 5 days out of a refill. BUT in the summer here in SW Oklahoma, this number drops to about 3 days. The bG's start to rise and I keep bumping my rates to get it corrected. The only fix is when I change the site and reload with "fresh" insulin. (I make a big assumption it's the heat.)
    I have a waterproof pump and old dampened sock, a cube of ice or two, and ziplock bag, seem to work for a ride. I place the pump in the sock, add ice and then as the ice melts, I open the bag to help the evaporation.
    I, too, keep my supplies buried in the panniers and they seem fine. I don't carry more than one extra unopened vail. I don't want to risk the heat getting both my opened and extra supply. I don't want to have to replace say six vails because of heat issues. Most places one can find a druggist to get new supplies.
    I am interested in seeing one of the Frio pouches, appear to be good if they do what they say they do .
    Hope this helps...

    Best, John

    Quote Originally Posted by RacerOne View Post
    I was thinking about this recently with an insulin pump, that insulin is stored outside on your body. No way to regulate the temperature there and it seems fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcbryan View Post
    I'm on a pump, and have had a couple of heat issues with insulin at hot temps. It appears that because of the exercise, my daily requirement drops pretty low. Thus I can get about 5 days out of a refill. BUT in the summer here in SW Oklahoma, this number drops to about 3 days. The bG's start to rise and I keep bumping my rates to get it corrected. The only fix is when I change the site and reload with "fresh" insulin. (I make a big assumption it's the heat.)
    It seems strange that changing your infusion site would be required to fix a problem that you believe is related to the insulin itself... Unless you can see visible contamination (haziness, cloudiness, particulates) of the insulin in the reservoir, it should be fine. At least that's what I've always been told...

  7. #7
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses. I have a frio for when I went on a non-biking tour in europe and hawaii, and it works fine but I was wondering about experiences for loaded touring.

    As for the experience with the Frio it keeps the inside of the pouch about 30 degrees cooler than outside temperature. But it works based on evaporation and need to be exposed to the air to work, the pouch is always damp and gets any adjacent items damp. Since it works on evaporation it cannot be kept in a plastic bag. The best part is that is works with water and can be recharged in any source of water. I assume that I can use it on a loaded tour but I wasn't sure where and how to keep it so the evaporation will work. I think that a mesh pocket on the pannier would be the best place to keep a frio but my panniers don't have that type of pocket. Or if Ortlieb make a mesh pocket at the front of the handlebar bag heading into the wind would help the evaporation.

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    Don't carry insulin, but I do like to have cold water to drink on hot days. I carry just the bladder from a Camelback and keep it in my handlebar bag. I find that if I stop at a fast food or convenience store in the morning and fill the bladder with ice from their soda machine it stays cold all day long. Anything else kept in the handlebar bag also stays cold (handy for meats and other things that should be refrigerated if possible).

  9. #9
    Senior Member jcbryan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    It seems strange that changing your infusion site would be required to fix a problem that you believe is related to the insulin itself... Unless you can see visible contamination (haziness, cloudiness, particulates) of the insulin in the reservoir, it should be fine. At least that's what I've always been told...
    The problem being with the insulin in the pump itself, I just change the whole set. Never had a issue with the vial, that I know of. Pump in my back jersey pocket at 100 degrees for 4 hours get really warm. Just my experience.
    Hope this helps...
    Best, John

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcbryan View Post
    The problem being with the insulin in the pump itself, I just change the whole set. Never had a issue with the vial, that I know of. Pump in my back jersey pocket at 100 degrees for 4 hours get really warm. Just my experience.
    I try to keep my pump out of the sun as much as possible. When riding, I generally have the pump clipped to my shorts underneath my jersey. I can still get to it when necessary, but it's less exposed than it would be in a jersey pocket...

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    My wife is Type 1 diabetic for the last 25 years

    We have traveled the world over the last couple of decades, including cycle touring.
    We have used a number of solutions

    In winter climates the 'bury in the middle of the pannier' method works OK.

    The cold pouches which work by water evaporation seem to work pretty well for temperate climates.

    For hot countries,the answer is a thermos flask.but you need to get one with a wide mouth (often a kids one)

  12. #12
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    I just stick my insulin in a pannier and don't worry about it much.I don't refrigerate it at home so I don't figure a need to keep it cool while touring.
    Let me correct myself a little,if I get more than a 30 day supply I do refrigerate that,but to my knowledge insulin should last up to 30 days without needing to keep cool.Of course I do take precuations to keep it out of the sunlight or in very hot temperatures.

  13. #13
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    I agree that the insulin should be able to kept without refrigeration for 30 days as long as it is kept below 87 degrees (I think that this for Lantus) and above freezing (my wife the pharmacist agrees). I don't use a pump but I would think that keeping a pump under the jersey would warm the insulin to body temperature, greater than the recommended temp.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclist2000 View Post
    I don't use a pump but I would think that keeping a pump under the jersey would warm the insulin to body temperature, greater than the recommended temp.
    As a 20-year insulin pump user, I think you would be wrong.

    Here's why: the pump doesn't actually touch your skin. Mine uses a pager-style clip and is attached to my shorts. So, at a minimum, there's a layer of Lycra and the plastic clip separating the the pump from my body. In addition, the insulin is stored in plastic reservoir, which is then inserted in the pump; there ends up being quite a bit of plastic and air around the insulin. Air, as I'm sure you're aware, is a very good insulator. Finally, realize that the surface temperature of your body is not the same as the 98.6-degree internal temperature. My Raytek infrared temperature *** says that my skin temperature is currently 89-degrees Fahrenheit, for example.

    All the jersey does is keep the sun off the pump case a bit better than when the pump is in a pocket...

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