Safety tips when camping off grid
By Alison Crow, Diabetes Educator
Camping off grid is an
Aussie tradition. Enjoying the outdoors, barbeques and camping with
the family go hand in hand with summer holidays. But when camping
in the summer heat, it's a
good idea to consider medication storage for diabetes management,
and food safety to prevent food poisoning ruining your
The main considerations for food safety and diabetes while
- Having adequate clean water for drinking, cooking, cleaning and
- Storing food at an appropriate temperature
- Preventing food contamination
- Storage of diabetes supplies.
Having enough clean water while away on your holiday is a very
important factor. You will need clean water for drinking, food
preparation and cooking, utensil cleaning and hand washing. Ensure
that you have enough water that is of 'drinking water quality'. If
you have water that is not suitable for drinking then it may need
to be treated by boiling, chemical sterilization or filtering.
- Take food that you can safely store at room temperature. Choose
shelf stable food such as dehydrated, long life and canned
products, this will help reduce the need for cooling facilities.
Examples include canned meats, fruit and vegetables, long life or
powdered milk, nuts, dry pasta and rice, breakfast cereals,
crackers, breads, hard cheeses as well as fresh fruit and
vegetables (wash these well before use).
- If you take fresh food items use cooling facilities such as a
camping fridge that runs off gas, or a cooler with ice bricks to
help manage your food.
- Items that will perish without cooling facilities such as meats
and dairy are generally unsuitable, unless you have a camping
fridge. If you take raw meat make sure that you store it in a
leak-proof container so it cannot contaminate other foods. Always
store meat at the bottom of your fridge. Consider only cooking
enough meat for the meal and discarding leftovers to reduce the
risk of food poisoning.
- If you have perishable items, try and keep the cooling
temperature below five degrees.
- Organize items in your fridge or cooler to limit the need to
open it constantly, to keep the temperature of the contents more
stable. Consider having a separate drink cooler so that you aren't
opening the fridge constantly. Pack frozen water in the fridge or
cooler to help keep the temperature more stable and reduce the risk
of food spoilage.
Having adequate cooling facilities for insulin and non-insulin
injectables for the length of time you are away is important.
- Insulin that is opened can be left out of the fridge for 28
days (check with your brand of insulin for specific timeframes) and
must then be thrown out
- Open insulin must be kept below twenty-five degrees (check with
your brand of insulin for the exact temperature)
- Keep insulin out of heat and direct sunlight.
- Read the medication insert brochure to see how long the
medication can be stored out of the fridge as it will vary between
- Ensure that your medication does not come into contact with ice
and become frozen, as you will need to throw your medication out if
- Consider purchasing a digital fridge/freezer thermometer with a
temperature probe for about $25 from your local camping store.
These can be set to provide temperature alerts (via an alarm) if
the cooling temperature fluctuates outside of preset ranges.
Remember holidays are a time of change from your normal routine.
You might alter your eating habits, drink alcohol, eat more food
and change your activity levels. This can impact on your blood
So, enjoy time in the outdoors, plan your food, medications and
cooling appropriately and have a great time relaxing with family