Rafting/Camping Trip

Hi everybody,

I'm going on a trip to a river in Oregon in a few weeks. We will be rafting and camping out by the river for 3 days. We will be having meals, but I'm more concerned with snacks and preventing lows. I'm thinking of bringing a fanny pack and ziploc bags with plenty of trail mix, glucose tablets, and granola bars, probably a couple juice boxes. Has anyone done a hike or camping trip like this and what advice would you give me? Should I reduce my basal 1 or 2 u (I'm on MDI) just for the three days of the trip, just in case?

Hey Alan,

I have two recommendations that worked for me on my recent surfing trip on the BC coast.

  1. CORN STARCH - before bed, mix up a cup of 10 (yes ten!) tablespoons (yes tablespoons!) of raw corn starch power with a cold juice or milk product. My morning reading were right in the range every morning in the tent. I preferred mixing with chocolate milk (the amount that fits in a tetra-pak). I read this hint in a book for diabetics. It is a slow release food that helps prevent lows
  2. SUNCHOKES - also known as Jeruselum Artichoke, which is a root that produces a natural plant insulin! I use it instead of potatoes, good as hashbrowns or as a cracker, depends what you prefer. I eat them raw, baked, fried, etc...

I wish I had more tips, I look forward to what other hints are out there on this topic.


What you originally suggested sounds good.  It is what I used on tour bike trips, and it worked pretty good.  You are right about needing to adjust your insulin.  Unfortunately, I can't suggest the exact amount or magic.  I can say that on one hiking trip, I tested my sugar at the start of the trail and it was 140, and in less than 25 minutes of hiking in I dropped to 70.  You will need to watch and test to get a feel for how you are doing.  You might even be able to get away with suspending the basal for an hour here and there if you think you will be pushing it.  The only other thing I can say is that on occasion I think what I am about to do is going to be dropping me to extreme lows, so I scarf stuff down, but the energy I use ends up not being significant and I end up getting really high.

What are you doing for maintaining your insulin supplies at a good temperature?  Did you get any of those fancy cooling packs designed for insulin? 


Everybody responds a little differently to stuff like this. I have found that reducing my basal insulin doesn't work for me. It's tricky to change that, plus the amount you take for food, and trying to balance being considerably more active than normal. I do bloodtests frequently and maybe reduce my carb to insulin ratio a little to be safe. I have found that the first day I need to eat more/take less insulin, but after that I seem to adjust to the new conditions and I take insulin almost the same as my "every day" life. Personally, I'd rather go a little low and have to eat a granola bar than be high and then try to figure out how much insulin to take to bring me down without going really low. I've learned that if I trip over a root twice within a 10 minute period, it's time for a snack. But it has taken me multiple hiking/camping trips to figure out what works for me. I originally started out reducing my basal and made alterations each trip after till I found what works best. Good luck and have fun!

Could you put in a quick call to your endocrinologist?  Mine always gives me a little help with setting up temporary basals based on increased activity I'd be doing on a trip like this.  You might even need to reduce your insulin to carb ratio if you're going to be really working hard.  Definitely pack extra test strips and test like there's no tomorrow.  The last thing you want is for a nasty low to sneak up on you.  the foods you're planning on bringing sound pretty good.  I would just add this: I haven't done a whole lot of hiking, but I do a fair amount of long-distance cycling and I like the GU packets that you can buy.  They're easy to carry and easy to get down when you need a quick burst of sugar.  I just make sure to keep a sandwich-sized ziploc bag in my pocket for the trash (the wrappers are very sticky after you eat them).  I've also found that when I have really persistent lows during bike rides, nothing works quite like a regular coke to get the blood sugar and my energy level up.  So I'd probably throw one or two of the 1L bottles in may bag/cooler. 

Have a fun trip!!!

If you are doing serious hiking the elevation gain may affect your blood sugar.  I know when I get to about 10,000 feet I start to run high and have to give more insulin even with all the hiking to get there.    

Whenever I went camping with my family I would ride my bike all the time and to keep my sugars ok I would turn down my basal  for the day and turn it back up before bed. Although, now a lot of times after a lot of exercise I'll go low in the middle of the night. Hope it works out and have a great time!