My research and where it took me…
Consider this part 1 of 2, with the second part being a review of my final product choice.
Traveling with diabetic supplies is tricky and when you extend it past a month, as we’ll be doing in our upcoming visit to Mexico, it gets even trickier.
Insulin should be kept at 36-46°F (2-8°C for my sane, non-American readers). If insulin gets above that temperature, it will start to degrade after about 28 days. When you’re counting your carbs during meals, not being sure of your pen or vial’s potency could be dangerous.
Interested in learning more about Insulin? Check out this post.
Luckily, where there’s a need, there’s a market…
I started my research like most people – Google. I started with some broad queries before narrowing down my results.
Initially, I was met with insulated bags, biofreeze gel packs, and individual pen caps. These all seemed like solid choices for keeping your insulin from getting too warm when you were out and about on a hot day; however, I needed something different. Being away from home for a couple months, I would eventually need to swap out empty pens for new ones and I had to keep the on-deck supply refrigerated until then.
Sidenote: I have a Frio Duo Wallet that keeps my insulin from getting too warm on a hot day, but it doesn’t keep the pens at the necessary fridge temperature.
That’s when I found products called (conveniently) portable medical fridges. I didn’t want to risk my back up insulin from getting above fridge temperature, so I figured this would be the route to go.
I changed my search to “best travel insulin coolers” and was met by a plethora of review sites that all listed many of the same products I saw before. When I found some that were relevant, they looked like actual mini fridges that could fit soda cans and could be plugged into a car outlet. This wouldn’t work, I’m trying to fit it in a carry-on, not an SUV.
One product seemed to pop up often that fit most of the checkmarks – the Cooler & Portable Medical Fridge from 4AllFamily.
I watched the video on their site on how it works and a few helpful YouTube reviews. It seemed like it would do the trick. It offers biogel freeze pack and a USB cooling lid. If plugged into a power source, it could offer continuous fridge temperatures.
The product seemed like a winner and I was ready to purchase, but I wanted to explore all of my options. The price tag for this fridge is $199.99, so it was worth my time to do a little more searching.
4AllFamily also sells a 72 hour travel cooler that uses a biogel freeze pack and USB-powered cooler top for $139.99. From what I can tell, the big difference is the more expensive, flagship model includes a visible temperature display on the lid and self-regulates the temperature. If it gets too hot, the cooler turns on; if it gets too cold, it turns off.
I just need it to keep the insulin fridge cold long enough to get to our next accommodation. During our search for Airbnbs, we made sure to include kitchens/fridges in the requirements.
According to the manufacturer, the 72-hour insulin cooler can keep the inside between 36-46°F for 33 hours with just the biogel pack and up to 52 hours with the biogel and USB cooling lid combined. The 72-hour title is in reference to the product not getting too hot; not how long it can keep it fridge temperature.
I scoured the internet for an alternative, but this definitely seemed like the winning product. I placed the order on a Wednesday evening at 10:30pm and received my delivery that Friday morning. If you need solution quickly, this definitely checks that box.
Stay tuned for my complete review once I get to put it through an adventure…
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