Camping with Chronic Illness + Tips & Tricks
Are you a nature lover? Do you also deal with chronic illness? Is camping even possible for us?
I love camping, but it’s no walk in the park when you deal with chronic illness. Camping already takes so much planning and making sure you have all the things you might need. When you are sick, it requires even more effort and planning so I decided to compile a list of some tips if you’re thinking of getting into some nature soon!
TIPS & TRICKS:
Pre-hydrate before your trip and continue the hydration throughout your adventure by drinking plenty of water and mixing in some sort of electrolyte packets in some of those water bottles. My favorites: Liquid IV, Banana Bag Oral Solution and Normalyte.
Bring extra medication (your daily meds + more than you think you’ll need in case you lose a couple pills or get stuck out there a little longer + emergency meds like Benadryl, Epipen if applicable and migraine rescue meds if that applies to you).
Pack a First Aid Kit - include some basics plus anything else you think you could need. (In mine: bandaids, antibiotic ointment, nausea bands, Dramamine, ibuprofen, and a brace in case I roll an ankle).
If heat, bright sun, and/or humidity are big triggers for you, wear a hat and good sunglasses and really, just avoid camping in the peak of the Summer months. I learned this the hard way this trip and dealt with heat exhaustion and a couple migraines throughout the week.
If you have POTS, bring your own salt to make sure you’re getting your sodium in! I brought my own mini salt grinder with Pink Himalyan salt to add to various things and in desperate times (which happened during my most recent trip) to pour right on my tongue with water.
Pack a cooler with snacks that you know your body reacts well to. It’s important to minimize reactions while you’re far from the comfort of your home and local hospital.
Spritz bottles!! This actually helps so much if it’s a hot and sunny day and you have to be outside. Keep your spray bottle in the cooler so it stays cold and then when you’re out, keep it on hand to give yourself a refreshing spritz to help your body keep cool. This is especially helpful for those of us with dysautonomia since our bodies struggle with temperature regulation.
Bring good sunblock with safe ingredients that your body tolerates. Protect your skin and don’t get burnt or you’ll be dealing with an added disadvantage.
Pitch your tent in a shaded spot. This allows for a cool place to come back to if you need to rest and lie down. This will not be possible in all campgrounds so make sure you are taking some time to stay out of the sun for a bit each day, especially during the peak hours.
Bring snacks, your meds, water, salt if applicable, and an electrolyte packet when you’re going for a hike. You don’t want to get caught out there without the necessary things, especially if you wind up taking a longer route than expected.
Pace yourself and take breaks as needed. This isn’t a race; this is your enjoyment.
Bring some sort of camping logbook or journal to record memories and things you want to remember about each campsite and place you went to. Helps for future planning and trips and will be fun to look back on. :)
Enjoy and soak in all the nature you can! It’s good for your soul!
I was recently a guest on The Invisible Diaries Podcast and we did an episode about just this. Listen to the episode on the podcast app (Season 2, Episode 7 on The Invisible Diaries Podcast) or watch/listen here.