One universal truth about living with diabetes is that you’ll need to carry around a lot of gear – a glucose meter with lancing device and test strips, medications, low-blood sugar treatments and more, with backups for everything when you travel.
Women with diabetes often joke that their days of cute little party purses are over. And men with diabetes often complain that there aren’t enough options for male-friendly diabetes gear bags.
If you take
insulin, there’s also the issue of keeping that sensitive drug safe and
temperature-controlled (cool enough not to overheat but also never freezing).
What to do for tote bags and travel-case options?
Over the years, DiabetesMine has looked at an array of carry bags and insulin coolers that help solve these issues (in alphabetical order):
aDorn makes a collection of fashionable handbags, clutch cases and even an over-the-shoulder messenger bag designed specifically to carry diabetes supplies. Special zipper compartments with mesh pockets and elastic grips make it easy to store glucose test strips, syringes, fast-acting glucose and more. In this review, we look at the Elite clutch case in bright patterns.
Founded by the aunt of a type 1, Bella Soul has a line of both classy patent leather evening bags and embroidered shoulder bags that have built-in pockets for your diabetes supplies. Their mission? "To support diabetes management without compromising style and femininity."
These are soft-sided “organizer bags” designed to be sturdier than competitors. They use industrial-quality zippers and a high thread count fabric that's heavier-gauge and extremely durable. ChillMED bags also compliment the popular FRIO Cooling Wallet (see below), with a mesh pocket on the outside allowing the wallet to breathe, for best temperature control.
FRIO cooling wallet
The leading cool pack option among the diabetes community, FRIO wallets are soft cases that you simply soak in cool water for about five minutes, and the specialized gel inside becomes enlarged and forms a perfect temperature barrier for the contents of the case. They don't require any refrigeration, and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors for everything from insulin vials and pens to a special cover case for an insulin pump.
The ClimaPak is a small, battery-powered device that continuously monitors the environment to keep your insulin at the proper temperature. It's a snazzy little contraption that holds two insulin pens, two insulin bottles, or one of each. Only downside is that it’s clunky to pack for travel.
Myabetic offers a full line of "stylish and functional diabetes supply cases,” including custom-made cases for the Tandem t:slim insulin pump and Dexcom G4 CGM, stylish ladies’ tote purses, and kids’ bags shaped like a heart and a sports locker for boys and girls with diabetes.
PAK BARA cases are compact enough to be worn on an arm or waistband, but large and flexible enough to hold the essentials for diabetes. They weren’t designed specifically for diabetes, but the founders soon realized the bags could be adapted to hold insulin pumps, glucose meters, glucose tabs, and another medical supplies. For the gentleman, these are a good alternative to a “man purse.”
Pump Wear’s featured products are Pump Paks, which are like fanny packs designed specifically to fit an insulin pump. They also offer pump arm bands, special pump pockets to be worn under clothing, insulated pen sleeves, and an array of other totes, pouches, travel cases and emergency kits for diabetes supplies.
Pharma company Sanofi designed its own diabetes carrying case in 2013. It looks like an insulated lunch sack with two mesh side pouches for water bottles and the like, and a zippered back compartment that contains a classic diabetes organizer bag. We found it sturdy but somewhat bulky.
This new small company based in France offers compact medical supply cases with interchangeable designs. They’re made from thermoformed foam, and you can choose from 14 different covers, including 7 made especially for children.
Sugar Medical Supply
“Hip, sophisticated diabetic supply bags” with a proprietary Universal Fit System guaranteed to hold ANY sized blood glucose meter securely inside the case. You can also view your results through a clear vinyl strap, so there’s no need to remove your glucose meter from the case each time you test.
Unique cases for insulin pumps, CGMs and other diabetes supplies created by a small family business. The pump and CGM holders feature a pliable clear vinyl window for easy viewing of commands and results. Especially popular is the Tallygear Dexcom G4 case that comes in soft fabric and hard-cover options.