Tips for Camping and Caravaning with a Stoma!
Whether you are Camping in a tent, Caravan or Campervan, being prepared is key for a relaxing, stress free trip! Here are my top tips for you to ease the worry and maximise the fun!
Travelling with a stoma can be daunting at the best of times but in a caravan/motorhome or tent, even more so, therefore as someone who enjoys nothing more than getting away from it all, I wanted to share my best tips to empower others to take the plunge!
Before you travel its always worth asking to be pitched near the faciliites if you don’t have your own on board, we have a campervan now so only have a porta potty whilst great for emergencies it can be clumsy to have out when we don’t pitch the toilet tent, therefore I can nip to the facilities in the night for my bag empty without stinking out the van! If we have to have it in the van we fix a temporary shower curtain around it for privacy and place in the door entrance area at night, I use Pelican mint deodoriser so it helps with odour, and this is a rare occasion we need it. I can use a bag if no loo is available, so much easier for me than those without a Stoma 😉.
Getting ready to go!
First is the all important packing, I always pack double supplies, one batch in a storage case, one in a drop down case for use in the shower / toilet cubicle. This covers spares for leaks, bad bag changes and if a case goes missing (trust me… I have been away camping only to discover my husband did not pick up my case as I thought he had, so we had an impromptu shopping trip for clothes, stoma
supplies would not of been so simple! Needless to say I always load my own bags now 😉�).
Second is to take various bag sizes if like me you have flare ups that cause the stoma to swell…
Next make sure you have extra clothes just in case and a supply of emergency medication to hand. If this all sounds a lot, trust me it can be compact with practice and gives total piece of mind!
So on route…
Plan your regular toilet stops, the more you plan the less you will need! Piece of mind has a strange effect on the bowels.
Carry a bag size emergency kit, I have one that sits just in my handbag and is perfect should I ever be caught out, after all I have so many supplies in the van already!
Never be afraid to use the disabled facilities for toilet and shower needs! Its what they are there for and they are far better equipped for us.
My change bag has 2 of everything and is in a drop down bag, I carry a handy rubber suction hook to attach to the mirror in the loo to allow me to have all I need to hand for a bag change. There isn’t always a surface to use so this really is invaluable.
I use puppy training mats cut into 4 as protection tucked into my lower clothes to shield against any splashes etc whilst changing and this also stops any escaping poop from contaminating the sink, after all you may need to brush you teeth in there later!
I use another suction hook to suspend my black rubbish bag to keep it close at hand.
Take a good portable mirror for the change so you can see what you are doing if the facility ones are too high up. I use a magnifying one to make getting the seal nice and close simple.
Disabled toilets tend to have a stool or chair which can help if you have mobility needs, also good for getting the towel ready!
To save me walking round with a wet bag post shower, I use 2 hair clips to hold it tucked in half, this stops water 0lling the back of the bag outer layer and makes it quicker to get dressed.
If you bag gets very wet and they don’t have a hair drier, I carry removable stoma covers, pop one on and it absorbs all the moisture to stop me walking out with a wet patch on my jeans.
Out and about…
Take a Radar key! So many facilities in towns and visitor attractions now operate a Radar key toilet facility so don’t be shy to use it. Failing that you can get cant wait cards from various charities although I have never needed it yet. If stuck in the woods, I have had to use a poop bag, embarrassing for some, damn convenient for me when I was housebound for so long through fear of soiling!
Use absorbency products if you have very high watery output when out and about for piece of mind as well as odour control. I use Independence strips or Diamonds by Convatec, they are great at soaking up watery stool and neutralising much of the pong, much needed of sharing facilities and a little shy about the stench we can make 😉
Last but by no means least! HAVE FUN! Embrace your stoma journey, I for one wouldn’t be here without it so travelling is a real treat and special pass time for me and my family.I
Please do ask me if you are unsure about travelling, I have been abroad and its slightly di&erent preparation as space is limited but its not to be feared either, there is just so much of the UK to enjoy and cherish, make the best of what you have. I hope this has given you at least one tip or the confidence to just do it, thank you for reading and please share your top tips to help me and others.