An ostomy EDC (every day carry) kit is priceless if you’re faced with an emergency leak or bag change while out of your home. When I put together my 2014 EDC kit, I had a few extras in there that I thought I might need soon after surgery. In this post, I’ll give you a run down of my 2015 travel kit with tips on how to put together your own.
What is a travel kit and why bother with one?
Most people find that their ostomy appliance is fairy reliable, and they very rarely ever have leaks. However, shit happens, and it often happens when you least expect it, so an ostomy travel kit is a first aid kit of sorts for those situations. The idea is to keep at least one full appliance change when you’re out of the house, plus a few extras that make life as an ostomate a bit easier.
My travel bag
Not much has changed from last year, and I’m still using the Condor Multicam T&T pouch, which offers everything I need in a very compact and versatile system.
The main features that I love about this bag are:
- It’s light and compact, which means that it’s not a pain to take around.
- It’s got plenty of storage space to keep necessities with room to spare.
- I’m able to attach a water bottle to it, which is a nice thing to have, since ileostomates need to consume more water than other people.
- It gives me options to expand thanks to the Molle system. While I don’t use this feature at the moment, it will come in handy during the summer months where I may want to attach other accessories to it.
- It’s got a shoulder strap, which means I’m not carrying it in my hand or around my waist.
- It looks good! Ok, camo isn’t for everyone, but it does look good.
- It’s well made, which means I won’t have to replace it any time soon.
- It’s affordable. For a cheap bastard like myself, I had no problem spending around $50 for this bag, although you can find other similar bags for less.
- It’s easy to access all my supplies, and this bag also turns into a working space when hung up.
Most ladies are lucky in the sense that they can keep their supplies handy in their purse if they need to, but guys have a different problem. Fanny packs are a huge NOPE, and backpacks are too large for carrying supplies, so a small bag like this one offers a nice balance. After my surgery, I left the hospital with a travel kit from Coloplast, which I still use in my bathroom, but it’s not great for traveling since there’s no shoulder strap and it looks like a medical bag. If you’re looking for a similar bag to this, I’d suggest heading to an army surplus store, which is where I got mine. You could order a bag online, but I find that seeing them up close allows you to make sure that it’s the right size for you.
What’s in my current kit?
1. Moist Towelettes (in ZipLock) x 10 wipes.
2. “Kitchen catcher” bags x 2. These are really handy when changing your applinace, since you can hang them on your waistband and it’ll catch anything that falls! You can see this in action on my appliance change video.
3. Adhesive remover wipes x 4. These travel better and take up less space compared to adhesive remover sprays.
4. Ostomy pouch. If you can fit two, put two in your kit just in case.
5. Ostomy wafer. Same as above.
6. Hand wipes (sealed packs) x 4. These come in handy for more than just appliance changes.
7. Ostomy gelling product. I use the ConvaTec Diamonds in this kit; they are in a sealed plastic bag.
8. Gauze pads x 20 or so. I have both 4×4 and 2×2 pads in my kit, but the 2×2’s are a bit redundant.
9. Pen/marker to trace stoma. If you use a pre-cut wafer, this isn’t necessary.
10. Medical/safety scissors. You won’t need this if you’ve got a pre-cut wafer, but I’d still recommend keeping a pair to cut gauze, medical tape and other things.
11. Barrier ring x 1. I keep one in my kit because I use barrier rings, but if it’s not something you’d normally use, exclude it from your kit.
12. Water (approx. 30ml). A little water can go a long way, and even 30ml can be used to saturate many gauze pads to be used during an appliance change.
13. Folding compact mirror. Mine stands up on a flat surface, which means I don’t have to hold it during an appliance change.
14. Mini multi-tool. The one in this kit is the Swiss Army Classic SD.
15. Medical tape (film). I use the Opsite Flexifix film, which can be used as a wafer extender, to hold wound dressing in place or to temporarily patch up a torn pouch.
16. Pouch deodorant. I keep a sample-size bottle of pouch deodorant with me, which can come in handy if I’m visiting someones home.
17. Cotton swabs.
18. Resealable bags. To dispose of your used supplies.
19. Cell phone battery *. I no longer need this as my current phone doesn’t take extra batteries.
20. Stoma measuring guide. I measure my stoma with each appliance change, but if you use pre-cut wafers, you can skip this.
21. Keys. *
22. Electrolyte powder. You never know how your day will end up, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Along with this, I sometimes keep an energy bar in my bag too.
23. Wallet. *
24. Headphones. * My current favorites are the RHA T20’s, expensive, but sound absolutely incredible.
25. Business cards. *
** Extra stuff in my kit
Extras to consider
While my kit works well for my needs, you may want to consider packing the following items:
- Filter stickers. Whether to protect your pouch filter from getting wet, or to block off odor when your filter gets clogged, these are small and will easily fit in your kit.
- Wafer extenders.
- Some ostomates will carry a card for emergency room staff which details things they can do to help clear a blockage. The UOAA has a great one, which you’re able to downloaded and printed off in this link: OSTOMY blockage_card UOAA.
- If you are taking medication, it would be wise to include a card with all your prescriptions listed, along with your doctor’s contact information. Thanks Bertina for this tip!
- If you have a stoma nurse, having their contact information available will also be valuable in an emergency.
- A high-calorie snack (I like Clif bars) can come in handy if you’re feeling weak from being out too long. Get something that has a long expiry date or rotate this snack often.
- Disposable gloves. If you end up with a leak, you may not want to be touching things that have been soiled so carrying a pair of thin, disposable gloves can come in handy.
Keeping your emergency kit safe from weather extremes
Because I no longer take this kit with me while I’m at a store, I leave it in the car. This is a problem during the hot summer or freezing winter, so I keep my kit inside of an insulated lunch bag. This insulated bag will keep the contents of my emergency kit (especially wafers and barrier rings) from melting or freezing for several hours, which gives me plenty of time to do what I need to do without worrying about my supplies.
- Rotate your supplies regularly. Since a kit like this is meant to be used rarely, you might find some supplies expiring, drying out or becoming damaged after several months, so rotate the items in there so you always have fresh supplies ready to go when you need them.
- Be mindful of the type of supplies you’re packing in your kit; gelling tablets or capsules may break or melt, adhesive remover and barrier sprays may leak, “sticky” products like barrier rings or wafers can get stuck to stuff in your kit.
- If you’re a new ostomate or have had another surgery, you may want to keep extra wound care supplies in you EDC bag, like bandages or additional medical tape.
Question: Do you have a travel kit? What’s in yours?