Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ostomy Gear for BackPacking

Hiking and Trekking can take us to some spectacular places, explore our planet, connect with the natural world, and engage interesting people and cultures.  But BackPacking is hard work. 
BackPacking can be tough on ostomates
BackPacking means we carry the gear we need for the duration of the trip (maybe a day, a week, or a month). I keep pack-weight to an absolute minimum, knowing enjoyment is inversely proportional to the weight of my pack. BackPacking for DayHikes means small loads of about 15 pounds.  Trekking requires all the gear needed to be self-contained, and packs can be 40 pounds. 

West Coast Trail - Canada

Mount Everest BaseCamp - Nepal

The most efficient way to carry a pack all day long, is by relying on the HipBelt to move the weight from shoulders to hips. 

Great idea, but the HipBelt rides directly on my stoma, and can peel the flange.  


     My experience adapting
Stoma Cup
Spandex Shorts

So ... I use a Stoma Cup to protect my stoma,
and prevent rubbing that could peel the flange. 

Then I keep it all together and avoid
‘the pendulum swing’ with spandex shorts.

But the compression, and pressure, and rubbing by the HipBelt was still uncomfortable and a flange-peeling-risk.  So I custom-built a StomaGuard to keep a gap between the HipBelt and my stoma.  It’s a piece of aluminum bar, bent to follow the shape of my abdomen, with a bump-out to avoid my stoma.  Pressure from the pack weight and tightening the belt, is spread over my abs, but leaves a gap over my stoma. 

StomaGuard Top-View

Custom-Built StomaGuard

StomaGuard with 'bump-out' to prevent stoma-rubs
I have been BackPacking for over 60 days
Never had any damage to my stoma. 
Never had a leak or explosion.
Never had an ostomy-related problem. 
Never missed an opportunity for a BackPacking trip.

Yes we can.  Ostomates can go Hiking, BackPacking, and Trekking

1 comment:

  1. Nice!

    I have a stoma as well, due to a recent battle with rectal cancer, and now that I'm looking to return to some longer backpacking trips after finally having regained my health, I was wondering how to deal with the stoma-hip belt issue.

    I had envisioned this same solution in my mind a while back, and it is great to see that someone has actually implemented it and that it works. I irrigate, and have been hoping to keep doing that while I backpack, to avoid not having to worry about flanges peeling off, or there being leaks, etc. But, I don't know how practical to irrigate daily when you're out backpacking for days on end. So, now I know there's a working solution out there.

    Great solution! Thanks for sharing.