Every insulin-dependent diabetic needs a good insulin cooler. Insulin is a temperature-sensitive medicine that needs to be protected from the heat at all times. Remember that your in-use insulin should never be exposed to temperatures over 25°C / 77°F.
Frio insulin cooling cases are the #2 best insulin coolers in 2021. Like thousands of Type 1 diabetics, I’ve personally been using these insulin cooling pouches for years. The following is an in-depth Frio products review. Freely navigate, click and jump on the main menu’s links.
If you buy on Frio’s USA website, you get a 10% discount on your purchase using the following discount code:
Frio insulin cooling cases protect temperature-sensitive medications like insulin and eye drops against high heat. They are basic yet efficient fabric-made pouches with an innovative patented cooling system requiring no ice packs or electricity.
Frio cooling wallets employ a patented technology that uses water evaporation to keep insulin and other medicines safe below the threshold temperature level of 25°C / 77°F for up to two days when the outside temperature is at 38°C / 100°F. When activated with water, the crystals contained in the Frio bag expand into a gel capable of remaining cool for several days. The cooling process relies on the evaporation of the water contained in the crystals.
All you need to activate your Frio cooling pouch is cold water. Whatever the Frio wallet model or size you choose, the package includes an inner wallet and an outer cover. The inner wallet is the one containing the crystals.
The instructions are pretty straightforward. Immerse the inner wallet into cold water and soak for 8-10 minutes. Towel dry and leave it for about 5 minutes so the crystals have time to absorb any excess water. When your inner wallet is semi-dry to the touch, place it in its outer cover. Add your medication inside. That’s it!
Here’s a video from Frio UK that best shows you how to activate your Frio bag:
Frio insulin pouches are all reusable. If you need to use your Frio wallet for more than 45 hours – or found that the inside temperature is above 25°C / 77°F before that time (which should not happen if you followed the instruction correctly), you can immediately reuse it by simply reactivating the crystals.
To continuously use your Frio pouch, simply re-immerse its inner wallet into cold water. This for about 2-4 minutes only, as the crystals are still partially activated. Towel dry and leave it to dry off for about 5 minutes. Put it back into the outer cover along with your insulin, eye drops bottle or other medicine.
Frio wallets are most commonly used by type 1 and type 2 diabetics to keep their insulin cool. But they’re also suitable to keep the following temperature-sensitive medicines cool while traveling:
Frio wallets are suitable for the cooling of the following temperature-sensitive diabetes medication (other than insulin):
Be aware that Frio bags are not meant to keep your medicine as cold as fridge temperature. They protect your medication from the high heat and keep it cool at room temperature below 25°C / 77°F for 45 hours. If you use medication that needs to be stored at fridge temperature while traveling, something like 4AllFamily cooler would be more suited.
In any case, always ask for your GP or pharmacist’s advice before traveling with medications that need to be refrigerated.
Frio cooling pouches are a best seller in the insulin cooling bags category. That does not necessarily mean they suit everybody’s needs. Every one of us living with diabetes has his/her own habits and requirements. It’s essential you choose an insulin cooler that fits your own expectations and lifestyle.
I’ve personally found my own perfect cooling combo: Frio bags + 4AllFamily insulin cooler. Using these two different coolers while traveling with insulin allows me to both keep my in-use insulin pens at room temperature and my stock of unopened insulin at fridge temperature.
I have listed below all the pros and cons I could find to the use of Frio bags. I hope this helps you make a smart decision.
Frio’s insulin cooling cases’ very best feature is that you do not need electricity nor ice to use them. They work on the principle of water evaporation, and all you need to keep your insulin cool is cold water! As you can find water absolutely everywhere in the World, Frio bags are incredibly versatile. You can use them in all kinds of travel and outdoor situation.
They offer much more convenience and freedom than other insulin cooling cases requiring ice packs and access to a freezer at least every 48 hours.
Frio’s patented cooling technology is among the most performant ones. It guarantees to keep your in-use insulin cool within the safe temperature range of 18-26°C / 64.4-78.8°F) for up to 45 hours when the outside temperature is 38°C / 100°F.
It’s more than 5 times longer than what regular ice packs can do. Frio bags have been independently tested and are FDA-approved (USA Food and Drug Administration).
Frio insulin travel bags are among the cheapest insulin coolers. The price starts at $22.95 for the mini wallet. The most expensive Frio bags costs $49.95, and it’s the large Lifestyle collection one, which is both stylish and has a great storage capacity.
They’re quality products that you’ll keep for years of daily usage. Frio wallets have 87% 5-4 stars reviews from more than 1350 Amazon customers for a global rate of 4.5/5.
I don’t know how many times I’ve used my Frio pouch already. I’ve had it for 4 years, and it wouldn’t be less than 100 uses! It surprisingly still looks (almost) new. The product is top-quality, durable, green, and (very) long-lasting.
If you reactivate your Frio cooling bag as soon as it starts losing efficiency, every 45 hours or so, it will keep your insulin cool for as long as you need.
All Frio insulin cooling cases are TSA-approved for airplane travels. It means you can pass through airport security checks with your Frio bag.
When flying with diabetes, you should always keep your insulin supplies in your carry-on with you on the plane. Do not leave it in the hold. The hazardous temperature and atmosphere conditions could damage your insulin.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, compact insulin cooler, this is your best choice! Frio bags weigh only around 50 grams. The individual and duo ones are very compact and can even fit in your pocket.
Frio pouches’ excellent insulation properties have also proven to protect insulin from freezing in extremely cold temperatures. Insulin that has frozen is not usable anymore. It has lost its properties and efficiency.
If you’re traveling with insulin to very cold destinations where the outside temperature is constantly below 0°C / 32°F, you need to protect your insulin from the cold. Put it into a Frio bag that you keep close to your body warmth in an interior pocket.
All Frio cooling cases come with a manufacturer’s 12-months guarantee. If you experience any problem with your Frio bag, reach out to their customer service. It’s fast and very helpful.
Frio has translated its user manual into 9 different languages: Arabic, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hindi, Portuguese and Spanish. It’s pretty valuable for those of us who are not native English speakers.
The main con of using Frio insulin cooling cases is that they cannot keep your insulin at fridge temperature. They’re not suitable for the backup unopened insulin you’re traveling with. If you need an insulin cooler that keeps your stocks of insulin at fridge temperature, you’ll have to invest a bit more money. Such high-performance insulin cooling cases like 4AllFamily usually work on power.
If you’re using insulin vials instead of insulin pens, you’re probably worried they’ll shatter in case you drop them. 7 out of 10 people with diabetes admit they’ve already broken an insulin vial before.
Unfortunately, Frio bags are not protective enough and won’t prevent your vials from breaking in case they fall. But they’re compatible with insulin vial protectors. Simply add a protective sleeve to your insulin vials before placing them inside your Frio.
Frio bags are simply designed and do not have any interior straps nor pockets to organize your diabetes supplies. I would have liked to have at least an inside pocket to keep my needles in the same cooling bag as my insulin pens. Frio has recently launched two diabetic travel cases specially designed to hold your Frio wallet along with other diabetic supplies.
I used to criticize Frio wallets for their unattractive style. But Frio has recently designed two new product lines called “Lifestyle” and “Collection” which I really like. You now get to choose between plenty of different fabric patterns and colors!
Good news: there’s a Frio bag for everyone! Frio has designed a wide range of wallets that hold different numbers of insulin pens, insulin vials, insulin pump reservoirs, and even eye drop bottles!
Frio Lifestyle Two Wallets from the new Lifestyle line are superb! The Lifestyle Two wallets can hold 2 insulin pens or 2 insulin vials with syringes. They’re ideal for everyday use as they perfectly fit in your purse or backpack. The Lifestyle products are not available on Amazon. You can only buy them from Frio’s website.
There’s also a Frio individual wallet as well as a duo one from the old line. They’re less cool, a bit cheaper, and work just as well. As you guessed it, the individual one holds 1 pen or 1 vial.
4 insulin pens or 6*10ml vials of insulin and syringes can fit into the Frio “Five” wallets from the new Lifestyle product line. There are 5 different styles to choose from. The Lifestyle line is only available on Frio’s website (not on Amazon).
5 insulin pens or 6*10ml vials of insulin and syringes can fit into the Frio Large wallets, while the Extra-Large one holds up to 8 pens or 10 vials. Unfortunately, the large and extra-large wallets only exist in the old-style design.
I like that Frio has thought about diabetic children too. Nearly 187,000 children in the US only have Type 1 diabetes. Frio’s new Lifestyle product line presents 3 duo wallets with kid-friendly patterns: dinosaurs, unicorns, and owls.
There’s only one Frio Insulin Pump Wallet model, but it does fit most insulin pumps. There’s a belt loop at the back, and the liner is waterproof and moisture-protecting. The pump wallet protects both the insulin and the pump.
Its inner dimensions are 120mm x 80mm (4.75″ x 3.25″approx). You can choose from 3 available colors: black, blue and purple. Unfortunately, it’s not yet available with the new Lifestyle pretty designs.
The small, extra-small, and mini Frio cooling wallets can only fit insulin vials. They’re too small to hold insulin pens. If you’re using vials and want the lightest and most compact insulin cooler, this is your product! Unfortunately, they’re only available in the old-style design.
The small wallet holds 4*10ml vials of insulin with syringes (or 4 eye drop containers). The extra-small wallet holds 3 vials and syringes (or 3 eye drop containers). The mini wallet holds only 1 vial and 1 syringe (or 1 eye drop bottle).
Frio has recently launched two new diabetic supply cases. There’s always so much stuff to carry with you when you have diabetes. Diabetes items and accessories keep multiplying. I personally like to carry a diabetes travel case where I can keep all my stuff together from my glucose meter to the test strips, pen needles, glucose tabs, etc.
Frio’s diabetic supply cases have been specially designed to be able to hold Frio’s cooling wallets. I have not tested them myself yet, so I can’t write a full product review. But here’s a quick overview of these products:
This is a 2-sided diabetic travel case for storing your Frio cooling case along with your other diabetic supplies. There’s a breathable mesh fabric for your Frio wallet (any size can fit), and a water-resistant ample inside space to store any other supplies.
The bag’s dimensions are 10 x 7 x 3.5in / 25 x 18 x 9cm, which is great enough to store plenty of diabetic stuff, and it weighs 5oz / 140g. Available in Blac, Blue, and Red
This is a breathable mesh bag specially designed to carry your Frio cooling wallets. Frio cooling wallets work on the process of water evaporation, so it’s good that they stay in the open air to optimize their efficiency. This mesh bag is great for that purpose. Simply place your Frio cooling case inside and adjust the expandable strap as a crossbody or waist bag.
Aero Frio mesh bag is a great addition to carry your Frio cooling bags safely, but it’s not made to pack more diabetic supplies though. Fits all Frio cooling wallet sizes.
Frio originated in the UK in 1996 as cooling bands used by the British Olympic team. The patented cooling crystals technology was then applied to cooling bags for diabetics to keep their insulin safe and protected from the heat. Frio bags are now available worldwide.
Frio has its own US website from which you can order most of its products. You get free first class shipping if you buy 2 wallets and a 100% money guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the product (as long as it has not been activated).
Frio offers a 10% discount to Sweet Trip’s readers! To get your discount, simply use the coupon code “SWEETTRIP” when checking out from Frio’s website.
I hope this article has been useful. Are you using a Frio bag? Please, comment and let us all know what you think!