CPAP Travel: Camping with a CPAP
This post is for all of the CPAP users who love to hit the road and go camping with a CPAP. Or maybe for users who finds themselves in the middle of a camping soiree and got roped in for a night underneath the stars for better or worse…
Well, we’re going to make it as pleasant for you as possible because, in this post, we’ll give you all of the tips and tricks that you need to know to get a solid night’s sleep when camping out in the woods.
Let’s get to it… someone has a tent to pitch.
“I went camping the other week and I didn’t take my machine. Well I tell you, that’s 5 days of shit sleep”
– David H., a CPAP User
CPAP SUPPLIES YOU NEED FOR CAMPING
1. Pick the right CPAP Machine – (Hint: Make it a Travel Machine)
This is important… It may be wise to get a travel CPAP machine. They are significantly smaller and lighter than traditional CPAP machines. So, if you value portability and convenience then you, my friend, should purchase a travel CPAP machine.
There are a handful of these machines on the market and they’ve received rave reviews from CPAP users. The top 4 in our book (check out our reviews of each) are the Z1 Auto by HDM, AirMini CPAP by ResMed, Sometics Transcend Auto miniCPAP, and the DreamStation Go by Philips Respironics.
2. CPAP Masks
You want a soft, lightweight mask that can easily come apart, and the right mask accessories for camping. Check out our blog on Travel CPAP Masks for more information.
3. CPAP Accessories
Carry around a couple of extra supplies in case you lose/break any parts or just to be safe (eg: an extra filter – it can get quite dusty when you’re camping out)
Also, it might be good to have some portable cleaning supplies handy (eg: mask cleaning wipes) so you can clean your CPAP equipment on-the-go. SoClean 2 Go also makes cleaning your CPAP supplies extremely easy on-the-go.
POWERING YOUR CPAP MACHINE
Option A: Find the right campsite… one with Power!
If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a campsite with an electricity source (a generator). That would make life a whole lot easier. Try looking for RV sites, and call the place beforehand to check that they have power!
Remember to bring a lot of extension cords – you don’t want to be snuggling up right next to the generator at night. Also, in case the generator is loud, you may want to consider bringing along earplugs for a quiet night’s sleep.
Option B: Power Generator
There are some good reviews online about using the Paxcess 100-watt portable generator power inverter with a 12/24 volt (depending on the CPAP machine) adapter to power a CPAP machine. It can be charged with a wall outlet, car, or even the sun, if you purchase a compatible solar panel as an add-on. This should power your CPAP for around 3+ days, depending on your settings.
Many people also like to use a Marine/RV Deep Cycle Battery with an inverter. There are ones on Amazon which cost less than $100, and it usually keeps your CPAP working for around 3 days without a humidifier.
Having a generator can be useful outside of the camping scene too – for example, if there is a power outage or an emergency situation.
Option C: CPAP Battery Packs
Some of the main CPAP manufacturers make CPAP battery kits for certain CPAP machines:
– ResMed Power Station II (for S9, AirStart 10, AirSense 10, and AirCurve 10) – This will power your ResMed device for 13-14 hours at a pressure of 14 cmH2O.
- Note: this power station is NOT compatible with the ResMed Travel CPAP Machine, the ResMed AirMini.
– Z1 PowerShell and battery – this is an accessory made just for the Z1 Auto Travel CPAP Machine, so it can be used overnight. The battery is expected to last 8+ hours at a pressure of 14 cmH2O.
– Somnetics Transcend Multi-Night Battery – This can be used exclusively with any of the Transcend miniCPAPs. The battery is expected to last 14-16 hours on a full charge, at a pressure of 14 cmH2O. For an extra upgrade, a foldable solar panel for the Transcend can also be added on.
– Respironics Travel Battery Kit for System one and DreamStation CPAP Machines – This battery is expected to last around 14 hours at a pressure of 10cmH2O or less.
– DreamStation Go Overnight CPAP Battery Pack – Designed exclusively for Respironics’ travel CPAP, the DreamStation Go, this battery has an average run time of 13 hours.
Though these can often become pricey, they are usually small, light, and portable. Moreover, these battery packs were designed by the manufacturers specifically for their products
Pro-tip: Using your humidifier when your CPAP machine is powered with a portable battery pack will shorten the battery life. Going without a humidifier should be fine for a few days.
Option D: Car Battery
As a last resort, you could connect your CPAP Machine to a 12-volt car battery the same way you would to a generator, using a DC converter. However, this runs the risk of draining the car battery power (you may need to jump start the car!)
Here are two videos that may help you understand how to power your CPAP machine while camping:
An informative video that runs through how a family sets up their CPAP machine to connect to a deep cell (cycle) battery using a 12 volt DC inverter. He also explains which cords they bought from Radio Shack!
Another man’s equipment and set up for his CPAP machine when using a cigarette lighter adapter. He also shows us his solar panel set up and how he uses it to charge his CPAP.
WILL INSURANCE COVER YOUR TRAVEL CPAP MACHINE?
Another thing to note is that these travel machines are covered by insurance if your insurance company doesn’t already cover your CPAP machine. Typically, insurance companies will only cover one primary CPAP device. The bottom-line is, if your insurance is already covering a CPAP for you, then your best bet is to pay out-of-pocket. If they’re not, then you can use your insurance to buy this machine. We’ll tell you exactly what you can do. Just chat us or create an account.
CPAP USERS’ THOUGHTS ON CAMPING WITH A CPAP
I wouldn’t go without, I thought it would be a camping nightmare but it went very smoothly
Unless you’re full on roughing it camping, there’s always power available. Just run some outdoor extension cords.
I was out camping and I used my CPAP to blow up my air mattress…
OTHER TIPS & TRICKS
- As you may have read in the quote above, your CPAP machine can conveniently be used to blow up an air mattress! Try this at your own discretion, though!
- As an alternative to the CPAP machine therapy, you could also check out Provent Therapy, which “uses the power of your own breathing to hold the airway open and enable natural airflow.”
- If your CPAP equipment smells like smoke from the campfire after your trip, try rinsing the mask with diluted vinegar (1 or 2 parts vinegar to 3 parts water), then rinsing it with water, and changing the filter.
Look, if you’re a CPAP user and you want to go camping with a CPAP, then GO CAMPING. Don’t skip CPAP therapy and leave your machine at home. And don’t let your CPAP slow you down or intimidate you from enjoying a night outside in the great outdoors. There are plenty of options for you to power your CPAP and get a great night’s rest.
If you have any questions feel free to chat us and we’ll be happy to give you our two cents. Our quick advice – get a travel CPAP. That’s the easiest and will save you from hassle. If that’s not in the budget, just get extension cords and a deep cell battery. You can do it!