Traveling by RV with Your CPAP
Almost everyone dreams of owning, or at least vacationing once in their lifetime, by RV.
CPAP users have found that traveling by RV for cross country trips and camping is the perfect way to remain comfortable. We are going to cover the ways you can remain compliant in your CPAP therapy while you are traveling in your RV.
Basics of a Traveling CPAP User
When traveling, you always want to pack light for your convenience. Lugging around a heavy CPAP machine can be a pain, and not bothering to even bring your CPAP machine and deciding to skip therapy is a definite no-no.
A light, compact travel CPAP machine is a great way to easily carry around your therapy device anywhere you go and continue therapy everywhere you are.
Check out this list if you don’t have a travel-friendly CPAP machine yet: Best Travel CPAP Machines.
Wherever and however you travel, it’s always a good preparation to bring a letter of medical necessity from your doctor.
Ask your doctor to provide you with a prescription for CPAP and other necessary parts (heated humidifier, mask, filters, and tubing). Keep the prescription in your wallet or CPAP travel bag. Emergency, such as needing to buy any equipment that might be damaged or stolen while traveling, may come up, so it’s always recommended to stay prepared.
Ask your doctor to provide a letter of medical necessity. This is important to have for usage of CPAP machine during travel.
It’s All About Power (For Your CPAP)
What type of power will you be using? You can charge the CPAP machine battery and use your CPAP machine while you are driving using a simple DC power cord that plugs into the cigarette lighter. But, once you get to your destination, will you have power and will it be used as a direct source for your CPAP? Or, will it be used to recharge the battery kit you have brought along? Or, are you completely off-grid and have no electric power source? Let’s start with the first scenario…
If your plan is to simply to plug into the campsite, hook it up with an extension cord and use it directly into your machine (no other additional power components necessary).
Most campsites offer standard 110 volts, which is the exact same volts supplied to your house. However, call your campsite to confirm availability.
If you are using a battery kit to power your CPAP machine at night, you will have to recharge the battery, at some point, depending on usage and your length of stay.
- Deep cycle marine batteries have been the reliable go-to power solution for many years, for many CPAP users. The downside is that is it heavy and bulky. But, that may far outweigh any negatives since it holds a very long charge. In order to use a deep cycle marine battery you will need a DC to AC Power Inverter. Plug the male end of the DC cable into the inverter. The inverter has a DC receptacle on one side and red/black clamps to connect to the posts of the battery on the other side. Finally, connect the red clip to the red post of the battery and connect the black clip to the black post on the battery. This is a great solution for dry camping.
- DC cables/converters plug into a power/cigarette lighter outlet while the other end plugs into your CPAP machine. You can recharge the battery in a very short time. Philips Respironics CPAP machines are only compatible with their DC cords so make sure you are buying the correct one.
Read more about Camping with Your CPAP here.
Some RV’s even come with a 12v outlet under the bed. If this is you, all you would need a converter. Plug it in while you are using your generator or while the RV is in use, and it will re-charge your battery for another night’s sleep within an hour or two.
If you are going completely off grid and don’t want to tow the deep-cycle marine battery, you can always use a solar power battery kit. They require only sunshine. Check out our post on Powering Your CPAP When You Travel to find the right power solution for you.
If you want to know more, check out our Ultimate Guide to Traveling with Your CPAP for all the pro tips.
Remember to also bring your own battery as back-up.
Bring bottles of distilled water for your humidifier.
It’s also a good idea to bring a 12-foot extension cord when you travel to ensure that you can plug your machine while you sleep.
Make sure to bring whatever supplies you normally use to clean your machine and equipment.
- Pro Tip: Bring a small, travel-sized bottle of baby shampoo.
Bring your CPAP with you when traveling and have a restful sleep on your RV!
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Traveling with Your CPAP for all the pro tips.