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How To Go Camping with a CPAP: Solutions and Helpful Tips

People love to camp when it’s warmer out there and the sun is shining nicely. But, what about those adventure lovers who are suffering from sleep apnea? Patients suffering from this condition have to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to keep their breathing normal during sleeping. Is there any way to go CPAP camping?

Well, you can go camping with a CPAP machine. There are plenty of ways to power up the device.

How to Pick the Right CPAP Machine?

Before looking for CPAP camping solutions, you should know how to choose the right device. Instead of the traditional CPAP units, you should look for a lighter and smaller version of them. There are travel CPAP machines that are portable and convenient to carry.

Some of the best models in this category are Transcend Auto Travel miniCPAP, Z1 Auto, and AirMini CPAP by ResMed. You can keep looking to find one that matches your requirements and budget.

camping with a cpap machine
A portable machine is convenient to carry.

CPAP Camping: The Solutions for Power Supply

How to power CPAP machine while camping? The question comes naturally after solving the portability issue. Well, there are several methods to keep the unit juiced up.

CPAP Camping with Plugged in Option

Most campsites including national and state parks across the country provide access to electricity. You just have to bring extension cords to keep a safe distance from the generator or electrical outlet.

CPAP Camping with Unplugged Option

Some campers won’t be happy with this convenient solution. If you want to rough it up and go for ‘real’ camping, there won’t be any ready-made plug-in option. Or, the campsite can be in the middle of nowhere with no access to electricity.

There are two solutions:

A portable generator could be the best solution in these places. Buy one that can draw power from electrical outlets and battery packs. A solar-compatible model will also be a good choice.

You can also plug the machine to the car’s battery upon having a DC converter. But, do it when there is absolutely no other option because it may drain up the battery.

Battery Powered CPAP for Camping

Some certain CPAP models come with a battery-pack add on. For example, ResMed’s Power Station II is compatible with AirCurve 10, AirSense 10, S9, and some other models. It can keep the machine powered up for 13 to 14 hours.

how to power cpap machine while camping
Portable power supply.

The Z1 PowerShell and a battery pack is also a great accessory made for the Z1 Auto Travel CPAP unit. It can keep the machine running for more than 8 hours. Similarly, Transcend brings the Multi-Night battery is a perfect solution for any of the Transcend miniCPAPs.

The Accessories to Keep at Hand

When you are a CPAP user, you should always carry some extra supplies in case you break or lose any component. Extra filters always come handy because it can get quite dirty in outdoors. Also, keep some cleaning accessories for cleaning the machine and the mask on-the-go.

How To Go Camping With A CPAP Machine: The Guide!

After you have everything in hand, now you have to determine the best answer to the question of “how to power CPAP machine while camping?”. For a weekend trip, the CPAP battery should prove adequate but if your outdoor adventure last more than, your machine eventually need to be recharged. Generally speaking, there are 4 camping options available at your disposal.

1. Preparation

“To be prepared is half the victory” could be applied to various activities and CPAP camping is not an exception.

Get A Purpose-Designed CPAP

Despite the fact that most CPAP models nowadays have a humble profile, it’s strongly advised that you get a travel machine if you want to try out CPAP camping. Compared to traditional units, travel-optimized CPAP machines are smaller, lighter and more convenient which make them ideal for camping. In any case, no matter what model you use, it’s necessary to grasp the way your CPAP work before you use it for real.  So you should take a look at the manual, figure out the machine features and test the CPAP at home for a couple of nights.

Assess The CPAP Battery Life

Once you understand the capabilities of your machine, the next thing you have to think about is the battery life.  CPAP run on battery so if the battery is out of juice, the machine is nothing but a nice paperweight. For CPAP camping, you are going to need a machine that could last between 15 and 20 hours after a full charge. On average, such a battery bank shall let you sleep soundly up to 3 nights on a row which is sufficient. Use the opportunity to learn about the time it takes to charge the battery as well (most models need 8 hours).   

Bring Along Additional Parts/Supplies

Many things could happen in the wilderness which means it’s wise to pack extra parts/supplies for your CPAP. Your mask might break, the filter might get too dusty, you might lose the hose,… In such scenarios, the performance of your CPAP would be impaired if you are unable to resolve the issues immediately. Fortunately, you should be able to secure parts and supplies for CPAP machine with relative ease these kinds of days. That being said, play it safe and keep an eye out for products from well-known names in the business.   

2. Locate Campsites That Have Power

Among possible approaches to the question of “how to power CPAP machine while camping?”, this is arguably the most simple one: go to campsites that have around-the-clock power. Use the Internet to single out some locations in your camping area that could supply your CPAP with constant electricity. Next, call the places in advance in order to inquire about the sources of energy, open spots and so on. Finally, bring along extension cords so you don’t have to camp close to the generators along with their noise.

3. Consider Packing Your Own Generator

If you fail to secure a spot in campsites that offer power, another option is to search for places that let you use your generator.  Overall, the majority of CPAP models require a modest amount of energy so a standard 100W portable generator is enough in most of the case.  In addition to the CPAP, you should be able to use the RV generator to power other applications as you like. However, remember that virtually every camping location put out rule for generators, namely the noise: they would let you use units that are too loud.

4. Carry Full Charge Battery Packs

As mentioned above, a CPAP on full charged could serve you for 3 consecutive night but after that, you need to plug it in for recharge. That being said, with some CPAP battery packs, you would not need to recharge your machine until you get home.  Normally, a CPAP battery pack is able to sustain your CPAP for 14 – 16 hours which is a bit more than 2 nights. That means if you want to go on a week-long CPAP camping trip, carrying battery packs is your best bet when it comes to the question of “how to power CPAP machine while camping?”.

5. Rely On The Car Battery

In the case you are in pinch, it’s possible to use the battery of your vehicle as a substitute. With a DC converter, your car battery should keep your CPAP going for a long time. Needless to say, it’s far from ideal so you should only think of hooking the CPAP machine to your vehicle as the last resort. In the worst scenario, you might find yourself stranded far from civilization with a battery-dead car so be careful.

Important Note: Before you take up CPAP camping, it’s important to consult doctors about your obstructive sleep apnea first. Only trained professional could tell you what needs to be done if you wish to go on camping with a CPAP machine safely and uneventfully.