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Camping With CPAP: Challenges and Solutions

Enjoying the great outdoors with the family is truly magical. With all the memories to make and views to see, don’t let your sleep apnea keep you inside. There are plenty of solutions that make it possible to manage your sleep apnea anywhere, including on your summer camping trip!

With some planning, you can get the perfect night’s sleep no matter where your adventures take you. This is good news because skipping even a few nights of CPAP therapy is not recommended. You don’t want your sleep apnea symptoms returning while trying to enjoy a vacation. Brain fog, low energy, and irritability don’t mix well with relaxation. And you definitely don’t want to get out of the habit of nightly use. CPAP therapy is most effective when it’s consistent!

Finding a Power Source

On-theGrid Camping

If you’re going to be staying in a park or campground with electric hookups, then you can bring your existing CPAP device along for the ride. If you need to power a humidifier, this is helpful since it will require more juice than a standalone machine, so there’s no need to worry you’ll run out of battery power during the night. Many home CPAP machines come with travel bags and cases that keep everything together and organized.

Of course you can always invest in a travel CPAP if you want something that is specifically designed to be compact, light, and easy to pack. These are also easier to maneuver in tight spaces, and you'll appreciate the lighter weight if you're hiking. The ResMed AirMini is one such machine that is considered one of the best cpap options for travel. It’s got nearly all the comfort features of a larger machine, but it fits in the palm of your hand.

The Airmini even has an innovative form of humidification that requires no water. The HumidX is a small disk that you insert into the short tube. It reuses the moisture from your breath to add humidity to your therapy air. This helps minimize the space and weight needed to enjoy the benefits of your CPAP therapy on the go.

One thing to keep in mind is the Airmini is not compatible with all masks, so check that your mask will work before you head out. You can purchase a starter pack for compatibility with the F20 full face mask, N20 nasal mask, or the AirFit P10 for AirMini. 

Off-the-Grid Camping

But what if you want to go off grid and really detach from the real world? You’re not going to be able to rely on easy access to a power outlet to plug in your device. Will a CPAP battery pack have enough charge for your entire trip? What if it runs out of juice in the middle of the night?

If you are using a ResMed Airsense 10, 11, or AirMini machine on your trip, you can get a portable battery that will power your CPAP therapy all night with no wall outlet needed. The Universal Freedom V2 CPAP battery is an ultra-portable lithium-ion battery that you can pop into your backpack along with your machine. It comes with the cables, AC charger, and everything you need to power your AirSense from 8-10 hours per charge (without humidification), or an AirMini for up to 24 hours. You can also use it to power your mobile devices, which may be one of its biggest selling points! No one wants to get stuck out in the woods with a dead cell phone.

You can also purchase a second battery for your trip to give you enough power for your entire trip. Just be sure to accurately calculate the battery life and how long you’ll be sleeping. 

If you don’t have one already, you can opt for a compact, battery powered CPAP like the Transcend Micro Auto CPAP. It has a power adaptor for when you're near a wall plug, but also has a battery option that doubles as a back-up power supply - perfect for camping. Unlike the AirMini, the Transcend is compatible with all masks, so no need to buy another mask for the occasion. The Transcend Micro CPAP may not have all the advanced features of the ResMed AirMini, but it is a solid choice for using during travel so that you don't miss nights of therapy and progress in your sleep apnea treatment.

Transcend Micro Auto Travel CPAP Machine

Weighing less than 0.5 lbs, the Transcend Micro is a great option for a portable and travel-friendly CPAP machine. GentleRise technology allows for a seamless ramp up to prescribed air pressure level, and it's  compatible with most CPAP masks.

You can also purchase or rent extra batteries for your trip to give you enough power for your entire trip. Just be sure to accurately calculate the battery life and how long you’ll be sleeping. 

Cars come in handy with CPAP battery charging too, because many CPAP brands have portable DC power adapter available, so you can charge your device with the cigarette lighter while en route to your destination.

If you take a deep cell battery like a 12-volt car battery to charge electronics like your cell phone, you can also use it to charge and power your CPAP. Just use a CPAP 12 volt DC battery cable adaptor with your DC power adaptor for instant power.

Keeping Your CPAP Clean

If your CPAP mask gets dirty, you might not want to put it on your face. How are you supposed to clean it in the wild? With some creek water nearby? That sounds risky and we do not advise you to do so!

Take a pack of CPAP wipes with you so you can take out dust, bacteria, dirt, germs, and more at a moment's notice. Also, If any moisture collects in your hose, rinse it with distilled water and hang it up to dry. Speaking of distilled water, always make sure you bring enough to refill your humidifier chamber if needed.

CPAP camping doesn't have to be a pain. With the right CPAP equipment, you will blissfully be on your way towards another relaxing camping adventure. There are multiple travel CPAPs, batteries, and charging options for you to choose from, so take the time to research your options to discover the best fit for your next camping trip.