Camping with CPAP: The Complete Checklist and Helpful Tips
Camping is such a fun and rewarding experience. Enjoying the great outdoors gives you time to recharge and appreciate nature to its fullest.
Part of the joy of camping is needing very little gear to exist outdoors. But it's also nice to have a comfortable and convenient campsite, which means having everything you need to enjoy quality sleep.
If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you might worry that your camping days are over. Well, there is nothing further from the truth! Not only is camping with your sleep apnea medical equipment possible, but you can also make your next trip a truly enjoyable experience.
This article will share the ultimate guide to camping with a CPAP and the essential sleep apnea accessories you'll want to bring along.
The Ultimate Guide To Camping With Your CPAP
Planning is the best way to enjoy the camping experience to the fullest using your CPAP medical device. Take a look at the CPAP supplies you’ll want to bring on your next trip!
Camping checklist for CPAP users:
A reliable CPAP machine and CPAP mask are key for successful sleep apnea therapy, which is especially true when you’re out in the wild. Not only will your machine help you sleep better but you are less likely to disturb other campers with unwanted loud snoring.
A travel CPAP machine, such as the ResMed AirMini, is ideal as it easily fits into small spaces (like a backpack) and is light enough to not add too much extra weight, making it a great option portability-wise and more comfortable than a home unit.
While there is no CPAP/APAP machine with a built-in battery, these are some of the most popular portable CPAP machines and the suggested batteries that work well with them:
You can also explore our full list of travel-ready CPAP equipment
CPAP Backup Battery
CPAP devices cannot work without a proper power supply making it harder to carry it wherever you go, especially in remote areas.
However, there are two ways to overcome this limitation when you’re planning a camping trip:
Powered Campsites: Powered campsites have AC power sources and are an excellent alternative for CPAP camping enthusiasts. These campsites offer electrical facilities with plug points where you can connect your device and charge it accordingly. Look into bringing an extension cord so you will not be confined to a certain spot the entire trip.
They are usually clean and well-maintained and come with extra perks like bathrooms, showers, and WiFi. You may even be able to store your camping gear and CPAP equipment in one safe place. You can search online for powered campsites around your area or in your travel destination to find out what amenities and power sources are available.
This is a great advantage for people who need to use humidification during their CPAP therapy since using a heated humidifier will drain the battery at a much faster rate than it would otherwise. By plugging in, you can avoid this issue and get your full therapy benefits.
On the other hand, powered campsites are usually crowded and not very far away from major city areas.
CPAP Battery Packs: A second alternative is to opt for a backup CPAP battery. CPAP batteries are convenient, usually come with travel bags, easily rechargeable, and portable power stations that can last from ten to forty hours, depending on the pressure settings of the CPAP machine.
Since many lithium-ion batteries have a battery life that is a certain amount of time it is important to make sure humidification is turned off on your CPAP machine because it will drain the CPAP battery pack quickly. So plan accordingly depending on how many days you'll be gone. Make sure your CPAP battery charger is easily accessible so you can fully charge your CPAP battery before your trip. If you have an older CPAP machine you may need a power converter or inverter to use in conjunction with the CPAP battery.
If your camping trip also involves flying on a plane, most CPAP batteries are FAA approved, and you can even use them in-flight to catch on some snooze. Make sure you bring a plastic bag to place your CPAP machine in when you are going through TSA security.
As an added benefit, they also work powering other electronic devices such as your smartphone and easily connect to the cigarette lighter in your vehicle without needing an ac outlet, which comes in handy while camping. Some CPAP battery packs offer solar panels to charge the battery during the day.
Check out our top CPAP Backup Batteries here.
The best thing you can do is stick to your therapy while you're off the grid to prevent dreaded symptoms such as drowsiness, excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, and fatigue, especially during your trip. Pausing your treatment can also open you up to more significant health risks. We wouldn't recommend it.
CPAP Adapter Cable
A DC power adaptor Cable works on deep-cycle batteries (like 12-volt car batteries or marine batteries) as it connects and allows you to plug in your machine's DC cable into the cigarette lighter plug and power your CPAP machine that way. Deep cycle batteries are ideal for powering BiPAP machines since these machines need more power than CPAP machines. Some deep-cycle batteries have the cigarette lighter plug built-in to the battery itself, allowing you to plug in without needing the adapter. One thing to note about deep cycle batteries is that they’re not FAA approved, so it’s something to keep in mind in case your trip involves air travel.
If you don't want to wake up at first sight of sunlight, consider bringing along a sleep mask to block out light and help you sleep longer and better. These are a small addition to your CPAP supplies but it makes a big difference, and some even include earplugs for uninterrupted sleep and a convenient small pouch.
A comfortable pillow goes a long way, especially when you're not sleeping in your own bed; this comfort accessory can make a huge difference in your sleep quality.
It's always a good idea to keep your CPAP equipment feeling fresh and clean, even on the go. A box of CPAP wipes is a convenient solution for daily cleaning.
They also work great on other personal use devices such as phones, glasses, and even your hands, especially handy when you're off camping with limited access to cleaning stations.
As you can see, you can continue to do all the things you love despite having sleep apnea. You might need to make a few adjustments but we promise they’re worthwhile.
Effects Of Suspending Your CPAP Treatment While On The Go
If you do not use your CPAP machine while camping, it may lead to an onset of symptoms, which can hinder your journey into the woods.
This is how sleep apnea can affect your camping experience if you leave your CPAP equipment at home and suspend therapy while you’re on the go:
Fatigue: Due to inefficient breathing, sleep apnea can lead to severe fatigue the following day. It will not allow you to enjoy your day to the fullest, but rather it will make you feel tired, dizzy, and irritated. Fatigue may also lead to inefficiency in fulfilling your camping tasks, which may affect your morale and excitement.
Heavy snoring: If you choose not to bring your CPAP machine on your camping trip this may lead to loud snoring during the night, which can affect the peaceful sleep you and other campers deserve.
Irregular or no breathing: If you are going for high altitudes, it is essential to have your CPAP equipment available with you. Higher elevations mean thinner air. Sleep apnea can cause more trouble by not letting you breathe efficiently at night.
Headache: Sleep apnea triggers morning headaches due to inefficiency in breathing at night, your brain does not have proper circulation and thus causes headaches right after you wake up. Morning headaches are a huge discomfort, especially when you wish to wake up enthusiastic and energized. Thus, you can have the time of your life just by using your CPAP machine!
Daytime sleepiness: The reason for tiredness is not getting a proper night’s sleep. If you do not use your CPAP machine, the daytime sleepiness will take over all your excitement and make your trip just a hazy flashback instead of being full of mesmerizing memories.
As you can see, with a little planning and the right CPAP supplies you can still enjoy the great outdoors while still using your CPAP therapy. We hope this was useful for your next camping adventure!
So, bring out your inner Man Vs. Wild skills and create memories that will last for your entire lifetime!
If you have specific questions we have a Respiratory Therapist ready to assist you.