CPAP First Time Camping

Discussion in 'Camping for the Medically/Physically Challenged' started by BigRedTruck, Jul 9, 2016.

  1. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Two months ago I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. During the sleep study I woke up 392 times in 8 hours. I was also told I had stopped breathing multiple times. This surprised me as I'm not your tipical sleep apnea patient. I work out 6 days a week. I am 6'2" and weigh in at 210 pounds. My doctor told me he has marathon runners that have this.

    Anyway, I was fitted with a full mask and given a machine (the Resmed model). The change in my life was substantial. I sleep well every night. I actually like the mask. I have a ton more energy and can't believe I worked full time for a year or more with absolutely no energy and having the urge to fall asleep at the drop of a dime.

    Two weeks ago we made our first camping trip with the CPAP machine. My greatest worry was if I would be able to sleep in the camper with it on. No problem.

    The only issue I had was camp fire smoke. I love camp fires and love the smell. What surprised me was the smell of campfire smoke for a week after we camped coming from my CPAP machine. Yes, I cleaned the machine, hose and mask. In fact, I changed out the mask. I may order a spare hose so I can use one just for camping and the other at home. Other than that I have these changes I will make:

    1. I will keep the machine, mask and hose in my tow vehicle when not in use. This if very important when I am drying the mask and hose after cleaning.
    2. I will rinse and refill the water reservore each day so I don't have smoky distilled water smell.

    It really wasn't that bad to smell camp fire for week after the trip. As with anything else you get used to it. For those of you new to the CPAP machine, keep it up. It gets more natural as you use it. You will have more energy and feel better.

    If you have any other suggestions for using the CPAP while camping please let me know. Note, we only camp at campgrounds that have electric hook ups.
    Wilkywoods likes this.
  2. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2015
    You didn't mention replacing the filter. I assume you did when you cleaned the machine but thought I'd make sure.

    You can leave the humidifier at home when camping, one less thing to worry about. i use mine with a standard hose plugged directly into the port on the pump side and leave the heated hose at home with the humidifier, don't really need it in the summer anyway. You may have to pay full price for the standard hose depending on your insurance.
  3. exploreco

    exploreco Active Member

    Jun 20, 2013
    Central, IL
    Re: CPAP First Time Camping

    I can't say I notice camp fire smoke in mine from camping, but I also have multiple cpaps. I have been on one for years and travel a lot and got tired of always tearing mine down from home so I bought a second one from ebay. I don't use the humidifier either for camping. Too much of a hassle and usually humid enough where I am at lol.
    I do agree with you though when you have gone so long not realizing you had the problem and it is like instant energy. I felt like a new person.

    I do have to say I had a new experience last week. We too always camp with electricity because of this and using ac. A bad storm came through and knocked out power to the camp ground at about mid night or 1 am. Was out almost 3 hours. I tried to sleep but couldn't. I am so dependant on my machine.

    Sent from my Galaxy Note 5
  4. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Re: CPAP First Time Camping

    I have a battery for back up just in case that happens. It seems like we hit at least two massive thunderstorms a year during camping. Haven't had the power go out yet but it is always a possibility.
  5. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Yep, cleaned the filter. Man I really like the humidifier. I will try not using it with camp driveway next weekend.
  6. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2015
    I was on cpap through two machines before I got the humidifier. Didn't like it at first, I thought it smelled. Now I consider it somewhat of a luxury, especially in winter.

    If you get the Resmed 12 volt cord and hook it up to your trailer battery you will sleep right through power outages. You always camp with shore power so the converter will keep the battery charged. I got mine through Also a good source for the standard line if you want it.
  7. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2014
    Suggestions? Go online and order the 12vdc adapter for your machine. It will allow you to camp without shore power.
  8. West Coast Canuck

    West Coast Canuck Jumped to the dark side ......

    Mar 3, 2005
    My wife and I use CPAPs and since we prefer Provincial campsites and only 2 have power so we mostly dry camp. This created a big problem for us so this is what I did. I bought a AGM group 31 RV battery, 400 watt inverter and initially was charging it every couple days with my generator but I have now bought a suit case 120 watt solar panel made by Go Power on Amazon. Yes I spent a lot of money but it works for us and does operate two CPAPs with no problems.
  9. LjohnSaw

    LjohnSaw So many fish, so little time...

    Jun 24, 2011
    Northern California
    My CPAP is actually a 12vdc system. The adapter converts the house power down to 12vdc. So, I just installed a few 12v "cigarette lighter" ports in my PUP and I plug directly into that. My last time out, plugged into shore power, my converter stopped converting and my battery drained down to where my CPAP refused to run [:(]

    As far as smoke goes, I noticed when I got home that camping came home with me! Kind of enjoyed it for a change. It cleared up in a couple of nights. I don't use a humidifier. I put up with a slight bloody nose for about a week when I started and then I was good.

    I used a mask for the first year or so then switched to nasal pillows. They take a little getting used to but I like them a lot better. They give you a chin strap to keep your mouth shut but I don't need it.
  10. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    Hi I'm Jim and I'm on a cpap also. I have the resmed with a humidifier. That water tank is so small that it was always dry in the morning. I stopped using it some after getting it. Now I put a piece of hard candy or cough drop in my mouth when I go to sleep. This helps make my mouth stay closed and most mornings I wake up with a little piece still working. And as far as camp fire smells in the machine I'm good with it as it seems to feel like I'm still camping.
  11. Novarich

    Novarich Active Member

    Dec 8, 2014
    I have the newer ResMed model Airsence10 and it is 24 volts DC.
  12. NorcrossFlyer

    NorcrossFlyer Member

    Oct 26, 2015
    North Georgia
    I recently bought a HDM Z1 with a battery pack. Expensive but it makes traveling with a CPAP much easier. I use it with the battery pack at night and then just charge the battery during the day. That keeps me untethered from the outlet, which is nice.
  13. gnies

    gnies New Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    I use a battery jumper box for my CPAP 12V power. I charge it when I am out driving or if I am not driving I have left it in the restroom with a note on it that says it is for a medical device. I have also asked to have the campground host to plug in to their 110 and have never been refused.

    Having a CPAP has never stopped me from camping in my pup.
  14. Novarich

    Novarich Active Member

    Dec 8, 2014
    Did you clean or replace the little filter under the side cover? I have yet to take my machine camping and also like the campfire.
  15. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    Yes, and that helped. I use an old hose and mask for camping now. I wash those out and change the filters when I get home. So far so good.
  16. crackerJack

    crackerJack Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2014
    Scottsville, KY
    I have had a cpap for 14 years, and am completely addicted to it. Mine too carries the smell from the previous night; camper, hotel, my house.

    I have a diehard portable battery, from tent camping, that I use during power outages.

    When backcountry backpacking, I take sleeping pills and use nose strips. None of it works, and nights are miserable. Their is a small device being developed called air ring. I hope it gets approved soon, and works.
  17. kudzu

    kudzu Active Member

    Oct 20, 2014
    Just curious what size jumper box you have. Mine isn't expensive so perhaps yours is more powerful. When camping with my dad last year, I considered that option but his CPAP is very power hungry, even using the 12volt cord instead of the 110v. My jumper box wouldn't get him through the night. My camper battery with just shy of 100 AH, could only go one night without running it too low, if the furnace was running. On the plus side, the solar can recharge things fairly quickly.
  18. gnies

    gnies New Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    Sorry for the delay. I use a DieHard 1150 Portable Power pack, I use it with a Respironics System one with a direct 12V cord. I can get 2 to 3 nights without problem. I do however recharge it whenever it is getting lower. Whenever I am going to be driving I take it in the car and get it charged. Hope that helped. I will be replacing the battery since it is now 3 years old.
    BigRedTruck likes this.
  19. BigRedTruck

    BigRedTruck Member

    Jan 23, 2011
    I am working with the VA to see if they can get me portable power pack. I asked about a month ago and am waiting for an answer. If I get one from them, cool, if not, I will save up for the DieHard 1150 model. This is a great way to work out boondocking with a CPAP and back up if the campground loses power. Thanks for posting this.
  20. Grousetales

    Grousetales New Member

    Mar 19, 2017
    We picked up a PUP last fall and our first trip out with the CPAP was a comedy of errors. I have a Philips Respironics System One CPAP with the humidifier.

    We were camping at the closest State Park campground without reservations. When we arrived, the electric sites were full so we were going to be running on battery power.

    I had a small 100 watt inverter that I tried to run the CPAP with. The draw from the humidifier was too great, and it would overload the the inverter as soon as it fired up. What I didn't realize at the time was that the tank is removable, and once removed would run just fine off the inverter. More about that later.

    I ended up going to the bathroom building and plugging the unit in and shutting off the humidifier with the control panel. I was then able to run the CPAP off the inverter. This worked just fine or most of the night until I got up to go to the bathroom. I shut off the CPAP when I went outside, and when I turned it back on, I accidentally bumped the tank heater button. The added draw made the inverter shut down right away and I couldn't get it to run long enough to enter the menu to program turn off the heater. I went the rest of the night without the CPAP (and lived).

    Like someone else said, the CPAP runs off 12 volt power. It was very inefficient to use the PUP battery to power the inverter, which powered the CPAP power supply which brought it back down to 12 volts.

    When I got home I learned that I can remove the water tank/humidifier. This greatly reduces the power needed to run the CPAP. I also picked up a 12 volt cigarette lighter plug for the CPAP so I can power directly from the PUP battery.

    It's still winter here in WI, but I'm looking forward to our first trip of the season and testing the CPAP setup.

    Lessons learned:
    1. Remove water tank.
    2. Use 12 volt cig lighter plug
    3. Get a bigger inverter.

    I haven't enjoyed the smokey CPAP yet, but it sounds pretty nice right about now :)

Share This Page