Having recently been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea the thought of camping with a CPAP machine was to say the least, daunting. The first thing that I did was to go to RV.net and do a search on ‘CPAP’. Once my search results started rolling in I realized that there was a good chance of finding something that might work for me for a trip that was a bit longer than just a weekend.
The Trial Run…
My next move was to take my CPAP machine out to our Salem 21FBS, pull the little 400w inverter out of the cabinet, plug it into the cigarette lighter receptacle and then plug my Respironics System One CPAP machine into the inverter. At that point I just let it run for around 9 to 10 hours.
I know that you’re thinking, “Yah, but the machine wasn’t pumping any air”! I know, but I just wanted to see what kind of draw on the battery system the inverter would make. After doing this for a day or two, maybe three, I checked the batteries on the trailer and found that there was very, very little draw at all. At this point I started thinking that this was totally doable!
A Minimal Purchase…
My next step was to order the Shielded DC Cord for PR System One 60 Series and the 10 Foot Long 19mm Diameter CPAP Hose with 22mm Rubber Ends. Once these two items arrived I set them up in the trailer and figured out the positioning as you might have seen in the video that we shot for YouTube, Camping With A CPAP Machine.
A Look At Our System…
Our equipment and system for maintaining and using the CPAP was the following:
- My CPAP machine… the Respironics System One
- Shielded DC Cord for PR System One 60 Series Machine
- 10 Foot Long 19mm Diameter CPAP Hose with 22mm Rubber Ends
- Trailer battery system which includes 2-6v Golf Cart Batteries (in series) from Costco as opposed to 2 12v Deep Cycle Group 27 Batteries (in parallel)
- A Renogy 100w Portable Suitcase Solar Panel
The End Results…
At the end of five and a half weeks of camping in the Eastern Sierras we were still only using our generator for approximately 40 minutes per day to run our drip coffee maker and heat up Patty’s curling iron in the morning. As I stated in the video, once in awhile we would fire up the generator to use the microwave or run a laptop if it’s battery got too low.
So as you can see, camping with a CPAP machine can be relatively easy on you and on your pocket book. There are other small CPAP machines available that may be deemed ‘portable’ or ‘more suited for travel or camping’ but if you have a half way decent battery system on your trailer or RV there shouldn’t be a reason to spend the extra money on another machine or battery pack.
For You Tent Campers…
Likewise, if you’re camping in a tent the cost of a smaller solar panel, a deep cycle 12v battery and an adapter with alligator clips can be pretty inexpensive as opposed to buying a ‘portable’ CPAP machine and a battery pack designed by one of the CPAP manufacturers for traveling.
One thing that is pretty evident at this point is that if you like camping and especially for extended periods, you don’t have to be concerned about being a CPAP user… you have some great inexpensive options!
A Word of Caution…
As we wrap this up, there is one thing that I really want to caution everyone on! Upon some bad advice, I did not bring my humidifier with me and really had a tough time with my nasal passages drying out.
There were others camping nearby that were using their CPAP machines without humidifiers and they had absolutely no problem. But I highly recommend that you bring yours for the first trip if you’re used to using one at home.
If you have more information that you can share with us or you have a comment or question, I sure would appreciate hearing from you. I hope you’ll join us out there camping and fishing!
By R.C. Stude