The campfire, the smores, the fresh air, the laughs with friends and family – few things beat the fun of going camping. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or an occasional guest to the woods, it’s always important to be as ready as possible so you can fully enjoy your camping trip. That means double checking that you packed everything, bringing enough food and beer, and – if you’re a sleep apnea sufferer – figuring out how to go camping with a CPAP.
These days, many of us go camping specifically to unplug and relax. Unfortunately for us CPAP users, “unplugging” is not really possible – at least not if we want to actually get a good night’s sleep! Camping with CPAPs is totally possible, but there are some extra steps you might need to take. Read on for our CPAP camping tips.
1. Get a Portable Battery Pack for CPAP Camping
Unless you plan to bring a generator (which will be LOUD), you’ll want to get a portable battery pack capable of running your CPAP. The Freedom CPAP Battery Kit is a good option and should be sufficient for 1-2 nights of use on your CPAP. It’s small and lightweight, which makes it ideal for backpacking and any situation where you need to pack light. For a bit more power (albeit in a larger package), something like the Portable Battery Pack might be a better option.
2. Consider Getting a Small CPAP
If you camp frequently, or even if you just travel often, it may be worthwhile to get a CPAP for camping/traveling. These smaller units are more compact and sometimes have built-in batteries. If you plan to use them with an external battery pack, they tend to draw less power than full-sized machines. We recently put together a list of the best mini CPAP machines and the best battery powered CPAPs.
3. Don’t Use the Heated Humidifier
If you plan to use a battery pack for CPAP camping, it’s wise to disable the heated humidifier on your unit, if you have one. The heating units suck up a LOT of power, so you’ll get a lot more use out of a single battery charge if you don’t use the heat. Depending on the unit, you might be able to keep water in the humidifier chamber and just disable the heating element, to still get some moisture in your air.
4. Consider Staying at a Campsite With Electricity
If you don’t want to shell out the money to buy a CPAP battery pack, the alternative is to seek out a campsite that offers electrical plug-ins. You may need to do a little digging or call some ranger stations to get the right spot, but a surprising number of campsites do offer plug-ins. You’ll definitely need an extension cord, but it’ll be a lot cheaper than buying a CPAP camping battery.
5. Keep Things Clean
Camping is a time to accept the dirt, be one with the dirt. However, when it comes to CPAPs and other medical devices, you’ll want to keep things as clean as possible. It’s a good idea to pack your CPAP unit in a clean Ziplock bag, and then put it inside its carrying case. You’ll also probably want to put the machine away during the day time to reduce the chance of it getting dirty.
6. Pack Distilled Water
If you have a CPAP unit with a humidifier, you should be using distilled water in it. The same is true while camping – you don’t want to use dirty or otherwise unfit water in your CPAP unit. The good news is that you won’t need much water – a small bottle full should do fine, even for longer camping trips.
7. Swap Your Filter
When you get home, it’s a good idea to swap out the disposable filter on your CPAP unit. It may have gotten dirty while camping, and you don’t want to be breathing contaminated air all night!
8. Clean Thoroughly
When you get home from your outdoor excursion, it’s important to thoroughly clean your CPAP. You should be cleaning it regularly regardless, but after a camping trip you should pay it special attention. Follow our CPAP cleaning tips for best results.
Chris was a psychiatrist and neurologist with board certification in sleep medicine Clinical Associate Professor at the University of California. For over 10 years, he served and helped patients at Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital with their sleeping disorders.
After suffered from sleep disorders for years, Chris has been passionate about sleep health ever since. He wants to help others sleep better and wanted to make the world of sleep easy to understand for everyday people.