Anyone use a CPAP machine?

I want to paddle for longer time frames (4-7 days) and am burdened by sleep apnea. I have a small CPAP machine that will fit nicely into a Pelican box, but would need to also pack a power supply.

Any thoughts?

Some commercial campgrounds and State Parks have power available at the campsites. You might check to see if you can plan a route using these as stopping points…

non portable
I have a medical equipment store and to the best of my knowledge there is no portable CPAP machine. Your best bet is to hook up with a D/C A/C power converter… Sorry bud

What about…
Think 4-7 days around Isle Royale or the Apostle Islands. No power outlets.

Brunton makes (expensive) portable power supplies. I could run the CPAP off of the 12v DC. I’m worried about packing that much weight though. My machine plus power could be over 20 pounds…and have nothing to do with tent, food, etc. How much weight can a person haul in a kayak.

orthodonic devices
There are orthodonic devices that keep the tongue in a forward position and the airway open, which is what a CPAP is intended to do. They do not work for all people, however.

If you are base camping you could go with 12V power and couple of deep cycle batteries. If you are tripping–that is a lot of weight to carry. There are some small generators that would weigh less than the batteries but then everyone has to listen to the generator run.

Current draw
I checked the amp draw on the wife’s CPAP machine, to ensure the car battery wouldn’t be dead by morning while camping and used an inverter. From memory, 120 volts took a small fraction of an ampere. Her box states .75VA, it might mean 0.75 watts, so a 12 volt battery would use 0.0625 amps/hour.

If you are not portaging and can keep a small lawnmower/motorcycle battery upright while paddling, that could be a solution. Buy a small 30-60 watt 120 VAC to 12 volt DC inverter and borrow someones small 12 volt mower battery and test it out until it drops to ~10 volts. It may last 3-4 nights from 10 to 6 AM. Maybe add a solar charger to stretch it one more night.

And, let us know the results!

I’ve been on a CPAP for more than two years now. We (almost exclusively) dry camp every weekend in the summer. Using my Resmed S7 with a Radio Shack Modified Sine Wave Inverter and a 105 AH Deep Cycle battery, I can get at least 4 - 8 hr nights of sleep with it. IF you went to a 115AH battery, disconnected the invereter when not in use (slow drain) you might be able to do the 4 to 7 days. However a 115AH battery is going to weigh in at 50 lbs or better! A good inverter will only add a pound or two, plus the CPAP, Mask, ETC. UNLESS you’ve been tested with the “tongue Device” I would not go that route! As I’m sure you know, serious things can happen suddenly when you experience Apneas!

This is what I would do…

First I would switch to a canoe so i didnt have to fit everything thru a hatch.

Then I would carry a tiny Yamaha or like 1000w generator w 2 MSR fuelbottles filled w gas…and a deep cycle bettrery. Total would prolly weigh less than my 50# lab

you might even be able to find a smaller generator. this way you can charge the battery and stay out for ANY amount of time without any worry as to finding a place to charge your batt.

DC Powered
My CPAP machine has a DC input. Take a look in the manual or call the manudfacturer for power etc. mine didn’t have any of this. DC will will save the losses in power from the inverter and be more efficent to boot. This will stretch your battery power.

By the way I don’t take mine camping and I get to sleep in the snorer’s section.

one other option
Is to bring an 02 sat monitor, which is much lighter and runs on regular batteries.

(This is camping and packing advice, not medical advice…check with your doc first).


O2 Sat Monitor?
And how would an 02 sat monitor prevent apneas?

Len T

The O2 sat monitor would do nothing for said question. You do not merely want to know if you are desaturating…you want to sleep. This situation is a real bummer. I’m only 37, but am told that anatomically…my throat just closes up too easily during sleep. I thought this was an “older” person problem, but have come to realize that many people around my age are undiagnosed for sleep apnea.

I want to tour/camp like I used to. It’s going to take special outfitting to get it done. I’m leaning toward using my machines 12v DC connection with some portable energy cell. This will indeed be a lot of weight, but I don’t see a way around it. Brunton personal power and the rolled up solar collector probably will be the way to go. Hope my bank book can handle it.

02 sat monitor won’t help avoid desat
but it will alarm so you know it’s happening. I didn’t realize the goal was to sleep through the night, I was just thinking of it as an easy safety alternative if he couldn’t come up a solution.

I’d love to know if you come up with a solution as I work with many patients who are dependent on NIPPV.


What’s NIPPV? - NT

Electrical calculations
If your machine will run on 12 volts DC you don’t need or want to use an inverter.

If you know how many amps your machine draws at 12 volts simply multiply that times the hours you expect to run it to get the amp hours it will use.

I have no idea what the implications of your battery running down are but I would typicaly want an additional %25 to %50 capacity for fudge factor.

So if your machine draws 2 amps at 12VDC and you are going out for 4 nights you would multiply 2 amps X 8 hours of sleep X 4 nights X %150

2x8x4x1.5 = 96 amphours.

non-invasive positive pressure
ventilation. BiPap is actually a trade name, but people (including me at times) use it like we use Kleenex for tissue or Xerox for copy. Maybe it’s an age thing.


outfitting fun
well I don’t know much about your problem except that my friend had one of those machines as well. it is not just an old people problem, but also “fuller figured person” problem.

I digress, anyways, if you are not planning any white water trips you could look into solar recharging. then you may not need as much stored energy…therefore a smaller battery =ing less weight. there are solar pallens for sale that are nearly unbreakagle, used for motorhomes. you could attach it to your kayaks top. these are thin films, not big house pannels. This may sound like overkill (and may be), but think of the fun in trying to out fit this to your equipment!

Or go with a canoe.

Surgical Options?
Have you discussed your problem with an Ear Nose and Throat surgeon?

Same problem
I have the same problem. I have a respironics unit,and I don’t sleep without it. I am not a large person but sleep apnea does run in my family. One of my brothers did go to his dentist and had a orthodonic device made, and has had good success with it. Depending on your condition it may work for you. I have not explored the surgery option very far as of yet. I am sure that it is the answer for some but not all. You may want to explore the option of running your CPAP off of one the small gel type battery. (like they use in portable depth finders)