How do you camp with a CPAP?

By Teri_T Latest Activity September 15, 2009 at 4:49 pm Views 70,917 Replies 28 Likes 3


How do you get to go camping and sleep in a tent when you have to use a CPAP machine? My family wants to go camping but I have can't sleep without my machine and I feel like I am holding us back from wonderful adventures. Please let me know if anyone has any ideas.
Thank you!

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Replies (28 replies)

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  • Mr Tomato
    Mr Tomato June 14, 2012 at 7:39 am   

    Hi Teri_T,
    Recently my wife had the same challenge, and I look around after discovering the commercial solution was very expensive. I ended up choosing a car-fridge battery pack which works beautifully with her Philips respironics unit. I have blogged about it here:

    One thing to watch out for is rain-out if you are staying in a tent: the cooler temperatures might have a surprising effect.


  • Oceanguy
    Oceanguy August 30, 2011 at 7:50 pm   

    I've taken my CPAP with me on several camping trips and also on world travels to Korea, China, Mexico and Japan. When I am a guest in other people's homes in foreign countries as a courtesy, I don't use their electricity. I use a CPAP rechargable battery. I also don't use my humidifier. I leave that at home for the time I am travelling. Tenting in campgrounds, I get a site with electricity and run a heavy duty extension cord to the tent. In places, like outback camping in Yellowstone and Yosemite etc. I use the batteries. No need to lose sleep or not go on trips. I use the same addage that I used to use when my three kids were young. "BUNDLE AND GO" This means packing up the CPAP and heading out. The battery is a bit expensive at first but has lasted me a long time. I've been using it almost ten years.

    Happy Camping.

  • OSA newbie
    OSA newbie June 26, 2011 at 11:52 am   

    Green Ridge seems to have the CPAP-use-while-camping pretty-well covered. Clearly, it depends on what type of camping is preferred and how much extra equipment must be carried to accomplish this goal.
    At one extreme, I would probably cross off "climbing Mt. Everest" from my bucket list if I had to pack a portable battery to operate my CPAP, but I've modified my camping styles and haven't had many problems since.
    My primary 'camping' is RV'ing with all the creature comforts. My 5vr is permanently on a site with 50amp power, and I set up my equipment just like at home.
    When I'm motorcycle touring, my CPAP equipment fits nicely in a saddlebag and I look for campgrounds with electric outlet sites. The campground store usually stocks bottled water for the humidifier.

  • Green Ridge LO
    Green Ridge LO June 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm   

    I camp with my CPAP under many different conditions: Car camping, backpacking, fire lookout duty, a cabin with no electricity, and multi-day river trips. The type of power that I use depends on the conditions. For running off of 12V battery power, it is crucial that you have a proper power cord. One end of the cord should be a male cigarette lighter and the other fits to the CPAP machine. I have a Respironics machine, so I just purchased their cord online.

    For battery use, I do not use my humidifier because it tends to suck power from the battery. I find that I can tolerate this just fine for about 5 days.

    We have a pop-top camper van, and I usually power my CPAP by plugging in to the car's 12V auxilliary power plug (cigarette lighter style plug). Sometimes, when we camp in a spot with RV hookups, I plug in to available AC power using an extension cord. When on river trips or at the lookout, I usually use a Respironics battery pack. It's heavy (14 lbs) but nicely packaged with a recharger and will run my device for 4 nights. It is spendy (about $275), so I also have a portable auxilliary battery (for starting a car with a drained battery) that has a cigarette plug socket. I think I bought this for $40 about 6 years ago.

    I have an inverter in my vehicle that I use to recharge the Respironics battery pack and/or the portable auxilliary battery while driving.

    For backpacking, I was looking for light weight and did not want to take up a huge bunch of space in my pack. I settled on a home-made battery pack that I created from Radio Shack parts. I bought a small rectangular 12V battery, a female cigarette lighter plug, and some connectors for a total cost of about $35. The battery still weighs 3 lbs. I detach the humidifier from the CPAP and leave it home. The whole set-up weighs 7 lbs. and adds about 1000 cubic inches to my pack volume, but it works well for short distance 1-night trips, which is what I do these days (I'm 62). I use the recharger from my Respironics battery to recharge the small 12V—if I did not have it I would need to shell out another $40 for a recharger.

    I'm playing around with the idea of a lighter backpacking battery, some kind of lithium power source. They are smaller and lighter, but also more expensive (about $100).

  • Mary Hartman
    Mary Hartman July 28, 2011 at 11:44 am   


    I have one of those battery packs for jumping a car. Have you used it for camping before. If so, how long does it last before you have to recharge it?
    Also, do you know of any way of running two cpaps off of one power source, or would we need 2 batteries?

  • Green Ridge LO
    Green Ridge LO July 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm   

    Yes, a battery pack for jumping a car will work fine for a CPAP. The main issue will be how to connect it to your CPAP (more on that below). Just make sure that your CPAP can run on 12 volts DC and that you have the proper cable to connect from the battery to the CPAP

    How long it lasts depends entirely on the battery capacity. Car jumping batteries are lead/acid batteries just like car batteries and just like my Respironics portable battery and my small Radio Shack 12-volt. Based on my experiences with this type of battery, the weight of the battery provides a rough rule of thumb: 1 night of use for every 3 lbs. of battery weight.

    I don't really know of any reason why you could not run 2 CPAPs from a battery. Using the rule of thumb mentioned above, the battery should weigh at least six pounds in order to provide one night of sleep with 2 CPAPs.

    If your car-jumping battery pack has a cigarette lighter plug, you can readily find adapters that double the number of plug-ins (check at Radio Shack). If there is no cigarette lighter plug, then you will need to use an adapter that has battery clips on one end and a female cigarette lighter plug on the other end (let me know if you can't find one and I'll explain how to make your own). Once that is done, you can plug in the doubler I just mentioned and you're in business!

  • Mary Hartman
    Mary Hartman July 28, 2011 at 12:54 pm   

    Have you actually tried this

  • Green Ridge LO
    Green Ridge LO July 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm   

    I have not tried it with a car jumper battery. It should work, because the jumper battery is just a smaller version of the actual car battery and a larger version of my portable batteries, all of which I have used many times. I am going camping tomorrow and I will try my car jumper battery and report back to you on July 31.

  • Green Ridge LO
    Green Ridge LO August 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm   

    I used the car jumper battery with my CPAP, and it worked just fine. My car jumper battery has a built-in automobile cigarette lighter receptacle, so it was very easy to plug my power cord into it. I only used it one night, but it felt like it has a couple of more nights left in it, and it was at 12.30 Vots when I tested it today. My car jumper battery is not labeled regarding its capacity, but it weighs 16 lbs., including the built-in charger and a substantial case, so my guess is that the actual weight of the battery is about 12 lbs.

  • nancylewis
    nancylewis September 30, 2010 at 3:11 pm   

    I am not an electrical person at all! The people at the healthcare company said - "just go to Radio Shack and ask them". Can This be true? I don't want to mess up the machine with the wrong stuff.

  • bluzy788
    bluzy788 June 3, 2010 at 2:16 am   

    I am outdoors a lot. I hunt and fly fish and do a lot of camping. I ponied up and bought a good, quiet generator (a Honda) to run my CPAP. I usually travel with a long extension cord so I can put the generator away from everyone. I've also become adept at directing the motor's sounds away from the tents and sleeping quarters. I have a 4WD vehicle and am able to get back into areas away from the crowds. Works out nice.

  • jlocks38
    jlocks38 June 2, 2010 at 9:27 am   

    Hi there. I am new to this site. Here is part 1: My problem. I orginally was given a full mask. I was talked into a nasal mask and I don't think it is working very well. I don't have insurance and I need a full mask and hose. Is there any suggestions or can someone help me here. Part 2: I am someone who loves the outdoors and would camp in any type of weather but I can't with this CPAP Machine. I would like to be able to plug it in and go camping but I don't have any knowledge of how to do this. So can someone help me here. You can contact me thru email jlocks42@comcast.netEmail Small or by cell 904-349-3987. Thanks for letting me share.

  • stevensonlovebug
    stevensonlovebug June 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm   

    I am sort of in the same No pun intended. I have been using the same mask since I acquired my Cpap & supplies in Dec. of 2009. It has a few cracks in it & my husband has duct taped it several times but that's not working out too well. On my last sleep study in Jan. of this year the Dr. actually reccomended a Bi-Pap but said that if I couldn't get the Bi-Pap we needed to turn the C-Pap up to 15. It was on 9. The insurance I was using at the time would not pay for a Bi-Pap machine so we turned the C-Pap up to 15. I now live in another state ,drawing SSI (my husbands on SSI also) & the Medicaid in this state will not cover C-Pap machines or supplies for adults. The lady didn't know if they covered Bi-Pap machines or not. She said she needs a code for the Bi-Pap from the Dr. that reccomended it. I have so far been unable to reach that Dr. Does anyone know where/how I could get some help? Please? We now live in Kansas.

  • Ebensmom
    Ebensmom June 2, 2010 at 5:59 pm   

    My family and I have a camping trip planned for later this month and we have a camper so I will just take my machine and plug it in since we'll have electricity. At deer camp, I will just have to hope and pray that the generator pushes enough "juice" to run my machine. Good luck and try not to let this situation stop you from doing what ya enjoy!!! Life's short…live it hard!!!!!!

  • WestieDad
    WestieDad June 2, 2010 at 7:11 pm   

    I use a CPAP machine while camping. I bought a marine battery, used for trolling motors, and an Inverter. This has worked good for me except that the battery runs down after 4 or 5 nights.

  • joecoolives
    joecoolives June 3, 2010 at 2:26 am   

    I have a blue top optima marine battery with a briefcase solar panel I have spent 8 days on a river trip with power every night, just make sure you charge it every day.

    It is a little heavy to carry around unless you are car camping or have a raft to carry it on.

  • Wolf41035
    Wolf41035 June 1, 2010 at 9:58 pm   

    People lets not forget thee portable power supplies! They weight half as much as a battery and most of them have the 110v outlet built in. I camp far from power and a good walk from my truck, so the portable power supply is ideal, during the day I hook my power inverter to my truck and re-charge my portable power supply and it is good for many hours of good sleep!
    Also they make different powered one the best one will recharge with about an hour and last for an easy 12 hours, they weight less than a car battery and are not as dangerous…car batteries can put off acidic fumes!

  • nancylewis
    nancylewis September 30, 2010 at 3:32 pm   

    Any specific information you can give me?

  • Wolf41035
    Wolf41035 September 30, 2010 at 10:19 pm   

    Well Jump it makes a couple nice ones and you can buy them from almost any store, including - Sears, WalMart, Kmart, Target, Parts house's and many other places. They have one model that has jumper cables, lighting and 110v outlets.

    Good luck and enjoy the camping!

  • broncovet
    broncovet June 1, 2010 at 8:05 pm   

    I have been camping several times with my CPAP. Its pretty easy. You just set the tent within a few feet from the electric hookup, plug it in and go. My tent has a "doggie door" which works great to put the cord through.

  • brotherjohn
    brotherjohn October 16, 2009 at 8:23 pm   

    Where I go hunting the cabin has no electric so I asked about it when I got the machine. They had a converter that you just hook up to a 12 volt car battery. I just have to bring a spare battery with me into the cabin and it powers the CPAP machine just fine and I hook it up to the truck for a while to recharge the battery when it needs it.

  • dj7110
    dj7110 September 26, 2009 at 1:54 pm   

    I have taken mine camping a few times.. the campgrounds we go to have electric sites which I always get unless i rent one off there cabins which already have electric. before going you want to pick up an long indoor/outdoor extension cord that you can run to tent and also pick up an adapter, as the electric on most electric campsites have a different type connection to hook up to campers. and will need to plug in an adapter to change the style of plug in over to a regular extension cord.. most hardwares carry this. .. David

  • Tracy
    Tracy September 26, 2009 at 10:55 am   

    I don't camp, nor do I have a battey back up for my BiLevel…but I should.

    Here is an article about CPAP and Battery Power that might be helpful to you:


  • Lamblover
    Lamblover September 24, 2009 at 8:06 am   

    I'm am glad you asked. I was wondering the same thing as I can't sleep with out mine either. Not even a nap! LOL I have used the inverter that uses a car lighter and it worked. I will have to experiment more. Thanks for asking and the answers as well.

  • [deleted]
    [deleted] September 23, 2009 at 1:07 pm   

    There are many ways you can do this. If going to a state park or anything like this there is usually electricity there. If not you may have to do a search for the least expensive power inverter. I have used a portable car battery booster before which is 12 volt. There is another way you can do this, invest in a gel filled car battery and inverter or hook it to the 12 volt system. A CPAP doesn't use that much power so most 12 volt batteries will last for 2 or 3 nights. If you need it for a week or so you could also buy a solar charger that will serve as a dual purpose if your car battery gets low you can plug it into your power outlet on the car and set the solar charger on the dash.

  • Polkamama
    Polkamama September 23, 2009 at 11:27 am   

    My machine can be used on a 12 volt or regular 110 house current. Check with the manual of your machine, and the supplier.

    Also you could always take a generator to run your machine.

  • Wolf41035
    Wolf41035 June 1, 2010 at 9:55 pm   
    Edited June 1, 2010 at 10:00 pm by Wolf41035

    I have seen some small generators that have very little noise and you could run an extension cord from 25 or 50ft. away but I like the portable power supply…JUMP-IT makes a nice one that has the 110v outlet built in.

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