What You Need to Know About Mini CPAP Therapy and Travel

by / / Tips

Has a sleep apnea diagnosis made you rethink any overnight stays?

Most CPAP machines are small enough to transport, and as there are different power options available, sleep apnea does not have to stop you from travelling. Of course, many patients may be intimidated by packing their machines.

hiking camping travel

There are mini CPAP machines made specifically for travel, and are an even more convenient option. Learn more about mini CPAP machines, what they are, how they work and how they can benefit you.

Mini CPAP Overview

CPAP therapy, (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) should be used every night if you have been prescribed this form of therapy for sleep apnea. A machine for travel needs to be lightweight, portable, robust, suitable for use internationally, and ideally have integrated power.

Easy to use mini CPAPs that meet all of this criteria are available and come as a package with a hose, universal mask adaptor, masks and AC power supply. These are typically compact enough to pack away in your bag for just about any kind of travel.

How Big are Mini CPAPs?

Mini CPAP machines are generally about the size of a soda can, 6.1 inches by 3.5 inches by 2.8 inches tall. They usually weigh only about nine pounds, and are even suitable for everyday use, not just travel which makes the investment worth it even just as a back up!

Benefits of Mini CPAP

Mini CPAPs generally have enough charge for two to three nights away from a power source, although this will depend on your pressure settings.

If you are near a power source, you can take advantage of one of the multiple adapters that come with the battery pack; this includes adapters for wall sockets, DC power converters, and even international plug adapters for use abroad. In addition to taking up less room, mini CPAPs are rather quiet to use.

CPAP Overseas Travel

It is a good idea to carry a medical alert card with you if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

When travelling with a regular CPAP, you should make sure you remove the water from the humidifier so that it does not damage the machine if it tips.

It will need to be inspected by security when you fly, so stay with it to make sure it is not damaged. If you have an overnight flight or are going to need to use it onboard, check with the airline about their policy for carry-on items and whether you will need a letter from a doctor.

You will need an international adapter plug or batteries if you are travelling abroad, and you should make sure to pack spare parts and a backup mask so you do not find yourself in a position where you are without equipment.

With some mini CPAP travel machines, the plug adapter can be changed when you want to use it outside the United States.

Power Requirements

Most machines today operate on both AC and DC voltage. The AC current from a wall outlet in the United States is 110 volts. The AC current overseas is usually 220 or 240 volts.

Battery Run CPAP

All CPAPs can connect to DC power, and machines with AC power will need an inverter to turn DC power to AC power.

If your machine has a DC outlet, a deep-cycle marine battery can last three nights before it needs to be charged, in some circumstances. You will need the correct DC cable and an adapter cable with alligator clips for the cigarette lighter plug.

Also, mini CPAP travel machines usually have optional batteries.

How to Use Batteries in CPAP

Battery kits are available for CPAPs with everything you need for the machine including the correct cables. You can use a deep-cycle marine battery, charge the machine from a car battery, or buy small, portable battery packs that will operate the machine for at least one night.

Solar Powered CPAP

Select CPAP machines have an optional solar charger for their batteries. Depending on your battery, with just 6 to 12 hours of direct sunlight, the batteries can be charged using the lightweight foldable solar panel charger.

Of course, there are commercially available solar chargers for all sorts of camping gear, but you’ll want to test this method out at home before setting out on the Appalachian Trail with one.

Prepare for Power Outages

Even standard size CPAP machines have backup battery choices available to ensure peace of mind in the event of a power outage, and battery packs can be bought for just about any size machine if an integrated battery is not available.

Most CPAP machines are powered by a standard wall outlet and many have a battery in place, so in the event of a power outage, it will automatically switch to battery power.

Sleep apnea need not stop you from enjoying overnight stays. If however you are unsure of your machine’s portability and would prefer a machine that is small, lightweight, and quiet to use when you are away from home, a mini CPAP machine is extremely convenient.

At Sleep Rite, we have been counseling sleep apnea sufferers on all aspects of treatment for over 20 years, and will be happy to help you choose a machine that’s perfect for you no matter your destination. From a treehouse in Costa Rica to your own bedroom, we have the CPAP solution! Contact us today for more peaceful sleep just about anywhere.