Travelling with your CPAP machine

All you need to know about buying a CPAP for on the move

You can travel almost anywhere with your CPAP - but the rainforest may be pushing it

There are two main things to consider if you are purchasing a CPAP machine for travelling, or will be travelling with your existing CPAP machine. Firstly, the size and weight, and secondly how the machine will be powered.

CPAP machines are far more compact than they were even five years ago, so even the bigger ones are impressively small. However some are simply incredible. The Somnetics Transcend, for example, can fit in the palm of your hand. It is the smallest CPAP machine available and is ideal for use as a travel or backup unit.

Another thing to consider is how the machine will be powered. If you will have mains power, then choose whatever machine you like. However if you will be away from mains power (for example, while camping) then a machine that can run off of a 12V DC source such as a battery would be an excellent solution. This allows you to continue getting your therapy regardless of your location. Always double check that the machine you want can run off of 12V power if you need this option. You can the combine the machine with a 12V CPAP battery.

Using a battery to power your CPAP gives you a great deal of freedom. For example, if you are camping in a tent or staying somewhere with no or unreliable mains power, then you can still use your CPAP machine as normal. 

Many machines do now have the option of running off of 12V power, such as the Philips Respironics System One REMstar 60 or the DeVilbiss SleepCube. If you are going to run your machine off of a 12V source, always be sure to use the official manufacturer's cable to avoid any potential complications and warranty issues. We do supply cables for the majority of CPAP manufacturers and machines; please click here to browse our range.

We would strongly advise against getting a machine with a built-in humidifier if you will be travelling. There are two reasons for this; firstly they are heavier than a regular machine. Secondly, there is a large risk of water leaking into the main unit while on the move and causing damage, even with precautions being taken. If you will be travelling, we would advise getting a machine that has a seperate humidifier which can then be left at home, or packaged seperately to avoid water ingress causing any problems.

On the subject of humidifiers, be aware that they cannot be powered on 12V, even if your machine can. So if you will be away from mains power, then you should probably leave the humidifier at home as it can only be used passively (ie unpowered, at room temperature).

Finally, if you are flying and are planning to use your CPAP on the plane, always contact your airline before hand to ensure that this is OK to do so. The policy on CPAP varies from airline to airline, but getting a letter from your doctor stating that you need the machine during the flight will usually make the process smoother. Most will let you use it, it just depends on the hoops you need to jump through to get the all-clear. If you need a battery, check what their limitations and requirements are for that also, and make sure yours fit within them.

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