Using Your CPAP at Campgrounds
The easiest and least stressful solution is to stay at campgrounds that offer electricity. Some campgrounds provide electricity to RVs, motor homes, and camper trailers only, while others make it available at tent spaces too. Not all campgrounds are alike, however. Most privately owned campgrounds offer electrical hookups.
The most popular national parks and state parks have campgrounds with hookups, but it’s good to check in advance because no tall do.
If you’re camping at a location which provides electricity to your camper or tent, then there is no problem. You simply plug your CPAP into an outlet just as you would at home.
However, at times it can be challenging to find an open campsite unless you reserve one significantly in advance. The massive influx of new campers on the road have made it difficult, if not impossible in some cases, to find an available spot open at a campground. That’s where boondocking,or dry camping, comes in.
Using Your CPAP While Boondocking
Boondocking is the process of camping in the wild, completely self-contained. This means there is no water hook up, no electricity to plug into, and no dump stations for waste or trash. Boondocking is also known as dry camping. On Federal lands it is also called dispersed camping, and in town it’s sometimes called lot docking.
Whether you are in a remote wilderness area with no one else around, or you’re parked overnight at a rest area, the one similarity is that you must supply your own power. The most common ways to do this are with small battery packs and portable generators. Small battery packs are popular because they contain everything you need in one portable package.
Three popular examples include:
- EF ECOFLOW RIVER Pro PortablePowerStation
- Jackery Explorer 300
- Anker Portable Power Station,PowerHouse II
These battery packs can be plugged in and fully charged at home before you begin your trip. They can also be plugged into the cigarette lighter in your vehicle and charged while driving. When fully charged, you simply plug your CPAP machine into the power outlet on the battery pack, and it will provide power just as a wall plug at home does.
A standard CPAP machine uses an average of between 40 - 80 watts of power, depending upon whether the humidifier function is being used.
The important number to know about battery packs is how many watts it stores. You can buy them in varying sizes ranging from 200 watts to 1000 watts and beyond. The more watts it provides, the higher the cost will be. How much power you need depends upon the amount of power your CPAP machine uses, and if you plan to power other devices as well.
Since battery packs provide regular 120 volt electric plugs, you can use them to power laptops, charge camera batteries, run a TV, and more. Obviously, the more you plug in, the more power you will use.
You also have the option of buying a battery designed specifically for CPAP machines. When you do this, you know exactly how long the battery will last before you need to recharge it. For example, the EXP48 Pro Lithium Ion Battery Bank provides up to four nights of power for your CPAP before needing to be recharged.
Generators are another popular power option for when you’re camping off grid. Modern generators range from small, gas-powered devices, to flexible solar panels that can recharge batteries.
Motor homes and campers often come with a built-in gas or propane generator. Those that don’t, however, can be easily equipped with an inexpensive one such as the Honda 663510 EU1000i.
These units are relatively lightweight while supplying enough power for the entire camping trip. Those with pull behind campers often put these into the bed of a pickup truck, for easily powering a CPAP and other devices while communing with nature.
If the idea of running a motorized generator doesn’t appeal to you while camping (they are loud after all), you might try one of the numerous solar options available. Jackery makes the Solar Saga 100W Portable Solar Panel specifically for use with their portable power stations.The solar panel recharges the battery pack so you’re able to have a prolonged camping stay without running out of power for the CPAP.
Many other portable solar panels provide excellent power solutions. A panel can be used to keep your vehicle’s battery charged, or it can be used to keep a portable battery charged. Either approach gives you options for keeping your CPAP powered in the wilderness.