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  1. #1
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
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    Default Report--Backcountry Usage of Portable CPAP

    I have severe obstructive sleep apnea. Unless it is treated, while sleeping I briefly stop breathing on about once every two minutes. For the past six years I've been treating it successfully at home with a regular CPAP machine. Meanwhile, due to family circumstances until this spring I was not able to backpack more than a few nights per year. Conditions have changed and I, a retiree, am now free to travel and backpack as much as I like. So, I have begun backpacking with a battery powered portable CPAP.

    I am using a 'Z2 auto' portable CPAP, manufactured by Breas, for car camping and back country camping. And, I plan to also use it next winter while independently taking several multi-week independent treks thru mountainous areas in central Mexico. Not covered by medical insurance, my portable cpap is not cheap. I've invested about $1,500 (ouch) in the set up, including a transformer/power supply for use where electricity is available, a 'power shell 'to encase the cpap, a lithium ion battery to insert into the shell, and also an extra battery. Without the second battery my cost would have been $200 or $300 less. The power supply can be used either for use while sleeping, or to recharge a battery. Unfortunately, it cannot do both of those things simultaneously. Instructions included with one of the batteries state it takes 10 hours to completely recharge it. But, thus far I've had a recharge time of two hours for each night that the battery has been used.

    While I like using my regular 'at home' CPAP more, the Z2 Auto has been working satisfactorily for me during trips. So far I've used it for one night of car camping, on a three night backpacking trip, and then last week during four nights of backpacking. It's quieter than I had anticipated it would be. Instructions stress the importance of keeping the lithium ion battery completely dry, away from water. So, I double bag the battery within zip locks. And, if during heavy rain I ever find the inside of my Tarptent to be more than just slightly wet, that night I'll put the batteries away and sleep without treatment.

    I am able to get about 3 1/2 nights of use from one fully charged lithium battery. Weight varies depending upon the character of a trip. If I am going out for just one to four nights, leaving the transformer/power supply behind, either back at home or in my car, the total weight at I need to carry is approximately 2 3/4 lbs. Adding the second battery to the kit in order to extend the trip for an additional three nights raises the total weight to 4 lbs. And, if I need to take both batteries and also carry the transformer/power supply (for sleeping and recharging batteries at hostels or motels, during a long distance hike) the total weight would be 4 1/2 pounds.

    As I get older I am motivated reduce the weight of other items in my pack to partially compensate for the cpap load, and perhaps also to not go out for very many nights at a time. I'm open to hearing experiences of others who have dealt with these issues. Siestita
    Last edited by Siestita; 05-23-2023 at 13:16.

  2. #2
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    Does you Z2 auto' portable CPAP have a humidifier and heated hose?

    Anyone use a HME "Heat Moisture Exchanger" connected to their cpap?

    This one is used with the Resmed AirMini portable cpap:

    N30 mask HME.jpeg


  3. #3
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    I use the ResMed AirMini. Prior to COVID I was traveling weekly for business, and would bring that, but still had a separate ResMed machine I used at a home. During COVID I stopped traveling and switched to using the AirMini all of the time. I find no real difference in comfort between the humidifier and the exchanger. I wasn't using a heated hose.

    I also invested in a battery setup so I can take it with me into the backcountry. Also works in the rare circumstance where we lose power.

    That whole setup is about 33 oz. without the battery charger, or 36 oz. with the battery charger. It will last me 2+ nights on a charge if I am diligent about keeping the battery warm.

    The battery is a TalentCell 24V Lithium ion Battery PB240A1, 15.76 oz. The battery to ResMed cable is 2.46 oz.

    So far, so good.








    Quote Originally Posted by zelph View Post
    Does you Z2 auto' portable CPAP have a humidifier and heated hose?

    Anyone use a HME "Heat Moisture Exchanger" connected to their cpap?

    This one is used with the Resmed AirMini portable cpap:

    N30 mask HME.jpeg


  4. #4
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    That's good news about your Resmed AirMini being used full time. Do you keep your battery in your sleeping bag? I read recently that someone attached a hose to the "intake" side of the AirMini and put the mini inside their sleeping bag to minimize cold air having an effect on it.

    I'm in the process of testing the Mini HME unit with my Resmed Airsense 10. I use the N20 head gear. I have the heated hose and water heater turned off. I've had 3 nights of sucessful sleep so far. I'll continue to test it for the next 26 days until I have to replace the HumidX Plus cartridge.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siestita View Post
    I am able to get about 3 1/2 nightsof use from one fully charged lithium battery. Weight varies depending upon the character of a trip. If I am going out for just one to four nights, leaving the transformer/power supply behind, either back at home or in my car, the total weight at I need to carry is approximately 2 3/4 lbs. Adding the second battery to the kit in order to extend the trip for an additional three nights raises the total weight to 4 lbs. And, if I need to take both batteries and also carry the transformer/power supply (for sleeping and recharging batteries at hostels or motels, during a long distance hike) the total weight would be 4 1/2 pounds.
    Siestita
    Wow, 3-1/2 nights that's really nice.

  6. #6
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    Yes, if I am looking to extend the battery life across multiple nights, or even out one night if it is cold enough, I keep the battery inside the quilt with me. If it is well above freezing for a single night, I don't bother.

    I haven't noticed any issues with the AirMini itself outside the quilt, but I will keep an eye out for that. I wouldn't expect the cold to really affect the unit itself. I expect to be out overnight some time this winter in the Whites, so I will have a pretty good test environment for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by zelph View Post
    That's good news about your Resmed AirMini being used full time. Do you keep your battery in your sleeping bag? I read recently that someone attached a hose to the "intake" side of the AirMini and put the mini inside their sleeping bag to minimize cold air having an effect on it.

    I'm in the process of testing the Mini HME unit with my Resmed Airsense 10. I use the N20 head gear. I have the heated hose and water heater turned off. I've had 3 nights of sucessful sleep so far. I'll continue to test it for the next 26 days until I have to replace the HumidX Plus cartridge.

  7. #7
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    The HME is working really well for my testing. I'm using my home Resmed Airsense 10. I've had 4 sucessfull nights of sleep sofar. Very comfortable. I'm working on a project to connect an 8' hose to the HME. The hose will be coiled up and kept inside my sleeping bag to add heat to the incoming air while in my hammock. I have a Grizz-Bridge hammaock.
    I will strive to have my set-up look like this:


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