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  1. #1
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
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    07-06-2007
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    Frankfort, KY
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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.

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