I’ve got sleep apnea and I want to go on a four-day bikepacking trip. For any sufferers, you can appreciate how this might be a bit of a conflict to reconcile. Will I just snore my head off? Will I have to lug an impossible battery? Do I need a travel machine? Read on and I’ll share my decision process with you. (Note: This solution is a summary of exploration by others and the items I settled on.)
My normal CPAP is a ResMed Airsense 10. That thing is just too big to take with me bikepacking and too power hungry. So I did some research, and narrowed things down to the ResMed AirMini, the Breas Z2 Auto, and the Philips Dreamstation Go.
I read some reviews and watched a few videos. The Dreamstation Go was out rather quickly based on size. The ResMed certainly seemed like a decent device, but I read it’s power needs were a little more complicated that the Z2 Auto, and its price point was a few hundred dollars more. So, when it was all said and done, I went with the Breas Z2.
So, I’d found the CPAP, and ordered it. The time came to try a night’s sleep with it. The first concern for me was that there is no humidifier with this unit. This is no surprise as I was looking for a compact passage, but I tend to get a sore throat when my reservoir runs dry on my normal unit. Enter the HDM/HME. This acronym stands for Heat Moisture Exchange, essentially it is a small sponge that connects the end of the hose to your mask and tries to capture the humidity from your own breath and return it to you.
The end result was of my sleep was this machine is nosier than a normal CPAP due to it’s compact size, but I tolerated it well and my quality of sleep was pretty good. Although my throat was a little dry when I woke up, it wasn’t terrible.
Moving on, I’ve got a small CPAP, that’s great. How do I power it when I’m at a camp site? Well, in some of my searches, I found someone who had solved this problem for me. What you need is a power bank capable of supplying enough wattage to power a laptop, and a special USB C cable that will provide the right voltage to the CPAP. This unit runs off 15 volts, so this was the cable I got:
As I mentioned, the power bank will need to supply 60 watts or more so I needed to find a suitable sized unit. I went with the Baseus unit below. Based off what I read, this should allow me at least two nights of sleep and potentially topping off other devices. I’d just need to figure out how to recharge it mid-trip.
Lastly, I had plenty of USB power supplies, but I needed a USB C quick charger so I could fill this bank fast. Below is the charger I selected.
Trial Sleep #2 – Battery Powered
I got my cables and power bank and prepared for my second night of test sleeping. Everything connected and powered off the bank just fine. I went to sleep, with my noisy little companion and woke up 7 hour later. The power pack worked fine. I checked the display and it said there was 70% of the battery left. I got 7 hours out of 30% of the charge. That was great, I should be able to get at least two days out of the battery. Now, how much battery will be used also depends on the pressure generated and ambient temperature. Luckily, I checked the companion app on my smartphone and I had stayed at the minimum pressure the whole night.
The last part of the trial was recharging the battery. I connected it to my new quick charger and the battery was topped off in 30 minutes. I could get seven hours of sleep for only 30 minutes of charging. Perfect!