River running with cpap - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-31-2014   #1
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
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River running with cpap

There was a recent thread about alternative power sources for the river. Batteries and solar power were discussed at length, with several people posting their set-ups. I joined in that conversation with questions about my particular power needs as related to my "new best friend".....Mr. CPAP machine. I thought I'd post about my set-up in case other river runners are using cpap therapy and have wondered if they can take it on the river. The answer for me is yes. Cpap therapy is really helping me get a good nights sleep and have more energy during the day. All things that I need on the river. Skipping a week of therapy won't kill me, but feeling lousy sucks. I was lucky enough to raft with a friend who has been using cpap on the river for several years, so he guided me in setting up my system. I'll show you my set-up, then post in a couple weeks after my first trip with my cpap to give a review of how it worked. 8 days on the Middle Fork

My machine is a Philips Respironics System One Remstar Auto. I chose this machine over the ResMed brand because the ResMed requires an inverter to run off a battery. The inverter uses a bit more power, and every bit of power counts when you are running off batteries. Also, in order to save on power, the humidifier can't be used. The humidifier uses way too much juice. Being without the added humidity and warmth from the heated hose won't be super fun, but can't be helped.

My power source is 4 Werker 12V20A batteries. Each battery will power the machine for at least 2 nights. During a home trial run, I got 2 full nights (8 hrs) off one battery, and according to my battery tester, I have 1/4-1/2 charge left. These batteries are deceptive. They don't look super big and bulky (7X 6.5 X 3 inches), but they weigh 13 lb.each. They are kind of a PITA to carry, and you wouldn't want to drop one on your foot. I had Jan at Stitches-N-Stuff make me a mini-tote to carry the battery up and down from raft to camp.

The other parts of the system are a Shielded DC cord, and a DC battery adapter cable. Both from Respironics. I was advised by my DME provider to stick with cables made by my machine's company for warranty issues. I also bought a cheap and simple battery tester. The DC cord can also be used to plug into a 12V outlet in the car.

Because I can't use the heated humidifier on the river, I got a fleece hose cover to try and decrease the cold air that will be pumped into my nose and airway. I don't think it will help that much? Not sure? I might try running the hose inside my sleeping bag. The MF will be mid to upper 30s- low 40s at night.

Here are pictures of my system. I will report back on how it works. I'm sure I'm not the only buzzard suffering from obstructive sleep apnea who might benefit from this info. I was sure glad my buddy paved the way for me.

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Old 08-31-2014   #2
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Your not the only one out there.

We had a member on our Grand trip with a CPAP machine. I later did a 5 day Main Salmon with same person. Sometimes I soar so violently it wakes me up. Wonder if I'll be toating one of these in the feature.
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Old 08-31-2014   #3
 
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Originally Posted by David Miller View Post
We had a member on our Grand trip with a CPAP machine. I later did a 5 day Main Salmon with same person. Sometimes I soar so violently it wakes me up. Wonder if I'll be toating one of these in the feature.
I never snored much at all, but I began noticing a definite increase in afternoon fatigue that wasn't there before. I just chalked it up to being out of shape after taking last summer off with a broken leg and good ole menopause. By shear luck, a friend whose husband has OSA shared a hotel room with me after a river trip, and noticed my irregular breathing. Testing revealed moderate OSA.
I'm so lucky to have my rafting buddy who figured all this stuff out a few years ago. He helped me get my system together. As I stated in the other thread, I've explored Li Ion batteries and solar recharging. I may go that route in the future, but the multiple battery system works, with no guess work. I hope that this thread will help others who are debating about taking their cpap on the river or on other outdoor adventures. Being well rested, feeling good, and not being grumpy are positive things when you are on the river. Plus all the other long term positives.....decreasing hypertension, lowering stroke & heart attack risk, lowering diabetes risk, cognitive changes, and helping with weight loss.
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Old 08-31-2014   #4
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
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Couple of things- you're gonna lose time on those batteries due to the cold temps. Account for that in the amount of batteries you bring. 2 nights at 70 degrees does not equal 2 nights at 30 degrees. The hose wrap is just going to maintain the temp inside it- not warm it up at all. It does make it more comfortable when the thing inevitably wraps around your neck while you are asleep. I use a Resmed S9 with their DC power pack and an Odyssey 1200 battery. 4 nights off one battery, even in the cold- but it's a heavy beast. The machine and it's case, battery and Battery Tender charger fit nicely in a briefcase sized Storm case- so it is relatively riverproof.

With regards to humidity- I was surprised that I don't really suffer without it. Last week in Yellowstone I actually used the humidifier in the off position but with a splash of water in it for passive humidity- and got rain out really bad (!?). Switched to no water the next night and did fine. I've used my DC system for 2 seasons now and it has been excellent. If anyone needs pics or anything, just holler.

.....and don't forget your mask! DAMHIK!

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Old 09-01-2014   #5
 
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Originally Posted by Osseous View Post
Couple of things- you're gonna lose time on those batteries due to the cold temps. Account for that in the amount of batteries you bring. 2 nights at 70 degrees does not equal 2 nights at 30 degrees. The hose wrap is just going to maintain the temp inside it- not warm it up at all. It does make it more comfortable when the thing inevitably wraps around your neck while you are asleep. I use a Resmed S9 with their DC power pack and an Odyssey 1200 battery. 4 nights off one battery, even in the cold- but it's a heavy beast. The machine and it's case, battery and Battery Tender charger fit nicely in a briefcase sized Storm case- so it is relatively riverproof.

With regards to humidity- I was surprised that I don't really suffer without it. Last week in Yellowstone I actually used the humidifier in the off position but with a splash of water in it for passive humidity- and got rain out really bad (!?). Switched to no water the next night and did fine. I've used my DC system for 2 seasons now and it has been excellent. If anyone needs pics or anything, just holler.

.....and don't forget your mask! DAMHIK!

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Yep, I'm accounting for the cold temps. That's why I was happy that two nights at home left me with some juice left in the battery. Fingers crossed that each battery will go for two nights. The tube cozy was just a thought. I was pretty sure it wouldn't help much in the warmth department. I can't stick the machine inside my sleeping bag, but maybe the hose inside it to warm it up a little. At home, I sleep with the heated hose at the lowest setting, so I'm used to breathing cool air. We shall see what no humidity does? Does being near the water add any humidity? I know the air always seems damp, and I've had a soggy sleeping bag if I sleep without my tent on the MF. I've repurposed a Pelican 1300 with a new foam insert for the cpap machine, and the other stuff will go in a Watershed bag. Good advice on the mask.....double check that it's in the bag!
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Old 09-01-2014   #6
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
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I just went on my honeymoon....and forgot the mask! Had to trip to the sleep clinic in Billings, where they hooked me up. Super nice folks.

Try passive humidity- bring your humidifier and put some water in it, but without heat. The air passing over does gain some humidity. I've done that for a while with good results, but on this trip I found that I did OK without any added humidity.

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Old 09-01-2014   #7
 
Selbyville, Delaware
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I have been using a CPAP for 10 years. This past March I did a 21 day trip down the Grand and I do not like to sleep at all without my machine. I was ready for a new machine and I did a lot of research before I purchased a unit called transcend. It is designed for use in the field, actually the service members in the middle east. It has an optional solar panel as well. I purchased an extra battery and each battery would give me about three nights of sleep. The solar panel wasn't the greatest for getting a full recharge, but that was due to a combination of items. One, the design is an older silicon, so it does not gather as much power as newer panels and two, the steepness of the canyon walls. I needed to move the panel around the boat on some of the days. I had a new panel from goal zero, but I purchased that on short notice and I did not have the proper attachments in order to connect the apnea batteries to the goal zero; parts that are available at Radio Shack. I managed quite well on the trip and now know that I can travel anywhere in the world at just about anytime and sleep well.

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 09-01-2014   #8
 
Golden, Colorado
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Had mine for about 4 years. I use a resmed with the 12 volt power adapter and a L-ion battery pack. I can get 4 nights on a charge- of course without using the humidifier. I dont have much trouble without the humidifier and actually dont use it at all when traveling. If you can hang your hose or have your machine lower than your head (hard to do unless you use a camp cot) it will help with rain-out. My experience- carry a spare hose. I've never damaged one at home but have had 2 tear on camping trips.
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Old 09-01-2014   #9
 
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Originally Posted by OldFatMan View Post
Had mine for about 4 years. I use a resmed with the 12 volt power adapter and a L-ion battery pack. I can get 4 nights on a charge- of course without using the humidifier. I dont have much trouble without the humidifier and actually dont use it at all when traveling. If you can hang your hose or have your machine lower than your head (hard to do unless you use a camp cot) it will help with rain-out. My experience- carry a spare hose. I've never damaged one at home but have had 2 tear on camping trips.
I sleep on a cot, so that should help. I'm leaving my heated hose at home, and bringing the spare hose.
I'm curious about everyone who gets more than 2 nights from their batteries. What are your pressure settings? I asked the folks at the cpapbattery.com and they told me that I'd get 1-2 nights from one of their Li Ion batteries at my pressure setting of 17. Accurate? Or trying to sell me more batteries?
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Old 09-01-2014   #10
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
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17 is a LOT of pressure- I had a pretty horrible result from my study 12 years ago- and I'm on a setting of 14. That definitely isn't helping your battery life....sorry

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