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Getting a c-pap ... and how best to pack and carry ...

I've recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
I will see the sleep clinic later this week to be educated and hopefully "gifted" with an appropriate device.
I will want something compact and easy to travel with since I have a 6 1/2 week trip coming up starting in late April.
So my 2 questions are --
1. Can you recommend a small and light-weight machine?
2. Can you recommend a duffle or perhaps RS accessory pack (Veloce, perhaps) that will comfortably carry the thing and also maybe my cross body bag until I get on the plane and can repack/unpack for convenience on the flight. (I'm not thinking I'll need to use it on the plane, just at night for sleeping.)
I will appreciate hearing your experiences.
Thanks in advance for helping me out!

Posted by
1075 posts


I can't recommend a machine, but my husband used one for a number of years and we either used the handy bag that it came in, which compactly held all the cords and hoses, or we packed it in our checked luggage if he didn't want to carry it on. At least in the US, it does not count as one of your allowed carryon bags because it's a medical device. You can count on security pulling you for additional screening and rubbing the little explosive detection pads all over it. I can't tell you about traveling with it in Europe because that's when we put it in our checked luggage. It was fine.

Unless you're willing to purchase two machines, you might just want to get whatever works best for you and travel with it. Even his, that was an older device, wasn't too big to travel with. I know they sell small travel units, but I'd be concerned about using something you aren't used to. YMMV

Hope this helps,

Posted by
1284 posts

Thanks, Celeste.
I don't have it yet and I hope there will be some good choices.
And I will have 3 months to get used to it ...

Posted by
3083 posts

Oh the joys of CPAP. I have a Phillips Respironics System One which came with its own padded carrying case. Since it is a medical device, it is not counted as any part of carry on luggage. The unit runs on 110/220 volt power supply so other than an adapter for the plug and perhaps an extension cord, nothing else is needed. When I told my ENT I was going to Europe he told me about a new "compact" travel unit but it is substantially more expensive than a standard CPAP so insurance coverage might not pay for it. Until you have more definitive info on what is available for you, don't worry about it.

Posted by
4083 posts

My husband has the same machine as Philip. Please see this forum discussion -- -- for another recent CPAP discussion, including some comments from yours truly.

The bag is about the size of a shoebox. I forgot to mention that he also puts his iPad in the CPAP bag. Once you travel with it, you will see lots of people in airports with them. My husband is so much in love with his CPAP that he would never put it in checked baggage. It is too important to his health.

What's not discussed in that thread is that you are likely to "need" distilled water for the machine. We've purchased that at European pharmacies or drug stores similar to our Walgreens in the US. Our last trip was about 6 weeks and my husband used regular still bottled water. It did no harm to the machine for that length of time. I would not use tap water in it, though.

Since you are new to this and your departure is soon, be sure to check out the different kinds of facial air delivery options to find what works best for you before you go. My husband much prefers the cannula over any kind of mask. You'll see what the options are when you go to the sleep clinic.

Posted by
1666 posts

You may want to look into Provent. It may or may not work for you, but if it does, it weighs next to nothing so it's ideal for traveling. I used it on the three-week trip a few years ago, and I've also traveled with my CPAP. Provent is not covered by most insurance; it's around $60 for a 30-day supply. I found it hard to get used to, but they now have a starter kit that is supposed to help you get used to it over the first four nights. I'm thinking of trying it again on my next trip. You might want to ask your doctor about it.

I have a smaller CPAP machine I take with me on most trips. It fits easily in my carry-on, so I don't worry about carrying the extra bag it comes with, and I don't use a humidifier when I travel.

Posted by
11613 posts

The CPap machine medical device bag will not be counted as a carryon or personal item, if that makes a difference. I traveled with a friend and her CPap machine, she was able to put several items in the bag.

If you need a special water (distilled?) once you arrive, you can buy it in grocery stores (inexpensive) or some pharmacies (very expensive). In grocery stores, it's the water bottle with an image of an iron or other appliance on it.

Posted by
1284 posts

Thanks, everybody.
I need to relax and wait until my appointment this Thursday. I realize that I am letting my anxiety get away with me!
Provent is interesting. If I may ask, does it lessen or prevent snoring?

Posted by
786 posts

I've traveled with my CPAP multiple times, including to Europe in 2015. The other posters are right that the bag does not count against your carry-on limit. I printed out and laminated a tag to indicate that it is a medical device and no airline personnel have ever given it a second look. However, that third bag can be a real hassle. I tried looping the CPAP bag strap over my roller bag handle, even folding and duct-taping the strap to shorten it. But it wouldn't stay securely and tended to flop around. As I was also carrying a Civita day pack on my shoulder, having to constantly fiddle with the flopping CPAP bag while trundling through airports was a huge pain in the neck.

Now, instead, I use the RS Euro flight bag to hold my CPAP, camera, Kindle, gum, etc. as my personal item on the plane. It fastens securely to the handle of my RS roller, making the airport treks far more manageable. Two bags instead of three. The Euro bag is very roomy, but squishes down and fits under the seat in front with no problem. I wouldn't put your expensive CPAP machine in checked luggage.

As for the distilled water, I've found that I have better things to do when traveling than track down a big jug of water (it usually comes in gallon-size containers) and haul it back to the hotel. My humidifier unit is detachable, so I simply take it off and manage without for the length of the trip. Removing it, of course, also cuts down on bulk in the bag. Doing without the humidifier doesn't bother me for a week or two. If you were traveling for a lengthy period, you might want to have it, though.

Good luck!

Posted by
362 posts

In addition to a small day bag my husband takes his CPAP as a carry-on. He doesn't take the humidifier even for long trips of up to 10 weeks. He carries his meds in the CPAP bag. At airport security they check it thoroughly but that's it, no problem.

Posted by
1666 posts

I believe Provent is intended specifically for the treatment of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). It is not intended to stop snoring. But it may do so. I honestly don't know. You're probably better off reading the information on their web site and others to get full information about it. I'm not a doctor and don't want to recommend it for anyone except to say you should discuss it with your own sleep specialist if it sounds like something you'd be interested in trying.

Incidentally, when I first started carrying my CPAP in my carry-on, the TSA agents always took it out and tested it for explosive residue. They no longer ever do that. I sail right through security with the CPAP in my carry-on.

Posted by
103 posts

The last times I flew with my CPAP, within the past year, the TSA folks at DTW and JAX still required me to remove the machine from its carrying case but not the tubing, mask, extension cord or power supply. They didn't do the swab thing and never did in all of the previous years that I flew with it out of a number of different airports.

You have enough time to find out whether or not you'll need the humidifier. I don't, so I'm spared the bulk and inconvenience of traveling with it and a jug of distilled water. Maybe you'll be lucky too.

My sleep doctor endorses the miniature CPAPs for travel and has offered to write me a prescription for one if I ever decide if I want it. YMMV, but my insurance company will allow me to get it, pay whatever they pay for a CPAP, and leave the rest of the bill for me as my co-pay. So if you'll be traveling a lot it may be worth it for you to spring for the extra bucks to buy the travel CPAP.

Posted by
210 posts

I, too, use Provent on my travels. I have used it for four tours now. It took me a few "pre-tour" nights to get use to it. It is not the same as a CPAP, but it is better than nothing. It is a little pricey, but very easy to pack.

I just prefer to not take my CPAP. I prefer not to deal with the cords, plugs, etc. and another bag. I have not purchased one of the smaller "travel" size machines.

Usually I am so tired by the time I get to bed each night......putting on the Provent and going to sleep is not an Hope this helps.

Posted by
66 posts

I also have a Philips Respironic System One. It is a very moderate size, even with the internal humidifier. I have also traveled with it in its own bag that it came with, and I have also packed it in my checked luggage. But I think my favore solution is carrying it in a carry on like the RS one mentioned. Earlier, or even a rolling carry on. I do not find the original bag very travel-worthy. Doesn't. Have a good shoulder strap and not a sturdy bag. Now I am also on oxygen 24/7 so when I travel I am loaded down with medical equipment, but I still manage. But that brings me to my next point. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea years ago, but often didn't bother with my c-pap. Last year I had to have open heart surgery and a pacemaker installed. Please use your c-pap. Sleep apnea is very damaging for your heart. Be smarter than I was.

Posted by
66 posts

I almost forgot! The eBags Crew Cooler II costs just $50 and is perfect for carrying a c-pap, as well as other stuff. Multiple pockets. It is a perfect solution!