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Traveling with a CPAP

Because this topic comes up often in this message base, I'm throwing my 2 cents in about travelling with a CPAP.

The CPAP I chose to travel with is the HDM Z2 Auto. Please note that this is an APAP (automatic adjusting) and not a CPAP (set pressure value). The difference is expensive, but worth it. The non-auto version of this device has to be tuned by a doctor before use. The auto version measures your breathing and automatically adjusts the pressure.

The device itself fit in the palm of my hand, is about three fingers thick and weighs in total just shy of a pound. Even with its power cord, hose, mask and noise suppressor, it's very portable. That said, a wise purchase is a carry case -- not the carry bag -- from a dealer like CPAP.com. The small carry case fits everything just perfectly with a little room to spare and then fits in a Rick Steves carry-on backpack.

Another nb: be VERY careful with the plastic parts of this device, especially the mask holder and the tube end. Make sure both are packed away from the edges of the carry case. If either break, you're hosed. It might even be worth wrapping both in bubble wrap or a cloth to protect them.

The Z2 Auto is quiet, but not perfectly so. It "wheezes" with each breath, sounding a bit like a vacuum cleaner when it sucks up something too big for the hose. Because the noise rises and falls, there's no real way to get used to it. I strongly recommend industrial-grade earplugs.

Voltage is not a problem with this device. I have mine plugged into my plug converter and it runs on European voltage just fine. I'm also carrying a 12' extension cord just in case the plug is too far from the bed. I haven't had to use it yet, but it's good to have it just in case. A standard, indoor-grade, non-grounded cord is just fine.

Finally, to keep your mask squeaky clean, I recommend pre-packaged clean wipes specifically made for mask cleaning. You can buy them from any online CPAP store. A box of 12 costs about 6 bucks. Starting your travels with a new mask doesn't hurt, either.

So there you go, CPAP users, travel away with your device and sleep soundly.

-- Mike Beebe

Posted by
432 posts

Snoring prevention is one likely benefit of a properly fitted and adjusted CPAP. It is a medical device that requires a sleep test, professional and expert evaluations, and a prescription. And they’re not cheap. If you think you have a sleep issue that affects your health or your marriage, talk to your doctor about a sleep consultation.

Posted by
6536 posts

Male?
200 lbs. or more?
Size 17" dress shirt or larger?
Loud Snorer?
Do you hold your breath in your sleep?

Chances are you have sleep apnea. Those on a CPAP live substantially longer than one that ignores the problem. Untreated people needing CPAP have a substantially increased chance of requiring open heart surgery.

Posted by
5235 posts

Thanks for the information. Mike. I had not heard about the mask-cleaning wipes, was just planning on soap-and-water daily, possibly adding white vinegar once a week.
Based on your suggestions I may also carry spare nasal pillows (nothing like leaving important stuff behind when changing hotels.)

Posted by
48 posts

When traveling abroad with a cpap I highly recommend packing a non-grounded (2 prong) extension cord to use with your electrical adapter. Many hotels, especially older ones, do not have outlets that are easily accessible to bedside. Matter of fact an extension cords always travels with me in the states, also.

Posted by
1 posts

I have Z1 for about 2 years now, and I travel constantly. Here are a few tips and tricks I have found.

I have a mask specifically for travel - It has a leaner version of the headgear that is easier to pack.

I bring HME's (Heat Moisture Exchangers) for the trip... about 3 for a week trip - change out every couple of days.
HME's go right between the mask and hose... if you moisten them with tap water it does a fair job of keeping the moisture and heat from your breath - this minimizes "drying out" without a humidifier.

Get the Q-tube! It's a muffler for the CPAP basically. It has a short tube that comes off the hose adapter on the Z1, then it goes in line. It has a foam muffler lining, and it does work.

Drawer trick - Run the power into the end table drawer or shelf (if you have one)... Move the bible... put the CPAP in the drawer and run the hose out... that will leave enough air gap for the CPAP and it muffles the whine of the motor.

Get a small toiletry organizer - use this for your toiletries and CPAP supplies. I can get all of my supplies + toothbrush, deodorant, hairbrush, medications, extra travel wipes, CPAP power cable, 6' Extension cord, type C adapter... into a travel toiletry organizer. Bonus - it has a clear vinyl pocket on the front where I put the medical device tag/notification. I keep the Z1 in it's drawstring bag in my carry-on separately for easy scanning.

GET GLOBAL ENTRY and TSA Pre Check.

If you travel a lot (frequent flier miles, first class, red eyes, "No Jet Lag pills", Melatonin, etc.) Get the pre check.
In most locations... the Z1 is so small - I don't even need to take it out of the carry-on. Just send it through... leave your shoes on, belt on, hold your passport and ticket and walk on through - easy peasy.

Type C power adapter will cover you for most of Europe. Z1 is a world power (Dual-voltage 110v/220v 50/60hz) capable device... throw some cheap type C adapters for the CPAP and Phone charger... and that covers a lot - may want a 3 prong for laptop.

Travel Wipes work, but I will use bar soap sometimes if I'm desperate.

Ok Mask...
I use an Amara View by Philips - I have tried the newer mask... it doesn't work for me. The Amara view frame does not accept HME's or a normal hose without their little 1 foot hose. If you have one you will know what I mean. The problem is, to use the HME's, they need to be right near where you exhale. So, I modified an extension hose from an old mask - with the help and blessing of my sleep therapist - to make an adapter that's basically a swivel to attach a normal hose, or in my case, an HME.
This will only cause you an issue if you are not using a standard mask with a standard front hose port...

If you are using a rear exit hose headgear (Nasal frame or mask that the hose attaches anywhere other than right in the front...) - with the hose coming off the back/top of your head... the HME will NOT be as effective in capturing the heat and moisture from your exhalation - and you will not be as comfortable.

Good luck world travellers... and breathe easy.

  • Jimbo the Globetrotter.