Portable CPAP

Portable CPAP

Portable CPAP machines for travel and camping

There are several treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. CPAP is the most popular, successful, and immediate of the treatment choices. One of the most common complaints of CPAP is the size. The first CPAP machines were the size of coffee makers. With each year, CPAP devices have decreased in size. Now, there are PAP units that can fit inside of a purse and allow for easy travel.

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) works by pushing regular room air through a tube into a mask that is placed over the face. The air pushes the airway open during sleep so that it can maintain proper air flow to the lungs. This insures adequate oxygenation to the organs.

CPAP has been around for decades. There are hundreds of studies demonstrating its efficacy.

Now that portable CPAP units are smaller, traveling with sleep apnea treatments is much easier. No longer must the traveler bring a separate suite case for the machine, mask, hose, and humidifier. New portable PAP devices are the size of a few decks of cards.


Philips DreamStation Go portable PAP.

  • Half of the size of Philips’ current PAP machines
  • Features micro-flexible tubing, designed to minimize bulk and improve mobility while you sleep
  • Compact, lightweight and slim profile offers convenience while traveling
  • Designed for easy airport screening
  • Available rechargeable battery for travel “off the grid”
  • Simple touch screen technology and USB port for mobile device charging
  • Convenient travel bag accessory available
    ASA is sponsored by Philips.

    Portable CPAP Dreamstation Go

Traveling with CPAP

If you have sleep apnea, you might have gotten used to using your CPAP at night. But when it comes vacation time, it may seem like a hassle to bring your machine. The good news is today’s CPAP machines are portable, lightweight and easy to travel with.

Although going a night or two without using CPAP probably won’t cause any lasting complications, there is no reason to leave your machine at home. Remember, when you’re traveling you want to enjoy yourself. You’ll likely be in the best shape if you get a good night’s rest. Sleep apnea disrupts your rest and prevents you from feeling refreshed the next day. Whether you’re a globetrotter or take an occasional trip for pleasure or business, traveling with your portable CPAP is easy.

More on traveling with CPAP

What to Bring with Portable CPAP:

Whether you’re traveling by plane, car or RV, a little planning will help you travel with your CPAP with ease. There are a few things you should shoulder bringing including:

  • Battery: Consider bringing a battery pack to use, especially if you’re camping or traveling somewhere with limited power sources.
  • Power Adapter: If you’re traveling internationally, you’re unlikely to have a problem. Newer CPAP machines often support a range of voltages that accommodates the United States and European voltages ranging from 110V to 220V. If you have an older machine, no worries. Just pack a voltage adapter to use.
  • Extra Mask: If you have an extra mask, bring it along. You would hate to have your mask break and spend part of your trip looking for a replacement.
portable cpap mask
portable cpap mask

CPAP Travel Tips

Although it’s up to you, you don’t have to bring your humidifier. Some CPAP machines have humidifiers built right into the machine. But if the model you have has a detachable humidifier and you want to pack light, you can leave the humidifier at home. Although you may wake up with a dry nose, a humidifier is not needed for the machine to work.

Keep in mind; a change in altitude may affect your portable CPAP machine. For example, depending on how far above sea level you are, your machine may deliver less pressure. Before you increase settings on your machine, refer to your user manual or call the manufacturer of your machine. Many newer machines automatically compensate for changes in altitude.

The size of CPAP machines varies by manufacturer, but most are about the size of a lunchbox. There are also smaller travel machines, which are about the size of a soda can. If you travel frequently, you may want to consider one of the smallest models of CPAP machines.

Considerations When Flying for CPAP Users

If you’re flying, there may be a few additional things to consider. Although you can check your CPAP, there is always the risk your luggage will be lost or at least delayed. You may be better off carrying your CPAP on the flight. A CPAP machine is considered a medical device, so it will not count as one of your allotted carry-on bags.

Most CPAP machines are lightweight and come with a carry bag, which means you don’t need to buy any additional luggage. Consider attaching a luggage tag on the bag, which states the machine is a medical device.

When you go through security at the airport, your machine will need to go through x-ray like your carry-on bag. The x-ray machine does not harm the machine.

You’ll need to take the machine out of the bag and place it in a bin so it can be screened. In some cases, a TSA agent may swab the machine for explosives. It’s routine and nothing to be concerned about. CPAP is very common, and most TSA agents are familiar with the machines. But you should carry your prescription, just in case there are any questions.

If you want to use the portable CPAP machine inflight, it’s important to check with your airline. Individual airline policies for using CPAP during a flight may vary.

Top Portable CPAP Reviews Chart

Product name Product Type Price (approximate)
Philips DreamStation Go

Portable CPAP Dreamstation Go

Portable CPAP
  • Available rechargeable battery for travel
  • Touch Screen
  • Micro-flexible tubing
To Be Announced
Transcend® miniCPAP™

Transcend miniCPAP
Transcend miniCPAP


Portable CPAP
  • Dimensions:15.5cm x 8.9cm x 7.1cm
  • Weight: 426g
$529 est.
 Z1 CPAP machine

by HDM

 Portable CPAP
  •  Dimensions: 16.5 x 8.4 x 5.1 cm
  • Weight: 283g


The TSA Blog. Traveling with CPAP.  http://blog.tsa.gov/2011/02/traveling-with-cpap-machine.html    Retrieved January 2017.

Author: MaryAnn DePietro, CRT is a medical writer and licensed respiratory therapist with over a decade of clinical experience.

There are many that now use their portable cpap for camping. Using a portable CPAP during camping is similar to using one at home. However, the energy supply must be brought along during the trip. Many use a battery powered cpap backup or a generator to power their sleep apnea therapy options. Traveling with portable CPAP is now an option for sleep apnea patients who want to live an active lifestyle and travel the world.

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One thought on “Portable CPAP

  1. It really is amazing how small CPAP machines have become over the past decade. I remember seeing my first CPAP machine during the early 1990’s. It was about as big as a large toaster. Now, these new portable CPAP devices can fit some large coat pockets. Some of the new portable units have all of the features as the larger machines.

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