Hey yo pack my bags cause I'm out of here (on a bike)
May 20, 2014 7:09 AM   Subscribe

Bike camping and sleep apnea - how do I get them to play well together?

I have sleep apnea and am a big guy (think NFL defensive end size) that's doing some bikepacking and bike touring this summer and fall. I bring up my size because there's only so much extra weight I can add to my panniers and bike and still be able to ride any distance (think 40-60 miles a day). I'm not opposed to buying a battery powered CPAP but I have my doubts on their effectiveness and, with an extra 120lbs on my body already and 40lbs of camping gear, I can't afford to add another 5 or so pounds of cumbersome gear unless it really works wonders.

So, do you have sleep apnea and go camping? If so, how do you manage your sleep apnea? Do you use a battery power CPAP? A "jaw sling"/chin strap? Or do you just go without your CPAP for a night or two? If you do bike touring and have sleep apnea (long shot) - how difficult was schlepping a CPAP with you along with the rest of your gear? Did you have any difficulties keeping it clean?
posted by playertobenamedlater to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Where are you camping? Many campgrounds have sites with electricity (for trailers) and they might rent you one even with a tent. We tent camp every year up near Acadia NP in Maine and we specifically rent a site with an electric hookup for my wife's CPAP. We only use it for the CPAP.

Might be too big to carry on a bike, but if you need it, you need it.
posted by bondcliff at 7:16 AM on May 20, 2014

Probably not helpful for your current plans, but the big events like RAGBRAI have baggage transport vans that will meet you at the overnight stops, so you can ride very light during the day. The keyword to google is "van support".

I'd probably just do some trial runs now with a battery-powered one to see if it works for you - do any shops have return polices that would allow this?
posted by susanvance at 7:48 AM on May 20, 2014

I have mild sleep apnea and camp, in a tent next to my car or on multi day hikes.

I just forgo the machine for that time, ask my partner to wear earplugs, and try to camp away from other people so I (hopefully) don't disturb them.

I guess it depends on your ability to go without the machine for a few days. I know there are machines that take battery packs, a friend has one he takes car camping.

I did purchase a small cpap machine last year, that has the option of a battery pack specefically for camping/travelling. The Transcend II. I returned it after a few days because I found the 'in - out air' noise kinda loud.
posted by Burgatron at 8:22 AM on May 20, 2014

Can you get by with a boil and bite anti-snore mouthpiece for a few days?
posted by caddis at 12:51 PM on May 20, 2014

If weight is the problem, you can almost certainly cut 5 lbs out of your 40 lb load and still be well-prepared for three-season camping in most of the continental U.S. A lot of bike tourists post their packing lists on crazyguyonabike.com. There's also a forum there where you can ask a more relevant audience about touring with sleep apnea.

Another good forum for these questions is the touring subforum of bikeforums.net.

I don't have sleep apnea, but I wouldn't recommend touring without your CPAP unless you've tested that arrangement. Consistently logging 40-60 miles a day with that kind of load is really tiring and poor sleep will make it worse.

Good luck!
posted by d. z. wang at 5:51 PM on May 20, 2014

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