View Full Version : Cpap and trying to travel fairly light

04-08-2016, 02:59 PM
Hi y'all.
Usually for conference or research travel i carry my Synapse 25 and take a roller bag. Well, I have just been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and I get my new Cpap next week. I am getting a Respironics Dreamstation, which is 11.7x7.6x3.3 with the humidifier (which I think I will need to travel with, although I could leave it at home. The cold air really affects my asthma.)

So how do people travel with these things? Do some of you carry it as a third bag and fight with the gate agent? (They are supposed to let it on the flight and not have it count against your carry on limit, but many people tell me some airlines are super nasty about this. The consensus is that Southwest is cool, United and American are jerks and will count it against your carry on limit.) Do you smash it into the bottom of a bag and carry it like that? My machine looks fairly large and heavy (I haven't gotten it yet-- I looked online) and I will be traveling right after I get it, and I don't have money to buy a travel sized machine-- I'm trying to figure out the best way to handle this and to see if I can escape from checking a bag.

And what bags do you prefer using to carry it? I have a NFTD, which if the machine fits, i can put in there, as its padded.

Advice, Advice? I'm a bit stressed as I have a lot of travel coming up and I have to get used to the dratted thing. And its one more thing. I'm not a light enough packer to stash it in my rolling suitcase and just be done with it.....

How do Bihnites carry their Cpaps?

04-08-2016, 03:08 PM
Sorry I have no advice but I am also sorry you have to deal with this. Can you give any meshurements for us who have not come across this by now? Maybe a link to the modle you will be getting? This way we might be able to chime in with ideas?


04-08-2016, 03:29 PM
I went to the Phillips website and looked at the various machines. They seem to come in padded cases. Would it be possible to put the case at the bottom of your roller bag and move a few clothing items to the Synapse? When my father travels with his CPAP he carries it in a book bag, but I believe that's all he has in there.

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04-08-2016, 05:00 PM
Yeah here is the model I'm getting. I'm getting the whole thing, so with the humidifier (so both components)

04-08-2016, 05:44 PM
I'm afraid you might have to check a bag even though it may be a pain.

I used a Respironics REMstar Plus CPAP for many years. It's a fairly large machine (9.45" x 6.69" x 4.72") and if I wanted to use it during a flight, I carried it in its own bag as my personal item but otherwise I put it into my checked luggage. It was too large to fit into my roller board even without the protective bag. Actually, I can get by OK without the CPAP but prefer to use it for the sake of peace and quiet for my fellow plane passengers!

However, last month, I bought a travel machine which although not inexpensive, has been great for travel. It's a fraction of the size of my old machine - Transcend Auto (http://mytranscend.com/products/therapy-devices/transcend-auto/) - 6.1" x 3.5" x 2.8" - and on my last trip, it fit fine into my Aeronaut 45 along with everything else. I used some Travel Stuff Sacks to hold the power adapter and hose. With the smaller CPAP, I can finally manage to travel long haul without checking a bag!

04-08-2016, 06:07 PM
Could you cancel the order for the big one and order the same as John's?

It is smaller and cheaper.



04-08-2016, 06:52 PM
No, because it's what my doctor and my insurance ordered for my kind of apnea. He knew I needed a machine that would travel ok, but the insurance will cover this machine under the parameters my doctor wanted. I can travel without the humidifier once I get used to it though. That will cut the size in half.

04-08-2016, 08:51 PM
I'.ve been using a CPAP machine for the past 15 months; I'm still working out the optimal travel arrangement, but here are my experiences so far travelling with both the rental machine that I had initially and the ResMed AirSense 10 that I now own.

- In Australia, Qantas & Jetstar offer extra checked baggage allowance for medical equipment, but not carry on. That's not very helpful. I think it's important to hand-carry at least the body of the CPAP machine because in my mind it is a piece of 'sensitive electronic equipment,' and it cost as much as my MacBook Pro. My dad once checked his CPAP machine on flights from NY to Sydney, and even though it was marked 'fragile' etc., it arrived broken.

- Once I carried the machine in its own padded carry bag as cabin baggage on a domestic Jetstar flight, even though it pushed my bags over the 7 kilo limit, by telling the counter agent that I needed to use it during the flight. (An obvious untruth as it was only a 3 hour flight.) The presence of the extra bag for the CPAP machine seemed to prompt him to weigh my cabin baggage; this occurs only infrequently.

- When checking a bag, I separate the main body from the rest--humidifer, hose, mask, chin strap & power supply. I put the latter in a packing cube (surrounded by clothing, for padding) in the checked bag. The body goes into a neoprene bag (a repurposed Built lunch bag whose zipper the dog destroyed, which wraps pretty neatly around the machine), and into my cabin baggage. This fits with heaps of extra room in my SmartAlec (SA).

- I do hope to use the same packing arrangements for carry on-only travel as well, with either the SmartAlec or my Aeronaut 45 (A45)--even though the inclusion of the CPAP machine and all its bits will challenge my ability to keep under the 7 kilo carry on weight limit. My thinking is that by not carrying a separate CPAP bag and by looking as if my SA or A45 is a breeze to carry, I might not trigger any airline agent's suspicion. However, my back-up will be to carry a very light personal item as well (Large Cafe Bag), into which I could decant the CPAP body and other 'must hand carry' items if I were made to check the larger bag.

- When packing the CPAP body separately from the humidifier, I fill the cavities (where the humidifier fits into the body, and the inside of the humidifier) lightly with soft garments like socks and underwear.

- And last, about using the CPAP itself: best of luck! It took me quite a while to get used to it, and to work out the best mask arrangement; I was fortunate to have a supplier that let me try a couple of brands in each of the different styles before buying one. And I do need to use a chin strap to keep my mouth shut! So, persevere! While I still find it unpleasant to wear the gear, I love the very real benefit of getting some proper sleep again.

04-08-2016, 10:33 PM
Good luck with the CPAP. It will really make you feel better once you get used to it and you will greatly improve the quality of your sleep.

I was also diagnosed with sleep apnea several years ago and once the shock and disappointment of needing a CPAP wore off I searched for the best way to travel with the unit. Initially I carried my Phillips Resperonics (but without the humidifier since luckily I sleep fine without it) in an Aeronaut 45... but between the size of the unit, power block, mask and hose I had used a sizable portion of my bag. In addition to the bag capacity lost to the CPAP I also frequently had to take the unit out for the TSA as they wanted to swab the unit for explosives... apparently this is pretty common and if you go to the CPAP Talk forum (http://www.cpaptalk.com/CPAP-Sleep-Apnea-Forum.html) this is pretty common. (By the way, highly recommend that site... it is like the Tom Bihn forums for people with sleep apnea and is full of friendly, helpful people)

After a few trips I decided to get a smaller unit for travel and purchased the Transcend Auto. It is tiny (compared to a home unit) and works very well although I initially hated it as it felt different than my home machine and took some time to get used to it. I purchased it on CPAP.com (who actually sponsors the CPAP Talk forum, but they are a great outfit to deal with) and it ended up being a great acquisition even though insurance did ot cover the cost. I travel about 15-20 times a year and could not imagine having to lug a full size machine with me. There is a newer, smaller unit (the Human Design Medical Z1) that is worth looking at too.

The Transcend easily fits in any bag I choose. I can make it fit in my Pilot with my 11" MacBook Air and all my work things. Usually it lives in a portion of my Tri-Star or Brain Bag, but it also fits in my Synapse 19 and 25 easily. If you do any amount of travel I highly recommend a smaller unit. Also, the TSA never asks to have it removed from the bag. To further cut down on size I carry a shorter hose since I never use the full 6'... I purchased 2 18" lengths and use a coupling to join them together... it packs much smaller than the standard hose. The smaller size equipment gives you many options!

Good luck and happy (and now hopefully more restful) travels!

04-08-2016, 10:37 PM
- When packing the CPAP body separately from the humidifier, I fill the cavities (where the humidifier fits into the body, and the inside of the humidifier) lightly with soft garments like socks and underwear.

Although that saves lots of space, I'd be careful about using the space for storage. The CPAP really needs to be as sterile as possible since all the air we breathe passes through it and I'd be concerned that having anything (even clean clothes) might compromise the cleanliness of the unit.

04-08-2016, 11:02 PM
If it helps, I took a few picks with my Philips Respironics REMstar Plus C-Flex (11" x 7" x 4" with humidifier) in a Smart Alec. But, I have never personally travelled with my CPAP. There are other good comments in this thread:

CPAP and Laptop (http://forums.tombihn.com/questions-about-bags/7080-cpap-laptop-post57685.html)

Hope this helps

04-09-2016, 01:48 AM
Apart from the CPAP itself (mentioned above), the only other item which I've found useful (albeit I only bought it in the past month or so after years of not using anything else) is a hose lift:

CPAP.com - CPAP Hose Lift System for Travel and Home (http://www.cpap.com/productpage/arden-cpap-hose-lift-travel-system.html)

It collapses and can be folded up into a small bag for travel. My only concern about it is how durable it will be if folded and unfolded many times. At the moment though, I find not having to deal with the hose one less (minor) irritation to deal with.

04-10-2016, 06:25 AM
I'd be careful about using the space for storage. The CPAP really needs to be as sterile as possible since all the air we breathe passes through it and I'd be concerned that having anything (even clean clothes) might compromise the cleanliness of the unit.

Point taken! Of course, cleanliness is paramount. :) I'm comfortable using clean socks to fill the cavities, but everyone has his own machine hygiene. What I'd really like is one of those nifty travel machines.

Frank II
04-10-2016, 08:29 AM
I was supposed to get a CPAP machine but due to sinus issues couldn't get one. I was just given Provent to try as an alternative and have been told many CPAP users switch to this for travel.

Anyway, if you are traveling in the U.S., the law states you have to be allowed to take the CPAP on board and it shouldn't count towards your carry on limit. If you carry it in a separate bag, and many models now have bags that hold the machine and all its accessories, and get a "medical equipment" tag, most gate agents won't even bother you. If you put it in your carry on then it counts toward your carry on limit.

Some airlines want you to tell them in advance you will have it and they will note it in your reservation so you won't have a problem.

Be aware that airport security will probably want to give it a second look and swipe it for explosives.