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Let's be honest - if your home CPAP was small enough to reasonably pack and bring with you on vacations, that's probably what you'd do. Unfortunately, it's big, bulky, heavy, not very durable, and and not really designed for the life of a frequent traveler staying in hotels, let alone camping or backpacking. Travel CPAPs are designed to be as compact as possible because when trying to fit your CPAP into a suitcase, carry-on, or backpack, every inch matters and being ultra-compact is valuable. After all, the size of your mini CPAP device could mean the difference between having to pay for a checked bag or not, and those costs could quickly add up.
Heated CPAP humidification is one of the biggest features of home CPAP devices that traditionally, travel oriented mini CPAP devices have not offered due to the increased size requirements of having a water tank and heating element, as well as increased power consumption for battery powered devices. Recently however, devices have come onto the market that offer humidification or heated humidification. One manufacturer, Transcend, has taken that a step further and launched the Transcend 365, the first ever CPAP with a integrated heated humidification that can run on battery powered devices while maintaining the small footprint and form factor people expect from a travel CPAP.
The most versatile travel CPAP devices allow users to use their mini CPAPs via their choice of battery power or standard outlet power, and some manufacturers offer battery packs that are designed for, and fully integrated with, their travel CPAP devices. This is perfect for times where not only electricity, but also space is at a premium, such as when camping in tents, or long airplane rides. Some users don't plan on going camping or using their device on airplanes, but battery powered devices can come in handy other times as well. Just having it as a backup can be valuable in unexpected situations such as power outages, which would otherwise make CPAP therapy impossible.
Some CPAP manufacturers don't only manufacture travel CPAPs but also masks, cleaning tools, hoses, and other accessories. That might sound like a good thing, but there's a catch. Some larger manufacturers make their devices only compatible with their own hoses and masks, which they then sell at much higher prices. Customers are then forced to pay extra for new hoses and masks, even though they might rather keep the ones they already have. Make sure to buy your travel CPAP device from a manufacturer that doesn't use proprietary mask and hose connections.
What's the point of a travel CPAP device that's so loud you can't sleep next to it? Be sure to do your research on noise levels to ensure the noise produced by the travel CPAPs you're considering won't disrupt your (or your loved ones') ability to sleep.