Apnea and Cpaps and Camping (Oh, My!)

02 Feb

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I had spent Saturday morning online, looking up all things “Red Sox” in preparation for the upcoming baseball season. (Only 18 days until pitchers and catchers report … Hooray!!!)

Anyhow, one of the articles I read talked about their first baseman, Mike Napoli. During the off-season, he had surgery to address his sleep apnea issue. Not a pleasant procedure … they surgically broke both his upper and lower jaws to move them forward in order to improve air flow.

I guess I’m lucky – I never thought of it quite that way, but reading about what Napoli went through made me realize that. You see, I suffer from constructive sleep apnea, too. It was diagnosed about 20 years ago and I’m lucky enought to be able to gain effective treatment via a cpap. My apnea is pretty severe – I have a relatively high pressure setting, but at least I’m able to sleep soundly when I’m using it.

It does present a little bit of a problem relative my upcoming plans, though … not so much for the first part of my journey. My problem pops up after March 2016. The question is: “How do you power an electronic device if you’re completely “off the grid”, i.e. if you have no power?”

I’ve been able to reserve campsites that offer electricity through the end of next February. I’ll simply run an extension cord from the power source to the cpap in my tent (in some cases, I’ll have to convert down from 50 amps to 15 amps, but I’ve found adapters to handle that). No problem. I’ll also be able to use my coffeemaker and George Foreman electric Bar-B-Que cooker without a problem. That certainly makes things easier, especially with the coffee because I’m not really a “morning” person.

After February 2016 though,  I’m planning on heading up the East Coast in the spring, up through New England and upstate New York next summer, back down through the Appalachians in the fall, to then winter in Florida. And after looking at what’s available in all those areas, I’ve discovered that: 1) campgrounds in the northeast charge a helluva lot more for sites that offer electricity; or, 2) there simply aren’t a lot of campsites that even offer electricity in some of the areas I wanted to visit.

My first thought was, “No sweat … that’s why I was planning to bring a generator!” Unfortunately, I also discovered that many of those campgrounds forbid generator use after 9-10pm. No generator. No cpap. No sleep. No can live with that!

So I spent a part of this afternoon researching some alternatives and discovered a possible solution. The cpap manufacturer (I’m presently using one made by Fisher & Paykel) has a workpaper describing how to power a cpap by battery. I simply need a rechargeable deep cycle 12 volt battery, a DC battery adapter and a power inverter that is capable of converting the 12 volt power to standard AC current. Looks good, except for one thing: how will I recharge the battery?

I’m still researching that part. I’ve found a few solar-powered trickle chargers that might work, but I need more information as to whether they’ll be able to recharge the battery fast enough. (I also want to understand the impact of running into cloudy skies!) I’ll hopefully have that resolved tomorrow.

If this works, I’ll be able to replace the generator I was planning on carrying with 3 different components. The combined price will be roughly the same as the generator, but will take up significantly less space (which is great because it’s a little tight right now!).

The only downside I see? The grill and coffeemaker will stay in the trunk of my car in 2016. No freshly perked coffee in the morning. Larry says there are some good crystallized coffee products out there … I’d just need hot water. (I said, “You mean Folgers? Yuck!” But Larry assured me there are better alternatives than Folgers crystals!)

Knock on wood!

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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Planning


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