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Does anybody out there use a CPAP (an electronic device that regulates breathing during sleep, to prevent snoring and sleep apnea)?

This is my first RAGBRAI, and my first time sleeping overnight without an electrical outlet nearby. Trying to figure out how to power my CPAP overnight in a tent.

I feel sure there are many other RAGBRAI riders who have faced this predicament. Any ideas?

Thanks and happy trails,
Ray (TrailHub)

14 Replies

Linda Wiard-Bauer, May 12, 2017 at 9:26 pm

It is my first RAGBRAI, too. I also use a CPAP. I will be getting a battery for my CPAP or a mini CPAP that has a built-in battery. Not sure which one yet, but it is in my budget for the ride! I plan to spend a few hours during the worst burning part of the day, in a coffee shop or the like, and charge my battery there.

I will be watching this to see if any veterans have some good tips, as well!


Brian Wallenburg, May 12, 2017 at 9:54 pm

We’ve had CPAP users ask us to plug into our generator. Have always said yes, and I doubt we’re unique.


Darren Gerdts, May 12, 2017 at 11:45 pm

I bought this for the trip and it has a 120v outlet for my CPAP. I will test it tonight and see how long it lasts and how long it needs to charge. Its heavy and cant be carried on you bike easily. Here is a link to it at Walmart. Let ya know how it holds up. I tried to just add a link but no go.

Schumacher Multi-functional Portable Digital Power Station ( Google this )

Darren G.


Raymond Scott, June 12, 2017 at 11:41 am

Hey Darren, did you get a chance to try out the power station? How did it work out?



Linda Wiard-Bauer, June 22, 2017 at 8:59 pm

I bought a “Powermod” CPAP battery, a non-heated hose, and a blank for the humidifier. So the CPAP will work with no heated hose, no humidifying, and I turn off all unnecessary functions while camping. I will charge the battery during the day. (Wish me luck!)


KenH, June 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm

I would not turn away a CPAP user who needed a charge either! If you are going with a charter or a team, check with them. Almost certainly they can accommodate your CPAP at their phone charging station. If you are running charter free, team free and using the Register trucks for your baggage try contacting the overnight town’s RAGBRAI committees. I am sure they would arrange somewhere for you to charge up while you are showering and getting dinner every evening.


Larry Mietus, February 23, 2020 at 8:22 am

As I use CPAP I would like to know how the portable battery units worked for others at RAGBREI. The unit cannot be charged from a generator for overnight use as it uses continuous electricity and has no internal battery. I dont think generators at the campsites will run all night or be electric cord close to my tent. If anyone has used a portable battery like the Schumacher Multi-functional Portable Digital Power Station please let me know. Thank you so much. Larry


montestaples, February 27, 2020 at 8:57 pm

I worked for a respiratory home care company for 10 years so I worked with many hundreds of CPAP and BiPAP patients. Any normal CPAP/BiPAP will run on an inverter (convert 12 volts to 120 volts) attached to a battery, most likely as large as a car battery. There are some small portable CPAPs designed for travel use but it may depend on your settings whether they will work or not. They are much smaller with small battery packs but cannot handle all settings. Many CPAPs/BiPAPs run on 12 volts and your CPAP supplier can get you a 12 volt cord at a huge markup so just look online but make sure it is specific to your model CPAP. The companies that make CPAPs usually also make a very nice lithium ion battery pack to run your CPAP. Definitely the easiest way to go but make sure it has a 120 volt charger and a 12 volt charger. Last I knew they were very pricey, maybe $400 or more. They may be less now. Any battery you use should be a deep cycle battery, not a starting battery, and a sealed no-spill type. I would not count on being close to a generator to plug in although it could be possible. You would have to work with the Charter to find out. Most CPAP/BiPAPs draw about 50-100 watts but plan on NOT using your heated humidifier so the battery can last the night. Check your CPAP power supply for amps or watts (volts X amps = watts). Figure out the amps of just your CPAP without the humidifier and compare that to the amp/hours of the battery to estimate how long it will last. I would recommend a battery with about twice the amp/hours you think you need. I would bet any charter will let you plug into their trucks during the day to charge up but let them know well before exactly what you need to plug in. Get started on this soon so you have plenty of time to test it before RAGBRAI.


montestaples, February 27, 2020 at 9:11 pm

The Schumacher Multi-functional Portable Digital Power Station in an answer above would probably work as it has an 18 amp/hour battery. However it is a starting battery and a lead/acid battery so it is not likely to be a deep cycle battery. If you deeply discharge it too many times it probably won’t last very long. I would get one without a compressor though.


Andrew Berman, February 27, 2020 at 9:18 pm

I rode without my CPAP two years ago, and I was fine. I was very glad to not have to deal with finding a power source.


Amanda, February 28, 2020 at 7:01 am

I didn’t bring mine last year either. And I tried to put up my tent as far away from others as I could. Yes, the Princess snores loudly!!!


Jose Medina, February 28, 2020 at 7:27 am

You should check the website with Pork Belly Ventures. They offer a trailer with charging stations. They also offer refridgeration for any medications you may have. I am using them as a charter. 30 year veteran.


KenH, February 28, 2020 at 10:48 am

We had a driver one year who used a battery powered CPAP even though we have AC power in the MH which runs all night when we are in an RV campground. I don’t recall exactly how it worked but I think it probably was an AC machine powered by a small lead acid battery and and inverter. I remember the battery and big alligator clips attached to the terminals when it was in use.

Another option is to contact the overnight towns to put you in touch with townspeople who would let you camp in their yard and use an outdoor AC outlet. In many cases you could find people who would let you sleep inside in a spare bedroom too….


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