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  1. #121

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    Just wanted to say- I appreciate this thread! I'll be working on a portable APAP rig in the coming months. Once insurance turns over I can get a new machine on their dime.

    The local folks recommended the Resmed air mini. I am using the Dreamstation and happy with it.
    The Z2 though looks like a great unit as well so I'll have to dig into it.

    I keep thinking that an Anker battery or something I'm more used to/more common for backpacking will do 'better' but seems like that Medistrom battery might be as good as it gets.

  2. #122
    Senior Member Cruiser51's Avatar
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    Hi Bill, check the weight/size saving between the mini and the Dreamstaion. I have the previous Respironics Pro unit and have a Dreamstation I haven't used yet, but I just take the home unit in, I didn't really see that much advantage to a separate unit for camping. Now I am assuming you will be going back country, which means making best use of the power you take.

    The advantage of the Respironics units you mention is that they are 12 volt, which gives you a broader range of batteries to chose from. Those units separate, so I only take the CPAP portion, humidity control is a no-go for power use, like wise any sort of power inverter to go to 120 VAC. Make sure your unit can run from a car source and get the 12 volt cable that (in this case) Respironics makes, I believe it has some electronics in it to stabilize the voltage and such, plus it is staying "inbounds" of the warranty to be using their cable, with your battery.

    With a prescription of 6 cm of water, I will use about 2 Amp hours a night (7-8 hours), with the 20 amp hour battery I bought (4.5 lbs) I get about 10 nights sleep on a charge, in reality it is closer to 14, but it will vary with how much you sleep. The important point here is to get some value for your nightly usage and using 6 as a starter and calculating a proportionate value gives you a decent starting point. For example, that starting point for a 10 pressure would need something like (10/6) x 2 = 3.3 ... which means that same 20 AH battery will now yield about 6 nights.

    Like anything medical, I feel you should get involved and understand the process and recommendations you are being asked to follow. In the case of the actual CPAP data, you are typically told to upload the sleep data using the Dream Mapper software ... there are alternatives to this software, notably Oscar, which is Freeware and readily available, plus you don't have to give your data away via the "terms of Use". Most users never bother with this side of the CPAP story, but there is a wealth of data that is easily understood and will help you immensely to understand your patterns and the effectiveness of the treatment.

    I just went through the sleep study cycle and the recommended pressure that the study gave was a 25% increase ... now I have 5 years of data showing that the original pressure was fine and in fact I could go somewhat lower, having that data and an understanding of the how to look at the data meant that the specialist agreed that the current pressure was fine. The study most clinics give, is usually an abbreviated version of the actual recommended procedure and it gets you to a pressure that will work, not necessarily the optimum pressure, in general using a lower pressure is far more comfortable and in this case buys me more nights. Just to be clear, I am not saying to use a pressure lower than prescribed, but rather making sure the prescribed pressure reflects your needs. As the pressure is increased, it will hit a point where it starts to work, then works better ... you can continue increasing the pressure (for a ways only) and it still works, the trick is getting it to be enough, but not over much. I think the study value is padded a bit to make sure it will always work, but just remember, you have a lot of empirical data available to you via your machine that the study folks don't have, learn to use that data to your benefit.

    This has turned into a somewhat "rambly" post, but I have been using my CPAP wilderness camping now for close to 10 years and if you just follow a few simple ideas, it is very doable and waking up well rested, just makes a camping day so much better, hell, it makes life better.

    Brian
    Last edited by Cruiser51; 07-09-2020 at 10:08.

  3. #123
    Member Big E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruiser51 View Post
    Hi Bill, check the weight/size saving between the mini and the Dreamstaion. I have the previous Respironics Pro unit and have a Dreamstation I haven't used yet, but I just take the home unit in, I didn't really see that much advantage to a separate unit for camping. Now I am assuming you will be going back country, which means making best use of the power you take.

    The advantage of the Respironics units you mention is that they are 12 volt, which gives you a broader range of batteries to chose from. Those units separate, so I only take the CPAP portion, humidity control is a no-go for power use, like wise any sort of power inverter to go to 120 VAC. Make sure your unit can run from a car source and get the 12 volt cable that (in this case) Respironics makes, I believe it has some electronics in it to stabilize the voltage and such, plus it is staying "inbounds" of the warranty to be using their cable, with your battery.

    With a prescription of 6 cm of water, I will use about 2 Amp hours a night (7-8 hours), with the 20 amp hour battery I bought (4.5 lbs) I get about 10 nights sleep on a charge, in reality it is closer to 14, but it will vary with how much you sleep. The important point here is to get some value for your nightly usage and using 6 as a starter and calculating a proportionate value gives you a decent starting point. For example, that starting point for a 10 pressure would need something like (10/6) x 2 = 3.3 ... which means that same 20 AH battery will now yield about 6 nights.

    Like anything medical, I feel you should get involved and understand the process and recommendations you are being asked to follow. In the case of the actual CPAP data, you are typically told to upload the sleep data using the Dream Mapper software ... there are alternatives to this software, notably Oscar, which is Freeware and readily available, plus you don't have to give your data away via the "terms of Use". Most users never bother with this side of the CPAP story, but there is a wealth of data that is easily understood and will help you immensely to understand your patterns and the effectiveness of the treatment.

    I just went through the sleep study cycle and the recommended pressure that the study gave was a 25% increase ... now I have 5 years of data showing that the original pressure was fine and in fact I could go somewhat lower, having that data and an understanding of the how to look at the data meant that the specialist agreed that the current pressure was fine. The study most clinics give, is usually an abbreviated version of the actual recommended procedure and it gets you to a pressure that will work, not necessarily the optimum pressure, in general using a lower pressure is far more comfortable and in this case buys me more nights. Just to be clear, I am not saying to use a pressure lower than prescribed, but rather making sure the prescribed pressure reflects your needs. As the pressure is increased, it will hit a point where it starts to work, then works better ... you can continue increasing the pressure (for a ways only) and it still works, the trick is getting it to be enough, but not over much. I think the study value is padded a bit to make sure it will always work, but just remember, you have a lot of empirical data available to you via your machine that the study folks don't have, learn to use that data to your benefit.

    This has turned into a somewhat "rambly" post, but I have been using my CPAP wilderness camping now for close to 10 years and if you just follow a few simple ideas, it is very doable and waking up well rested, just makes a camping day so much better, hell, it makes life better.

    Brian
    Excellent post about CPAP in general. Then pressure question is what is great about the Z1 auto - basically one doesn’t have to worry about the pressure settings as the machine does all of that for me. It is interesting to look at the graph reports to see how the pressure adjusts as I sleep. I was surprised to see that my average was so low. There are usually a couple of spikes up to around 10 or 11 during the night as I fall asleep and then when I am waking up but I never used to pay attention to that with my home use CPAP set at 11. Anyway, I am pretty happy with the Z1 from a bulk/weight and performance perspective.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #124

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    In my case- the power side is more of a mystery than the sleep side- but I appreciate your thoughts Cruiser.
    Your rundown of how to divvy up the power helps me sort out.

    To Big E's point- I fall more in the CPAP for dummies camp in that I was fortunate enough to get started on the APAP which really does an excellent job of self managing and really is a 'set it and forget it' device. I don't even need to push a button- the machine fires up as soon as I take a deep breath or two.

    I have been trying for nearly a decade with several in lab sleep studies not working out for me- long story short I simply didn't sleep well enough to get the pressure set so I got 'denied' a CPAP by the insurance company. At a thousand bucks a pop for the test... it was a few years in between before I sucked it up to try again (and again). Since the advent/improvement of the APAP machines, in the USA at least, the insurance companies find it cheaper to simply cover the cost of the APAP machine as it is cheaper than the laboratory sleep study, especially as I technically 'rent' the machine. I did have to do a home sleep study and get my doctor (who also has apnea) to sign off. Once they did though, you HAVE to use the CPAP at home and upload the data to 'stay eligible'. So I am required to use the machine with the modem that uploads. That said- I can purchase the machines themselves for less money directly and run them through my HSA account; so other than the script needed to buy the machine I do have the option to go modem free, but I think I'd like to keep the Bluetooth upload to the phone so I can track the sleep.

    On the plus side the dreamstation cranks data right to the phone and it is easy to get involved in the data to check it. It gives me the AHI score, usage, mask fit, minimum pressure, average pressure, and 90% pressure (which I think represents maximum. About the only thing I am still sorting out is the mask type... I'm swallowing a little more air than I should with the full facemask so a nose pillow is the next step. I've been able to play with the humidity and work myself off that for the most part- but the 'passive' humidifiers seem interesting on the travel models.

    On a side note- it is interesting to 'watch' the data change with different hammocks as well as how I sleep indoors vs outdoors.

    So...
    Cruiser- your rig sounds ideal for a long canoe trip. (at least given the weights listed). For a longer 10 day trip I'd probably be more inclined to go that route.
    That said- you make a good point in that I could pick up the DC cable and play with batteries with the machine I have for now as I explore the next machine.

    For a more typical trip- 4 days would be ideal even if I had to 'short cycle' a bit (use the machine for 6 hours per night) to get there. Unsurprisingly- having 'not slept' for 8-11 hours a night for so long- it is not uncommon for me to sleep with the APAP for 5-6 hours and pop up feeling great. This is especially true when I sleep outside, where I also find little need for powered humidity.

    This is actually perfectly fine for long distance hiking- so while it may seem counterintuitive- an UL 3-4 day system would be perfectly fine for a thru hike as you are often popping in/out of resupply/town every few days, especially if you can keep the weight down and the miles per day up. In many ways a 10 day backcountry canoe trip is a vastly different logistical challenge than your typical LD hiking trail- which is really just a series of back to back 80-120 mile trips (or less depending on your MPHD). On the AT- you're rarely out of town for more than 4 days... keeping the weight down is a good way to ensure you stay on schedule easily enough. Even on an odd 5 day stretch... if I had one night of no APAP it's still a vast improvement than no APAP.

    So I'd err on the side of weight savings over absolute no fail coverage. To be fair- I have that luxury as my apnea is not severe enough to be fatal.

    It looks like the Resmed mini series and the Z2 (upgrade of Eric's) both fit the bill- around 10-11 ounces, APAP and Bluetooth.
    They are both about half the bulk of the Dreamstation core (without humidifier) and I'm guessing the draw on the juice is a hair lower than my current home machine too- no modem to run, smaller display.

    I keep looking at something in this family- as it gets closer to a pound in a compact package... but this is where my ability to evaluate the electronic side of stuff gets murky.
    Sounds like I need to look at what cable/conversion components would be required vs the battery Big E is using.

    https://www.anker.com/products/varia...26800/A1277011

    On the flip side... if Cruiser is using 2 amps per night... can I drop as low as the 9-10 ounce range with a 10 Ah pack for a long weekend?

    https://www.anker.com/products/varia...pd18w/B1231011

    The anker battery packs are a very trusted piece of kit at this point on the long distance backpacking side of things... they are compact, bare minimum, fairly hardy, and often a lighter/lower impact way to charge phone, lights, ect. It always bugged me to chuck a handful of LI batteries into the garbage every townstop, and backcountry electronics overall have come along way with various headlamps and other devices going to USB charging. Seems like there is a way to put the two together but I'm new to the process overall.

  5. #125
    Crazytown3's Avatar
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    @Just Bill, just a couple of quick reinforcements on the Airmini vs. Z2 (or Z1 even). I have the Airmini, and it's a great machine, but there are 2 significant drawbacks to consider. 1st: it's a 24v machine, so your portable power options are significantly reduced right off the bat. I use the Medistrom Pilot 24 Lite, and it's a good, solid battery. It comes with all the appropriate power cords for charging and powering the Airmini. If you can get the power cord, the TalentCell 24V Lithium ion Battery PB240A1 is also a great choice, and will indeed be my next battery once the Pilot 24 Lite runs it's course.

    The 2nd issue with the Airmini is proprietary tube, mask, and humidity connections. If you buy the Airmini, you are also buying into the ResMed system.

    I have never owned a Z2 or Z1, but being a 12v system is a very big checkmark in the plus column. I also *think* the tube/mask/humidity options for the Z2/Z1 are more universal. Not 100% sure about that, but 99% sure.

    In the end, I don't think you would make a wrong decision with either one.

    EDIT: I also 'borrowed' the lunchbox idea, and love it. Really great idea for storage of these portable systems.

  6. #126
    Member Big E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazytown3 View Post
    @Just Bill, just a couple of quick reinforcements on the Airmini vs. Z2 (or Z1 even). I have the Airmini, and it's a great machine, but there are 2 significant drawbacks to consider. 1st: it's a 24v machine, so your portable power options are significantly reduced right off the bat. I use the Medistrom Pilot 24 Lite, and it's a good, solid battery. It comes with all the appropriate power cords for charging and powering the Airmini. If you can get the power cord, the TalentCell 24V Lithium ion Battery PB240A1 is also a great choice, and will indeed be my next battery once the Pilot 24 Lite runs it's course.

    The 2nd issue with the Airmini is proprietary tube, mask, and humidity connections. If you buy the Airmini, you are also buying into the ResMed system.

    I have never owned a Z2 or Z1, but being a 12v system is a very big checkmark in the plus column. I also *think* the tube/mask/humidity options for the Z2/Z1 are more universal. Not 100% sure about that, but 99% sure.

    In the end, I don't think you would make a wrong decision with either one.

    EDIT: I also 'borrowed' the lunchbox idea, and love it. Really great idea for storage of these portable systems.
    Z1/z2 does work with any mask so many many options


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #127

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    I had a CPAP with a modem I had to upload data to the insurance company with but the modem broke, Sleepmed called me a liar (that I hadn't been using it). So I'd make appointments and upload via SD card, but apparently I wasn't wearing it long enough each night (I'd take it off in my sleep because it was very uncomfortable and the condensation made my nose itchy). So insurance stopped replacing parts and then my dog peed on the mask and hose.

    Does anyone have experience with sleep apnea surgeries? I've heard they can be ineffective over time, but there's a new method that was just approved called an Inspire. It's an implant in your throat, self powered. It senses when your tongue is relaxing backwards to obstruct the airway, and then sends a mild electric shock. I'd be moving forward with the procedure now, if not for the virus.

  8. #128

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    Thanks for the extra info- I did a little looking- but limited options for sure.
    Phillips DreamStation Go seems the only other legitimate competition to the Airmini or Z2. All offer APAP.

    Likely the bigger concern as I look a bit harder is the total system.

    As mentioned- Resmed is resmed and nothing else will work but their masks. The replacement parts/maintenance seems high too.

    The trickier bit is the full package (at least for backpacking more than a night or two) The units themselves seem tiny at first glance... but the power bricks are nearly as big as the machines. I'm sure there are work arounds but the Medistrom seems to charge via the machines power supply (a nice trick), but it still means the full brick charger comes along for a backpacking kit.

    And the mask options, add ons, tube, etc...

    So I added the Phillips Go back on my personal list simply because while the unit itself is bigger- it looks like it has some of the things built in (like whatever electrical components are in the charger brick). I also know the operating system and the components as they are the same on my home machine.

    I'd be curious what some of you think...
    quick overnight trip- you could just carry the battery and machine- so Airmini or Z2 have a clearly smaller package weight.
    For longer duration hike- carrying the charging brick/filters/or the rest it seems the waters get murkier.

    But... that was a quick look and I'll have to revisit this again when I have more time.

    Bearito- avoid surgery like the plague is good general advice. I'd give the machine another try first unless your doctor feels there are very specific reasons the surgery will work for you.
    Maybe they did make a leap forward- but I recall looking into it years ago and not being too impressed.
    I had good luck with the mask fit, especially in my bridge hammock. It took a little getting used to but the improvement was so dramatic it was worth it.
    I started using Nasacort per my doc- that cured most of the dry, cracked, inflamed nose issues.
    Everyonce in a while I will pop in a Ricola cough drop before bed if I'm feeling scratchy.
    I mentioned the air swallowing issue- like many other covid problems- that one is on hold but apparently resolvable by dropping from full face mask to a partial one.

  9. #129

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    Just Bill look into the Transcend units, 12 volt and uses any brand of masks, thats what I use.
    Talmadge
    "GroundHog"

  10. #130

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    Quote Originally Posted by GroundHog View Post
    Just Bill look into the Transcend units, 12 volt and uses any brand of masks, thats what I use.
    HMM... I use an APAP, doesn't look like that unit offers that option. That said, I'll add it to the list. It does list 18v output- "Power Supply Output 18VDC, 1.67 Amp" but not sure if that is due to the recent upgrade?

    Perhaps I can try setting my home unit to a constant pressure and figure it out well enough for a weekend... but looks like I'm ranging from 8- 16 of pressure (roughly) so hard to say if going by the average setting if that's enough to bust the apneas when they occur.

    I did look again (to cruisers earlier point) but even stripped down the dreamstation core weighs 3lbs. Doable in the canoe but probably worth the upgrade for backpacking. I can run another unit through insurance come fall- might as well get something out of my 12k+ of premiums.

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