As it turns out, I'm not invincible like I once thought.
That being said, I also can't believe I'm writing about this, as my personal medical history isn't something I thought I'd ever share on this blog. Having been told I have a mild case of sleep apnea earlier this year though sure has opened my eyes about this subject, as well as taught me about the challenge motorcycle travel can be without the right CPAP machine.
Most of my first weeks with a CPAP machine were actually at home, so the only major challenge I had was getting comfortable with the mask on my face. As springtime rolled in and I started riding to various motorcycle rallies and such on the weekends, the size and bulk of my original machine really became a nuisance though.
Fortunately a few CPAP manufacturers have been focused on accommodating travelers, and I was able to get my hands on the Transcend® Sleep Apnea Therapy System back in August. Compared to the size of other machines that have their humidification options basically permanently attached, the Transcend® is significantly smaller, and lighter for that matter (check online for various product comparisons.) I got my Transcend® just days before heading to Europe in August and September, where I slept in about 40 different beds during the trip, and was so glad I did, as the space and weight savings is hugely appreciated. Some highlights:
- Weight: The machine alone weighs 426 grams, which is less than 1 pound! As we don't need any more weight than we already have loaded on to our adventure bikes, this is an excellent weight savings over more "traditional" CPAP machines
- Size: See for yourself and maybe compare one to your own machine, but I think the difference is obvious. Listed as 6.1"x 3.5" x 2.8," that's about the equivalent of an XL burrito, or 1 Liter water bottle when the machine is alone, without all the hoses and such attached.
- Power Options & Backup: For camping situations on the road, or power outages at home, Transcend's P8 battery power system keeps me from having to rely on direct power sources all the time! Although I haven't needed to yet, this battery will keep the CPAP running for at least 2 consecutive nights (based on my pressure and breathing) without being recharged in between. The battery is small (about the size of a passport, but thicker) and will be appreciated for sure.
- Humidifying Option: While it increases the size and challenge of packing, I can bring along the Transcend Heated Humidifier™ for arid regions and or high altitude where I think I'll need extra moisture in each breath. For keeping distilled water, I've found it easy to just bring a half-gallon or so (depending on how many nights) along in something like the MSR Dromodary bag, so as the water disappears, at least I'm not stuck with a rigid hard container that's mostly empty. Point is, I've got moisture if I need it.
Packing the Transcend® system is still something I haven't perfected, as I'm looking for the right hard plastic container to fit as tight and perfectly as possible. Transcend® ships their CPAP machine with a nice "soft" carrying case, but as motorcycle riders probably know, a rigid container with a soft interior is best to keep something protected.
Aside from my own struggles to figure the best transport container, the Transcend® CPAP itself has been absolutely great though. Perfectly good for use at home or on the road, it's been an appreciated improvement over my first machine.
As your Doctor will likely remind you, sleep apnea is not something you want to let go untreated, as letting your oxygen levels drop throughout the night can lead to much more than just feeling tired and groggy throughout each day. If you are one of the growing number of people who is suffering from sleep apnea, and you also happen to be motorcycle traveler or any type of traveler for that matter, check out the Transcend® Sleep Apnea Therapy System, and I'm sure you'll appreciate the convenience and packability it brings to your motorcycle trip! (Want to learn more about packing your adv riding gear?)