Whether you plan on hiking through eastern California's Sierra Nevada range, or the Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California is a state with plenty of great outdoor hiking adventures. If hiking in California is on your bucket list, having COPD or needing to use oxygen therapy shouldn't stop you. Portable oxygen concentrators are design to help you stay active and do virtually anything you want, even something as physically strenuous as hiking with a mobile concentrator.
First, you need to make sure you're physically up to it by seeing your doctor, and telling him what you'd like to do. Hiking up to Sturtevant Falls would be a lot easier and less physically demanding than
Mount Tallac in Lake Tahoe, so there might be some things that your doctor will advise you do instead of others. You might need to compromise, but you can still do the hiking you'd like to do in a beautiful place.
Once your doctor has given you the okay, he or she will tell you just how much oxygen you should be using, if you aren't already using oxygen therapy, and if it's been determined that you need it while on your trip. With your dosage requirements and your prescription, you can purchase or rent a portable oxygen concentrator if you don't already have the one that's right for you. There are several things you need to consider when picking out the portable oxygen concentrator that you'll be using on your trip.
How high do you plan on hiking? If you'll be up in the mountains, you'll need to make sure the portable oxygen concentrator you pick has a high enough maximum operational altitude. Some models, such as the Devilbiss iGo and the Sequal Eclipse have a MOA of 13,123 feet above sea level! You might not want to carry an 18 lb portable oxygen concentrator on your back, however.
There are smaller and lighter models that might work for you. The Sequal Equinox is a newer model, can deliver up to 3 LPM (liters per minute) of continuous flow oxygen, and is only 14 lbs. It will work just as well up to 13,123 feet above sea level, and it has a good long battery duration for being so small and powerful. Of course, if you only plan on going no higher than 10,000 feet above sea level, the Lifechoice Activox, Respirionics EverGo or the Inogen One G2 would work fine.
You also want to make sure you choose one with the best battery life. Many of the hikes through the California parks will take you nearly all day. You'll need to make sure your batteries are charged up, and you have enough extra batteries to last you the whole day, and then some. You don't want to have any set-backs, and get short on oxygen because your batteries depleted.
It's important to know how much battery life you'll have at the setting you'll be using. You can find out when you're purchasing or renting your POC, or read the owners manual that came with it. You can then decide on how many extra batteries you'll need for your trip. Just make sure they're all charged up before you head out.