Hiking in Colorado with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

The beautiful mountain ranges of Colorado beg to be hiked, traveled through and camped. It's an experience many avid hikers, mountain climbs and active travelers all agree should be enjoyed at least once. It feels as though you're taking a total break from civilization, which is usually much needed in this fast-paced and stressful day and age.

If you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or other type of lung or cardiovascular disease, you shouldn't have to miss out on this wonderful outdoor travel experience. For one thing, the fresh mountain would be great for you, as long as you can get enough oxygen. Portable oxygen concentrators have been made to be taken virtually anywhere, and hiking with oxygen in the Colorado mountains is no exception.

Hiking in the mountains can be harder for anyone because of the lower amount of oxygen, the higher you climb. Not only are you exerting more energy, which causes your body to use up more oxygen, but there is less oxygen in the atmosphere the higher you climb. If you don't need to use oxygen therapy, but you have COPD, you might need to bring an oxygen therapy with you if you want to do some higher altitude hiking.

You should always check with your doctor first, before planning any sort of physically demanding trip like this one, especially if you have a chronic lung condition. He or she will tell you if you're physically up to it, and if you should use oxygen therapy, and at which dosage. After you've gotten the okay and a prescription for oxygen therapy while on your hiking trip, you can do and rent or purchase your chosen portable oxygen concentrator.

Colorado has 58 mountain peaks referred to as “fourteeners”, which are all more than 14,000 feet above sea level. You need to take care not to go higher than the maximum operational altitude specified for your portable oxygen concentrator. This number is different from POC to POC, and it's the highest altitude at which your portable oxygen concentrator can continue delivering the same amount of pure oxygen that you need.

The portable oxygen concentrators with the highest maximum operational altitude are the Devilbiss iGo, SeQual Eclipse 5, and the Sequal Equinox. These can all go as high as 13, 123 feet above sea level, and still deliver the same oxygen purity that they did while at sea level. These portable models are also a few of the most powerful, and the bigger models. The newer Equinox is the smallest of these three, weighing only 14 lbs, which is still light enough to be carried comfortably while hiking.

A few of the smaller ones that would be more practical for taking along on a hiking trip through the Colorado Rockies, are the Invacare XPO2, The Lifechoice Activox and the Inogen One G2. These are all easier to carry around in the comfortable carry bags that come with them, and will work fine at altitudes of up to 10,000 feet above sea level.

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

2 thoughts on “Hiking in Colorado with a Portable Oxygen Concentrator”

  • Joanne

    Where can I rent/best choice/light weight as possible -- I am a 120 # lady --a portable oxygen concentrator with 2 litres per minute capacity? -- NOT pulse dose.

    • scottamsr

      The SimplyGo or SimplyFlo will work if you are planning to use at night only. The SimplyFlo with 110 capacity is the best or SimplyGo if you want the option of a battery, ac, and dc power. Ten pounds is the lightest in weight you will find.


Leave a Comment