How to Take a Road Trip in an RV or Car With Oxygen

If you’ve been aching to drive coast to coast in an RV or visit those relatives on the opposite side of the country, a portable oxygen concentrator can help make it happen. A standard at-home oxygen concentrator is often too bulky or doesn’t have the power capabilities to run in a car; with oxygen tanks, your car may not have the storage space to pack as many tanks as you need.

Portable oxygen concentrators are made to be used on the go, including in cars and RVs. With portable oxygen concentrators, your main concern is ensuring that the unit can stay powered for long stretches of time. There are two options for powering an oxygen concentrator: using power from the vehicle itself or using batteries.

Using DC Power With Portable Oxygen Concentrators

When on the move portable oxygen concentrators run on battery power, however unlike a stationary home concentrator most portables are capable of running on DC power as well. Depending on what settings you require, the specific model of the unit and the power output of your car, the unit may or may not also charge the battery while you use the machine. On the rare occasion the battery may need to be removed from the unit to prevent an alarm when using in a car that does not provide enough electricity. If you encounter problems with use of your portable concentrator in your car don’t hesitate to call our friendly customer service staff to resolve any issues you may be having.

You should make sure that the car is running before you plug in the portable oxygen concentrator, and the engine should always be running while the unit is attached. If the unit is connected to DC power while the car is on but not running, the portable oxygen concentrator can drain the car’s battery.

Educate yourself with our Free Oxygen Therapy Guide

Some POCs may not be able to operate at their highest settings when connected to DC power, this is usually in continuous flow modes. The amount of power available to the unit depends on the vehicles electrical system, which in turn determines how much oxygen the unit can concentrate. Make sure that the unit you have can operate at the settings you need when connected to DC power. If it doesn’t, you may need to carry extra batteries and only charge it when AC power is available.

With an RV, it depends on what kind of power it has. DC power will often be available, but you may have AC power available as well. You can most likely use either, but make sure that you refer to your portable oxygen concentrator’s manual before plugging it in.

Oxygen Tips for Plannig a RV Road Trip

Prior to your Trip

Before you set out on your trip you should make sure that everything is working properly. A month or two prior to your trip you should run the unit both in and outside of your car. Doing so this far in advance ensures that there is sufficient time to resolve any problems ahead of your trip. It is a good idea to test your batteries as well – ensure they are all running as long as you expect them to. Nothing will ruin a trip like finding out half way there that you need a new battery. Should any issues arise, or you need additional batteries or equipment for the trip give us a call so we can help make sure your trip is a success!

Renting the Right POC

You may not already have a portable oxygen concentrator at home; perhaps you own or rent a stationary oxygen concentrator for use around the house. Luckily, you can rent a portable oxygen concentrator for a road trip in an RV or car that’s perfect for your needs.

Oxygen concentrator rentals are often per week, so you can rent one for the exact amount of time you’ll need it. With a rental contract, you may get a travel package that features a bunch of perks: additional batteries or an extra-roomy carrying case, for example.

It’s time to make that road trip dream a reality. With a portable oxygen concentrator, you can explore the open road as long as you’d like.

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.

13 thoughts on “How to Take a Road Trip in an RV or Car With Oxygen”

  • Alan Smoak

    I do a lot of high altitude flying in my own plane, usually around 10 to 14,000 feet. Which unit would be a good choice to supplement my O2 needs? Right now my O2 level at sea level runs about 95 but at 10,000 it drops to 84 to 88. I need to be able to maintain 90 by aviation doctors advice.

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman April 9, 2018 at 4:11 am

      Thank you for your inquiry. I have passed along your information to a specialist who will reach out regarding your request. For more immediate assistance feel free to give our specialists a call at 888-360-9628 or if you prefer email [email protected]

  • Alan sederis

    I owned the iogen 3 portable unit I have taken it on several vacations, and it worked fine. I have never had a issue.

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman April 9, 2018 at 4:14 am

      Thank you for your comment, Alan. We are always happy to hear when a customer is happy with their machine.

  • Cheryl

    I’d like to see an article about traveling with tanks. My husband’s oxygen needs are more than his POC can provide but we still want to travel. How do we make that happen using E tanks, or is there a larger tank we can carry for in car use only? How long will an E tank last at 6 lpm continuous flow rate, and at 8 lpm? If a larger tank is available to use in the car, what is the size and how long will it last at the above mentioned flow rates?

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman April 9, 2018 at 4:18 am

      Thank you for your inquiry. I have passed along your information to a specialist who will reach out regarding your request. For more immediate assistance feel free to give our specialists a call at 888-360-9628 or if you prefer email [email protected]

  • Susan

    I have enjoyed reading all of the tips on POC oxygen units. Thank you for the information.

  • david marshall
    david marshall April 9, 2018 at 8:48 am

    just bought my G-3 - to soon to make any worthwhile comments - interested in all the tips I can get.

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman April 10, 2018 at 3:18 am

      We have lots of good information in the blog section of our website and we regularly add new content. Check back often.

  • Larry Tate

    Always research the altitudes of your destination. A few months ago, we went to Riudosi, NM, from San Antonio, Tx. My Eclipse5 got a helluva workout, and I went through so many E tanks that we had to cut the trip short.

    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman April 12, 2018 at 8:21 am

      Thank you for your comment, Larry. It is always a good idea to make sure you research your destination to make sure you have what you will need to meet your oxygen needs. The portable oxygen concentrators are all rated to 10,000 ft or higher.

  • Biplab Poddar
    Biplab Poddar July 12, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. Your tips are very helpful. I am a travel freak and travel a lot. Next year Alaska is on my card.Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness., and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Next year I definitely want to explore Albany.
    People often have a theme that they base their worldly travels on, but how about a mental mantra for your travel? Out of a cheerleading event that consisted of our family shouting supportive words at our daughter who was attempting to kill a rather monstrous spider that the rest of us were too chicken to get close to, came this great quote, “If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!”

    This quote came back to haunt me when on vacation in Seattle. I thought it would be a great idea to take the kids on the Seattle Great Wheel, the ferris wheel overlooking the ocean, but as we approached it, I realized how high it went and immediately panicked! Just as I had decided to put the kids on it on their own, my daughter says, “Come on dad…If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!” What could I do at that point?! She was telling me to stop thinking and creating more fear about the situation and just get on the thing!
    “If you don’t think, and you just do, then it’s done!” We all now keep this quote in our back pocket, ready to whip out at any time to push one of us forward into an adventure we know they won’t regret. No hesitations, don’t allow any time for fear to set in, and be prepared for your kids to turn your life advice back on you

  • Jessie

    I really appreciate this article this very detailed all my question are answered


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