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When thinking of going hiking, many supplies instantly come to mind. Your usual backpack, camping gear, and a trekking pole, but there is also one that you might not have considered. This would be the portable oxygen for hiking.
A hiking oxygen tank might seem inessential at first but based on where you plan on going, it might prove extremely important. A lot of the popular hiking destinations are at a very high altitude. Even if they’re not the highest, the change could be very noticeable for someone living closer to sea level.
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If you plan on going to one of these higher-altitude places for hiking, there’s one thing you need to get familiar with; altitude sickness. As the name suggests, it is the sickness that is caused by moving towards higher altitudes.
When ascending over 8000 feet, altitude sickness is more common, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist below it. The illness is caused due to the difference in oxygen levels in the heights. This is why someone moving from near sea level to much higher heights would feel the difference more even if the height is objectively less.
As an eighth-grade science has taught us, as altitude increases, it gets harder and harder to breathe. While the concentration of oxygen remains the same, the amount you can breathe in decreases massively. This is why if you weren’t considering portable oxygen for hiking, it is time you do.
What is a Hiking Oxygen Tank?
Now, that we’re familiar with the idea of altitude sickness and why it occurs, we can better understand a hiking oxygen tank. When ascending to higher levels, you use a hiking oxygen tank to compensate for the lack of oxygen intake. These are found to be light and generally portable in their nature.
Space and load on backpacks while hiking is an issue. Making and setting up the backpack for your hike is an entire step to the process of hiking as an activity. But as long as portable oxygen for hiking is considered, they don’t take much space at all. It usually comes in handy canisters that you could just throw anywhere in your backpack and zip it up.
As these cans are filled with just oxygen, they’re very light, considering how oxygen is almost weightless. When using one of these, don’t be alarmed if they’re too light. Or if while breathing the oxygen in, it feels like the can is empty. That’s because for it to feel like normal breathing air is the entire point of it.
How to use?
Using a hiking oxygen tank is relatively easy to use and can be done by anyone. As one would consider, these tanks are filled with oxygen that you simply have to inhale. The way oxygen leaves the canister varies from can to can, as it could both be a spray or a mask.
Check out: Portable Oxygen Canisters
When using a hiking oxygen tank, if it is a spray, you simply need to spray the oxygen directly in your mouth so you can then inhale it. It is suggested to keep the oxygen in your lungs for a while so the maximum amount can be absorbed in your bloodstream. After this you can just exhale and then move on.
In case it is a mask, it usually comes with a button or a trigger that you need to press while using it. It’s quite simple, just place your mouth on the mask and press the button as you inhale the oxygen. Keep it in your lungs for a while, as advised above as well, and then exhale normally.
Why Is Portable Oxygen For Hiking Essential?
When it comes to a hiking, an oxygen tank is essential. It’s been observed on numerous occasions that boosting oxygen supply comes in help for hiking up high altitudes and for those traveling from a relatively low sea level to a higher one.
The impact of a high altitude can present itself in various problems throughout your body, mainly after crossing the height of 7000 feet. However, if you’re someone already residing in areas with an altitude nearing 5000, you may not even require an oxygen tank under those conditions.
What Happens After Inhaling Oxygen?
Right after you cross a certain altitude, you may feel dizzy and feel shortness of breath. Some even develop nausea and pounding headaches as the altitude increases. By inhaling in some oxygen, you’ll see that those symptoms of altitude sickness are slowly going away, and you feel more relaxed.
Even in case of massive sickness symptoms, oxygen may have a positive impact on your condition, but it’s always better to consult with professionals. If you see that the conditions are about or worsening, the best thing to do is to immediately return to a lower altitude and get medical attention as soon as possible.
The additional supply of instant oxygen can come in handy when hiking up across high altitudes. From alleviating minor symptoms to helping calm down major issues, oxygen boosts are a quick fix to all sicknesses one might experience at a high altitude.
In addition to helping you stabilize yourself, the influx of oxygen consumption can actually assist in energizing and revitalizing the body as a whole. However, it is recommended that you slowly make your body adjust to the altitude changes rather than just abruptly switching up the environment and reaching out to oxygen tanks as a way of help.
Altitude sickness can certainly ruin the whole planned out events for your trip, so it’s best to let your body adjust to the climate and have oxygen tanks as a backup in case of emergencies. For this, you can take a day or two to take breaks in lower altitudes or stay at the base for a day to normalize your body according to the height.
We hope that our article was helpful in educating you about portable oxygen systems and how you can accurately use them when in need. Good luck and happy hiking!