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Reviews > Health & Safety > Accessories > O Canisters > Test Report by Richard Lyon

OXYGEN PLUS PORTABLE OXYGEN PRODUCTS
Test Report by Richard Lyon

Initial Report July 8, 2019
Long Term Report October 10, 2019


PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 72 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 210 lb (93 kg)
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Outside Bozeman, Montana USA, in the Bridger Mountains

I've been backpacking for nearly half a century, most often in the Rockies. I do at least one weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 10000 feet (1500 - 3000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Though always looking for ways to reduce my pack weight, I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences. I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Many of my backcountry trips are focused on flyfishing opportunities.

INITIAL REPORT - July 8, 2019
O+ test 1

THE PRODUCT


For some reason I have never liked energy booster drinks or tablets. They seem so artificial, even when the ingredients are legible and readable without reference to a chemical dictionary. I'm aware that high altitude climbers use oxygen to supplement thin air and athletes use it on the sidelines quite literally to catch their breath. So I was intrigued by this product, which has but one ingredient, entirely natural - pure oxygen. In the manufacturer's words, "No calories. No carbs. No caffeine. No crash."

The Portable Oxygen from Oyxgen + is compressed oxygen in cylinders. Three sizes have been supplied for this test - from left to right, the Mini, the Skinni, and the Biggi. Oxygen Plus furnished three Minis, twelve Skinnis, and six Biggis. The company also offers one other product, the Elevate Plus, which consists of a reusable dispenser and replaceable cartridges.

Manufacturer: Oxygen Plus, Inc., Edina, Minnesota USA, oxygenplus.com
Shelf life: 24 months from fill date, which is printed on the bottom of each canister. The ones I received were filled in December 2018.
Each of these products is available in various numbers and in a few combinations.

   
 O+ Mini
O+ Skinni
O+ Biggi
Volume, listed [liters / fluid ounces]
  1.55  /  52
  3.4 / 115  11 / 372
Estimate number of breaths**
       24+
      50+
     220+
Weight, listed and measured
37 g / 1.3 oz
49. g / 1.7 oz
140 g / 4.9 oz
Size, listed and measured
1.25 x 4 in
3.2 x 10.2 cm
1.25 x 7.5 in
3.2 x 19.0 cm
2.5 x 11.25 in
6.4 x 26.6 cm
MSRP
$15.50 US/3-pcak
$77.50 US/12-pack
$64.50/6-pack

**To help rate these capacities, O+ has supplied a sheet that gives average or recommended number of breaths for a number of activities. For example, "Morning jump or afternoon slump," 3 to 5+ breaths; "Hiking or biking at 3,000+ feet," 100+ breaths daily, as needed; "Hiking Machu Pichu or Pike's Pike," 5+ breaths every 20 minutes.

A user inhales from the smaller two sizes by pointing the nozzle at his or her mouth or nose and pulling the trigger. The Biggi has a face mask that allows inhaling directly from the cylinder into the mouth.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Each cylinder is remarkably light; well, maybe not so remarkably since the only content is compressed gas. Not lighter than air but almost. With a slender shape, each is easy to slip into a pack or a pocket.

I tried three squirts from one of the Minis, carefully aiming the nozzle into my mouth, after an easy three-mile [5 km] day hike. Not a jolt, not a rush, but I definitely felt perkier and alert. We'll see how well pure oxygen helps when used in measured doses during or after various outdoor activities.

I'm excited to test this product in the field and maybe also at home [it's said to help with, among other things, mental cobwebs and hangovers]. My only concern is the efficiency of the two smaller sizes, especially if I'm careless in aiming from fatigue or inattention.

LONG TERM REPORT - October 10, 2019

FIELD CONDITIONS

In the past four months I've exhausted one Biggi [now working on the second], two Skinnis, and all three Minis supplied by the manufacturer. The manufacturer's generosity allowed me to give another Skinni to a houseguest for acclimation and for hiking, and has left me with an ample supply for the winter.

RomaniaI used one Skinni on a four-night hut-to-hut trip in the Transylvanian Alps in Romania in early August. The weather was miserable and the hiking was tough. Heavy fog, heavier rain [two inches/five centimeters in two hours one day at its worst]  with temperatures at a chilly 50 F/10 C, though considerably warmer when the sun did come out. [That weather and a minor injury cut short my participation in the trip.] On one day elevation gain was from about 600 meters [2000 feet] in the last mile and a half [2 km]. The Skinni came in handy on the way up. I took four or five breaths every ten minutes or so.

On a four-day backpack in Yellowstone National Park in mid-September I "borrowed" a shot or two from a fellow hiker on the only significant uphill of the journey, across the Continental Divide, about 800 feet [240 m] of gain over a couple of miles. Temperature was about 70 F [21 C] though it felt cooler as the uphill hiking was mostly in the forest.

The other Skinni lodged in my day pack on a number of day hikes in the nearby Gallatin, Absaroka, and Bridger Mountains, of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty, mostly in fair weather. We enjoyed a lovely summer in the Northern Rockies, with temperatures rarely exceeding 90 F [32 C]. I'd take a few breaths after a stiff uphill or at lunch or a water break. The Skinni fits easily in a water bottle side pocket with room left over for the water bottle.

I kept a Mini in the tray between the bucket front seats of my sport utility vehicle to grab a hit whenever I felt lethargic or sleepy, or immediately after returning from a day hike. Each of the three lasted an average of about two weeks; use was irregular, however, due to personal and travel schedules.

The Biggi I kept in my utility room for use after various activities around my home, the most rigorous of which were sawing, splitting, and stacking firewood for the winter.

OBSERVATIONS

I think this product works as advertised. After a few inhalings I found myself more clear-headed and mildly reenergized. As noted in my Initial Report there is no immediate jolt or high. It's more a feeling of well-being. Certainly when using the oxygen regularly, as on the climb in Romania, my energy level remained relatively constant. It's more accurate to say that I didn't fall into a trough than that the oxygen shots boosted my energy level.

Could this have been psychological? I don't think so. For one thing, science backs up my experience. Oxygen is used to revive, not uplift. More oxygen in the lungs and the blood aids overall energy. On a more experiential level, I've used the product often enough, with similar results, to believe in it. Maybe wishful thinking influenced my reaction to the first few squirts, but I'm too old and cynical to be continuously fooled over four months. When used regularly in moderate doses the oxygen has kept me fresher.

Although the manufacturer's suggested dosages are imprecise and half in jest [see the quotations in my Initial Report] I have found them to be reasonably reliable. Certainly they bear out my experience that a few breaths every now and then, with number of breaths and frequency determined by the activity, has proven beneficial to my health and energy.

I like the three sizes. The Mini fits easily in a trouser pocket or hipbelt pocket on a pack; either a Skinni or Biggi fits anywhere I can stash a water bottle.  None adds major weight to my hiking kit. A single Skinni handled four tough days in Romania. The Biggi is handy around the house.

While its facemask makes the Biggi more efficient [though less amenable to sharing], I haven't had trouble aiming and inhaling from either a Mini or a Skinni. Each is very easy to use. Like most cameras these days it's just point and shoot. I haven't been too tired or careless to miss hitting my big mouth.

What I like the best is reducing the temptation of a quick, artificial fix - sugar, caffeine, or other chemical whose name I probably don't want to know. I prefer to stick to electrolytes in my water and oxygen in my lungs, and I'm a happier camper at the end of the day when I do.

I can't think of much that I'd like to change. There wasn't much to go wrong, and nothing did go wrong. There's no need to add a gauge; for a longer hike I can simply take a bigger container or a second Mini. Overall a clever and useful niche product for a wheezing old backpacker.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

My Test Report ends here, with thanks to Oxygen Plus and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to energize and recover naturally.        


Read more reviews of Oxygen Plus gear
Read more gear reviews by Richard Lyon

Reviews > Health & Safety > Accessories > O Canisters > Test Report by Richard Lyon



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