Stationary or Portable Oxygen machine for altitude sickness?

Portable Oxygen Machine

Many visitors to the mountains as us if they should rent a supplemental oxygen machine (concentrator) to help with altitude sickness and symptoms while they are visiting high altitude. Then they ask what the difference is between a stationary machine and a portable machine is. Both oxygen machines essentially do the same thing, providing 92-96% pure oxygen.  The supplemental oxygen from either machine gives your body a break, a chance to recover from sports, helps you sleep at night and provides an easier adjustment to altitude in the mountains.

With that being said, around 90% of our clients rent the stationary oxygen machine. This is the blue colored machine above.  It is on wheels and weighs around 25 pounds.   It is the size of a carry-on bag that you’d take on the airplane.  It can easily be moved from room to room or to the living room and two people can be on a machine at one time (biggest advantage).   As the stationary blows oxygen continuously, like a water faucet that is always on, it is also the most convenient to use while sleeping or if you are connecting to a CPAP machine.  The vast majority of visitors to the mountains are already healthy and they don’t need to be on oxygen “all the time” or on a portable machine. The stationary rental is also the more affordable option.

Our clients using the portable oxygen machines usually (not always) have a specific medical need for oxygen.  Generally, they need to be on oxygen 8+ hours a day and to be mobile during that time.  For example, they need to be on oxygen while walking around the house, running errands in town, driving in a car or taking a trip on an airplane. Only one person can use a portable machine at a time.  Fortunately, we have the newest portable machines that can also be used while sleeping.  Another advantage of the portable is when one is doing a week long road trip and staying at different hotels almost daily.  It is much more convenient to move to the car, etc.  Finally, there are times when there is a special event, such as a wedding, at a high altitude venue and an attendee would like the peace of mind to have an oxygen solution with them at the high altitude event.   

The disadvantage of a portable oxygen machine is that it can’t be used with a CPAP machine and you can only have 1 person on it at a time. 

We can ship either machine to virtually anywhere in the western U.S.  If you have any questions on either oxygen machine, reach out by phone and we’ll be glad to help.

Peak Performers at Altitude

RentOxygen is constantly helping out athletes and professional performers with their oxygen needs when they come to the mountains. Even though performers visiting Denver, at only 5,280 feet, are using supplemental oxygen during their sporting or artistic event ( Phantom of the Opera Denver), it is even more important when coming up to the higher altitudes of the ski resorts in Colorado at 8,000+ feet. In fact, European ski teams competing at the Beaver Creek Birds of Prey races utilize our services each winter. Their home ski resort towns are at much lower altitudes and when they come up this high in the Rocky Mountains, they can’t risk a bad performance due to altitude symptoms. It doesn’t make much sense for anyone, including the rest of us mortals on a much deserved vacation, to be recovering for days on the couch. You belong up on the mountain, enjoying yourself.

Centers for Disease Control, High Altitude Travel

The Centers for Disease Control has excellent advice for travelers to High Altitude areas in the mountains. They point out that Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is the most common form of altitude illness, “affecting 25% of all visitors sleeping above 8,000 ft (2,500 m) in Colorado.” Symptoms are similar to those of an alcohol hangover: headache is the main symptom, sometimes accompanied by fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and occasionally vomiting.  They point out that supplemental oxygen at 2 L per minute relieves headache quickly and helps resolve Acute Mountain Sickness over hours, but it is rarely available. But it is available! Let us know if we can assist. Link here to the Centers for Disease Control and their Altitude Travel page.

Difference between oxygen concentrators and oxygen tanks

What are the differences between Oxygen Concentrators and Oxygen Tanks? 

The big difference between Oxygen Concentrators and Oxygen Tanks is that an oxygen concentrator never runs out of oxygen.  They can run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

On the other hand, a typical oxygen tank will run out after 3-5 hours.  Tanks constantly need to be replaced and refilled.

Oxygen tanks are limited in their capacity since you have only the air in the tank.

They can be large, heavy and cumbersome.  If you have a need for oxygen for more than just a few hours, a tank is not your solution.

They are essentially a short-term item to allow a person to have a portable device to get from here to there.

An Oxygen Concentrator works by drawing in the air around you and concentrating the oxygen instantly.  It then delivers it to you through the cannulas.  

Oxygen concentrators create the oxygen on demand, as you need it.  It doesn’t “store” the oxygen or run out, like a tank.

Oxygen concentrators are perfect for those on vacation and need oxygen at different times, over a period of days, or wish to sleep while on oxygen.   

There are no hassles of running out or having to refill a tank. 

At Rent Oxygen we are looking to help those people on vacation who are suffering from Altitude Symptoms. 

Read about the Symptoms of Altitude Sickness 

Muscle fatigue, headaches, and sleeplessness can create a miserable vacation, so if you are feeling those effects, use an Oxygen Concentrator from us to make your vacation the best ever.

View our Oxygen Concentrators

If you are interested in renting an oxygen concentrator call us at 970-368-9696 or Email Us.

An Oxygen bar delivered to you

Many visitors suffering from altitude symptoms in the ski mountains of the west ask about oxygen bars.  Unlike in Vegas, there aren’t a lot of oxygen bars around in ski country and some towns simply don’t have one.  At an oxygen bar you’ll likely sit at a counter with others and be watching the clock.

The better option is to have your very own “oxygen bar” delivered to you.  Although Rent Oxygen doesn’t have oxygen bars with the colored lights or flavored fiz, our oxygen machines are the real deal and provide you with no nonsense oxygen.  Our oxygen machines never run out, they can be used at your convenience, they can be moved around in your condo/hotel, they are simple to use, it doesn’t cost $2 per minute and everyone in the group can use the machine.

We recommend that people use oxygen for 30-45 minutes at a time and even better….while you sleep through the night.   But you can’t sleep overnight  at an oxygen bar!  Having your own oxygen concentrator in your place of accommodation allows you to watch a movie, check e-mails, relax on the couch or to simply enjoy your time with family and friends.  Let us know if you wish to claim your owner “oxygen bar” on your next trip to the mountains.

Where to get oxygen in Vail

You can get oxygen in Vail quickly and easily with us at  As there are no oxygen bars in Vail, we can deliver to you your own oxygen machine, which you can share with your group.  Plus, you aren’t limited to 30-45 minutes as you would in an oxygen bar.  Our machines never run out.  We have two delivery people located in the Vail Valley so we can quickly arrive at your condominium, hotel or home.   Yes, we can deliver late at night.  Vail Colorado is at 8,200 feet.   1 out of 4 people at this altitude can experience symptoms of altitude sickness, which can include restless sleep, headaches, nausea, low energy, etc.   

Word of warning, the canned oxygen only lasts 2-5 minutes.  These cans don’t last long enough to saturate your O2 blood levels and to give your body the proper break/recovery that it will require at altitude.  You would have to buy cartloads of cans to get proper oxygen session.

When to use oxygen when arriving at altitude in Colorado

For visitors and vacationers to the mountains of Colorado and the western U.S., many ask us “how often should I use the oxygen”.  It is totally up to you, but here are some suggestions.  

We recommend each person use 2 liters per minute.  If you have one person on a machine, the setting should be “2”.  If you have two people on a machine, the setting should be “4”, so each person is receiving 2 liters per minute.  At that setting with our altitude it would be like you are at sea level on the beach in Florida.  You can go a bit higher setting but unless you are working out on a treadmill, you’ll likely not take all the oxygen in and will just dry out your nose.

Next, it is very helpful to use oxygen within the first 6 hours of arrival for 40-50 minutes, particularly if you have been travelling all day and didn’t sleep much the night before travel.  When you are using oxygen you can easily check e-mails, watch TV or sit on the balcony reading a book. You should be proactive.  You don’t want to wait until the next morning when you have altitude sickness symptoms, feel awful or have a headache.  Please note, if you use oxygen for just 2-5 minutes (such as what is in the disposable cans), your body won’t get saturated enough for long enough to give your body a break in “adjusting” to altitude. 

Then, use oxygen again for 30-50 minutes before going to bed and then when getting up in the morning.  Keep in mind, the BEST time to use oxygen is while you sleep, through the night.  It is convenient and will help you sleep better and recover from your trip and daily activities, while on vacation. 

Finally, after a heavy day of skiing/biking/hiking and if you are feeling run down in the afternoon, a quick 30 minute session will do wonders.  

Rent Oxygen Colorado new blog

Stop the presses!  Rent Oxygen based in Colorado has started an internet blog.  We hope to give you some news, relevant content and education on oxygen solutions and oxygen concentrators in our area of Colorado and the western U.S.  For this first blog, we wish to point out a blog post that the Antlers at Vail did on our services.  Thank you Liana!  You can read it here.  Or a copy is available below.  All the best…. Chris Ratzlaff

From the Antlers at Vail:  For those that have visited the mountains before, you are probably aware of the effects when coming to altitude. Most people notice reduced aerobic performance or fatigue while doing activities such as skiing or biking. And yes, many can experience mountain sickness signs. Signs include reduced or restless sleep, headaches, fatigue or other flu-like symptoms. This can cut into quality time on the mountain and limit vacation fun. That’s where Rent Oxygen can help!

Although many clients contact Rent Oxygen only when someone has altitude sickness. Now over 50% of their clients are reserving their oxygen machines in advance. With machines that can be shared among a whole group/family, the users can avoid altitude symptoms for everyone and even recover better, after a day on the mountain. Reach out to at 844-699-4366 to learn more on how to upgrade your vacation. Ensure you are up on the mountain each day this year.

Make Your Oxygen Reservation Now