The RV lifestyle is for everyone, even if you have a health condition that requires supplemental oxygen. Here’s what you need to know about RVing with oxygen therapy equipment.
What If You Need Supplemental Oxygen?
Many people of all ages need supplemental oxygen therapy. Often it’s because of health issues like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia and asthma. These conditions force the body to work harder to take in oxygen obtained from ordinary breathing.
When someone is prescribed supplemental oxygen, their quality of life gets better. Sometimes the need for extra oxygen is a temporary thing, sometimes it must be used forever. However long one relies on it, the payoff is getting to enjoy a relatively normal life.
But can you go RVing with oxygen? And what’s the best way to carry the equipment on the road? Is it dangerous to carry oxygen in the RV? I wanted to find out for a friend of mine, and here’s what I discovered.
Tips for RVing with Oxygen Therapy
Yes, you can enjoy a full RVing life when you need oxygen therapy!
I’ve been on 02 for four years now and using bottles in a backpack, portable Phillips Respronic machine, and a 110v concentrator that goes to 5 lpm. The past 3 years we have camped in a 17 ft TT but have moved up to a 35 ft class A with a toad. We have spent winters and up to 7 months traveling with my 24 hour need for supplemental 02. — iRV2 Member Lihue
But the question is, how do you carry oxygen in an RV? For starters, it’s not like the old days. Forget relying solely on bulky oxygen bottles. RVers who need oxygen therapy will tell you that for everyday use, portable oxygen concentrators are the way to go. These units basically turn air into oxygen.
Portable oxygen concentrators have two settings for receiving oxygen: pulse dose and continuous flow. The pulse dose mode is usually used for daytime use, as it delivers air via the cannula when you inhale. Concentrators with pulse dose technology also are more compact in design and offer a longer battery life.
The continuous flow mode delivers a constant air flow via the tubes. For people who need oxygen while they sleep, this mode is the best option. — the OxygenConcentratorStore.com
Portable oxygen concentrators are lighter than a traditional house unit, and can even be plugged into your RV or tow vehicle’s 12-volt outlet.
Oxygen concentrators are so safe, you can even take them on airplanes. Here’s a video that describes how oxygen concentrators work:
RVers provide real world portable oxygen tips:
Do a search in the iRV2 Forums for “oxygen” and you’ll find tons of expertise from people who go RVing with oxygen. Here’s a snapshot of the best advice given to users:
- Look for a unit that provides both pulse and continuous oxygen flow.
- Before buying a unit, check to see if your oxygen concentrator requires a true sine wave inverter for operation. If so, you’ll probably need to upgrade your existing RV inverter.
- Know your RV power needs before committing to a concentrator unit. That’s because your RV batteries might need upgrading, depending on the unit you want to buy. Here’s a great discussion about boondocking with oxygen.
- You should also have a good generator as a backup power supply, especially if you expect to do a lot of dry camping.
- Get a backup oxygen source. If the concentrator fails, you’ll want to make sure you have enough oxygen to tie you over until the concentrator is replaced. This is when bottles can come in handy.
As you can see, RVing with oxygen requires a bit of research and up-front costs. But ask any RVer who uses oxygen and they’ll tell you that it’s worth the effort.
My DW uses oxygen. We carry a light duty concentrator that she plugs in at night and runs the hose to the bedroom. We also carry several “B” cylinders that she uses when out and about. We have traveled this way for 15 years with no problems whatsoever. — iRV2 member boondocking with oxygen
Do you have experience RVing with oxygen? If so, tell us more in the comments section below. We want to know more.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.