High Altitude Training Masks: Worth the Investment
The first thing to note is that there are two types of masks. There are the regular masks which have a face shield, and then there are the high-altitude training masks which do not have a face shield. These two types of masks differ in several ways.
Regular masks are used at altitudes above 10,000 feet. They have a face shield made from plastic or polycarbonate. These masks are designed to protect your eyes while you’re wearing them. However, they don’t provide any protection against the cold air that’s blowing at you during an ascent up into the mountains. If you were to wear one of these masks when climbing Mount Everest, it would probably cause frostbite within 24 hours!
Regular masks are only good for short periods of time. You’d need to use an emergency oxygen supply if you needed to ascend higher than 10,000 feet.
High-Altitude Training Masks (HATM) are designed specifically for climbers who want to climb Mount Everest without having to worry about frostbite. HATMs come with a face shield made from a special material called “nitrile rubber.” This shield is less prone to fogging than the typical plastic or polycarbonate shield found on a regular mask. There is no emergency oxygen inside HATM, so you won’t have to worry about an oxygen tank causing your pack to feel heavier than it already does.
The major difference between the two masks is that you cannot see through a HATM. If you were to wear one, you would be blind while climbing. This is why mountaineers typically use HATMs only when they are climbing in extreme cold environments.
Should I use a High Altitude Training Mask for my next hiking trip?
If you want to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun, then yes–you probably should use a high-altitude training mask. If you’re only traveling from the bottom of a valley to the top of a mountain, then there’s no need to wear one. However, if you’re climbing a snowy mountain on another planet, then it definitely wouldn’t hurt to bring a HATM along.
The athletic community still hasn’t decided whether or not HATMs are safe to use. One of the concerns is that HATMs could cause ear pain and other types of discomfort. This type of mask could also cause your nose to become irritated. A lot of people who have used HATMs experienced running noses while wearing the masks. This could be a hassle if you’re trying to enjoy a day outside.
Where can I buy a High Altitude Training Mask?
You can find HATMs for sale on popular online websites such as Amazon. It’s important that you read the reviews before making a final decision about whether or not to buy one. HATMs are also sold in physical stores located in places such as Colorado and Arizona. These stores are typically located near hiking supply shops.
HATM manufacturers must adhere to strict manufacturing guidelines in order to market their product as a HATM. The manufacturers must also submit their masks to a test lab to ensure that they are free of serious manufacturing defects and don’t pose any health risks to the consumer.
You can also find a cheap HATM if you look hard enough. It’s not uncommon to find knockoffs being sold by websites that don’t know what they’re talking about. These masks may be different than the masks that are manufactured by reputable HATM manufacturers. The biggest difference is the quality of the materials that are used to create the face shield. For example, a knockoff mask may use plastic instead of nitrile rubber.
How long does a HATM typically last?
That all depends on how well you take care of it.
If you purchase a HATM from a reputable manufacturer and you take care of it, then your mask should last for several years. You may need to replace the filter after 12 months, but your mask will be in good condition otherwise.
If you purchase a knockoff HATM, then you run the risk of the mask becoming damaged after just a few uses. The materials used to make the mask may be of low quality or the production may have been done incorrectly during the manufacturing process. Either way, you would be better off spending a little more money to buy a genuine HATM.
Is it OK to share a HATM?
High Altitude Masks should never be shared with anyone for a number of reasons. Each mask is made to fit a particular person’s face. When you share a HATM, there’s a chance that the mask could come off while you’re at a high altitude. This would obviously not be good.
Furthermore, each HATM has its own replacement filter. You can’t share a single filter with anyone else. If you were to share a mask with someone, you’d be using their filter, and vice versa.
Finally, some people have allergies. By sharing a single mask with someone, you could be exposing yourself to their allergens.
Are there any HATM alternatives on the market?
There are some masks on the market such as the ones made by North Face, but these masks don’t provide any real protection. The only way that you’re going to be able to protect yourself at high altitudes is by using a HATM.
How much do HATMs cost?
This is probably the most common question that people ask about HATMs. The answer isn’t too straightforward since the price can vary based on a number of factors.
The price can range from $60 to $200. The price doesn’t necessarily indicate the quality of the mask though. Some of the most expensive HATMs are made with low quality materials and manufacturing techniques. On the other hand, some of the cheaper HATMs are made with high quality materials and manufacturing techniques. It really just boils down to doing your research before buying one.
The easiest way to find a good quality HATM is to look online for genuine reviews. You should never buy a HATM just because someone is telling you to buy it though. You should only purchase a HATM after you have done sufficient research and have decided that it’s right for you.
Most online retailers such as Amazon offer free returns. This means that you can buy a HATM online, try it out, and return it if you don’t like it. Buying online may end up being cheaper than buying from a brick and mortar store.
Have there been any studies done on HATMs?
There have been studies done on human tolerance for high-altitude flying. The studies found that most people will begin to experience altitude sickness when they reach a certain altitude. The studies also found that some people begin to experience AMS at lower altitudes than others. There is no way of determining who will be susceptible until they are actually at that altitude.
These studies were done by the government in order to create a HATM that could protect military pilots. The United States Military has never deployed their HATM for this purpose though. They are still in the experimental stages of creating one at this point in time.
The studies that the government performed involved a number of test subjects who went up in high-altitude planes, balloons, and even mountains. The test subjects were then given breathing treatment and other types of medicine in order to relieve altitude sickness.
The results of these studies were used to create a HATM. This HATM has been given to pilots in the military to this day. It has proven to be quite effective at preventing altitude sickness in pilots.
The information from these studies on human tolerance for high-altitude flying have been used by many HATM manufacturers as a guide in creating their own high-altitude masks. There are likely thousands of HATMs in existence today.
Does altitude sickness occur at specific altitudes?
Altitude sickness can occur anywhere above 8000 feet above sea level. This is also referred to as the “death zone” because there is a lack of oxygen at this altitude. Above this altitude, there is not enough nitrogen to breathe and your body cannot get the oxygen that it requires.
The faster you ascend to this altitude, the greater your chances of getting altitude sickness. Some people experience Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) at 10,000 feet when ascending rapidly.
If you ascend too quickly, AMS can lead to HACE or high-altitude cerebral edema and HAPE or high-altitude pulmonary edema. Both of these are potentially fatal conditions. In some cases, altitude sickness can lead to death even if it is treated.
Is altitude sickness dangerous?
Yes. Altitude sickness is potentially dangerous because it can lead to HACE and HAPE which are both potentially fatal conditions.
If you begin to experience any symptoms of AMS, descend to a lower altitude immediately. The only way to cure altitude sickness is to return to a lower altitude and allow your body to acclimate.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Can Altitude Masks Really Replicate Altitude Training? (J Davis – runnersconnect.net)
- Intraocular pressure at a simulated altitude of 9000 m with and without 100% oxygen (D Ersanli, S Yildiz, M Sonmez, A Akin… – Aviation, space, and …, 2006 – ingentaconnect.com)
- Oxidative DNA damage and repair in skeletal muscle of humans exposed to high-altitude hypoxia (C Lundby, H Pilegaard, G Van Hall, M Sander, J Calbet… – Toxicology, 2003 – Elsevier)
- The Next Big Thing?: Training Mask at a Crossroads (TP Brotherton, DA Smith – Journal of Case Studies, 2015 – questia.com)
- High Altitude Leadership: What the World’s Most Forbidding Peaks Teach Us About Success (C Warner, D Schmincke – 2008 – books.google.com)
- High-altitude headache: the effects of real vs sham oxygen administration (F Benedetti, J Durando, L Giudetti, A Pampallona… – Pain, 2015 – journals.lww.com)
- Preparation for football competition at moderate to high altitude (CJ Gore, PE McSharry, AJ Hewitt… – … journal of medicine & …, 2008 – Wiley Online Library)
- Naloxone, beta endorphins, and high-altitude pulmonary edema (D BAR-OR, JA MARX, JT GOOD JR – Annals of internal medicine, 1982 – acpjournals.org)