I used the high altitude training mask 2.0 to prepare to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. At first, I was a little skeptic to using such a mask and if it really would be able to simulate a similar environment as on top of Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s quite high up there as it’s almost 6,000 meters (nearly 20,000 feet).
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High Altitude Training Mask Settings
The settings on the high altitude training mask 2.0 start at 3,000 feet, then 6,000, 9,000, 12,000, 15,000, and the last setting is for 18,000 feet.
There are six different types of caps included in the box that determined how much air comes through. They have either 1, 2 or 4 holes. It’s relatively simple to adjust the settings as you just swap out the caps, though it’s easiest when you’re not wearing the mask.
As you can see in the picture below, it’s only one hole in the cap when the setting is at 18,000 feet. The soft flux valve is also turned around on one the sides to block any air from coming in. You’re therefore only breathing through one valve when the setting is at 18,000 feet. It’s up to you which valve you want to close and which one you want to keep open.
For setting at 3,000 feet, you would use the valve with four holes and both flux valves open.
High Altitude Simulation
I started using the high altitude training mask 2.0 two months before I left for Kilimanjaro. After using it for a while, I don’t think the high altitude training mask 2.0 is able to accurately simulate being at 18,000 feet because I just don’t think any product can accurately do that. The only way is to be inside of a high altitude chamber..
BUT I think it simulates it as good as it possibly can for a product that costs less than $100.
I truly believe that I improved in two ways during my workouts using the high altitude training mask 2.0.
1) Improved Breathing Technique & Lung Capacity
The mask forced me to expand my lungs when inhaling by taking deep breaths to get enough oxygen into my body.
Before I trained using the high altitude training mask 2.0, I struggled to breathe properly especially when doing cardio. I would quickly run out of oxygen and would have to take a break to breathe.
As I kept using the high altitude training mask 2.0 up to simulating 18,000 feet, I noticed a significant change where I was eventually able to perform the same cardio workout using deep, consistent breaths.
I also noticed that when I would not use the high altitude training mask 2.0, I would not be out of breath nearly as much as before when doing my usual workouts.
There is a hill close to my place where I would train on a regular basis. I noticed a drastic improvement being able to jog up the hill after I started using the mask. It was a night and day difference. I believe the other types of cardio workouts were contributing to my overall improvement but must say I felt a big difference after I started using the high altitude training mask 2.0. Even my wife noticed a difference after using it just a few times.
2) Lungs Strengthened
From taking such deep breaths, I believe my lung capacity increased. I also think that my lungs and muscles around my lungs were strengthened as I kept taking deep breaths to get enough oxygen to continue the workout. In the beginning, when I started using the mask, I would get a little sore in my lungs and the muscles around the lungs. I could feel that my lungs and the muscles around my lungs were getting a great workout.
Top Of Kilimanjaro
Before the climb, I was always wondering if being on top of Kilimanjaro would be like breathing through the high altitude training mask 2.0. But at almost 20,000 feet I was still breathing normally. The difference is when you start walking or doing any activity like “jumping jacks.”
If I were to do five jumping jacks on top of Mount Kilimanjaro, I would really have struggled to catch my breath. It’s the same feeling for me when using the high altitude training mask 2.0; I struggle to catch my breath as easily as without wearing a mask.
I walked extremely slow when I was on top of Kilimanjaro as I did not want to have to stop all the time to catch my breath. It’s the same thing with the high altitude training mask 2.0, if I do any physical activity, it’s way more difficult to catch my breath. With the mask, I’m forced to take deeper breaths and to focus more on the activity.
It might not accurately simulate being at 18,000 feet, but it does a great job working on your breathing technique to take deep breaths. The mask really strengthens your lungs and the muscles around your lungs.
I’m not sure if this helps you or not decide on getting a high altitude training mask, but if you’re going to climb a mountain like Kilimanjaro, I would encourage you to try it out. I do believe it will strengthen your lungs and help you focus on your breathing technique.
High Altitude Training Mask 3.0
I am yet to try the New High Altitude Training Mask 3.0, but if you’re looking at getting a mask I would try the 3.0 version instead of the 2.0. With the high altitude training mask 2.0 the valve is only open on one side of the mask. This is if you have it on setting 18,000 feet. If it’s at a lower setting, then both valves on each side will be open.
I just think that it’s more pleasant with the 3.0 breathing through a valve right in front of your mouth versus just one valve on one side of the mask.