Welcome to Consumerism Reports, a recurring series about all my devices and products. I’d like to clarify that it is NOT a tech column, a food column, or a wellness column — it’s about spending money to speed up self-transformation, and then buying more stuff when that doesn’t work. And so I have acquired an endless array of gadgets, tools, powders, and liquids: from products that promise to make my face look more triangular to tonics that make the skin around my eyes less purple. Do any of them work?
It might surprise you to learn that I, a glamorous, tweedy type whom you may think only sweats when inside a $499 sauna bag and sleeps only on the most $168est of pillows, have been trampling all over the Wasatch mountains for the last two weeks. I’ve been romping around in a hat, tripping over roots and brambles because said hat blocks my vision, wearing wet socks (always by accident), huffing, and above all, puffing. I lived in Utah at an elevation of 9,000 plus feet for two years between 2019-2021, but my lungs have become weak like a Victorian aristocrat since moving back to the big city.
It’s been disheartening to discover that a week away from turning 31, I can’t do things I was able to when I was 29, especially when I always thought I wouldn’t peak in terms of capability, fitness, or beauty until at least 42. That’s so long from now: will there be enough air for all of us then? If only there was an easy, expensive way to hoard it all now.
Luckily for me, most grocery stores and gas stations around these parts sell a canned air product that is supposed to help abate the headaches and breathlessness that comes with altitude sickness. The brand I buy is called Boost Oxygen, which you can also order online. To be clear this isn’t a product anyone would describe as medical grade. It’s not like the Shell station across the highway from Utah Jazz man-cum-car dealer Karl Malone Chevy lot is selling a respirator. This can is not FDA-approved, and it’s for the sport enthusiast.
According to the makers of Boost Oxygen:
Boost Oxygen is portable 95% pure supplemental oxygen for all-natural respiratory support. No prescription is needed. It is used by athletes for recovery and performance, older adults for an active lifestyle, people at high-altitudes for altitude acclimation and those experiencing poor air quality. Did you know the air we breathe contains only 21% oxygen – the majority is useless 78% nitrogen.
I’m sure the human species would not continue to exist if we really needed that supplementary 74 percent oxygen that Boost offers to regular, pedestrian air. But when I can’t suck enough in due to recreation, this stuff feels amazing. It’s easy to become attached to the canister. I call it “the good stuff” or “my sweet sweet can.” Think of it like a big whippit, but it makes you feel sportive instead of just clammy and eager to impress the group of rude guys in mesh tops from whom you’ve bummed a cigarette.
A five-liter canister of air promises “100 one second” insulations for the price of $11.99. They also make eucalyptus, peppermint, and grapefruit-infused canned air for the same price. They also make a nootropic-laden rosemary version called “Think Tank” and an orange-smelling SPORT edition (“Orange aroma (specifically Citrus Sinensis, which is the ‘sweet orange group’) has been independently studied and found to help exercise and performance,” Boost Oxygen asserts.) It’s like the opposite of vaping. The other day, on a bench by a trail head, I saw a woman who appeared to be approximately 220 years old sucking on a personal-sized can of eucalyptus Boost, and I thought to myself, damn, I bet this crone’s lungs don’t look a day over 42.