Guest Post by: Angela
There are so many good reasons to go hiking. Apart from that, it enables you to spend quality time with family and friends, it’s also a good way to get peace of mind and stay physically active while enjoying nature.
Although good for the mind and body, hiking also has its own set of risks. On top of that list is dehydration, a seemingly harmless condition that can lead to potentially fatal complications.
Now, to make sure that doesn’t happen to you or your hiking buddies in your next trip, here are some of the most important things you need to consider to stay hydrated.
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Hydrate well before your hike
Before you actually leave your house for the hike, make sure that you are properly hydrated. Drink at least one to two cups of water. You can also consume a sports drink to give your body the fluid and electrolytes it’ll need to survive your hike.
Know how much water you need
Basically, not all people consume water at the same rate. Plus, there are variables, like weight, gender, and age, that can affect how much water your body requires.
Without exercise, most adults need to drink 2 liters of water on a daily basis. If you are hiking, your body will definitely need more.
To determine how much water you actually need, consider the duration of your hike. You should also determine the distance, weather, terrain, elevation, and climate.
Take it this way:
If you are hiking a shady and flat trail, you won’t require as much water as you would if you were hiking under the harsh sun. If you’ll be spending more energy on the hike, you will definitely need more water. Try to drink at least a quart of water per hour.
Avoid caffeinated drinks
Coffee and other carbonated drinks can actually increase the amount of fluid you lose This means that drinking them during a hike can make you more prone to dehydration.
For your safety, just stick with water. If that sounds too boring for your tastebuds, you can alternate it with a sports drink.
Take the right equipment
If you know that your trip will be super easy and short, you can just take several water bottles with you. If your hike will be a long one, your water bottles won’t be enough.
For that, you’ll need something more advanced. A hydration backpack is one good example. Being thermally insulated, it will allow you to carry plenty of cool water.
Most of the time, hydration backpacks are also adjustable so you won’t have a hard time walking around with it.
Now, if taking water bottles and hydration backpacks isn’t possible, then make sure you have portable water purifiers with you. There are straws, mini-pumps, and even water treatment tablets you can buy prior to your hike.
Choose hiking water filters depending on your preference and skills. You should also consider choosing one that’s easy to use and won’t take a lot of space in your bag.
Drink light but often
Contrary to what most people think, you don’t really have to drink a huge amount of water at a single time. Taking frequent sips of water even before you get thirsty is a more effective way of keeping your body hydrated.
Take it easy
Hiking is one way for you to enjoy nature so make sure to walk at your pace. If you realize that you’ve been puffing and huffing the last couple of hours, then you’re harming your body.
Also, don’t forget to take breaks. It can be as short as a 5-minute break every hour. This time will give you the opportunity to rest your body and rehydrate.
If you are going on an extended hike, electrolytes or hydration salts will be good for you. They won’t just help you stay hydrated but they can also prevent your body from getting sore the next day. They are able to replace some of the precious electrolytes you lose through sweating.
Drink, no matter what the weather is
Hiking during cold weather isn’t an excuse to not drink. Your body will still lose fluids and electrolytes even if you aren’t really realizing or feeling it. You also might not notice how much fluid you’re losing if you’re hiking a very dry climate.
Final Thoughts on Hiking Hydration
Hiking is fun but you should never compromise your safety for it. Prioritize your hydration, particularly when you’re building the ultimate bug-out bag
To avoid dehydration, make sure that you are completely hydrated even before you leave home. Bring plenty of water no matter how short or long your hike will be. This will ensure that you have enough water for the entire duration of the hike.
Don’t forget to take breaks, too. Use the time to rest your body, drink your water, and assess your hydration status.
For more hiking hydration and backpacking tips, check out:
- More tips to stay hydrated on the trail
- Best water treatment methods for hikers
- How to hike in the rain and not totally hate it
- 35 Best backpacking tips and tricks