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How to Stay Hydrated out in the Wilderness
October 8, 2018
How to Stay Hydrated Out in the Wilderness
Water is the most important commodity for any hiker.
So how can you make sure that you have plenty of safe drinking water? And how do you know that you’re drinking enough?
In this article, experienced hiker and outdoor adventurer, Jenny from Hobby Help shares her top tips for staying hydrated out on the trail!
This may sound obvious, but it’s really easy to walk for miles on the trail and forget to drink a single drop of water. So make a point of stopping for a drink at least once an hour, but preferably more.
Dehydration is a very slow process,but if you don’t bother to stop and drink water, it will catch up with you. Your body has incredibly sophisticated hydration mechanisms, so listen to them! Your brain knows if it hasn’t been drinking enough, and it also knows if you need salts.
So the bottom line is, if you have a feeling that you need water, that feeling is right. And if you look at that packet of electrolyte powder in your pocket and your brain tells you yes, then it’s time to put the powder in your drink.
The most important part of hydration is making sure to actually drink water, so make absolutely sure that you do, even on cold or wet days.
Know Where the Water is on Your Route
Before you even step off on your trip, make sure to do some initial planning. Look at the map of where you are going and see what the water conditions are like. Is there a small stream marked every quarter mile? If so, you probably don’t have to be all that cautious about conserving water.
But sometimes you’ll notice a large gap between water sources on the map. If that’s the case, just refill all your water containers at the last stream. Even better, refill your water, drink a bunch, and then refill again!
As a rule, it’s a solid idea to refill water at every good water source you find. The stuff is heavy, but you really do not want to run out.
Purify Your Water!
Streams and the wilderness can look incredibly clear and pure. And sometimes they are. But often they are not. Diseases like giardia and cryptosporidium can live in water, especially if the water is contaminated by animal faeces.
So make absolutely sure to do something to purify the water before drinking it.
You could always boil water to make sure it’s safe, but that either takes fuel or a campfire, so I’ll normally just let boiling purify my cooking water, not my drinking water.
There are a ton of options on the market, but my personal choice is the Vapur MicroFilter. Most filters are heavy, but at just 1.5 ounces I barely notice it. Plus, it removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa which gives me peace of mind.
Waterborne illness is nasty and avoidable, so plan ahead and get yourself a good filter.
Use a Decent Water Container
With such a massive selection of water containers out there, it can be very hard to choose the right one. Just make sure it’s well built and BPA and BPS free. I’m a massive fan of the Vapur range as it’s practical and reusable.
Whatever you end up using, make sure to wash it regularly, especially around the container mouth that can get all sorts of food debris on it.
Some Parting Thoughts
Drink lots of water! It’s easy to become dehydrated, so keep an eye on your water consumption and make sure your hiking buddies do the same. And keep an eye on places to get clean water on your map to make sure you never run out.
For more useful advice, check out Jenny’s beginner guide to hiking here. And remember, staying hydrated will keep you active on the trail and make sure you have a great time out there!