‘When you’re thirsty it’s too late to dig a well.’ – Japanese proverb.
The most frequent mistake hikers make is not drinking enough water. While hiking at high altitudes, sea level, or trekking in all climates: staying hydrated must always remain a priority.
1. Water should be high on the agenda and the first item on the supply list.
2. If you are not sure how much water you are going to need, overestimate your needs to avoid shortages.
3. Water is heavy. Still, you should never try and bring less than your body needs for the hike.
4. Always set out with all the water you require and don’t rely on finding water sources along the trail
Without air, you can survive 3 minutes.
Without water, you can survive 3 days.
Without food, you can survive 3 weeks.
Remaining hydrated is important and can never be overestimated. Insufficient intake of water risks dehydration in any climate. If your water supply is exhausted, you have a little more than a day to come up with a solution.
Keeping hydrated when hiking is vital for your survival. If your water intake is too low, then dehydration can occur – two early warning signs are thirst and dark colored urine.
- Dizziness, fatigue, major headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
- Shade, rest, water, water-soaked cooling cloths, rehydrating powder, and electrolytes
-Giving a salty snack helps replace lost salts, and a sweet drink will help replace sugar.
The amount of water required to keep you properly hydrated outdoors depends on climatic conditions, the nature of the challenge, and your personal needs.
1. One liter per hour is advised when climatic conditions are humid and hot, and if you are trekking at higher altitudes.
2. When you are crossing rough terrain, or facing steep uphill climbs, your body is working hard and you will be losing plenty of moisture. It is essential you take in water regularly – even if you are not actually feeling thirsty.
4. If you are inexperienced, it is better to take on a little more water just to be sure.
5. The harsher the terrain, the more important your hydration strategy becomes. You may need to consider shade and sun protection, or resting during the hottest parts of the day to conserve energy.
As mentioned, water transportation can present a logistical problem for hikers. Hikers want an inexpensive tried-and-tested system which is both comfortable and secure.
1. Standard one-liter bottle.
2. Water bottles designed specifically for hiking and trekking. Designated water bottles will usually have a wider mouth, an ultra-secure lid, and will be free of tastes and odors. They are available in plastic, steel and aluminum. These bottles are perfect to survive extended trail use.
3. A bladder system. This employs a food-grade bladder reservoir stowed inside a backpack, with a connecting plastic hose and ‘bite valve’. The major advantage of this is that it makes it a one-piece, hands-free hydration pack.
Whenever you encounter natural water sources, water purification becomes an essential part of your hydration planning. It is safest to purify natural water, even when it seems to be running cool and clear. Water that isn't purified often harbors harmful contaminants that may not be visually detectable.
1. Try to avoid drinking stagnant, foam-filled water, or any water source close to animal droppings.
2. Iodine tablets – one-per-liter – is the standard mean of purifying drinking water. Allow the treated water to stand for half-an-hour before drinking.
3. Though they take time to set up, water pumps can purify water. They can also clog readily and thus require lots of cleaning.
4. As a last resort, and where there is no better alternative, use a stocking, coffee-filter, or something similar, to remove the worst elements and boil what remains if at all possible.
Remaining hydrated is important and can never be overestimated. Insufficient intake of water risks dehydration in any climate. However, there are solutions. Makes sure to take the proper precautions and stay hydrated throughout your adventures.