Prevent Dehydration Outdoors: How To Stay Hydrated While Hiking

people on scenic hike | Princeton Nutrients

There’s really nothing like experiencing the great outdoors. But sometimes, depending on the length and terrain of your chosen hike, it can be a challenge to take liters of water with you to drink. Not bringing water along is not an option, though. Hydration is one of the keys to safe hiking, or any physical activity for that matter.

Read here to learn how to carry water while hiking. It’s important to stay hydrated when trekking outdoors, especially with the risks that come with hiking.

Why It’s Important To Stay Hydrated When Engaging In Physical Activity? Pre-Hydrate And Rehydrate

To stay hydrated while on a hike or while backpacking is to stay safe. But why is drinking water and hydration so important for this type of exercise? Well, for starters your body relies on water for general survival. Every single organ, tissue, and cell in your body needs water to function correctly.

senior hiker resting on rock | Princeton NutrientsIn fact, did you know that your body actually uses water to keep a healthy temperature, get rid of toxins and waste, and even to keep your joints lubricated?1

It’s a great idea to prehydrate before you embark on your hike. This way you’ll be able to take less water with you and lighten your load a little. To pre-hydrate, just drink a glass or two of water before you get on the road.

Of course, you’ll then hydrate while hiking. And when you get home, you’ll want to rehydrate. What does that mean? It just means keep drinking. You can even hydrate by adding soup or broth to your lunch or dinner.

Hiking Comes Along With Certain Risks: Carry More Water Than You Think You Need

woman feeling dehydration while hiking | Princeton NutrientsSo, there’s really no telling how much water you might need if you’ve never hiked before or if you’re testing out a new trail. As a beginner, the rule of thumb is to bring a ½ liter of water for every hour you’ll be hiking. If the day is extremely hot, bring more.

But even on a cool day, you should take a ½ liter per hour of your hike. And backpacking in cool temperatures may fool you into thinking you don’t need as much water, however, you always need water when exercising — no matter the temperature.

Hiking can be hard. You may encounter a steep pass you didn’t realize you’d have to brave. You might get lost — in which case you’ll want more water with you than you planned on bringing. And if you’re at a high altitude, you’ll want to pace yourself. It’s always best to have more water on hand than not enough.

stay hydrated | Princeton NutrientsHow To Carry Water While Hiking: Hydration Backpack, Water Bottles, Water Purifier, and More

There are some really good options when it comes to carrying water on a hike. You can use —

  • Hard plastic bottles
  • Regular plastic bottles (use and refill)
  • Foldable water bottles
  • Water bladders (aka hydration bladders or hydration reservoirs)

how to carry water while hiking | Princeton NutrientsWhen making the decision about how to carry water while hiking, you want to ask yourself a few questions and do a little bit of research —

  1. Will water be available along the trail?
  2. What’s kind of backpack will you hike with? How easy is it to dig your bottle out from your backpack?
  3. Are you hiking for a long period or just a short trek? Will you want less weight to avoid feeling weighed down?
  4. Will you hike alone, with a buddy, or with a larger group?

Once you answer such questions, you can make smart decisions about how to carry water while hiking. Perhaps you’ll choose to bring hydration bladders. Or maybe a steel bottle is right for you.

If you know your trail is equipped with water fountains, you won’t have to haul as much water with you. Or maybe you know you’ll pass fresh streams or a river, though you’ll want to make sure you purchase some type of water purification system. And if you’re trekking through dry terrain, you’ll want to take more. In a desert environment or on a hot day, you might not want to carry less than 5 liters with you.

For a longer hike, you probably won’t want to carry hard plastic or steel water bottles. They can be much heavier than the average plastic water bottle (which can be easily refilled).

If you hike often and your hikes are shorter, you may want to try and find a backpack with a built-in water bladder. These lightweight backpacks are great if you run trails, too.

Hydration While Exercising: How to Carry Water While Hiking

Asian-woman-looking at map at top of mountain | Princeton NutrientsRemember, all life needs water. Take good care of your health by taking precautions and making sure you have the ability to hydrate yourself (or your hiking buddies).

If you are hiking in a group, discuss who is bringing what. If you can break up supplies, you might be able to lighten your load and last longer on your hike.

Also, be prepared with an extra layer (like a long-sleeved shirt) in case your hike lasts longer than you intend it to. Temperatures can change, rains can fall from nowhere. It’s better to have a few options when out in the wild. One more tip: bring a small stash of toilet paper (just in case). You never know when nature will call.

Finally, enjoy your hike. Backpacking can be such a treat. Nature is astounding when you really get to take it in. So, be safe. Drink up. And have a wonderful time.

Learn More:

26 Beauty & Health Benefits of Drinking Hot Water

Bottled vs Tap Water: Choosing the Healthiest Water?

Can Going Camping Help You Get Better Sleep?


Sources
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6315424/

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