Water, water, water! The magical liquid that keeps us alive! Drinking water at home is the simplest action of our days even though we often drink less than what our bodies need. Not drinking enough water while adventuring in the mountains is a whole other story. It can be extremely dangerous to be dehydrated. But it is not always simple to manage water in the wilderness. How much water should I bring? How much water should I drink? How can I carry enough water to stay hydrated but not so much that my pack gets too heavy? As an avid hiker, I have learned a lot about hydration since I first started adventuring in my local trails. Now, when I guide people in the mountains, water is my primary concern.
Below, I will share with you, 7 easy tips that I give to my guests when we go on hiking trips.
1. Hydrate your body before you hit the trails!
One litre of water equals one kilogram. Water is heavy, and weight is the last thing you want when you are walking up a mountain. Start to drink more water the day before your hike and even more the hour before you leave the house. It is still recommended to drink about 1 litre of water for 2 hours of active hiking. Make sure you carry enough for the duration of your hike.
2. Take tiny sips more frequently!
Instead of chugging a litre every 2 hours, drink a few sips every 20-30 minutes. If you feel like you need to chug water, it means that you are already experiencing dehydration. Little amounts at a regular pace will help maintain your hydration level for the duration of the hike. You can even set a timer on your watch or phone to remind you to drink.
3. Add some electrolyte to your water!
Did you know that electrolytes are chemicals that conduct electricity when mixed with water? They regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue. How cool is that? Drinking a lot of water or sweating a good amount, which we often do when we hike, can affect our electrolyte balance. This can be the cause of fatigue and muscle pain. Gatorade and similar drinks provide us with electrolytes, but they are also full of sugar! We recommend making your own electrolyte solution! Just add lemon juice, a tiny amount of baking soda or salt and a touch of sugar, honey or maple syrup to your water, and booya!
4. Keep your water accessible!
No one likes to stop to get the bottle out of their pack, especially when you finally hit your perfect hiking pace. Keep your water bottle on top of your pack or in an outside pocket so you can quickly grab it and keep going. You can also use hydration packs, like Camelbaks, that are really good to keep moving while drinking a few sips.
5. Refill your water bottle from natural sources on the trail!
If you’re going for a longer hike or an overnight trip, plan your route and set your camp by a water source. Make sure you use a filtration system like Lifestraws or purification tablets to avoid any water contamination. There is nothing more refreshing than drinking natural water at its source!
6. Keep ⅓ of your water for the way down.
It is very tempting to chug your whole water bottle at the summit. The way down can seem easy, and you might think you won’t need water, but going downhill still requires a lot of energy. Plus, you never know what can happen in the mountains, so be prepared for everything!
7. Keep an extra litre or two in the car.
To fully re-hydrate your body after the hike, keep a full water bottle in the car. This will help you avoid headaches or insolations and will make the drive home a little safer. We also recommend having your favourite snack ready to reward you after this big effort! 😉
Your body is about 60% water, and it is essential to keep this way to stay safe in the mountains. There are a few easy signs of dehydration to keep an eye out for, such as dry mouth and thirst. If you feel low energy, don’t only assume that you are tired from the hike. Drink water, it might just be your body telling you what it needs to keep going!
If you are new to hiking or are planning a bigger hiking trip and would like to learn from experienced hikers, book a tour with one of our professional guides. They will show you how to lower the risks and increase the stoke in the mountains.