Top Tips To Stay Hydrated Whilst Hiking
When out and enjoying the warmer weather, one common issue that we often hear people struggling with is how to stay hydrated whilst out trekking or hiking. As you’re more exposed to the weather and will be moving more, you will likely be sweating and losing water from your body…and that lost moisture needs topping up!
The last thing you’ll want happening whilst enjoying the great outdoors is to succumb to dehydration. If you are dehydrated, you’re more likely to suffer from issues such as heat stroke and even hypothermia, which can result in vomiting, seizures and even death.
Of course, no one wants that! So to help keep you safe on your next adventure, we thought we’d break down a handful of quick top tips to help keep your body hydrated whilst out exploring!
1) Drink BEFORE You Start Hiking!
It’s always good practice to have one or two glasses of water before even setting out on your hike. This will not only mean you won’t have to stop to rehydrate within the first few minutes of breaking a sweat, but also will help give you a great starting frame of mind for your hike!
2) Plan Your Route Accordingly
It may seem rather simple, but planning is everything when it comes to a good hike and it’s easy to overlook!
Are you going to have enough water for your trek? Most people need between 2-4 litres of water a day to stay hydrated, even more if you’re exercising and sweating all day. If it’s a multi-day trek you are planning that is not near much civilisation, does your route have access to safe, clean drinking water if you run out?
Likewise, if you are planning on using fresh or spring water, do you have water purifiers easily available?
Another great tip here is to look at the weather forecast for the hike, is it set to be a scorcher? Maybe move your start time forward to earlier in the morning when it’s cooler and you aren’t doing the bulk of your hike during the hottest times of the day (Usually between 12-3pm).
3) Avoid Alcohol The Night Before
Most of us have been there…Those few pre-trek pints might seem like a great idea at the time, but no one enjoys hiking with a hangover and more importantly, alcohol will make you significantly more dehydrated before heading out and throughout the day whilst it’s in your system.
Likewise, it’s probably best to leave the celebratory beers until after you get back to basecamp and not for the lunch break as they won’t help hydrate you and will leave you hazed whilst finishing your walk.
4) Make Supplies Easily Accessible
A pretty standard hiking practice and great habit to get into, but it’s important to keep both food and water within easy reaching distance whilst hiking. The last thing you’ll want to be doing when hungry or thirsty is having to empty your pack out onto the ground. Whether you use a water bottle or a reservoir with a straw (such as an Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir), make sure they are on an outer pocket or strap and can be accessed within a few seconds. If you do have to put your water inside your pack, keep it at the top with measure to stop it slipping under other pieces of kit.
If your water isn’t easily accessible, you’re far more likely to ‘forget’ or be less inclined to stay hydrated. To help keep energy levels up, it’s also a great tip to keep a few snacks handy too!
5) How Often Should You Drink?
The brain is actually often a little behind the body when it comes to things like hunger and thirst.
It’s good practice to take a few sips at least every hour whilst out hiking, whilst you don’t want to drink as much as possible (unless you’ve got a few toilet stops planned!), keeping yourself progressively topped up is an easy way to stay hydrated without really having to think about it, even setting an hourly reminder on a phone or watch can be all it takes!
Essentially don’t wait until you ‘feel’ thirsty, because that’s when you’re already starting the dehydration process!
6) What To Do If You Do Become Dehydrated
If you or someone in your hiking team does become dehydrated, it’s important to know how to react. Again, planning is key here and if you’ve read our guide for 5 Things To Do Before Your First Hike, you should know that it’s always important to tell someone where you’re going BEFORE you head out.
If full dehydration does set in, it’s not uncommon to see things such as: A loss of blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, exhaustion and ultimately heat stroke.
The only real solution to dehydration is to try to hydrate the person, however this needs to be done in a controlled manner people who are dehydrated should avoid drinks containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, and sodas.
If no safe water is around and someone is suffering from heat stroke, call for help, whilst you wait, move them to a cool place. Get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly whilst help comes!
We hope you’re found this list helpful and inspiring! Got a great tip we missed? We’d love to hear your tips for staying hydrated in the great outdoors! Get in touch via social media or via our website! Happy trekking!